The most interesting item left this winter


In terms of the 2012 team, the Yankees staged a coup this weekend. They went from having a rotation with several question marks to having one that ranks among the best in the American League. At the same time, they created something of a conundrum for themselves. What was once three spots for Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, and Freddy Garcia has turned into just one. While that will certainly help the on-field performance of the 2012 Yankees, it creates a difficult scenario. What are they going to do with the two pitchers who don’t win the last rotation spot?

It might seem as though Phil Hughes is the easiest to deal with here. He has experience in the bullpen, so he can slide in there and leave the last spot to either Garcia or Burnett. But at the same time, Hughes might be the best option for that fifth rotation spot. He’s still relatively young — entering his prime years. He’s working on rebounding after a poor season, and there are reasons to be optimistic about him. If he succeeds in the role, he can extend his stay with the Yankees. If he fails, the Yankees can simply slide him into the bullpen and hope he regains his mojo there. In pure baseball terms, he probably makes more sense than either Garcia or Burnett for a rotation spot.

The problem with using Hughes as the fifth starter is that leaves little recourse for Burnett and Garcia. They have a combined 10 innings of relief experience among them, and only 2.1 of those innings have come after 2005. Perhaps one of them could act as the long man, but it’s highly unlikely that the Yankees use their last two bullpen spots on both Garcia and Burnett. It even sounds unlikely that they’d use the last two bullpen spots on Hughes and either one of them.

Burnett’s and Garcia’s contracts present further problems. The Yankees owe Burnett $33 million, making it unlikely that they’d just release him. Even if they traded him, they’d have to pay him a considerable amount to pitch for another team. While Garcia makes far less, at just $4 million, his recently signed contract makes a trade impossible without his consent. Maybe he would consent if the Yankees told him he’d play only a minuscule bullpen role, but that’s far from a guarantee. It will not be easy to get rid of either Burnett or Garcia.

This all adds up to another move on the horizon, whether now or in spring training. The Yankees would do well to hold off, since that gives them time to evaluate Hughes and to adjust in case of injury. It could also open up opportunities if another team finds it needs a pitcher, for whatever reason, in March. But one way or another the Yankees will have to make a transaction or two to solve their logjam at the fifth starter spot. It’s probably the most interesting item left on their pre-season agenda.

Categories : Pitching


  1. El Duque26 says:

    I think Burnett is sure gone. I hate it! It was him who won Game 2 in the WS for us!

    If it was me! Start with CC, Kuroda, Nova, Burnett and Hughes! and push our new guy to AAA to delay his super two status!

    • Soriano Is A Liar says:

      Not sure if srs

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      It’s like we traded all those guys to Tampa Bay and he happened to post on the wrong blog…

    • Jobu says:

      Sending Pineda to AAA would be a waste, his stuff looks like it would play up in the pen. He seems to have more of a “bull in the china shop mentality” you know a real “grunt and fart” approach on the mound. Can you imagine the possibilities of having him pitch th 5th inning of tight games once Joba comes back. I mean, with the way the bullpen stands, who is going to pitch the 5th inning? When I see a great fastball combined with a top notch slider in a young pitcher who is developing his other pitches I just know he could be a great middle reliever. After Mariano retires he may even be able to step up and pitch the 6th.

      The bullpen . . . its where the value is!

    • bexarama says:

      We should sign Jack Morris and make him our #1 starter.

  2. neo says:

    You said: “While Garcia makes far less, at just $4 million, his recently signed contract makes a trade impossible without his consent.” How long is that true for? Its not all year, right?

  3. Gonzo says:

    All these deals and no one mentions Joba to the rotation implications? RAB posters, you’re slipping.

    This is the most interesting item left on the docket. Even more so than the DH position. This is going to be an interesting ST. Who’s going to show up in the best shape of their life? Probably all of them.

    • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

      I disagree. I think the competition, or moves, to establish the 5th starter, will be far less important or impactful than will be a decision resolving our DH situation.

      5th starters make the fewest starts. And in all likelihood the difference (whether WAR or other stat based) among burnett Hughes and Garcia is likely to be very small at the margin. I believe our DH, and the choices among possible candidates, will have a far greater impact on the team.

      I think we could have anywhere from 0-3 WAR out of the DH. I think the max difference among the 3 pitchers discussed is no more than 1-1.5.

  4. gc says:

    Unless they find a taker for Burnett, which I think is doubtful this off-season (but not next), I don’t see them making any moves here until the spring.

  5. YankeesJunkie says:

    Burnett is probably going to garner 1 WAR whether he is in the pen or the rotation IMO. He may actually do better in the pen since his stuff will play much better actually. Hughes and Garcia have a much better shot in surpassing Burnett as a starter so it should be left to those two on who gets the fifth spot, while Burnett can become a 1-2 inning reliever which will give the Yankee pen a shot in the already awesome arm and save the rotation from Burnett giving shit performances for another year.

  6. FIPster Doofus says:

    I trust Garcia to be better than both Burnett and Hughes in a starting role. At the same time, I trust both Burnett and Hughes to be better than Garcia out of the bullpen. So, IMO, Freddy should be the fifth starter while Burnett and Hughes make an already dominant bullpen that much deeper and better.

    • nsalem says:


    • Henry says:

      Imo, it’s a no-brainer, Hughes HAS to start, so that he can develop, give him another shit, especially if he comes into ST in shape an ready to roll. I just can’t give up on him just yet. =\

    • PinedaColada says:

      Based on last season I agree with you about Freddy being the better starter than Phil but I think Phil should get the fifth spot because he can develop into an affordable back of the rotation starter if given the innings with his upside being a middle of the rotation starter whereas Freddy will always and forever be a back of the rotation starter. Burnett is really the reason this is even a problem for the yanks because he is taking a roster spot, he is horrible at baseball and his contract makes him about as movable as a beached whale.

      God I wish there were someone to take him off our hands. I think the front office may be best served trying to flip Burnett into a Jason Bay\Soriano type (bad contract but can DH) because if the yanks do not plan on Burnett pitching in the rotation as the 5th starter he is basically worthless. They would be killing two birds with one stone by swapping Burnett for a hitter with a bad contract because then you can put Phil as the 5 and Freddy as the long man, the bullpen remains the same and you solve your DH issue. Only real problem with this in my eyes is finding a bad contract that is equally as bad as Burnett’s but that doesn’t leave the yanks on the hook passed the 2013 season (when Burnett would come off the books)

  7. Gerald Williams says:

    I’m interested to see how this will all play out. I would like to see Hughes get a shot in the rotation, although I understand that he translates better in the bullpen than AJ or Garcia. We shall see, but my vote is for Hughes as the # 5.

    • CJ says:

      i Agree. I say Hughes at the #5. He is still a power arm and pitching against the fifth starter of other teams means more run support=confidence.

  8. pacman says:

    aj soon to be traded…hughes to bullpen garcia #5 sp

  9. Matcohen says:

    I hate to be the grim reaper here but at least a few starters are going to get hurt in spring training in MLB. In a non-homer friendly park, AJ is a decent, if not great starting pitcher. Eat some salary and you can unload him to someone with a hole to fill.

  10. Gonzo says:

    Hughes has options, right? Why not stash him in AAA as the #6 starter.

    • Rookie says:

      Makes sense to me, Gonzo. In fact, why not stash Hughes and Pineda in AAA where Pineda can work on his change up and other pitches and Hughes can get some low pressure refinement and practice, too, while they hope against hope that Burnett will pitch impressively enough for some desperate team to pick up 75% of his remaining contract and give the Yankees more than a bag of balls for him in trade at the trade deadline.

      If Burnett doesn’t start out strong, they can bring up either Hughes or Pineda, whoever would benefit the least from remaining in AAA (I suppose bringing up Pineda later might push back his arbitration eligibility a year) and see what Burnett can do in the bullpen.
      Worst case scenario, they screw up Burnett so badly that nobody’s even willing to pick up even half of his contract at the trade deadline. But that’s probably not a whole lot worse than the status quo anyway.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        While I like the idea of lowering expectations for Pineda a bit, barring complete Spring Training meltdown, he’s in the rotation.

      • gc says:

        There’s no chance in heaven or hell that Pineda starts the 2012 season in the minors. Zero. Zilch. Nada. NONE.

        • gc says:

          Or on earth for that matter. :)

          • Rookie says:

            I agree that there’s little or no chance of it happening.

            But what’s the rationale for not doing it — aside from not putting the best team they can on the field for a month or two?

            The rationale FOR doing it seems clear:
            Let him refine his change up.
            Push the arbitration clock back one year.
            Create the opportunity for the miracle of Burnett looking good enough to raise the percentage of his salary that a team will pick up in a trade.

            • JU says:

              The rationale for not doing it is that they traded (reached?) the best hitting prospect they’ve had in over 20yrs for a #2 starter, not a “prospect”. This is tantamount to asking what the rationale is for NOT sticking UR dick in an electrical socket.

          • MannyGeee says:

            maybe in Mars though…

    • Rainbow Connection says:

      I agree!!!

  11. Ready for the first 7-man rotation in baseball? :-P

    In all seriousness, we’ll get the same line from Girardi that we always do: “These things have a way of working themselves out.”

    That, or they’ll try and pull that damned 6 man rotation crap again.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Except Girardi is right in saying this will probably become quite a bit more obvious the closer we get to the start of the season. Because Girardi says something, it’s not automatically wrong.

    • CP says:

      That, or they’ll try and pull that damned 6 man rotation crap again.

      That sounds like it’s right out of the late 70s. Except then they were talking about 5 man rotations.

  12. Rich in NJ says:

    If they somehow move Burnett, it could set up another move because they could have more money available to add offense.

  13. Robinson Tilapia says:

    If it were me, Hughes is given first chance to win that fifth starter’s spot, since this franchise would be in the best shape if it had a healthy, effective Phil Hughes contributing to the rotation (I almost wrote “bullpen” in a bit of a possible Freudian slip.) Garcia can work as veteran longman and first option were something to not go as planned in the rotation. AJ can earn his keep running a pie stand next to Parm on the concourse.

  14. Favrest says:

    I thought Hughes did very well as a 1-2 inning reliever. His arm tired towards the end of the year, and by Oct he was toast. I’d make him a one inning reliever, and I’d be careful not to overuse him. He’s fragile. Burnett will probably be traded, but who knows when that will happen? Garcia is a solid #5. He’s one of the guys who got us there last year, but let’s not forget that his numbers were much worse against the better teams like Boston, Detroit, Texas and Anaheim.

  15. coolerking101 says:

    So long as Hughes puts on a decent show at SP, he needs to be the #5. If he does well, he’s the best #5 in baseball and quality trade bait. If he doesn’t, he can be transitioned to the pen where he’s had success in the past. Personally, I think that barring injury, Hughes will have a strong year.

    I realize it’s not my money, but I could care less about losing Garcia or AJ. IMO, neither is anything more than a placeholder.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      AJ is not going to earn what he’s getting paid the next two seasons. Is what it is. Hopefully, Garcia winds up being a veteran luxury cushion to be used in case of emergency. I tend to think more of Garcia than most on here.

  16. Rockdog says:

    I think Hughes for the 5th spot, Garcia as the long man (and first in line to start when an injury comes up) and convert AJ to the bullpen (or trade him, if possible) makes the most sense. The money that they paid to AJ is a sunk cost, but his performance over the past 2 years has been truly terrible. I don’t see how you can let him start games, given the options now available.

  17. craig says:

    If the Yankees at $10 million a year of AJ’s contract and moved him for filler, they would save $6.5 million in ’12 and ’13. They could now get Carlos Pena for that $6.5 million and not have increased their payroll.

  18. Mike in EV says:

    AJ has 2 years and $33 million left on his contract. Are there any unloved DH types out there with similar money and years left on their contracts for a trade?

  19. Dicka24 says:

    Hughes has to start. This is a very important year for him, and his future with the Yankees. The kid was one can’t miss as a prospect, and at only 25, he needs to be given a stable chance to succeed. If that means he starts the year in the Scranton rotation, as opposed to the Yankees rotation, so be it. He has to be a starter from day 1, and through the season. If he sucks this year, as a starter, then you can decide what his future is. Bullpen, trade, or non-tender. I’d hate to see the Yankees stick him in the pen, only to start him later. I’d rather tell him he’s a starter, or a pen guy from day 1, and work from there.

    Anyone think the Yankees wish they waited on the Garcia signing? I wasn’t sure what the rush was when they signed him. I like Garcia. He’s a solid end of the rotation arm that can maneuver his way through an anxiety raised 6 innings. I’d personally slot him as the long man, emergency starter.

    All things being equal, and assuming good health, and no trades are made, I’d start the season with:


    LM – Garcia

    Burnett has to be in the rotation, especially if they are looking to trade him. If he starts in the pen it might diminish his value even more. I’d start Hughes in Scranton. Let him start, get comfortable, and build confidence. Then bring him in should you need to, or should his performance warrant it. Obviously someone isn’t going to be happy,will be out of position, or left out altogether. Those are the breaks. Also, it’s possible that Nova could struggle and need a need send down to Scranton. I’m not saying he will, but being a young, pitch to contact type pitcher with a middling ceiling, it’s by all means possible.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Yes, in hindsight I wish they had waited on Garcia, but my guess is that he had other offers and the Yankees did not know they would be able to acquire not one, but 2, superior starters.

      The rumors were that he had better offers on the table. In a vacuum, it was a good signing. With hindsight, you wouldn’t do it.

      • CJ says:

        Still, they should have been able to move him to Arizona this week after they missed on Bartolo and before they signed Saunders.

    • CJ says:

      i agree. He has to start. In fact not giving him a significant role as a starter or reliever is a disheartening message to be sent to minor league pitchers, “if you’re not great, you will be sent back to minors. You will not have a chance to prove that you are better than veterans under contract like AJ Burnett or Freddy Garcia or Rafael Soriano”

      • Hardy says:

        Yeah, what a disheartening message for minor leaguers: “If you want to keep your rotation spot after your fifth year in the majors, try to keep your ERA below 5.5″

  20. Matt DiBari says:

    Are there baseball reasons to keep Burnett in the rotation? When they inevitably do, what crap sandwich will they serve us?

  21. Kevin says:

    Trade Hughes, Joba and Cervelli for Dominic Brown.

  22. Adam Hobson says:

    Ideally I’d like to see Hughes have one last shot. However, between the three, he has the greatest trade value, even if it isn’t all that high. The best play would probably be to try to trade Hughes for a similarly priced defective/wildcard for DH. Morales comes to mind first, as his value has to be pretty damn low at the moment, the Angels have a need for a firth starter (I think), and they have a logjam at DH. Chris Carter could also be an interesting option if the A’s have soured on him any.

    Then start Garcia and turn AJ into an overpriced swingman, or an overpriced but potential-dominant multi-inning high leverage reliever. It’s not pretty, but it probably aligns value the best.

  23. UncleArgyle says:

    Garcia to the rotation. His soft tossing style will be a nice contrast to other 4 hard throwers in the Rotation, almost like a Knuckleballer.

    Hughes to the Pen. In his MLB career Hughes has been a medicore at best, horrific at worst, Starter, and a lights out relief pitcher. Embrace what works.

    Burnett as the long man. Nothing else you can really do with him.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Who was that guy on the All-Star Team for that half-season on 2010? Mill Pughes, or something like that….

      • UncleArgyle says:

        Yeah, I stick by my statement. The first have of the 2010 season was Hughes’ apex as a starter so far. Average numbers on a good team, so he had an artifically high Win total, which makes you an Allstar in this day and age. aka he was mediocre at best.

      • Rainbow Connection says:

        Fill Yews

    • CJ says:

      I say Hughes #5. If Hughes goes to pen Robertson can/should be traded. Hughes is too good to use in the Ayala role.

    • Rookie says:

      I think you make an important point, UncleArgyle. I would think that having a soft tosser before CC or between CC and Pineda could definitely improve Garcia’s results and those of the hard thrower who follows him. Having Burnett as the long man also creates the opportunity for the long shot miracle of him doing well in the role and improving his trade value (again by which I mean the percentage of his contract that someone might pick up).

  24. CJ says:

    If Freddy can be moved to get rid of contract is good enough.
    Hughes is key. Will he start and return to form? Move to pen? Replace a traded Robertson? Traded for good player/prospect? Traded for Ed yarnall and Ross ohlendorff?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Didn’t you make the Ed Yarnall joke on the last thread? C’mon, son…

      • CJ says:

        this thread hits the question. never mind Yarnall reference, what do you think happens with Hughes? There are several possibilities. And its a significant move.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          I agree with you that this is a big year for Hughes and, therefore, the franchise. A healthy, effective Phil Hughes in the starting rotation would be a very good thing. A healthy, effective Phil Hughes in the bullpen would be something we’d settle for, but wouldn’t be optimal.

          No clue what I THINK happens. What I want to happen is the Phil Hughes I had a Montero-times-twelve mancrush on comes back and never goes away again.

          • CJ says:

            I’m a Phil Hughes supporter too. I want him to start as well. If he is pen he has to be used like Robertson, he can’t be a throw away bullpen arm.

  25. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    Dave Eiland would suggest that the Yankees move Pineda to the bullpen.

  26. ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa says:

    I say keep Garcia and Hughes, move Banuelos up as a long reliever and have him spot start for Freddy. Trade AJ and a prospect who isn’t Betances (unless the situation is dire) or a position playing prospect for a hitter.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      The Autocorrect on your phone changed whatever you meant to say to “move Banuelos up as a long reliever.” You might want to know that.

      Oh, you mean…..ah, fuck.

      • ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa says:

        I know, I know, as soon as I posted it I realized I pulled a Joba/Hughes rule. My point was we need a Noesi who isn’t Cory Wade

        • CJ says:

          AJ Phelps Warren could be a long man/ spot starter. In most cases you’ve lost the game already it’s a mop up role.

          • ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa says:

            We’ve seen from spot starters like Gaudin, Rasner, Small, Chacon, and others that it is a role in which you need to perform. Although it was a bit radical to suggest ManBan, parting with Noesi becomes more difficult for me every time I think of AJ starting another game.

            • GardnergoesYardner says:

              I think the reason the Yanks didn’t hesitate about giving up Noesi is that mop up man is not a hard role to fill, as you can see from all the average pitchers you listed above who have worked as a long man for the team. Also, Phelps and Warren could easily become just as good in the role Noesi filled last year.

    • craig says:

      Banuelos needs the innings in AAA as a starter and you can never package a prospect with a salary dump (AJ) for a decent player.

  27. Henry says:

    Bold prediction:
    CC as his usual ace self, Pineda continues improving, Nova builds upon last year but maybe not by much, Hughes bounces back, Kuroda does ok. Then in July Kuroda goes down with an injury and Joba comes back as a SP and is inconsistent but shows promise. So at the end of the year the rotation is:

    (yes, it’s ridiculous to wish this would happen as it’s basically cheering for Kuroda to get injured. Also, give me time to come up with an idea of what the hell will happen to burnett ad Garcia)

    Joba will become a lights out reliever and future closer and ManBan continues developing nicely and becomes the No. 5 in place of Kuroda as he pushed his promotion due to a fine year at AAA

    = Wish list

  28. Henry says:

    Bold prediction:
    CC as his usual ace self, Pineda continues improving, Nova builds upon last year but maybe not by much, Hughes bounces back, Kuroda does ok. Then in July Kuroda goes down with an injury and Joba comes back as a SP and is inconsistent but shows promise. So at the end of the year the rotation is:

    (yes, it’s ridiculous to wish this would happen as it’s basically cheering for Kuroda to get injured. Also, give me time to come up with an idea of what the hell will happen to burnett ad Garcia)

    Joba will become a lights out reliever and future closer and ManBan continues developing nicely and becomes the No. 5 in place of Kuroda as he pushed his promotion due to a fine year at AAA

    = Wish list

  29. Yank The Frank says:

    Finally, a good pitching problem to have.

  30. Henry says:

    Mannnn…. How NICE would it be to bolster a rotation of
    Pineda (continues to develop into future ace)
    Hughes (surpasses Nova because he bounces back)
    Nova (continues development, if only small)
    Banuelos (forces his way up to the bigs because of performance)

    by the end of the year. I love having the young guys. If we can do this, it will make me more acceptable of putting Joba in the pen and Betances as well to have a future 3 headed monster in the ‘pen with D-Rob. We would be ser for years. Although this is all EXTREMELY UNLIKELY, I still dream… :(

  31. Freddy's Mom says:

    AJ will be the fifth starter. Either Garcia or Hughes will be traded, but if I had to bet I’d say Garcia. Hughes will stay on as a reliever and be ready to jump into a starting role should any pitcher get hurt or need a time out. I am Freddy’s mom and I want him to stay in pinstripes, but why do you think they hired Kuroda? The message is clear. You hoid it here foist.

  32. CJ says:

    Phil Hughes could be the best 5th starter in baseball. People are giving up on him way to fast. NY is really a what have you done for me lately city. Let’s hope Pineda does have any struggles adjusting to NY.

  33. Yazman says:

    Hoping for Hughes (best long term scenario for Yanks).

    Garcia is lowest risk SP.

    Guessing AJ could be great in the pen.

  34. GardnergoesYardner says:

    What bothers me about the rotation situation is that a lot of people are so quick to give Hughes the 5 spot in hopes of a bounce back season, which may or may not happen. IMO, Freddy deserves at least to start the season as the number 5 starter. These players aren’t just names on a fantasy baseball team; they’re real people too. Telling Freddy that he’s a long man or that he’s on the trading block seems disrespectful, considering 1. His body of work. 2. His contribution to the team last year, and 3. His willingness to come back and play for the Yankees again. If Garcia tanks, then there’s an abundance of viable options, but I think that the veteran deserves more of a chance than he’s getting here.

  35. CJ says:

    Hughes could still be traded for a valuable piece. Jack curry was asked about the Internet Hughes butler rumor he could not say it wasn’t true.

    • GardnergoesYardner says:

      My dad still considers Yankees Hot Stove or whatever they call that show these days his main source of Yankees offseason news.
      Needless to say, it gets pretty annoying when he tells me “breaking news”, such as the Rangers won the bidding for Yu Darvish, when the rest of the world has known for a good two days.

      • ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa says:

        They record it about news thats a few weeks old and then change the date on the show to make you think Jack Curry’s predictions are right

        • Kevin Winters says:

          So when Jack Curry said Hughes will end up in the pen they’ll just re-air last night’s show at the end of ST.

  36. CJ says:

    What if cashman already has a deal for AJ Freddy Hughes or Robertson but he’s just waiting for pineda kuroda to pass physicals?

  37. ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa says:

    Darvish 6 for 60 thoughts? If the Yanks can pay Kuroda 10 million for one year why not Darvish for 6

    • GardnergoesYardner says:

      They could have.
      All they’d have done was spent on yet another long term deal, gone against all of their 2014 under 189 mil talk, and potentially be stuck with the next Dice K – level Japanese bust. All of this for the nice cost of 60 million, or ten times as much as Pineda will make in the next 5 years.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      You do realize that there is over $100m difference between the commitment to Kuroda and Darvish? I wanted Darvish to, but I don’t follow this comparison at all. They couldn’t be more different.

  38. ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa says:

    I’ve forgotten, however, that Kuroda is just going to be OKajima’s friend.
    Michael Kay’d

  39. Monterowasdinero says:

    Is there anything to be gained by having a guy like Freddy be slotted in between CC and Pineda to throw off hitters’ timing as much as theoretically possible in a 3 game series?


    heat/junk/heat/junk/heat and junk

    • ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa says:

      I like it but I bet in that situation Joe decides (but he won’t tell you) that Kuroda is two and Garcia is four. On the topic of Joe being mysterious about pitching. I believe he really never decides until the day of and consults Ken Singleton before every game about who should pitch. Ken’s answer is always start someone who reminds me of Jim Palmer so I can say it on the air. Joe always does this because EVERYONE REMINDS KEN SINGLETON OF JIM PALMER!! Major tangent there.

  40. OldYanksFan says:

    I hate to ‘waste’ Phil in the BP if… IF he is a legit SP. However, with Mo (probably) retiring after this year, having a hi-end guy in the BP can’t hurt. Frankly, with hi heat from our #1/#2, Freddiue might make a good #5.

    It ‘Looks’ like we might have a solid #1/#2/#3 SPs for quite a while… not to mention our Farm ans some real talent available in next year’s FA market. While a SP is always more valuable then a BP guy, Phil might have a long future with us out of the Pen. The question is, does he have a future with us as a SP.

    Frankly, I’m leaning to putting him in the pen, and letting him and D-Rob fight for next year’s Closer role.

    AJ should be traded or tried in the BP. At worst, he can be long/mop up man. Since he is usually good until he melts down with a 4 run 5th, he might be able to be a decent/good 6th/7th inning guy… as long as he starts the inning (meaning no one on base when he comes in.

    So… I say Freddie as our #5, make Phil into a stud BP guy, and put AJ anywhere he might help (hopefully on the Nationals).

    I know it seems a waste to put Phil into the BP, we need good people in all positions. A well above average BP guy might be more valueable then a league average #5 SP.

    If you guys don’t think the BP is that important, talk to me next year, after Mo retires.

  41. SevenAces says:

    I bet somewhere out there is a Cash$ hater saying how he screwed up the rotation by signing too many starters and now have no space for Hughes/Garcia/Burnett.

  42. dlcb says:

    Does anyone know how long Hughes would have to be in the minors for the Yankees to get another year of arbitration from him? Cots says he has just over 4 years of service time, so if only a month or two in the minors gave them an extra year of Hughes, I think that would be the way to begin the season.

    • Rookie says:

      I don’t know the answer, dicb. But I think that ship has sailed.

      At this point, I just think he’s got an option year left when he can be sent down and brought up as often as the team likes (or for as long as they like). As I understand it, the extra year of control I think could have been had based on his first year up — based on when he came up — not in a later option year.

      But somebody else here can tell you how it works better than I can or give you a link to it.

  43. DZ says:

    Bold prediction, hughes will be the second best starter on the 2012 yankees.

  44. Tim says:

    AJ won’t be traded. If you were a GM would you want him? No. other GM’s jobs aren’t to take the Yankees crappy contracts. We are stuck with him. It sucks, but it’s the truth.

  45. Randy Watson says:

    Hughes should be given every opportunity to win the 5th spot or will be traded. Putting him in the pen to start the season would kill his chances as a starter for the Yankees and would greatly reduce his trade value. No one knows what the Yankees have in ‘Hughes the Starter’. Is he the 1st half 2010 Hughes who was showing his billed potential, or is he the 2011 Hughes who was so out of shape was throwing Jamie Moyer fastballs and had to be sent to fat camp? The only way they’re going to find out what Hughes has to offer is to let him roll in the rotation. As noted by several outlets, Hughes is working his butt off and will be coming into camp in ‘the best shape of his life’. If it works out, the Yankees have a young #2-3 starter lined up in the #5 spot. If he falls on his face in the rotation the Yankees could move him for 60 cents on the dollar, or put him in the pen.

    AJ is what he is, no projection here. He doesn’t seemingly fit the ‘swingman’ profile, but could potentially replicate what Hughes did in 2009, or he could become…. Well, AJ out of the pen….. My guess is that Cashman moves AJ+ $20-$25 mill to the Padres or someone else (Dodgers?) who could use a starter on the cheap. Never doubt Cash-Money.

    That would leave Garcia as the swingman waiting on catapult 2 for an injury/spot start.

  46. Normally I don’t learn article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice article.

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