Monday, May 19, 2008

Big Moves the Yankees Need to Make

None. That's right, none.

After watching last night's debacle, it became painfully clear that even the Yankees best pitcher, Chien Ming Wang is going to have off days. The bullpen won't always be able to keep a game close. The offense won't always score runs. This team, despite the close race in the AL East, has little chance of reaching the post season.

I'm willing to chalk up this season as a loss right now. I'm sure the Yankees will improve, but I doubt they'll end up first in the division and I doubt the runner up in the AL East will get the wildcard this year.

The Yankees would likely need to make two or even three high profile moves to get the team into contention again, and the quality of player required would come at a high cost. As such, I sincerely hope the Yankees sit tight and do nothing.

The moves the Yankees do need to make this year are getting the young guys some experience and sitting the overpaid veterans who won't be around next year.

Alberto Gonzalez could use more at bats to see more big league hitters. Even once A-Rod comes back, AG should be platooned in the infield as much as possible to give the stars a few days off and to get the plate appearances to help him develop. Wilson Betemit had better not see the majors again this year.

Giambi isn't doing anything for the team. He won't be around next year. Trade him, cut him, or bench him but give Shelley Duncan a few more at bats. I don't think Shelley is going to turn into the star many hope he will, but give him half a season's worth of regular starts and see what happens.

Ian Kennedy might turn out OK. I don't think he's a guy who can handle New York, but I could be wrong. What he needs is a decent long reliever in the bullpen behind him. When Karstens comes back, bring him up right away and use him for what a long reliever is supposed to be used for.

Right now Rasner is getting his chance which is good. There will be growing pains but let him pitch the rest of the season in the rotation. He might struggle all year long or he might settle into a solid number four or number five spot.

Move Joba into the rotation now. This talk of Joba possibly not starting in 2008 is ludicrous. If not now then when? When will the Yankees ever decide to use Chamberlain as a starter? At this point it just makes no sense. If you want him to transition to the Rotation, you need to have him starting games. The longer he pitches in relief, the less equipped he'll be for the rotation. Joba has done a great job in the bullpen and could be a dominant reliever, but so what? Chien Ming Wang would make a great relief pitcher as well so why aren't Yankee fans and brass clamoring to groom him to replace Rivera? The answer is simple - a good starter is more valuable to your team than a good reliever. The Yankees have plenty of good relievers and very few good starters.

I don't know what's going to happen with Phil Hughes, but if someone comes knocking on my door to trade for him, I let him go easily. He may have the stuff to be a big time starter, but his health issues are a monkey he can't get off his back. My one maxim in all of sports scouting is never to invest much if anything on an injury prone player. Sure, some may turn out well and be superstars, but the last thing a team needs is to get saddled with a roster full of Carl Pavanos. Hughes has had his chance and shows flashes of brilliance, but hasn't made it through a single season without injury. It's time to set him aside and let some of the other guys get a chance.

There are a few other pitchers in the minors who might deserve a chance to come up by the end of the season. McCutchen is climbing his way up through the ranks. Melancon might be ready soon. Patterson looked strong out of spring training. Bullpen guys like Farnsworth and Hawkins could easily be kept in the bullpen while young guys come out and prove themselves.

At this point I think the Yankees have nothing to lose. The season is looking pretty hopeless right now but they have a chance to build for the future. While the fans might not like it, it hurts more to lose with overpaid washed up stars than it would with budding young prospects.

I  have no idea what the Yankees will actually do as the season goes on. The new regime baffles me even more than the old.

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