Tuesday, October 14, 2008

2009 Rotation

Let’s take a quick look at who was here this year and who could be here next year.

Guys who were around in 2008

Chien Ming Wang – Hopefully will be healthy and will anchor the rotation. Given his surgery this year, it’s not a given. If Wang can’t return to form, the Yankees are in trouble.

Joba Chamberlain – Can be the ace of the rotation if he stays healthy. There are definite issues about his endurance, and whether or not his body can handle the load of a starter. He’s got the stuff, but how long can he keep it up. If the Yankees manage to secure enough other talent, he could go back to being a starter with a few extra days off to limit his innings. If injuries become an issue, he becomes their set up man.

Mike Mussina – I don’t know if Mussina can repeat his 2008 performance or whether we’ll start seeing more of the horrendous outings he had at the beginning of the season. If he’s willing, I’d sign him and take a chance but it’s not a sure thing that he will return or that he can continue to pitch successfully. I think the best bet at this time if he does return is that he’ll fill out the back end of the rotation nicely.

Andy Pettitte – Andy has always been a favorite player of mine since day 1, but I think it’s time to retire. He could probably play another year or two but his numbers are only going to get worse. I think the Yankees will make him an offer and try to bring him back just to have another guy around, but I don’t think he’s a good fit for the team any more.

Darrel Rasner – A backup plan at best. Darrel had early success when he hit the rotation but after a while hitters started to figure him out and he became more of a liability. He could make the team as a long reliever, but Joe Girardi hasn’t gotten to the chapter on long relievers in Coaching Baseball 101 (sometimes I wonder if he’s ever even opened the book).

Dan Giese – Another possible long reliever.

Phil Hughes – Trade bait. If the Yankees could get a decent player in return for Hughes they had better jump at the opportunity. A lot of informed observers are suggesting the Yankees need to hold on to this guy because he still has star potential but I’m sticking with the opinion that he’s a total bust and a big liability given his injury history. I think the team will try to move Hughes but if not will continue to try and move him along and get him ready for the rotation. If things go well in the fall league and the Yankees still have Hughes come spring, he’ll be high on the list for the number five slot.

Ian Kennedy – I thought Ike would bring up the back end of the rotation this year and be a solid not-so-bad pitcher. Boy was I wrong. I think the Yankees will try to move him in the offseason and the organization isn’t as attached to him as they are Hughes. If there is interest in Kennedy, he’ll be gone but for now, I think Hughes is the main target for teams interested in trading with the Yanks.

Sidney Ponson – A temporary solution who won’t be around next year.

Carl Pavano – It had been suggested earlier that the Yanks should pick up Pavano’s option and use him for a year if healthy. I don’t see any chance of that happening. So long Carl.

New Faces

CC Sabathia – Number one on the list of players the Yanks would like to get but will come at a hefty price. It’s all going to come down to two things, the number of years and the number of dollars he wants. There is a strong possibility that another team may step in and actually outspend the Yankees to land him. Right now I say it’s 50-50 for CC to land in the Bronx.

Jake Peavey – There has been a few mild rumors about the Yankees working a trade for Peavey and for my money, he should be the number one target for the rotation. I think the chances are pretty slim that he’ll end up in NY, but it’s definitely a possibility worth exploring.

AJ Burnett – I’m not all that excited about this one but I expect the Yanks to look into acquiring him.

Betances, Brackman, Marquez and others – I just haven’t heard enough buzz about any of the prospects being ready for the majors yet. Brackman needs time to rediscover his stuff after the surgery and the others could be brought up mid-year, but I don’t think they’ll be given serious consideration during the spring. Also, these guys could be packaged up in a deal to acquire a veteran starter or center fielder. I expect the farm system to take a hit this offseason as the Yankees ship off a few young guys in order to make some trades for veterans who can help the team out immediately in 2009.

No comments: