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Time For Yanks to Forget Shooting at Aces

By Jed Weisberger ~ December 21st, 2010. Filed under: New York Yankees, Yanks Minors.

I’ve already written the Yankees, if they are looking to acquire a pitcher, ought to obtain a stopgap performer like Derek Lowe.

The chase after former Kansas City ace Zack Greinke made for good Twitter chatter and the like, but the Yankees were smart not to trade for him to begin with.

First, the club’s brass had issues about Greinke’s makeup. Secondly, whether the man actually wanted to pitch for the Yankees was certainly up to debate. Thirdly, the reported Kansas City asking price of catcher Jesus Montero, shortstop Eduardo Nunez and either Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos.

For Greinke, who could have turned into the 2011 version of Ed Whitson in New York, the package was much-too-much to relinquish.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters he will go with prospects to fill the rotation if he needed to. This, of course, depends on whether or not Andy Pettitte decides whether or not to return in 2011.

Even if Pettitte decides not to return in 2011, there is no reason to panic and trade talents like Montero, Nunez, Betances and Banuelos.

A growing group of fans know who these players are, what their strengths and weaknesses are and what their approximate big-league arrival schedule is.  A much larger group, however, simply looks at these names as players to swap for Seattle’s Felix Hernandez.

It’s not going to happen. Cliff Lee was a rare ace who got to the free-agent market. Teams usually lock up young aces. Kansas City only traded Greinke when he changed agents and told the club he wanted out.

That left the Royals no choice. Trade Greinke, which they did to Milwaukee for a representative package, or risk losing him for nothing in 2012.

The answer is not signing Lee and, obtaining Greinke, or trading for another ace at the behest of four players with immense potential.

That’s the reason the prudent thought here, if Cashman wants to obtain a pitcher, is to pick up a hurler who could solidify the rotation for two years.

By that time, the Yankees will have plenty of home-grown options for their rotation:

- Right-hander David Phelps – The most underrated pitcher in the Yankees system, Has a three-year minor-league mark of 31-8, 2.50. Throws a four-seamer that tops out at 95 mph., a two-seamer that dips at 90 and an improving changeup. Could be ready in 2011

- Right-hander Hector Noesi – Has a five year mark of 24-14. Throws a fastball at about 93 mph that is a strikeout pitch, a solid changeup and decent curve. Excellent mechanics. Could be ready in 2011.

- Lefty Manny Banuelos – Won’t be 20 until March. Terrific poise.  Fastball reached 95 mph in Arizona Fall League. Excellent change and improving curve. Appendectomy limited him in 2010 Will start at Double-A Trenton and should advance to Triple-A Scranton in 2011. Should be ready in 2012.

- Righty Dellin Betances – Bounced back from arm issues to go 8-1, 1.77 in 17 starts at Class A Advanced Tampa and Trenton. Fastball has touched 97 mph. Curve is also effective. Command improved immensely last season. Will start at Trenton and must show durability. Should be ready in 2012.

- Righty Andrew Brackman – Another great bounce-back performer in 2010. Was 10-11, 3.90 between Tampa and Trenton ion 2010 after horrendous 2-12, 5.91 in 2009. Fastball reached 96 mph in 2010. Showed much more feel for using change and curve in 2010. May get a bullpen shot in 2011 in bullpen.

Then there is the next wave, led by righty Graham Stoneburner and lefty Shaeffer Hall. Righty Adam Warren is also a comer. Righty Brett Marshall is hoping for a breakout season.

A stopgap would certainly fill the bill.

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Jed spent 35 years in the newspaper business working as both a writer and editor, in both sports and news under tight deadline pressure. As both sports editor at the Indiana (Pa.) Gazette and a copy editor/columnist at The Times of Trenton, he made daily decisions on overall coverage and designed and produced thousands of pages and special sections. Since accepting a buyout from The Times, he has concentrated on broadening his writing and editing horizons to the medical, academic and business fields. Anyone is welcome to Google Jed to see the different places in print, on the Web and in front of the camera his professional expertise has spread to.

1 Response to Time For Yanks to Forget Shooting at Aces

  1. Frank Russo


    Totally agree with you here! Derek Lowe is the perfect fit. The Yanks almost signed him before they settled on Burnette, and everyone one I have spoken to says that he would love to pitch in the Bronx. He’s intense, fearless, and a real grinder. The Braves are willing to unload him on the cheap. I hope Cashman gives them a call and makes a deal for him, soon!

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