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Yanks Will Have to Settle for Internal Pitching Options

By Mike Silva ~ December 20th, 2011. Filed under: New York Yankees.

The Rangers winning the bid for Yu Darvish put the nail in the coffin for the Yankees free agent pitching hopes. They spurned C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle, and weren’t ready to break the bank on Darvish. You hear rumors that Brian Cashman would like to deal for John Danks or Gio Gonzalez, but he isn’t about to give up an expensive package for either. The Mat Latos trade makes it near impossible for other teams to justify selling their young arm for less than a king’s ransom. In other words, don’t count on a deal for a young pitcher.

Free agency still has a few useful middle-of-the rotation pieces. Roy Oswalt, Hiroki Kuroda, and Edwin Jackson come to mind. Oswalt would be perfect; however the reports of a bad back would have me scared away. Perhaps the Yankees could lurk into January and sign him to an incentive-laden deal if Oswalt is reasonably healthy and his market collapses.

Hiroki Kuroda is a perfect fit and there were reports the Yankees offered him a 1-year deal for $12 million dollars. It appears that was nothing more than a rumor, and the Yankees unwillingness to spend any money makes it unlikely they are serious contenders for Kuroda’s services.

Edwin Jackson is the darling of some Yankees fans, but no advanced stat can mask the fact that he walks too many batters. He was less than impressive in the Cardinals postseason run (5.50 ERA). He is a career .500 pitcher (60-60) with a 4.46 ERA. At best, he will be league average in the AL East. With Scott Boras as his agent, a 3-4 year deal in Mark Buehrle territory (4 years/$58 million) will be required. The Yankees seem reluctant to spend on Kuroda for one year, what make anyone think would they go long-term for Jackson. Honestly, I can’t blame them as I have never been a big fan of Jackson. Let some other owner burn money on him and live to regret. The Yankees already have another version of him in A.J. Burnet.

More than likely the Yankees pitching is set, with the exception of a scrap heap -type arm or two (Jon Garland?). In all likelihood we will be discussing a starting pitching positional battle come spring training.

CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, and A.J. Burnett make up the top three. Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes are in pretty good shape for the 4 and 5, but will be pushed by Hector Noesi and whatever veterans they bring to camp. Don’t forget there are young arms like David Phelps, D.J. Mitchell, and Rule 5 pick Brad Meyers. It’s unlikely, but you never know if the Killer B’s put their name in the conversation. I think you all remember Dwight Gooden in 1984.

None of these kids are givens, and that should be alright. Could you really justify giving Yu Darvish $50 million in posting and possibly another $50-$70 million dollar contract? If you have money to burn, yes. But some believe he may be no better than Daisuke Matsuzaka, or compares more to another Texas pitcher, Colby Lewis. I do think a short-term deal for Kuroda would be worth it, but the Yankees are adamant about drawing a line on the payroll. It’s about time, as the spending has reached absurd levels with less than optimal return. You go crazy for Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia, but not for second-tier talent. There is a lot of that in this market that wants A-level money.

As for dealing for young pitcher, the Padres acquired pitcher Brad Boxberger, infielder Yonder Alonso and catcher Yasmani Grandal for Latos; all of whom were named among the Reds’ top 10 prospects by Baseball America. San Diego also acquired a young established starter in Edinson Volquez. Are you ready to give up Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, Ivan Nova, and another top ten prospect for the names on the market? Unless it’s Felix Hernandez, Matt Cain, or Cole Hamels, Cashman should hang up the phone; he already has in some cases.

Joel Sherman said on one of his recent Sirius-XM show’s that “prospects have become an overvalued asset.” I agree, but you also can’t give up an A-level deal for B-level talent. That is what you would be doing in the case of Danks and Gonzalez. Since the Yankees are no longer comfortable paying A-level money for B-level talent, spring training will be filled with talk of Burnett “stepping up,” Nova continuing to develop, whether Phil Hughes can return to his 2010 form, and what kid/veteran will earn the final rotation spot.

Lots of questions, but that is what most of the 30 big league teams face each spring. The Yankees have become no different.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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4 Responses to Yanks Will Have to Settle for Internal Pitching Options

  1. MBN

    I agree with the way Cashman is handling this pitching situation. We have to stop paying a premium for non-premium goods. We have been touting the kids in the Minors for a while now. Let’s see what they’ve got. I like what i have seen from Noesi. May the killer B’s are also the real article. Let’s try them instead of spending big on AJ types – like Edwin Jackson.

  2. Brien Jackson

    “the Yankees are adamant about drawing a line on the payroll. It’s about time, as the spending has reached absurd levels with less than optimal return.”

    That’s a perfectly sound theory in a world in which inflation doesn’t exist.

  3. Saket

    The fact still remains though that we are not a World Series Champion. We lost in the first round of the playoffs. Call me a spoiled Yankee fan if you want, but the expectation is to win. We need another ace type starter in our rotation, or at least a number 2. I’m not sure what the plan is for next offseason. It might be to sign 2 starters. However, right now, this team as constructed, is not a World Series Champion. Our 2 best players (Jeter and AROD) are both a year older and a year less productive. As for the rotation, after CC, nothing is a sure thing.

  4. Stu B

    Time to temper those expectations, Saket, and learn how to live like the fans of any other team.

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