Yankees’ current 2015 rotation options full of uncertainty

One way or another, Yanks will learn something about Tanaka's elbow on Sunday
Game 151: Retaliation?
(Presswire)
(Presswire)

On Sunday, Masahiro Tanaka will get back on the mound and pitch in the big league game for the first time since the week before the All-Star break. It will be the biggest step in his rehab from a partially torn elbow ligament, and, really, the best case scenario is seeing that the ligament won’t blow out the instant is it subjected to a game action stress level. It’s either going to blow out or not blow out, but even if it doesn’t, there is no guarantee it will stay intact going forward.

No matter what, Tanaka will head into next season as a big health question mark. The Yankees have to go into the offseason assuming the worst — that the elbow will give out at some point relatively soon — and act accordingly, meaning bringing in plenty of pitching depth. In fact, just about every big league caliber starter in the organization will carry uncertain health into next season if Hiroki Kuroda does not return. To wit:

  • CC Sabathia is coming off knee surgery after there were concerns he may need a career-threatening microfracture procedure.
  • Ivan Nova had Tommy John surgery on April 29th and the best case rehab scenario has him back on a big league mound in late-April 2015.
  • Michael Pineda is healthy right now but missed more than three months this year with a muscle problem in his back/shoulder. That’s on top of the shoulder surgery that cost him 2011-12.
  • David Phelps just missed a month with elbow inflammation after missing more than two months with a pair of forearm strains in the second half last year. He’s yet to show he can handle a full season’s workload.

And then there’s Tanaka’s elbow on top of all of that. We already know Nova will not be ready come Opening Day and the recent rash of pitchers who have had complications coming back from Tommy John surgery — with the last 14 months Daniel Hudson, Cory Luebke, and Jonny Venters all needed a second Tommy John procedure before completing the rehab from their first surgery — is a reminder that Tommy John is not fullproof. Several doctors, most notably Dr. James Andrews, have said the 12-month rehab may be too aggressive, so the Yankees might take is slow with Nova.

No one really knows what to expect out of Sabathia going forward, so at this point the safest bets to be healthy at the start of next season are Pineda and Phelps, and that is kinda scary because neither of them is all that durable. As I’ve said before, I think the Yankees need to focus on adding depth and multiple pieces to strengthen the roster for top to bottom this offseason. Adding one star caliber pitcher like Max Scherzer or Jon Lester will certainly help, but in the end those guys only fill one of five rotation spots while the other four remain questionable.

Priority number one this winter will clearly be improving the offense. It has to be. The patchwork rotation has done a fine job filling in this year but many of the rotation injuries are going to carry over to next year. In a perfect world I’d like to see Pineda and Phelps penciled in as the fifth and sixth starter again, respectively, but at the moment they are the team’s two healthiest starters under contract (or team control, really) for next year. Bringing in a starter to replace Kuroda this winter is the bare minimum. The Yankees have a lot of injury risks in the rotation and the offseason is the time to add some protection.

One way or another, Yanks will learn something about Tanaka's elbow on Sunday
Game 151: Retaliation?
  • Drew

    What about Shane Greene?

    • howie_n

      Pretty big omission there. Granted there’s not much track record behind him, but he’s healthy.

    • Basil

      Good point, but don’t you have to say that there’s still a question mark there? I would say the same for Capuano (assuming he were to return).

      • Drew

        I think I have a better chance of cracking the Yankees rotation in 2015 than Capuano.

    • Mayan Brickann

      He’s part of the uncertainty.

      • Drew

        How so? He is healthy and pitching effectively, and no real injury concerns.

        • Preston

          His MLB performance is outpacing his minor league performance, which is going to make people wait for the rug to be pulled out from under him until he has substantially more innings under his belt.

          • Drew

            As Mike as pointed out previously, it wasn’t his stuff that was the problem it was his command. He has shown that he can be a good back end of the rotation starter. The #5 spot should be his to lose going into Spring Training.

  • Eric

    Greene?

  • Basil

    Fortunately, there’s less “uncertainty” about the offense: it needs massive improvement.

  • TB

    Like I have said before signing Lester so we know we have a frontline starter next year would be the big move for this off-season and no loss of a draft pick either.
    Lester-Tanaka(If healthy) – CC – Pineda – Greene would be a quality top 5

  • Bret The Hitman

    If CC has to medically retire we can put Lester in there for more certainty.

    • TB

      CC is going to pitch next year – you can count on that – and the Yankees still might sign lester anyway – big contract but no loss of a draft pick

    • Preston

      Athletes have egos. You really can’t succeed at that level if you don’t. CC is going to believe he can still do it until it’s an absolute certainty that he can’t. Even then he might keep going.

  • Posada_20

    Sign Lester and Resign McCarthy. Then get to work on fixing the offense

    • Mick

      Say it’s Lester, McCarthy, Pineda and Greene.
      They could go for Scherzer or Shields.
      Or bring Kuroda back.

      • ACX

        Uh…. What about CC? I feel fairly confident they aren’t going to sign two of the three pitching FAs (Lester, Scherzer, Shields), if they even sign one…..

        I can see them resigning McCarthy and hitting up Dan Haren for a one year deal around 10M…

  • Scott

    I think you can pencil in Greene, and hopefully the Yankees can resign McCarthy. Then have some of the scrub starters signed in AAA for depth (I’m talking about you Capuano).
    I’m in the minority here but i wouldn’t resign Kuroda to another deal. He got by this year okay, but he will be a year older and even though he was fine the 2nd half this year, the two previous seasons he waned in the second half.
    Perhaps Mitchell and Banuelos can compete for spots coming out of ST.
    I don’t want them to sign Scherzer b/c of the QO and draft pick, and I’m not too keen on Lester (he is a fine pitcher but so was CC when the Yanks signed him at the beginning of his contract). It’s the years, not the money.
    I would rather they sign some mid-level FA pitchers for less years (and money).

    • Lou Zullo

      Id stare clear of any players that may cost the pick so would concentrate on the Lester, Cabrera, Headley, McCarthy aisle when shopping

  • phil mitchell

    Tanaka; Pineda, CC, Greene and Phelps. Resign McCarthy; Nova by June first keep Esmil Rogers with Manban and Bryan Mitchell at AAA.

    • TB

      Nova wont be ready by June – more likely the all-star break and he will probably stink next year – players coming off TJ Surgery typically have big time control issues the first couple of months

  • Mick

    They might need another 1/2 billion facelift.

    • Mayan Brickann

      Might be able to get by with 1/3 billion this time, but I still don’t think they’re going there.

    • Jake

      There’s definitely impact options out there, it’ll be an interesting offseason.

    • Preston

      I think it would be hard to spend that much this off-season. Unless you’re signing both Lester and Scherzer, which I think is highly unlikely. Say something like 180 for one of the elite pitchers. Maybe 100 million for Hanley (I think that’s high). Melky, Cruz and Sandoval all have enough warts that it’s hard to see a team guaranteeing more than 75 to them. So you’d have to sign Lester (or Scherzer), Hanley, Pablo, Melky/Cruz and bring back DRob. I doubt they make that many moves this off-season. Although that team would probably be pretty good in 2015, it’s just the other years of the deals wouldn’t look so good.

  • ACX

    I envision a deep voice telling me, “The only thing for certain is nothing is certain”….

  • Dario Rojas

    I would not sign Lester or Scherzer. It is time to move away from big time contracts on players and pitchers in their 30s. Sign Yasmani Tomas to potentially man RF for the future. Sign Asdrubal Cabrera for SS. Sign Headley to 3 year contract for 30 M.
    Resign Mcarthy. Let Kuroda walk, you got all you could from him. Let Robertson walk, sign Soriano to set up Betances…..

    • Dan A.

      I’d love to get Headley back but 3/$30 is too much after his performance the past 2 years. He should be had on a 1-2 year deal.

    • Jake

      I’d be comfortable with letting DRob go if they brought in someone like Andrew Miller as the set up guy.

  • Wave Your Hat

    Assuming (and it is a big assumption) the Yanks can find some hitters to spend money on, and further assuming (and its not such a big assumption) that the Yanks won’t let their budget stray too far north of $225M, other than re-signing or replacing Kuroda, the Yanks should put all their available funds towards hitting. I’d even let DRob go if I could put his salary toward a useful ballplayer (say, J.J. Hardy or Asdrubal Cabrera).

    The Yanks have demonstrated an ability to cobble together a rotation and a bullpen, but lately haven’t shown the same aptitude when it comes to offense. And they sorely need an offense. So that’s where I’d put the available dollars.

    • Mick

      They will favor big names whatever they do just like last year.
      They covet Tulo, Lester just to keep him away from the RS as they did Ells.
      Not saying it’s right but they’d rather lose again with names than be unsure of winning by making the “right” moves.

  • TCF16

    It’s amazing, but there’s not one pitcher you can really put down in pen for the 2015 rotation. In that scenario, the only thing that makes sense is to try and stockpile as much good pitching as possible. Maybe use the 2 week window to try and sign McCarthy to a deal that the Yanks are comfortable with. (2/$28?)

    • Lou Zullo

      2/$28???…How about something closer to 3 years at $28?

      • TCF16

        That would be nice, except I don’t think it’s realistic to expect him to take under 410mm a year. If anything, I think he will get at least 3 years, for at least $35mm.

        • YakaTanaka

          I don’t know what McCarthy will get, but he has a lin injury history and struggled 1.5 of the past 2 years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on a 1-2 year deal at about $10 mill annually, give or take. I think 3/35 is the absolute top of his market. He got 2/18 when he was younger and coming off more recent success.

  • Austin Reddardmine

    If they sign Lester or Scherzer to an 8 year contract you’ll know that they’ve learned absolutely nothing. They hand out these albatross contracts to players 30+ like they’re Skittles. Until this stops we are destined to spend the next decade in mediocrity.

    McCarthy can be re-signed to a 2 year deal. I think that will give us a solid 1-2-3 in Tanaka, Pineda, McCarthy. 4-5 will be made up of CC, Phelps, Greene combination. Ivan Nova will provide more depth when he returns.

    This season has shown that the problem is not the pitching so going out and signing a Lester or Scherzer to an 8 year deal is a grave mistake. They need offense – SS, 2B, 3B, DH, RF, backup 1B. So many positions to fill. Prado fills one but the others they either need a FA or they have an oft injured, aging veteran past his prime.

    • Basil

      They certainly do need offense, and a lot of it. However, I think you’re being too sanguine about the rotation itself. E.g., it’s precisely Tanaka, CC, and Phelps that Axisa was citing as figures of uncertainty–with Phelps and Nova in the background. You seem to be suggesting they can be counted on. Surely, the point is that they might not “countable.” I’m not sure what Cashman can do about all that uncertainty, although you’re probably correct that mega-length contracts to Lester and/or Scherzer would be “grave” mistakes.

    • YakaTanaka

      The lesson to be learned is not that you should never sign any veteran to a long-term deal.

      Saying they haven’t learned that the off-season after they let Cano walk over contract length is really, really weird, though. It’s like some of these narratives are invented by people who have never watched a Yankee game.

      • Austin Reddardmine

        They let Cano walk only to give 31 year old Ellsbury a 7 year deal. Ellsbury is a decent player now but what about in 5 years when he loses a step and can’t play CF? Players age normally now without all the PEDs. It’s not always a 7-8 year deal that will get you either, if you sign a 37 year old Beltran to a 3 year deal that’s almost as bad because then you’re stuck with a 40 year old for two more seasons.

        • Tony

          What about signing 35 year old Victor Martinez to a 3 yr deal?

        • Preston

          It’s almost like 7 years is shorter than 10.

        • Scott

          You do realize Cano is a year older than Ellsbury right?

  • Dan A.

    Sign Lester and McCarthy. Then come May the rotation options will be:

    Tanaka, Lester, Nova, CC, Pineda, McCarthy, Greene, Phelps. That is 8 solid rotation options. You cannot hope for any more than that, and it’s enough depth to close the door on improvements.

    But frankly, I don’t think the offense is available for them to significantly improve . . . so if they just want to save their money this off season and rebuild organically, I’m all for it.

    • YakaTanaka

      I don’t know if they’ll spend $30-35 million on rotation improvements. Maybe. I also doubt McCarthy is going to sign as a FA to be a 6th SP (though CC may never P again). Overall, Lester and McCarthy would more than solidify the rotation depending on medical reports on the others.

      As for offensive improvements… Lots of options to upgrade from 2014 Jeter at SS on the market. Could upgrade at 3B depending on their view of ARod. Could add Martinez at DH or an OF among Tomas, Melky, and Cruz. And that’s just free agents. Lots of tradeable assets.

      I would say there are opportunities to upgrade on both sides. Will be interesting to see how much they decide to spend and on what.

  • JGYank

    Honestly I’ve never been less worried about the pitching. There are plenty of injury risks, but they’re just risks and the SP depth is there. With the low run environment, it’s easier to scrap together a pitching staff than we’ve been used to. I’m not saying good pitchers grow on trees but as long most of the staff is healthy we can survive with a backend of callups/waiver wire pickups especially if they keep the Betances Robertson combo along with Kelley, Warren, while probably giving Lindgren a shot so the pen can pick up the slack if need be. The bottom line is in the game today, all pitchers are injury risks and offense is becoming a rare commodity. It makes more and more sense to acquire position players (who can also help defensively) over pitchers and with the state of their offense, that’s exactly what the Yanks need to do. To me, resigning one of McCarthy or Kuroda (as well as Drob) would be just fine and leave some more budget for the position players. Pitching is still very important but unless the Yanks are able to allow the fewest runs or close to it in the league like the Mariners are doing right now, they’re not going to win with this offense.

    • Mick

      You said it. They could have a staff of Lester, Scherzer, Shields, Tanaka and Pineda and still lose if they cam with the same offense as this year. Just say no to Drew for starters, he will never hit.

      • JGYank

        Well with a staff that good you could almost ignore offense and still be over .500.

        To add on too my point the offense is where there are not just question marks, but also a lack of talent. Having mccann Arod Beltran and tex limit where they can upgrade, how much they can spend, and how good the offense will be so they really need to upgrade big time where they can to make up for the rest being question marks. We don’t know if mccann or Beltran will rebound, or we will get from Arod, so we really need to improve at positions like ss and rf (assuming Beltran becomes the DH).

        • Mick

          Just as an example, if steroids return to the game with Selig’s legacy intact as the one who got rid of them (for 1 year) the offense could very well return with Arod, Tex and others back on their game. Adding Melky to that mix could really give the offense a lift.

  • Preston

    Pitchers are only dependable right up until the moment they aren’t, guys who make it through a career without suffering a serious injury are few and far between. This group might have some question marks, but at least there’s a lot of talent there. Tanaka has the ability to be one of the top 5 pitchers in the game. Pineda when healthy is a solid number one or number two. Nova has been up and down but has been a solid number two starter for us in the past. Phelps isn’t sexy but he’s a pretty good guy to pencil in at 5th starter, and he’s a great asset as a sixth starter or long man. Who knows what Sabathia can bring at this point with the knee and reduced velocity. But he’s only entering his age 34 season, and he was an elite pitcher as recently as 2012, I wouldn’t be completely surprised if he wasn’t done being a positive contributor to this team.

  • YakaTanaka

    Call him whatever number starter you’d like, but it’s unlikely that the Yankees go into 2015 with more than one or two SPs who are better than Pineda. Tanaka and maybe an acquisition.

    McCarthy re-signing would make a lot of sense. Overall, though, I think you’re going to add mostly more question marks if you go much below the elite FA SPs. In most cases I’d rather have one really good bet at, say, $20 mill per than two more question marks at $10 mill each. The Yankees already have at least 7 guys competing for rotation spots. Maybe 8 or 9 depending on what they do with Warren and Betances (I expect both to stay in the pen, but who knows?). I don’t think they need bodies just to add them.

  • Chris Duke

    Why is Phelps even in the discussion. Greene has better stuff and has survived mismanagement of Girardi and Rothchild. Phelps is a long reliever. Spot starter. Lester, Tanaka, Nova, Pineda, CC, and Greene / McCarthy. Add Tulo and VMart and you have the intimidation factor. Providing you Give Girardi and his Stooge Posse their walking papers. No solid BB professional would want to continue their career under this jackass manager.

    • Mick

      Why? Like any good parent he has built a team in his own image.
      Good with pitchers, decent defense, no offense.
      And he never makes a wrong move.

      • Chris Duke

        I see your point Mick. But, his starters didn’t get enough work because of all the Double A pitchers and rejects he invited. He has no sense of urgency and leaves his struggling starters in to be devoured after 6 or 7. He coddles his relievers. When the threat of losing the lead or impending damage, he wants that starter to finish the inning even if he is gassed. Cost us double digit losses because of it. Lets get a manager w a pulse and high energy. A hitting coach who sees the value of hitting to all fields. A pitching coach who throws inside and gets Oriole hitters back off the plate. Clean out their lockers. Their team is lifeless for 3-4 innings regularly. Like the coaches and manager.

        • Mick

          “He coddles his relievers.”

          I still can’t figure out why he didn’t coddle DRob Sunday in Baltimore. Was at that game, as well as the other 3, and he threw over 30 pitches on Friday, and was used again Saturday. Against his rule, right? Betances was mowing them down in the 8th and had Saturday off. Made no sense other than his way or the highway.

          • tomato sauce

            Contradict yourselves some more guys. And in addition to your contradictions you’re just flat out wrong about the bullpen philosophy. 4 yankee pitchers are in the top 30 this year in terms of innings pitched out of the bullpen. So please stop pushing this nonsense and start putting a little bit of thought into what you’re saying.
            http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=rel&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2014&month=0&season1=2014&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

            • Mick

              Back to the tomato theme , randy?

              • tomato sauce

                Nope. Wrong about people. Wrong about baseball

                • Mick

                  Please educate us former LoHuddite…

                  • tomato sauce

                    Wrong again. And I just showed you how twisted your thoughts are on the bullpen. Its in the link above where it shows both betances and Warren in the top 5.

                    • Mick

                      Stop taking shots and read the posts.

                    • tomato sauce

                      I read the posts. They were all predicated on the idea that they “coddle relievers”. An idea which doesn’t comport with the fact that they have 2 relievers in the top 5 in innings pitched.

                    • Mick

                      Well reread mine. I was being sarcastic about Girardi coddling DRob on Sunday.

                    • Nick in SF

                      Hey mickster! Hope you’re well.

                    • Mick

                      The real Nick would never wish me well.

                    • Nick in SF

                      LOL. This is your friend.

                    • Mick

                      I know who you are…

                    • Nick in SF

                      Doesn’t everyone… :)

                    • tomato sauce

                      I don’t see it.

                    • Nick in SF

                      Those 2 are not mutually exclusive.

                    • tomato sauce

                      How?

                    • Nick in SF

                      Robertson/Betances were the only 2 real options this season. Yes, they were used a lot, but that doesn’t preclude them from having been coddled as well. How many times pitching in 3 straight gms? How many appearances for multiple innings? How many high leverage innings have each pitched?

                    • tomato sauce

                      Each of them has made multiple inning appearances multiple times and has thrown in more than enough high leverage innings as well. And as far as I’m concerned throwing them a lot does preclude them from being called coddled, especially when by a lot means more than anyone in baseball. At least it’s enough for me not to call Girardi a jackass who can’t manage because of under utilizing his pen. He may be a jackass for other reasons but not for this. It’s absurd.

                    • YakaTanaka

                      Dude, I haven’t seen you make a post that makes much of any sense yet…

                    • Mick

                      May be you have “confirmation bias” against LoHud.

                  • Wave Your Hat

                    Mick, that’s not randy, I wish it was, I miss his posts.

                    • Mick

                      I had fun with Randy WYH…oh the good old days.

            • Chris Duke

              Respectfully, it has been his SOP to cough up a lead sticking w a struggling starter to squeeze an extra few outs and it has happened multiple times. I love this roster with a few additions by subtraction of course and some 2015 offensive additions. In my defense, I am on a trip and responding on the move lol. Thanks for the stats and perspective.

              • tomato sauce

                Quite the change in tone from”no solid professional would want to continue their career under this jackass”

              • YakaTanaka

                The problem with your theory is that he’s simultaneously run his BP into the ground. Chances are you’re selectively remembering instances that fit your narrative.

                This is something that would be extremely easy to show proof of, if your theory is true.

            • Chris Duke

              Girardi has no sense of damage control. Managing in the 5-6 innings has killed the Yankees in 2014. Your stats might show Vidal Nuno or Jeff Francis are great strike throwers on paper, but on the mound in Yankee Stadium they stink. The stats, respectfully, don’t always show the whole picture. Just one man’s perspective……….

              • tomato sauce

                As if I’m some stat head. I cited innings pitched….

          • Chris Duke

            Hey, he really did abuse DRob for a third day. Love Robertson. I watch every game and stand by my statement that the majority of this year he has waited to pull a starter until he coughs up the big hit, even though he’s struggling clearly.

            • YakaTanaka

              Look up “confirmation bias.”

        • Preston

          Girardi in no way coddles his relievers, Dellin Betances leads all of MLB in relief innings, and Warren is 5th. Robertson and Kelley would probably have similar innings if not for their DL stints.

        • YakaTanaka

          You seem to be in over your head, Chris. You’ve confused the roles of GM and Manager, and made patently false statements.

          • Chris Duke

            Not really over my head YakaChewbacca, just opinionated baseball guy and 30 year baseball fan of the Yankees. Oh, unless you are Cashman’s personal assistant or you work for the organization, I’m about as informed as you or anybody else. If you have all the answers, please enlighten your BFF Joe Girardi. He desperately needs your help. Hell, maybe you can help us get into the playoffs this year! Lol! Just kidding!

    • Preston

      And Phelps has been used as a long man/spot starter his whole career, so what exactly is your complaint? Mike is putting him in the conversation because he recognizes that you need 7-8 starers to make it through a season. In some extremely unlucky seasons you use 13.

    • Drew

      Intimidation factor! It’s a new saber stat! You get that be adding the bWar and OPS+ divided by the #ABs with RISP right?

      Tulos contract plus the prospects needed to get him (if the Yankees even have them) added on to the contract that VMart will require. At least a 3-4 year deal (and people complaining about the Beltran signing – btw where would Beltran even play?) Those are the two guys I would go out of my way and NOT acquire.

    • Scott

      “Greene has better stuff and has survived mismanagement of Girardi and Rothchild.”
      What the hell does this even mean? Makes the list of top 10 dumbest things posted on here.

      • ChrisS

        Haven’t been here long, have you?

        Honestly, probably doesn’t even make the top 10 dumbest things posted in this thread.

  • Austin Reddardmine

    Exactly. Who is to say Lester and Scherzer would stay healthy. Everyone thought CC would be a horse for another 5 years. That was a disaster. Everything is right with Tanaka mid season then boom he goes down. The only pitcher we have that went uninjured was Kuroda. Detroit has 5 aces, 2 got hurt and they’re struggling to make the postseason. Oakland has 4 aces, struggling to make the postseason.

    We need offense. What do the O’s have that we don’t? Power and offense. Angels? Power and offense. These are the teams running away right now.

    • YakaTanaka

      Yes, signing offense worked so well for the Yankees this season…

      P is volatile, but offense is extremely scarce these days and somewhat volatile in its own right.

      No need to oversimplify things to needing offense or P. They need a better team, however they can best get there.

      • JGYank

        Just because it didn’t work for one year doesn’t mean it was a bad move. The ws got abreu and look how that worked out. Ellsbury has been fine meanwhile choo mccann and Beltran haven’t performed to expectations. Some guys do well some don’t. Same with pitching. Ubaldo flops while santana and tanaka succeed.

        • Austin Reddardmine

          Yeah, these same people were saying Igawa didn’t work for us so we shouldn’t sign Tanaka. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Ellsbury is ok now but what about in 5 years? Will he be another albatross that must be purged?

          Also, guys can have an off season and then come back with a good one. I remember people thought Big Papi was done. They thought Jeter was done a couple years ago. People are much too quick to write these ballplayers off.

          • YakaTanaka

            You seem to have completely missed the point.

        • YakaTanaka

          My point was not that signing offense is a bad idea. It was that the equation is not as simple as offense = good, defense = bad as was suggested. That the Yankees whiffed on offense with fairly sure bets literally a year ago is just evidence of that.

    • Marshall Brown

      Nelson Cruz was caught using PEDs. Chris Davis was caught abusing Adderal. Steve Pearce comes out of nowhere at age 31 with (so far) a 5.7 WAR after seven years of never getting above 1. That’s your Baltimore middle of the lineup. Offense is down in part because the cheating is way down. Offense is a more consistent investment, true, but the Orioles brought in cheaters it would truly appear. That’s how you rebuild on the cheap.

  • Tony

    I know most of us don’t want the organization to throw money at the problems anymore but even before this article it was quite clear that the rotation needs help. Re-sign McCarthy and sign Lester or Shields, the team will obviously not make the playoffs because of the inept offense but get those 2 pitchers and kick the tires on trading for Tulo. Now I await the barrage of nay sayers.

    • Wave Your Hat

      I don’t believe the Yanks will take the budget to where it will need to go if they sign a Lester or a Shields plus a player like Tulo (even if they could get him, which they won’t).

      • Tony

        They need to do something, the rotation has one “reliable” starter in Pineda so it will be interesting to see what takes place during the offseason.

  • Bigdan

    You can say sign this guy or sign that guy but folks need to remember the off season budget is only $20-$30MM. Unless Hal decides to seriously increase the budget, and there really is no empirical evidence to suggest that that’s his intent, that’s all the money there is. In fact, there’s some basis to suggest Hal may actually reduce the budget. Cash flow will take a big hit from not making the playoffs for the second straight year and Hal cut the budget last year after the Yanks missed the playoffs.

    So if the budget stays constant, you are looking basically at (1) Lester, or (2) McCarthy and Drob, or (3) McCarthey and SS like Cabrera or Hardy, assuming you can get a SS like that for about $10MM. Whichever option is chosen, there’s not a lot if anything being done to improve the offense. Not that there’s room in the lineup for improvement anyway. There are only nine spots in the order and seven are already set. Six are from this year’s team, the seventh is Arod and eighth and ninth are SS and DH. No SS added is likely to have any material impact on this team’s offense and the Yanks have shown a recent inclination not to fill the DH spot with a regular.

    So given the financial and roster constraints, unless the Yanks get creative with a trade (Gardner?), this off season will be short and sweet. The three main options are listed above. Just check a box and move on.

    • Wave Your Hat

      If the Yanks could sign a Hardy or a Cabrera at SS that would be a very large improvement over the offense Jeter has given the Yanks this year. It would make sense to sacrifice DRob for that upgrade given the large number of solid bullpen options the Yanks currently have.

      • Preston

        And Hardy would also provide a significant defensive upgrade (Cabrera is probably only a slight upgrade).

        • JGYank

          Agree about hardy. By all accounts a pretty good defender. In the past he’s had good rh pop but has not shown power this year so that will reduce his price. Would be a nice offensive and defensive upgrade over Jeter and could rebound and regain some of his power something we have really missed from rhb. He would be my choice to replace Jeter. Hanley is too expensive and not good defensively and cabrera isn’t as good as hardy.

    • Faith, Freedom, and Liberty

      $170 million committed to 10 players before arbitration raises and benefits. 5 players making $21 million or more.

  • Tar

    It’s so much easier and cheaper to find pitchers for the pen, than it is to find quality starters.

    Put Dellin back in the rotation, re-sign McCarthy and DRob, and put the money you saved by not signing Lester or Scherzer into some offense.

    • Preston

      Relievers as good as Betances are both hard to find, and expensive. Over parts of three seasons as a starter in AAA he made 24 starts pitching 119.2 innings allowing 81 runs. That’s a 6.09 ERA. This isn’t a Joba situation where he was great in the minors. Dellin is a failed starter and needs to stay where he is.

      • Tar

        The History of the minor leagues is filled with “failed starter” examples…. Until they figure things out.

        Dellin had just as many or more dominating innings as he had wild, no control innings.

        And I Just love the way most everybody ignores the fact that they changed his mechanics, which has led to his recent success.

        But noooooooo he’s successful now because he only pitches one or two innings….

        • Wave Your Hat

          Whether or not Betances could start isn’t the issue IMO. He’s too valuable where he is. I expect the Yanks to let DRob go and install Betances as the closer, which will save them $12-15M. They can put that savings to very good use.

          • Mick

            I agree with this. Betances will be a shutdown closer and they can find another set-up man.

            • Wave Your Hat

              Jacob Lindgren comes to mind.

              • Mick

                They might want to use him against leftys only.

                • Wave Your Hat

                  They haven’t been using him that way in the minors. I think he’s going to be a monster.

          • Tar

            12-15 million…… How much does a top starter get these days?

            And There should not even be an argument on who is more valuable between a starter and reliever.

            • Wave Your Hat

              But the question doesn’t appear in a vacuum. It’s a question of what is more valuable to the Yanks right now, a cheap shutdown closer (as Mick rightly says) or a starting pitching gamble. I think it’s the closer, and I believe the Yanks will demonstrate by their actions they think the same thing.

          • JGYank

            If they let drob go, dellin becomes more expensive the next few years as a closer and we lose an elite reliever. If they offer drob a QO and I think they will, drob becomes much less attractive to other teams and will likely resign with us.

            • Wave Your Hat

              If the QO is the $15M neighborhood I don’t think the Yanks will give him one. And as much as I like DRob, I hope the Yanks don’t make it because they could spend that money better elsewhere.

              • JGYank

                Why let him walk for nothing? He’s almost worth 15 mil anyway so might as well try to get him on a shorter term deal with no long term risks for just a couple extra million a year than if you gave him a long term deal. I doubt he’ll accept it anyway.

              • Preston

                It depends on the budget, which we’re not privy to, but I don’t think that spending an extra couple of million on DRob this season than you’d like would break the bank. And if you want to bring him back, giving him the qualifying offer gives you huge leverage in negotiating a long term deal. If he doesn’t accept, and his demands are too high, you get a pick, so to me giving him the QO offer is a win, win, win.

                • Wave Your Hat

                  JMO, of course, but assuming the Yanks keep their budget in the range it has stayed in over the last 7 years or so, I don’t think it is a question of just paying a few extra million dollars for DRob. There doesn’t appear to be enough money for everything, and given the bullpen options the Yanks have and the lack of offense, I just doubt whether the Yanks will choose to invest 10-15M in a closer.

                  • Preston

                    Well if you’re not interested in signing him at all, that’s a different story. I tend to disagree, but I see the logic. My point is if you’re willing to pay him 10+ million per for multiple years to extend him, the team shouldn’t be that worried about giving him 15 for only one year.

        • Preston

          Like who? Who are these starters you spent 9 years in the minors, only to figure it out later? The example people always used to throw out in DOTF threads was Randy Johnson, but that’s a bogus comp because the Unit never struggled in the minors. He just bloomed from okay big league starter into elite big league starter.

          The ability for him to change his mechanics came when he got to scrap two of his pitches and become a two pitch pitcher. So yes, that has everything to do with his success. Not to mention that he only had one option year remaining. He was very close to becoming a minor league FA and the team getting nothing from him. They gave him every opportunity to start, it didn’t work. Now we just have to settle for a guy who is in the midst of a 3+ WAR season as a reliever.

    • Tony

      Absolutely no way should they take Dellin out of the bullpen, re-sign McCarthy, sign Lester or Shields. If you don’t want to splurge on Lester or Shields, try to see if Kuroda would pitch another year.

    • Faith, Freedom, and Liberty

      Betances couldn’t cut it in the minors as a starter. It isn’t like he was iffy as a starter he was a complete disaster. Guys his size have a difficult time repeating their delivery. His last year as a starter in the minors he walked over 8 per 9 innings. Even his best years he was walking 4.5 per 9 innings. He is a shut down reliever. Keep him in the pen and let him be our relief ace.

  • yankinvegas

    I want Jon Lester. He is the perfect fit. A dominant lefty who has excelled in the postseason.
    Also, take the plunge with Tomas.
    Put together a package for Starlin Castro. Failing that, trade for Alexi Ramirez. Third option is to sign Asdrubal Cabrera for 3 years.
    Resign Chase Headley for 3 years. He can split 3b with Alex and swing across the diamond and play 1b when needed. I think he really likes being a Yankee and would like to stay.
    The key is to move quickly and hit the rest of baseball hard.
    Two years without postseason is enough.
    The payroll must go to the 240 range considering all the dead money on the roster.
    Make sure that next September is exciting.
    Or else there will be lots and lots of empty seats next season.

    • Lou Zullo

      I would really like a salary dump where we pay someone else to take one of our big contracts just so we aren’t forced to play someone just because we are paying them and they are there…not around, cant play them lol

    • Posada_20

      I think Alexi Ramirez is a FA also

      • Wave Your Hat

        No, his contract runs through 2015 with a team option for 2016.

      • Scott

        you are correct sir.

    • Andrew DeClerk

      240? That’s 250+ when you consider DRob and the Arbs. I’d love to see it but I’m not hopeful.

    • Faith, Freedom, and Liberty

      Yankees don’t have the prospects to get Castro. If the Cubs are going to trade him they are going to want guys that are ready to play right now or in the very near future. We don’t have a legit major league ready prospect who is less than 2 years away. Plus the Cubs are going to want impact players. We don’t have any of those impact prospects.

      Payroll should be $325 million! I enjoy spending other peoples money.

  • Robert

    2015 Staff Tanaka,Pineda,Greene,McCarthy,CC with Phelps Severino,Baneuelos,Mitchell,Capuano and Warren can be stretched out. Thats 11 starters. Stop the 100mil pitching insanity signings.

    • Lou Zullo

      No Capuano, please unless he’s there replacing Huff, cant have both…go with younger hardthrowing lefties out of pen…

      • Robert

        Capuano just as a long option, there are plenty of hard throwing relievers in Scranton/Trenton,forgot to mention Nova which gives Yanks 12 starters to go thru by June.

    • Kevin Schappert

      Agree Yanks probably have enough pitching–Greene wasn’t even mentioned in the blog–but please no Capuano

    • Faith, Freedom, and Liberty

      Capuano will not be back. He was pulled off the scrap heap and if we end up needing a 12th starter next year there will be some other veteran that another team releases and we can pick up who can pitch to a 4.5 ERA.

      If Greene is in the rotation to start the year the team has no chance to compete next year. I know he has been good for his 60 innings this year, but he is the type of pitcher that will easily be exposed once the league has time to adjust. He is pitching better than he did in the minors. Unsustainable.

      If Phelps is in the rotation for anything more than a spot start or an injury fill in for a couple of weeks the team is screwed. His ceiling is a back of the rotation starter on a team that isn’t in contention.

      Severino won’t sniff the majors next year. No way the Yankees let a 21 year get a roster spot, forget pitch in the majors. Grand total of 25 innings above A ball. I would be happy if he gets promoted from AA to AAA and can compete against the older talent.

      Warren is not a starter. He is successful in the bullpen because his stuff plays up out there and it is MUCH easier to pitch in 1 or 2 inning stints. With all of the potential question marks in the rotation we are going to need a lot of innings out the bullpen again next year.

  • Mick

    Well it feels like the off season has already begun.
    Lots of good discussion in the hot stove league.

    • Andrew DeClerk

      What else is there to look forward towards?

      • Mick

        I just wish it hadn’t started so soon.

      • Faith, Freedom, and Liberty

        Monday 9/22 is Yankee Knit Texting Gloves Night. That’s a pretty awesome thing to look forward to.

        • Mick

          They should have been mittens.

          • Andrew DeClerk

            I’d pay for kitten mittens.

      • NYCORNERSTONE

        Christmass,,,, footballs gonna suck for NY

  • Bigdan

    I think if you’re Drob and you get a QO from the Yanks you almost have to take it. If he doesn’t, I don’t think there will be much of a market for him. I don’t think there will be a lot of teams that will want to pay him $10-12MM a year for three years and give up a draft pick. Teams seem to be valuing draft picks more now and valuing closers less. I suppose a team with a protected pick may be interested but you’d have to look and check how many of those teams will need a closer and will have the means to pay for Drob.

    If Drob accepts the offer, I think he can be fairly confident that the Yanks will not want to pay him $15MM next year and would likely tear up that deal and offer him a near market three year deal.

    • Too Many Idiots

      Once again, you’ve excelled at composing two paragraphs to state the obvious.

      • Bigdan

        I generally don’t spend time replying to people as obviously clever and intelligent as you are, but I find it interesting that anyone would think any player would “obviously” accept a qualified offer. If I’m not mistaken, I don’t think any player has accepted a QO yet.

        • Pete22

          Thats correct, but Drew , Morales and to a lesser extent Cruz and Santana will give players good reason to consider D-Rob will have to think hard about it, but I do think he has other options with teams that have protected picks and have cash and are preparing for a bounce back (Rangers, Red Sox)

          I dont think Hal wants to spend 10+ million for a closer, although I hope he wakes up and burns that small budget of his

    • frogbogg

      I don’t think the Yanks will extend a QO to DRob. Drob is Wetteland and Betances is Rivera.

      Why pay 15M for a closer when you can pay 500K?

      • YakaTanaka

        Extending him a QO and him accepting are different things.

        You can have both RPs as well, it’s not either or just because one is designated as “closer.”

        • frogbogg

          Why would the Yankees risk tying up 15M for a relief pitcher? 15M is WAY too much for Robertson. Kimbrel will be making 13M at the highest point in his contract.

        • Leftylarry

          Seems to me SHane Greene and McCarthy are the two most likley big innings guys next year.

    • Faith, Freedom, and Liberty

      I think they make him the QO so they have leverage to negotiate a longer term contract at a lower AAV. I don’t think Robertson will accept because this is probably his only chance to get one big guaranteed payday. I don’t think another team is going to give up a draft pick for a guy who throws 65 innings each year. I think the Yankees will try to get him on a 3 or 4 year deal at $10 – $12 per year.

    • Pete22

      Rangers and Red Sox have a protected pick, have plenty of money, and could use a closer (Kojis free fall has the Red Sox concerned most likely given his age)

  • frogbogg

    So… with the trend in pitching being easier to come by and good hitting more difficult, will the market change on pitching?

    • YakaTanaka

      It’s all relative to league average. Position player salaries didn’t go down when PED-rage sluggers were easy to come by. Quality Ps still don’t grow on trees, their absolute statistical metrics have just gone down.

  • Andrew DeClerk

    All reason for me for why they will punt this off-season on offense. This team ain’t contending anytime soon. They’ll sign Robertson plus replacement level veterans to fill gaps, hope the offense and pitching bounce back, and pray for farm deliveries. The offense isn’t available on the free agent market and their own pitching is too uncertain to sign another expensive vet for the rotation.

    • YakaTanaka

      I will be pretty shocked if they reduce payroll significantly following two straight playoff misses.

      Lots of offense at positions of need and lots of SP is available.

      I don’t think DRob is the priority going into the offseason. SS probably is, with a SP and another bat at 3B/OF/DH possibly ahead of DRob too. If they extend DRob a QO they’re basically in a win/win situation. And while I’m all for re-signing him, it might not be the best way for them to use ~$15 mill per the next few years.

      • Andrew DeClerk

        Who said anything about them reducing payroll?

  • Mick

    Such versatility:

    Jacoby Ellsbury DH

    Derek Jeter SS

    Brian McCann C

    Mark Teixeira 1B

    Chris Young LF

    Brett Gardner CF

    Chase Headley 3B

    Ichiro Suzuki RF

    Brendan Ryan 2B

    • Mick

      The Gardner up 3rd Era (error) is over.

    • NYCORNERSTONE

      zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.zzzzzzzzzzzz.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 1 run maybe

    • Game 3

      Off topic, eh?

  • Bret The Hitman

    Why wouldn’t a team give up a 1st for DRob? I think a few might. Not every team has a good closer and playoff teams drafting late will want dominant closers especially needing as much leverage as possible with 2 wild cards.

    • YakaTanaka

      Not sure what this is in reference to, but I think someone will sign DRob if he gets a QO and isn’t re-signed. Will most likely hurt his market, though.

      • Pete22

        Someone w/a protected pick in need of a closer. Red Sox will be all over him. Rangers too.

  • Bret The Hitman

    I guess since Lester won’t cost a 1st he’s a target. So the team could add Lester, Headley, Arod, Prado for a full year and 2 firsts. They could spin pitching surplus for a shortstop and look into dealing McCann + prospects for Matt Kemp.

  • New GM

    Oh gosh .. No more 30 year old FA, sign Tomas, trade Beltran and or Mccan, trade for a young SS, get Prado and Arod a 1st basemans MIT for girly man Tex, bring up Lindgren and Webb, go to a 6 man rotation to protect Pineda and tanaka… Fire K Long, fire that fool coaching 3rd base… Trade for some talent….

    Tanaka
    Pineda
    McCarthy
    Greene
    CC
    PHELPS

    Whitely, severino, banuelos, Mitchell AAA ROTATION for depth..

    You trade for SS bring up Refs, sign Tomas, get under 189M by dumping McCann and Beltran … No FA signing that causes draft picks loss… Enough. Build, trade assets…

    • Dan A.

      All for trading McCann and Beltran. But who in the world would take them? And how much money would you have to eat to make it happen? It’s not realistic.

      • NYCORNERSTONE

        Cashman would take them again

    • https://www.facebook.com/daniel.wasserman.35 nsalem

      Before you become a GM maybe you should learn the meaning of a no trade clause.

      • New GM

        Trade who you can. Tex, CC, AFraud are untradable … Someone will take Mccan….

    • RetroRob

      Getting under 189 should not be a driving Yankee goal. Their attempt to do that actually contributed to the current roster. Plus, while they can “dump” McCann and Beltran, they will have to eat a substantial portion of their contracts, which is still counted against the luxury tax. Last, if you never want to sign a free agent who will be over 30, you are nearly 100% depending on your farm. That’s never a good plan, especially with the Yankees current farm. That team will suck, too.

  • New GM

    Need to get under $189M … Yanks are tired of 50% tax… So blow up what you can blow up… Trade mccan after Russell signs… Yea eat 10-15M but getting under 189 gets rid of the 50% tax… They need to rethink policy

    • NYCORNERSTONE

      yanks can eat money now ,,,,,
      but not to sign Cano eh

    • TB

      McCann isn’t tradeable at his contract

      • NYCORNERSTONE

        maybe mccann can eat his contract ,,, he eats everything else in sight

      • RetroRob

        McCann is tradeable if the Yankees want to eat a chunk of his contract. He’s 30 and has four guaranteed years remaining, taking him up to 34. Since the early part of July he’s been roughly .250/.300/.445 hitter, with an OPS+ of about 106. Even on the full year with the brutal start his OPS+ is 93, which is below league average for all hitters, but he’s a catcher and has 20 HRs. He rates out as a very good defender, with pitchers liking his game-calling and pitch-framing skills. He’s a 2 to 2 1/2 WAR player, (even more depending on how much you believe in pitch framing) which is worth about $10-15 million per season depending on the value assigned to a win.

        So now the question is how much do the Yankees have to eat of the contract just to get rid of him? Not to get anything back, but just to get rid of him so he can be replaced by I guess Murphy and his nice defense, no bat game? Half of it? $30-34 million so the acquiring team is only paying $8-9 million a year while the Yankees pay the other half? McCann’s been a disappointment with the bat, but slot him down around #6 or #7 in the order and he’s fine. The Yankees problem is they no longer have legit 3, 4 and 5 hitters!

        (BTW I should add that we’re sort of agreeing. While he’s tradeable, when the team balances the cost of trading him vs. the value of trading him, there’s really no sense in trading him. They need to focus on fixing other areas.)

        • TB

          Its not tradeable and he has a full no trade – Which means he will want the 5th year option picked up to waive his no trade…Its not happening plain and simple

          • RetroRob

            k.

    • https://www.facebook.com/daniel.wasserman.35 nsalem

      McCann and Beltran have no trade clauses they can’t be traded with without his permission.

  • yankinvegas

    I agree about extending the QO to DRob and then signing him to a 3 year deal. Small market teams can’t afford 10+ million for a closer.
    Though the team is a mess, messes can be cleaned up.
    They are in a mediocre division.
    Toronto will probably scale back payroll by not signing Melky and perhaps, dealing Joey Bats, hopefully far away because he kills us. Tampa has good starting pitching, no money and their farm system is worse than ours.
    The Red Sox have a lot of holes and they will not get lucky again. No way.
    The Orioles are not as good as their record and their farm system also blows.
    The opportunity is there.
    Nobody hated the signings of Ellsbury, Beltran, McCann in January. Maybe they can all improve next season.

    • TB

      I actually think Beltran and McCann will have much better seasons – Ellsbury probably does about the same – Teix is the guy I think is pretty much done…..

      • Chris Duke

        What about VMart at 1B? He’d definitely hit well over his weight

        • TB

          Teix is making 23 mill with a no trade – he is our first basemen like it or not for 2015

          • Chris Duke

            Right. He’s not going anywhere……

  • NYCORNERSTONE

    Girardi goes to Cubs , Torre comes back

    • Game 3

      Then Torre can write another tell-all while betraying the confidence of new players!

      • NYCORNERSTONE

        Just to keep us entertained !

  • Alkaline

    Sign all teh starterz

  • NYCORNERSTONE

    i wonder if Headly could play ss

    • Alkaline

      If he hasn’t yet, he can’t.

  • NYCORNERSTONE

    if yanks sign Pablo Sandoval he could run almost as fast as Mccann and Tex imagine those 3 on the bases

  • Y’s Guy

    Off topic but Adam Jones hitting people with pies to celebrate was AWESOME!!!

    http://deadspin.com/adam-jones-pies-fans-while-celebrating-al-east-title-1635742388

  • yankinvegas

    I really get a kick out of these columnists like Klapisch and the idiots on the Mets channel ripping us for pitching Tanaka.
    4 respected orthopedic surgeons, including the Mets team physician, have said rehab, not surgery.
    But Dr. Klapisch knows best.
    It is unbelievable the hatred that the NY media has towards the Yankees.
    Any comments?

    • TB

      Actually its smart to pitch him – to see how he reacts – the Yankees and tanaka have until late November early December to decide on surgery if it even ends up being that

  • NYCORNERSTONE

    Asdrubal Cabrera is our next ss , a switch hitter

  • Hankflorida

    Next year, CC, Text or A-Rod can all be finished with their careers and though their salaries will not lower the cap, the insurance money will cover enough to change the make up of this team. Think of a team that can average at least five runs a game and that costs more payroll then they have now.

    • RetroRob

      You want a team that can average 5 runs a game in TODAY’s hitting environment? Not happening. I also don’t see how the insurance companies will be paying Tex and A-Rod’s contracts. They’re not going anywhere. Maybe CC if he has microfracture surgery and can’t play. The other two will drag their bodies out onto the field.

      • LazerTown

        Are they even all insured?
        People act like the insurance is some magical thing. Frankly I’m surprised Arod’s contract is insured, Yankees can afford contracts that go south, so they are probably losing by using the insurance. Have they ever even used insurance on anyone? Insurance companies won’t just dish out money because a player sucks.

    • stuart a

      we could hope. tex is not retiring the other 2 we can only hope…

    • Joe Crash

      Insurers aren’t going to pay just because a player “sucks”. Here is a link about insurance coverage: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2012/09/05/stephen-strasburgs-shutdown-and-how-baseball-teams-insure-contracts/

    • https://www.facebook.com/daniel.wasserman.35 nsalem

      Insurance money covering their salaries? You’re not serious are you?

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Like, my brain has a hemorrhoid from reading this thread.

  • Bubba Crosby

    At some point next year Tex, AROD and Beltran will be hurt. I think a platoon of Zoilo and someone who hits lefties will do in RF, while Headley can spell the other two when needed. If both AROD and Teix are hurt at the same time, Prado can move to third with Headley at 1B and Refsnyder called up to play 2B. It’s pretty obvious that a SS needs to be added, probably Hardy or Asdrubal. Man it would’ve been nice to have Peralta instead of Beltran right now huh?

    As for the rotation, sign back McCarthy and add another mid level priced veteran (not worth it to splurge on Scherzer/Lester/Shields) and pray that some combo of 5 guys are healthy at any given time.

    Concerning D-Rob, offer him the QO and a 3 year deal at 12-14 mil per and draw a line. There should be enough bullpen depth in the system to handle losing him.

    Figure that a SS, Headley, platoon partner for Zoilo and the two starters probably will cost $50-$60M, I wonder if Hal and Randy will pony up.

    • yclept

      Zoilo is a minor league free agent who seemingly doesn’t have much value, as nobody jumped on him when the Yankees DFA’d him. They are not going to give him the favorable platoon spot – it will be surprising if he is even in camp.

  • E.j. Benito

    Anybody on the team under 40 ?