Mar
20

Dream of a young, power rotation is becoming a reality for 2014 and beyond

By
(Presswire)

(Presswire)

I know it’s only Spring Training, but man oh man has Michael Pineda looked good. He looks healthy, his delivery is free and easy, his slider is still vicious, and his fastball gone from topping out at 92 mph in his first outing to topping out at 94 mph in his third. It has only been three games and a total of nine innings, but it’s hard not to be encouraged and excited by what Pineda’s done these last few weeks. He looks as good as we could have possibly hoped.

And yet, despite Pineda’s strong showing, he isn’t the big pitching story of the spring. Masahiro Tanaka has come over from the Rakuten Golden Eagles and after only a few weeks of camp, it feels like he’s been here for years. The transition has appeared to be seamless — I’m sure it’s been difficult for him, how could it not? — and his outings have matched the scouting reports. He throws strikes, has a wipeout splitter, and an underrated slider. When he’s gotten in jams, he’s cranked it up a notch, something we heard he’ll do long before he signed on the dotted line. As with Pineda, Tanaka has looked as good as we could have possibly hoped.

Flying under the radar this spring has been Ivan Nova, at least to some extent. Following yesterday’s outing he now has 21 strikeouts and two walks in 19.2 Grapefruit League innings, and I think the most impressive thing was the way he made adjustments mid-start and rebounded from a terrible first inning against the Astros a week or two ago. It was the kind of bad inning that used to spiral out of control, but instead Nova righted the ship and put together a good start. He’s been healthy and he’s been throwing the ball well. It’s been a strong spring for Ivan.

“I’ve seen a guy that’s come into spring training that, it seems like he realizes how good he can be,” Girardi said. “And I think that’s important. I think for all young players, there’s that doubt always a little bit, can I do this on a consistent basis? Can I do it start after start, or game after game if you’re a position player? Do I need to look over my starter? Is there someone always doubting what I can do? I think he’s realized that, you know what, I can be pretty good.”

Joe Girardi said that to Chad Jennings yesterday and was referring to Nova, but he could have easily been talking about Pineda or Tanaka. All three came to camp with something to prove and they’ve answered every question along the way. Just about everything has gone according to plan with these three and that’s pretty great. Usually when you’re talking about three pitchers — I guess this applies to any type of player, really — one will slip up somewhere along the lines. Two out of three is a pretty good success rate in baseball.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

But all three guys have done everything they’ve needed to do in Spring Training and it’s really exciting. It’s really exciting for 2014 and for the Yankees going forward, because all three of these guys are young. Nova is the oldest and he just turned 27 in January. Pineda turned 25 that same month and Tanaka turned 25 back in November. The Yankees have an older roster in general and the other two members of the rotation are up there in age — Hiroki Kuroda just turned 39 and CC Sabathia is about 75 in pitching years given all the mileage on his arm — but these three fellas are all right smack in their prime or about the enter the prime of their careers. I’m going to use the word again: exciting.

This is Spring Training and the time of the year for overwhelming and occasionally irrational optimism. I don’t know how any Yankees fan could look at Pineda, Tanaka, and Nova these last few weeks and not start dreaming about a rotation built around their young power arms for the next few years. We know there are going to be bumps in the road, they’re inevitable, but right now everything is going right and that’s something the club needed in Spring Training. The pieces of the next great Yankees rotation are in place. We’ve know that because seen ‘em with our own eyes these last few weeks.

Categories : Musings, Pitching
  • Andrew

    I know he flies under the radar even more, and he’s not a power pitcher at all, but I’d add David Phelps to this list in terms of a young arm that deserves praise for bringing it in camp so far. He obviously doesn’t have the high-end stuff of the other 3 mentioned in this post but he has a chance to progress and be extremely valuable in 2014. Considering the age/mileage on the vets at the top of the rotation and the lack of experience among his companions in the bullpen (assuming he doesn’t win the #5 spot), his flexibility is super valuable. Part of the reason why I think it’d be much tougher for them to part with him in a trade, compared to Cervelli/Romine.

    • Theonewhoknocks

      I’m a phelps fan as well, and you don’t trade him just to trade him bc pitching depth is too important but I think as an organization our long term and short term outlook would be much better if we moved phelps for a hitter. Other teams are pitching starved, and we are pitching rich and positionally starved. We also have the financial capability to add an arm at the deadline if needed, there are always back end arms available for teams that can afford them. Positional players? Not so much.

      Phelps for Nick Franklin is the dream but Id consider moving him for Gregorius also. I think with Didi’s defense and base running he can provide surplus value at the SS position and he’s shown enough flashes with the bat that I wouldn’t rule out some upside there. I know people aren’t big on Didi around here but I think people underestimate the value of having an average shortstop out there on the cheap for a few years.

      • Andrew

        It’s a cliche concept (the whole you can never have enough pitching thing is beaten to death), but I don’t know if I’d call them ‘pitching rich’ just yet. It’s such a fragile thing, because injuries are inevitable. I think the issue of moving even a lower-ceiling arm, like Phelps, would be that it’d be a ton of pressure on another potentially not-ready-for-primetime arm should an injury or major regression crop up.

        Yes NYY needs young position players, specifically infielders, but it’s got to be tough to give up a starter like Phelps when it means increasing your reliance on someone like Vidal Nuno or Adam Warren, who have much smaller track records of success in the majors.

        • jjyank

          “t’s a cliche concept (the whole you can never have enough pitching thing is beaten to death), but I don’t know if I’d call them ‘pitching rich’ just yet.”

          Agreed. If Phelps and Warren end up in the bullpen, that drives your point home even more. Sure, they can move back into the rotation, but then you have to come up with more bullpen arms at the same time. It’s not as seamless of a transition as calling one of them up from Scranton.

          That said, I’d absolutely trade one of them for a legit 2B/3B/SS. I’d just be cautious in doing so.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            I don’t think Phelps nets you anything more than Didi at best. But a Phelps/Murphy package might be pretty attractive to the right team.

            • jjyank

              I think so too. And I think I’d rather throw Murphy in and get something better than Didi.

              • Yankee$ (Formerly Pseudoyanks)

                I’d throw in Mason or Slade. Gardner’s new contract and Ells in CF will block them so makes sense to deal if you can improve big league club.

                • jjyank

                  Sure, for the right move. It doesn’t have to be Murphy.

      • jjyank

        I’m really not a Didi fan at all, but I would consider trading for him if it’s just Phelps straight up. They’d almost have to either release or trade away Ryan though, right? How many short stops can you have on one roster?

        Having Ryan on the team already is part of why I don’t like Didi. He has speed, but how much better is he really than Ryan? I’d rather trade away more/better pieces and get a more legit option.

        • LK

          I’m not a huge Gregorious fan, and in 2014 you’re probably right that he wouldn’t offer much over Ryan, but I’d be more comfortable having him out there every day in 2015 than Ryan. Of course, it all basically comes down to how much NYY’s scouts think he’ll hit.

          The other thing this highlights is that giving Ryan what amounts to a 3-year contract is a very questionable move. I know it’s not that much money, but he can’t hit *at all* and is in his 30s. Did they really need to go multi-year to get a guy like that?

          • jjyank

            I agree that multiple years for Ryan was most likely a mistake. Not a big one, but still.

            Regardless, we have him now. Is trading for Didi the best use of resources when we already have Ryan? I don’t think so, even though I also agree with you that I’d probably rather have him over Ryan if we’re talking about a starter.

            • LK

              Yeah I pretty much agree. I’d want Gregorious if he were free, but probably not at what the D’Backs would want in return.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            This is where the Ryan signing perplexes me. Believe me, having a nice caddy signed for more than a season isn’t the worst thing, but I honestly don’t think he’s even Option C behind “I don’t know” and “Insert name here” in the “Who replaces Jeter” competition.

            • LK

              In the overall picture it’s so little money that it probably won’t matter, but it really is a puzzling move. Having him this year is nice since who knows how many games they get out of Jeter at SS, but I just can’t believe they had to go multiple years to retain a player who they acquired because he had been just DFA’d. It’s not going to do much damage, but I can’t figure out any way it really makes sense.

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                I’m just going to agree with you all day here.

            • Steve (different one)

              I think Ryan was a function of the offseason timing. I would guess that he had another offer on the table and the Yankees had to commit or walk away. Since Jeter was such a question mark, I think they wanted to make sure they had at least one major league SS nailed down. Now Jeter looks healthy, the Anna opportunity came later, Nunez looks decent, Solarte looks like young ARod…suddenly things seem crowded. But after last year, who would have guessed we’d we looking at “best case” results from ST?

              • LK

                I guess I just find it hard to believe that Ryan had a better offer on the table than, say, 1/3M. If he did, then things make more sense.

        • RetroRob

          I agree with all that. I could see parting with Phelps for Didi, but the redundancy between Didi and Ryan is the question, especially after the Yankees gave Ryan a two year deal.

          Despite my questions about Gregorius’ overall bat, it is still better than Brendan Ryan’s. He’s younger and there is upside there. Yet there is still Brendan Ryan.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I’m very skeptical of Didi. I’m willing to take the chance on his youth, if the price is low, which it’s not going to be because some believe he can be an impact hitter based on a hot start. Otherwise, though, we’ve got an all-glove guy signed for the next two seasons.

        The Owings things feels like a bit of a pipe dream (he is starting, after all. Why reverse course if you’re them?) while also having a bit of “latest flavor of the week” to it. I just don’t see it happening.

        Franklin’s always made some sense. Hell, Ackley still does to me.

        I understand the “keep your depth” argument, but it’s somehow tipped the scale into being a bit overstated around here as of late, perhaps not as much so with the pitchers as it is with the catchers. Even still, though, you can deal one of the back-end depth starters without completely sacrificing depth if the return is worth more to the team every day.

        • LK

          To me, “keep the depth” is a good strategy if you have a team that’s strong top to bottom. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really characterize this Yankee team. If they can turn some combination of catching/pitching depth into an IF, they need to do that. Yes, they might end up needing the C or P they trade, but they will definitely need the IF coming back. I’m pretty sure the team understands this though, and they haven’t been offered a good enough trade.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Exactly.

          • jjyank

            Agreed.

          • TWTR

            I don’t view Murphy as depth, I view him as the current heir apparent to McCann (as well as having the ability to extend McCann’s C career), until and unless Sanchez demonstrates an ability to assume that role.

            A catcher with his potential upside is too valuable to trade given that McCann is 30, and that most catchers do not age well.

            But I am fine with trading the true catching depth, Cervelli or Romine.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Follow-up question: What is the minimum you’d consider trading Murphy for? I’m honestly curious.

              • TWTR

                You mean like an offer I can’t’ refuse?

                A package where they got back Bogaerts-like talent.

                I realize he isn’t worth that, but the Yankees have invested so much time stockpiling young catchers that given the fragility of the position (again, especially for older catchers), I would prefer that the Yankees make the best deal for Cervelli/Romine and keep Murphy for now.

                • Mr. Roth

                  I’m just going to restate this for emphasis.

                  The minimum you would be willing to get back in a trade for John Ryan Murphy would be the #1 prospect in the world.

                  • Jorge Steinbrenner

                    I’m not trying to entrap him here. If that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels.

                  • TWTR

                    I framed it as a “an offer I can’t refuse” and as a “package”, but the overall point is that I don’t want to trade, and I don’t see the need to trade Murphy now, especially when Cervelli can probably bring back an adequate infielder, again, in a package.

                    (Emphasis mine)

                    • LK

                      What if Cervelli, even in a package, can’t bring back an adequate infielder?

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  I mean more what is the least possible package you’d accept back.

                  If it’s still the same answer, that’s fine.

                • LK

                  What if the best deal for Cervelli/Romine is a shitty player? Are you saying that even if the Yankees get offered someone worth *more* than Murphy (and there are players much worse than Bogaerts who are worth more than Murphy), you’d turn it down? I just don’t see how that makes sense. They might need a C in the next few years, but they might not. They will definitely, no doubt about it, need multiple infielders.

                  • TWTR

                    Then I would stand pat. It makes sense (even if it’s only to me) because I am not just looking at 2014.

                    • LK

                      To me, looking past 2014 is the biggest reason I would trade Murphy for an infielder. At C they have McCann signed, an MLB-caliber backup in Cervelli, an MLB-ready prospect in Romine, AND a prospect in Sanchez who is closer to MLB than any legitimate middle infield prospect in the organization. The sequence of events that would be required to make Murphy a bigger need than an infielder over the next couple years seems rather unlikely.

                    • TWTR

                      I was for signing McCann, but how can we not be cognizant of the decline of his AVG in recent years (that could signal a decline in bat speed), that he likely shouldn’t catch more than 120 games even in the first year of his contract (and possibly less in subsequent seasons), that he has had significant injury issues, and that historically, most catchers don’t age well past 30.

                      That suggests that a BUC could get significant PT this season, and increasing PT in the future.

                      If you have young catcher with upside that you can develop behind McCann, it could give Girardi the confidence to play him less at C over time, thereby extending his career (both in years and quality of years) and protecting the investment.

                    • LK

                      OK sure, having a young catcher with upside is better than not having one, for all of the reasons you listed. No one is disputing that.

                      You seem to be saying that you’d rather have Murphy than an equivalent infielder, and that’s what I can’t understand. The Yankees’ catching situation is at least above average (and possibly better than that), both for this year and moving forward, even without Murphy; their infield situation is below average (and possibly worse than that), both for this year and moving forward. That doesn’t mean you give Murphy up for less than he’s worth, but you seem unwilling to give up even for *more* than he’s worth.

            • LK

              I would definitely want more back for Murphy than Romine or Cervelli, but I think if a true long term option on the infield becomes available you have to be willing to move him. Right now the Yankees need 3 new infielders for 2015 (unless you’re willing to start Brendan Ryan) and will likely not have a single prospect ready to step in, and in case you haven’t noticed, it’s not like they couldn’t use an infielder this season also. We can’t worry about letting our 2nd flood insurance policy lapse while the house is on fire.

              • TWTR

                You think the house is on fire?

                • LK

                  The infield house? Yes, it’s ablaze.

                  2B – Roberts, who has been neither healthy or good in some time; no one for 2015; no significant prospects close to MLB.

                  SS – Jeter, who will hopefully rebound from injury and may or not be able to play the field full-time; Ryan signed for 2015, who cannot hit, like, at all; no significant prospects close to MLB.

                  3B – Johnson, who’s never played the position full-time; no one signed for 2015; first round pick last year who in the best possible case scenario might be ready to take over for the 2016 season.

                  All 3 of these positions are bigger needs than C both in 2014 and going forward.

                  • TWTR

                    I will reply to your two posts here:

                    I do prefer to keep Murphy instead of an equivalent infielder, in large part because I think Murphy is just coming into his own right now, and as a result, trading him now would likely be selling low.

                    If in fact the house is on fire, then doesn’t it follow that even a marginal upgrade that could be obtained by trading Cervelli would be a significant upgrade?

                    Of course, one would think if the Yankees believed that the house was on fire, they would have signed Diaz, right?

                    They have also passed on Drew to date.

                    I think it’s likely that the Yankees are strong enough at other positions to compensate for the weak infield this season, unless Jeter and Tex breakdown or suck, but if that happens, is there any one move that could compensate for that? I don’t think so.

                    Beyond this season, at least as of today, there are infielders currently slated to become FA after the season that would help a lot.

                    Maybe by season’s end, both Murphy and Sanchez will have better defined their career paths, while simultaneously increasing their value, and the Yankees can make a better informed choice about who should augment/succeed McCann.

                    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                      “Of course, one would think if the Yankees believed that the house was on fire, they would have signed Diaz, right?”

                      Not if they believed he was more kindling.

                    • TWTR

                      “Not if they believed he was more kindling.”

                      Maybe he is, but if the situation is as dire as LK thinks, then it might be worth finding out if he is combustible, right?

                    • LK

                      “I do prefer to keep Murphy instead of an equivalent infielder, in large part because I think Murphy is just coming into his own right now, and as a result, trading him now would likely be selling low.”

                      This doesn’t seem to me like you’re unwilling to give him up for an equivalent IF, just that you’re really high on Murphy and don’t think they’d be able to get an equivalent IF back. That position seems more reasonable to me even if I don’t share it.

                      “If in fact the house is on fire, then doesn’t it follow that even a marginal upgrade that could be obtained by trading Cervelli would be a significant upgrade?”

                      Maybe, and I’d certainly rather give up Cervelli than Murphy, but between the uneven performance, injuries, and PED suspension, I doubt teams are offering up very much for Frankie.

                      “Of course, one would think if the Yankees believed that the house was on fire, they would have signed Diaz, right?”

                      Or they think Diaz sucks. And since he signed for 2M/year, it appears they wouldn’t be alone.

                      “They have also passed on Drew to date.”

                      I’d love for them to sign Drew, but it seems clear that Boras is asking for way too much since no one has signed him. Also, remember that they had a fairly large offer out to him earlier in the offseason. They realize that he would upgrade the team significantly.

                      Look, I’m fine with keeping Murphy and letting things play out with the FA infielders next year and seeing what happens if that’s the best move. I don’t think they should trade him for some fringe 2B because they need one more than they need a C. But if a good IF is available, shifting some resources to the IF from C and P makes too much sense to pass up in my opinion.

                    • TWTR

                      “This doesn’t seem to me like you’re unwilling to give him up for an equivalent IF, just that you’re really high on Murphy and don’t think they’d be able to get an equivalent IF back. That position seems more reasonable to me even if I don’t share it.”

                      I think it’s tough to quantify what equivalent is at this stage of his development, and also, because they have been “in search of” this elusive young catcher for sooo long, I don’t want to see the process short-circuited perhaps a year before it may finally bear fruit.

                      “Maybe, and I’d certainly rather give up Cervelli than Murphy, but between the uneven performance, injuries, and PED suspension, I doubt teams are offering up very much for Frankie.”

                      If he has so little value to other teams, why does he have so much value to the Yankees that they should risk sacrificing what could be the best option to backup or replace McCann, who despite his contract, carries significant risk of injury and/or decline?

                      “Or they think Diaz sucks. And since he signed for 2M/year, it appears they wouldn’t be alone”

                      Maybe, but the Cardinals are pretty good at talent evaluation. My guess is that Hal, understandably, believes that he has spent enough, and that’s also why Drew isn’t here.

                    • LK

                      “If [Cervelli] has so little value to other teams, why does he have so much value to the Yankees that they should risk sacrificing what could be the best option to backup or replace McCann, who despite his contract, carries significant risk of injury and/or decline?”

                      What is this even talking about? My opinion that the Yankees should be willing to trade Murphy for an IF has nothing to do with thinking Cervelli is all that valuable. It has to do with the weak state of the IF, the fact that they signed an elite FA C who is about start his first year with the team, the fact that their top prospect is also a C who’s already reached the high minors, the fact that they have another MLB-ready C prospect in Romine, *and* the fact that they have a competent backup in Cervelli. If you think that my thinking Murphy should be traded for an IF is primarly because I think Cervelli is awesome you haven’t been paying attention to anything I’ve said.

                      “Maybe, but the Cardinals are pretty good at talent evaluation.”

                      Yeah, but the Cardinals decided he was worth 2M/year. That doesn’t suggest to me that they evaluated him particularly well.

                    • TWTR

                      “What is this even talking about? My opinion that the Yankees should be willing to trade Murphy for an IF has nothing to do with thinking Cervelli is all that valuable. It has to do with the weak state of the IF, the fact that they signed an elite FA C who is about start his first year with the team, the fact that their top prospect is also a C who’s already reached the high minors, the fact that they have another MLB-ready C prospect in Romine, *and* the fact that they have a competent backup in Cervelli. If you think that my thinking Murphy should be traded for an IF is primarly because I think Cervelli is awesome you haven’t been paying attention to anything I’ve said.”

                      It is simply about prioritizing the need to be covered with a quality option if McCann declines too quickly (which is possible with catchers 30 and over), and providing a potentially high quality option that might help ensure that McCann isn’t overused, if not this season, then in subsequent seasons.

                      I think keeping Murphy, at least until we have a better read on Sanchez, helps to hedge the investment in McCann.

                      I guess we both agree that Cervelli can’t do that, and I’m not high on Romine.

                      So, no, it’s an observation that if the infield situation is so dire, than even the marginal upgrade that Cervelli could likely bring back is important.

                      “Yeah, but the Cardinals decided he was worth 2M/year. That doesn’t suggest to me that they evaluated him particularly well.”

                      That’s the money that a high 1st round pick gets.

                    • LK

                      “That’s the money that a high 1st round pick gets.”

                      Yeah, and Aroldis Chapman signed for way more than Stephen Strasburg. Jorge Soler signed for way more than Bryce Harper. Comparing first round picks, who can only negotiate with one team and whose alternative option is to play for free in college, with international FAs, who can bargain with all 30 MLB teams, is laughable.

                  • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                    I think you’re severely underestimating the likelihood that Kelly Johnson is a passable 3B for the next 2-3 years.

                    As for 2B and SS, no argument here.

                    • LK

                      That’s entirely possible, but my point was just that Johnson’s not under contract past this year. They’re going to need to get a replacement 3B for 2015, even if that replacement ends up being re-signing Johnson.

  • Baked McBride

    We will have four 20-game winners this year, book it

    You can’t stop the 2014 Yankees – you can only hope to contain them.

    BOO-Yah, Staurt Scott!

    • TWTR

      I hope not, because three of the five starters should have their innings monitored, but it really doesn’t matter.

      • The Great Gonzo

        Those 3 pitchers are going 20-0. In EXACTLY 175 IP

        BOOM

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          Combined? :(

          • The Great Gonzo

            Literally impossible. MATH FAAAAAAAAIILLL!!!!

            /eMac2′d

            • jjyank

              Disgraceful. You’re not even trying to win.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Not if CC starts on Opening Day.

          Figured I’d squeeze the last drop out of that lemon.

  • Theonewhoknocks

    Tanaka, Pineda, Nova are looking like they can be a nasty 1-3 punch for the next 3-4 seasons right now.
    If Banuelos can live up to his promise of a couple years ago as well? This is the kind of pitching depth that can start dynasty runs. (It’s March let me dream)

    • I’m One

      This is the kind of pitching depth that can start dynasty runs. (It’s March let me dream)

      That’s a very realistic sounding dream, looking more and more feasible.

      A dream goes on forever.

      • Jimmy

        And then Luis Gonzalez pops a blooper over Derek Jeter and its all over.

  • MisterDraper

    This all makes me happy and nervous. No jinx! I want them all to remain serious-injury-free. But yes, all 3 are still young and they’re all playing exceptionally well this Spring. And how else could the baseball gods have it so Jeter leaves the game on top as World Series Champion for the 6th time! Yes, it IS March, let me dream too! ;-)

  • Baked McBride

    Cashman would look like a Hawking-genius…no doubt he’d use that to mack HARD on chicks all over Fairfield, Yale U, UConn, even Sacred Heart.

    You can’t stop the Cash flow, you can only hope to contain him!

  • pinch hitter

    Wait, Cashman didn’t fail?

    • Mr. Roth

      Cashman even fails at failing.

      • lightSABR

        Except when he fails at failing to fail. But sometimes he fails to fail to fail to fail. But sometimes…

        • Mr. Roth

          Wait, are you saying that there’s a chance that Cashman succeeds?!

          BLASPHEMY!

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew) RIP Egon

    Also if Banuelos takes a big step forward this year then going into 2015 4/5 of the Yankees rotation would be under the age of 29 and 3/5 would be under the age of 27, like Mike said that is very very exciting.

    • jjyank

      Indeed. It’s nice to know that Banuelos is not, in fact, dead.

      • lightSABR

        Right. A dead man would have a lower spring ERA. ;)

        Sorry. Had to. But I’m excited to have him back, too.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          …and should start on Opening Day over C…

          Is the horse dead yet?

          • lightSABR

            I’m still laughing.

        • Cheval Anonyme

          Actually, not really. 0/0 is not zero. It’s undefined. You cannot apply the mathematical concept “lower” to it.

          • lightSABR

            Yeah, I thought about that. I ignored it and went with the joke because the limit of x/x as x approaches 0 is 1, which is lower than ManBan’s spring ERA. Well, and because I thought it was funny.

            Of course, it’s not logically necessary that a dead man’s ERA would be 0/0. Distracted by the rotting corpse on the mound, the batters might bat out of order and get called out without a pitch thrown, giving the dead guy an ERA of 0.00. Or a sudden gust of wind might blow the ball to the plate, where a batter golfs it into shallow left for a single, then comes around and scores with a new pitcher in the game. Then ManBan beats the dead guy.

            • Cool Lester Smooth

              Thank God for L’Hopital!

  • Phil

    Critical that they limit/monitor Pineda’s innings and to a lesser extent Kuroda and Tanaka’s inning as well. That is wear Phelps and waarren come in to play …do not trade either one of them!

  • Baked McBride

    Brian Roberts – .290, 22, 85 this year!

    You can’t stop ex-Orioles once they join the Yankees, you can only hope to contain them!

  • Tim

    Is this the same Mike Axisa that has been moaning and denigrating the trade for Pineda for the last 2 years, that has said that Nova would never be a good pitcher in the majors? I have read negative thread after negative thread by Mike over the last 24 months about how the Yankees could never count on Pineda or Nova, etc. WOW! I’m speechless now, and I hope it continues, I’ve never seen Mike so giddy in my experience reading and following this blog. Am I dreaming?

    • Bryan

      Things change. Nova was thought to not have any plus pitches outside of his fastball. People were saying his fastball played up and would work from the pen. But without a good second pitch, he would not succeed. Well his curve is now better than his fastball. He now has two plus pitches and has show me 3rd and 4th offerings. I don’t think anyone could have expected this to happen.

      • emac2

        When did people think he only had one pitch?

        • lightSABR

          Looking at PITCHf/x, it looks like he’s usually had one above-average pitch every year, but oddly, it’s been different pitches.

          2010: curveball
          2011: four-seam
          2012: curveball again

          In 2013, both his two-seam and his curve were above-average.

    • The Great Gonzo

      NO one is immune from overwhelming and occasionally irrational optimism. Not even Axisa.

      Coming tomorrow, ‘Hard not to be optimistic about Ichiro’s role in the org…’

      • jjyank

        I’ll believe that last part when me shit turns purple and smells like rainbow sherbet.

        • Bubba

          Dude, what are you eating?

          • jjyank

            I immediately judge people that don’t get Super Troopers references.

            • Jarrod

              Shenanigans?

    • Goboh

      He fell in love. (Or, more likely, got laid.)

  • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    I feel like any time I get excited about a group of young Yankee starters we wind up with relievers, guys that flame out, and Phil Hughes (who may have been the biggest disappointment of them all.

    Now, obviously these three are (mostly) closer than the Hughes and Chamberlains and Brackmans and Betances, but part of me just can’t get into the “Yankees have a trio of great young starters!” hype any more.

    • The Great Gonzo

      I think its fair to say that the red flags were there with Joba/Hughes/IPK from the beginning, although we might not have seen it.

      Hughes lacked an out pitch, Joba was a gamble based on health, and IPK was a good not great starter that could not hold it together when he gets in trouble.

      I mean, we may say in 10 years that the writing was on the wall for Pineda/Tanaka/Nova, and maybe I’m being a polyanna (as I have been accused), but these three guys already have a better shot than those 3 did. And they’re not exactly ‘prospects’…

      • I’m One

        #teampolyanna

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      There’s an in-between there, though. You can be excited, but also realize what happens to best laid plans most of the time.

      This is all great and something to hope for, and I’ll still be pleasantly surprised if it actually plays out that way.

  • fan-san

    Three power arms with two wily veterans. Just get us to the playoffs.

    • RetroRob

      Strange how CC has gone from a power pitcher who could hit 97 mph 18 months back to a wily veteran.

      It happens.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        He’s one year and/or a beard away from being “gritty.”

        Can non-white people be gritty?

        • I’m One

          No. And you have to be under 6′ tall. (maybe under 5’9″)

  • Baked McBride

    Win or Lose, Jeter will be WS MVP with .460, 2 HRs, 8 RBI, 6 RS

  • jjyank

    Here here. It would be beyond amazing to have 3 out of 5 members of the rotation be young power arms locked up for the foreseeable future.

    Speaking of which. Nova will be the first one to hit free agency, but he’s still what, 2 years away? If he has a solid 2014, I’d love to see the Yankees attempt to extend him. The Yankees have more time with Pineda, but if he pitches well, they should try to lock him up as well.

    I think it’s pretty clear that the Yanks no longer abide by the “no extensions” mantra. They haven’t done it often, but that’s probably a product of just not having anyone worth extending. They already extended Gardner, and really the only other guy I can think of who’d be worth it is Robertson. And that’s kind of a different case. If I were Robertson, I’d certainly roll the dice as a closer in 2014 before I sign anything.

    At any rate, 2014 will be a huge year for Nova and Pineda. If Nova shows some consistency and Pineda shows his health, the Yankee rotation will be in great shape going forward.

  • Eddardo Nuney

    And this is why you don’t dump $20+ million/yr down the drain on an overworked, overweight pitcher over 30 years old. And they’re stuck with him for 5 more seasons. You develop young pitchers in your farm, make smart trades for Pineda. If you’re going to sign a pitcher to that big a contract do it when he’s young, like Tanaka. Tanaka will be going into their peak years, CC’s are behind him.

    • jjyank

      I really hate responding to you, but I can’t help myself right now. You do realize how insanely rare it is for a pitcher, especially a talented one, to become a free agent at 25, right? “Only sign the young guys!” is hardly a legitimate roster building strategy.

    • bpdelia

      Wait.

      First off Sabathia basically got a one year extension. They didn’t “sign” him. He never opted out. They extended him one year.

      Second he helped them win a title and had four fantastic years.

      Who cares. If he pitches poorly he’ll stop starting.

      Do you think if banuelos was ready and able to pitch better the Yankees would just say “damn. Sucks that we have to release him because we are now contractually obligated to start Sabathia 33 times a year.”

      Get over it. He’s been one of the five best free agent signings in the teams history. Probably the second best pitcher signing behind mussina and while he is important luckily the Yankees don’t play in Kansas city so they won’t be crippled by his contract.

      The Yankees were a competitive team. A playoff team with legitimate title aspirations.

      Sabathia was coming off yet another fantastic year. Pitchers like him generally don’t fall off cliffs into uselessness.

      So your plan was to let your best pitcher and and perennial cy Young candidate with perhaps the best record of health and durability of any great starter in the game just walk. And replace him with……

      That’s beyond absurd and you would rightly be fired.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Responding to eddard with logic is like teaching calculus to a toilet.

        • jjyank

          Hah, nice.

        • I’m One

          IETC

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Responding to eddard at all is like cleaning the toilet when you know the Pepto hasn’t kicked in yet.

      • Chris W.

        I wanted to bring C.C. back and had a long debate with someone here that it made more sense to do that than sign Darvish. At this point I was wrong, but based on what we knew then, it’s at least debatable.

      • LK

        Not that I disagree with the overall nature of your post, but they basically extended Sabathia for 2 years. The vesting option only voids if he goes on the DL with a shoulder issue, so he’s getting that year even if he has back-to-back Tommy John surgeries or gets bumped from the rotation with a 6.5 ERA. It’s probably best just to think of it as a sunk cost.

    • Bats

      And you are just going to let him go and have the Yankees go into 2012 with Nova, Hughes, and AJ Burnett?

      Are you nuts? The Yankees had to re-sign CC Sabathia because there was no one else. Eventually Andy and Kuroda came later.

      Lastly, the hope for CC Sabathia is that with his success and “veteranship” he could provide the value that Mike Mussina gave to them in his years with the Yankees. A contract for a pitcher that ends when he is 35-36 years old, isn’t a bad deal.

      • jjyank

        “Are you nuts? The Yankees had to re-sign CC Sabathia because there was no one else. ”

        Bingo. I don’t have the motivation to go through other available pitchers right now (mostly because it’s fucking Eddard that we’re attempting to argue with), but I don’t feel like there’s a realistic scenario where the 2012 Yankees let CC walk away and still try to win a title.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        The Yankees re-signed CC Sabathia because they believed in his ability to have him be CC Sabathia moving forward, not because they “had to.”

        The wear on his arm is affecting him about two years before I figured it would, and I’m sure the team feels the same way. Now it’s about whether he can remain effective with what he’s got. Whether that’s possible remains to be seen. I’ll be rooting for that to happen.

        PollyannapollyannapollyannaDeananna.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    well, let’s see Tanaka and Pineda in real games first before we start dreaming. Nova also has to show he can do it for a full season first.

  • Folley of the pre-determined outcome

    Don’t sleep on Bryan Mitchell with his plus fastball & plus curve and his brand new cutter.

  • emac2

    Not only a young core but a deep supply of young starters to work into the rotation that should free up future free agent money for position players.

    It really feels like the pitching staff, catcher and outfield are solid for the next decade leaving future efforts to focus on improving just a few positions.

    Very exciting time.

  • BigLoving

    Really excited about watching this pitching staff even though there will be some speed bumps along the way with Nova, Tanaka and Pineda. I think Betances will excel in relief for a full season and could even be setting up Robertson by the end of the year. For all the crap the Yankees catch for signing free agents they could have a starting staff and bullpen stocked with homegrown players (kinda considering Pineda a Yankee product since we gave up Montero for him).

    Now here is to hoping Nunez, Austin and the other young position players take some big strides this year. Really hoping they try Austin at the hot corner this year since the OF is now crowded and he is the closest one (barring another injury) of making a MLB impact.

    • jjyank

      Not sure if it’s worth gambling with Austin there. There’s still a roster spot that will be available to him. Beltran will likely be getting increased games at DH as his contract goes on, and Soriano probably won’t be on the 2015 Yankees. A RF/DH rotation with Beltran will be open for him. After a disappointing 2013 campaign, I’d like Austin to focus on his hitting.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      If Tyler Austin winds up playing third for the Yankees this year, either a metric fuckton went right with Tyler Austin, or it equally went wrong with the Yankees.

      • BigLoving

        I was thinking more in terms of 2015 or realistically 2016….I know there was talk of giving him reps there before he got hurt this spring but I agree, if it takes away from his offense its not worth it.

  • fred robbins

    I don’t get the love affair with Phelps. He does not miss bats and the Yankees need power arms. I would rather see Fred Lewis on the team if I had to choose. Girardi always scares me, because he plays heavy favorites and would stick with a Phelps over taking a chance on someone with better stuff. Phelps will get wacked around like soccer ball. He has really no upside. you can not bring him as a reliever with men on because he has no out pitch, and he does not have the skills of CC to get by without power.

    • jjyank

      I’m not a big Phelps fan, but I am more so than you are, apparently. I have no problems with Phelps as an eventual #5 starter or a guy in the bullpen. He did quite well out of the bullpen in 2012.

    • Frank

      CC has the skills to get by without power?

      When did that happen? Certainly not last season.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I don’t really see where there’s a love affair with Phelps. He’s a swingman. On a season with some actual depth, he slides into your bullpen just fine.

      I’d say there’s about three four guys who aren’t making this team ahead of the depth chart over Fred Lewis. At least he’s put himself on the map.

    • Steve (different one)

      While it is true that Phelps does not have top of the rotation upside, it’s just plain false to say he doesn’t “miss bats”.

      Phelps has pitched 186 innings in the majors and he had struck out 175 batters.

      Trust me, I was a little surprised by that too, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

      • jjyank

        Yup. He has a career (MiLB and MLB) 8.45 K/9.

      • lightSABR

        I’d have to check, but I suspect that a lot of those are called third strikes instead of actually “missing bats.” Phelps’ career swinging strike percentage is a 6.8%. League-average is 9.3%.

        Whoa – and the Yankees’ top three swinging strike generators last year were Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren, and Preston Claiborne. Kelley I could have predicted, but the last two were a surprise. I guess there’s more to life than missing bats.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      I think your last name is a cover.

  • Bats

    If this dream rotation pans out, then the KEY to all this would be the decision to not re-SIGN Mike Axisa’s boy Russell Martin. Had the Yankees re-signed Axisa’s favorite catcher, then there would be no Brian McCann directing the Yankee pitching staff. Instead, there will be a decent backstop, but horrifically terrible hitter (situational).

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      That’s overthinking it quite a bit.

    • jjyank

      How do those have to do with each other? It was reported that Martin was willing to take a one year deal from the Yankees. So had that re-signed him, they could have still signed McCann this offseason, and at the same time, it would have spared us the memories of the Chris Stewart: Starting Catcher era.

    • Steve (different one)

      This is off topic, but since I am replying to another off topic, it cancels out, right?

      I was surprised that Martin’s comments from earlier in the week were not discussed here. Basically he said he thinks McCann will be great, but the Yankees could have saved money by just keeping him. The more interesting part of his comments was that he said he really believed that Cashman and Eppler wanted him back, but the money was locked up from above at that point.

      I found it interesting because it sheds a little light on last winter’s clusterF. Seems Hal was hellbent on $189M and had the purse strings locked up at the wrong part of the winter, keeping Cash from signing certain guys he wanted.

      • The Big City of Dreams

        Seems Hal was hellbent on $189M and had the purse strings locked up at the wrong part of the winter, keeping Cash from signing certain guys he wanted.

        ————-

        Then he turned around and had Cash spend like a drunk sailor because he realized 189 was not going to work.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Something to be excited about for sure. Best laid plans.

    • I’m One

      Hey, F. you and your “Best Laid Plans”, you Negative Nancy! It’s Spring Training. The 3 pitchers we’re speaking about hav been great! Get on board! :-)

      #teampollyanna

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Isn’t it funny that, for all the shit I get, that actually truly reflects how I feel?

  • Bats

    ONE MORE THING,….

    What power rotation is Axisa talking about?

    Nova really isn’t a power pitcher. Neither is Tanaka who I see striking hitter out with pitches below 90mph. Kuroda isn’t a power pitcher and CC is learning to not depend on his fastball alot. The only power pitcher in the rotation seems to be only Pineda.

    All in all, the Yankees need to move away from acquiring POWER PITCHERS. Rather, they need to focus on pitchers who simply know how to pitch and make location and control their primary focus when they take the mound.

    • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

      Funny, I seem to recall Nova hitting 95/96 at times last year, with consistent 93/94. Pineda’s “only” been up to 94 in ST. Guess Nova’s not a power pitcher…

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      There is no question that Nova and Tanaka are power pitchers. Each sits in the mid-90s.

  • Rainy

    Positive enough of a blog post for you Pollyanna Bozos…

    • jjyank

      Why yes it is, thank you.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      Yup!

    • I’m One

      Works for me!

  • DM

    Young, power rotation? LOL. Be sure to follow up this article at the All Star break…I’m willing to bet that you’ll be singing a different tune.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Only fools have hope.
      Only realists immediately shit on something.

      Anything even left of the latter automatically makes you a fool.

      This is how Pollyanna Spectrum Disorder (PSD) works. You’re either off the spectrum or on it. Anything that’s not an immediate announcement of doom puts you on the PSD spectrum.

      I’ve basically thrown the trolls a new meme there. Make me proud, but you’re going to have live with the fact that, every time you use it, I actually came up with it.

      #imafuckinggenius

  • RetroRob

    A rotation that included a young and cheap Pineda and Banuelos was supposed to come about in 2013. Looks like 2015 is the earliest for both to be in the rotation together, but it is still a possibility.

  • LK

    Question for anyone who’s actually had a chance to watch Pineda this ST – how does the changeup look? I worry that he’ll struggle against lefties without the high-90s heat if the slider is his only real weapon other than the FB. (I’m hopeful that as he gets further from the surgery maybe the FB makes it all the way back, but it seems hard to count on that.)

    • Chip

      The change actually looked pretty decent. I saw a few guys way way out in front of it

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      Eh, Anibal, Clemens and Valverde got it all the way back, and they’re the best comps for Pineda’s injury.

  • Farewell Mo

    Love the young power rotation.

    Now if only they’d play to win and push CC to long relief or better yet, hot dog vendor, we’ll really be in business.

    • LK

      Just curious about this “playing to win” strategy…does it include batting Jeter at the bottom of the order, replacing him with Ryan late in every game for defense, and benching him if he looks done?

    • jjyank

      I laughed. emac2 is the gift that keeps on giving.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      If CC is selling hot dogs on Opening Day, you’re just not prioritizing your concessions. You best be glad the other team doesn’t get to bring their concessioners with them.

      • Farewell Mo

        LOL.

        If he can’t do that right, maybe he can be used in the parking garage.

  • Ro

    This is a farce. ESPN says the Yankees aren’t very good. Some report that they expect to finish dead last in the AL East. Others say that there might be 28 other teams ahead of them in terms of overall talent. It’s been, by far, the most comical offseason that I can remember and we’re talking going back to the early 90′s when I really started following things. The profound love for a Red Sox team, whose current on field product is suspect and the Yanks who I rate as the clear cut better team in the AL East at the moment, has no talent, a bunch of scrubs and no trade pieces. I love it. The sad thing? Not a single freaking sports writer has challenged this (well, maybe Olney – only one that actually knows what he is talking about). That’s some scary shit when all sports writers have no idea what they are writing about..

    Oh had to love Carfardo’s Sunday column saying Drew is a perfect match for the Yankee’s. Sure he is, let’s push aside the face of baseball in his last season and more so, so Carfardo can then write a subsequent article saying, what a bad move by the Yanks, but “hey, the Sox got a draft pick.”

    • RetroRob

      ESPN still thinks the 2011 Red Sox still have a chance to win the division.