Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova are still in a battle for a place in the Yankees starting rotation. From the very little I’ve seen, I’d say that in terms of performance, I’d rank Colon and Nova fairly close (although Nova’s 6 IP of shutout ball was impressive) and rank Garcia last. Still, I think the Yankees are best served to slot Garcia and Colon as the fourth and fifth starters. I don’t think anybody knows what the number is, but Nova has an innings limit this year, and even if they skip him a few times, I don’t see a good way to manage that at the major league level.
I like Nova a lot, and I don’t want to see his development retarded in any way. I don’t think his ceiling is much higher than a number 3 starter, but that’s nothing to sneeze at. The Yankees will need a number five starter a lot more this April than they have in the last few seasons (or, at least that’s how I remember it), so they won’t really have the luxury of skipping anyone in April much. Frankly, the Yankees may as well find out what Garcia and Colon have – if a guy can’t get it done, they’ll get released, and that will be that. On the other hand, if you bring Nova north, you have to manage a developing starter with an innings limit while trying to win a pennant, something I don’t feel the Yankees have excelled at over the last few years. If Nova does poorly and they have to send him back down, then they’ve just wasted an option on him. They might as well send him to Scranton-Wilkes Barre (I hate typing that – why can’t they just be the Scranton Yankees?), limit his starts to five innings and not call him up until Colon or Garcia stink or get hurt, because one (or both) of those things will happen at some point this season – I guarantee it.
At this point, you might be asking yourself, “Is he going to mention Sergio Mitre or Manny Banuelos as a rotation candidate or not?” The answer is not. Mitre stinks; he’s a serviceable long man/mop up man/emergency starter, but that’s where it ends – and Banuelos is not of legal drinking age. I know he’s great (I’ve seen him pitch), but he’s never thrown a pitch in AAA. Banuelos is the real deal – he might be a number 2 or even a number 1 some day – let’s allow him develop and bring him up when he’s ready. As for Andrew Brackman, I love all six feet eleven inches of that guy (yeah, update your score cards, he grew an inch over the winter), but he’s not ready yet either – he’s also never thrown a pitch in AAA. I don’t think Brackman will ever be as good as Banuelos, but again, let’s wait till he’s ready before we bring him up – and if you look at his numbers and injury history, he doesn’t need any extra pressure of trying to make the big league roster… oh sorry, he’s already been sent to minor league camp. Never mind.
To the Readership:
I really appreciate that so many people have been dropping by the site and I’m sorry there hasn’t been much in the way of posts this month, but frankly, there hasn’t been much to write about. The Yankees don’t have many question marks this year and the first half of spring training is, for lack of a better phrase, boring as hell. The starters hardly play, the rotation pitchers only pitch a few innings… I think Mariano Rivera has made one appearance so far this spring… my point is, it’s early. There’s still an entire season to go, and I don’t want to get burned out. I also don’t want to write those filler posts that make up the bulk of March content on a lot of other Yankees blogs… I can only read so many ‘how so-and-so might perform this year before I throw in the towel, you know? A lot of people have been writing that Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson will have better seasons this year than they did last year… brilliant writing! Anyway, all I really wanted to say was thanks for dropping by and I promise that come April, the posts will be fast and furious!