Spring Training is fast approaching, just over two weeks away. I thought this would be a good time to take a look at the Yankees pitching staff. The Yankees have seven starting pitchers for five spots. As of right now they didn’t make any trades to change that and don’t appear like they are going too. The old saying is you never can have enough pitching and it does seem to always work itself out. I want to take a look at this and see how it breaks down and what possibly the Yankees can do about this surplus of pitchers.
The Yankees ace is CC Sabathia. He is a great pitcher and an even better person. CC is here for the long term and should retire a Yankee. I wouldn’t expect much less then 200+ innings, a 3 or so ERA and plenty of wins. The number two pitcher would seem to be Michael Pineda who the Yankees gave away their top positional prospect for. Pineda has all the tools and plenty of potential. The problem with Pineda of course is that he has only been in the majors one year and needs to prove it. He also needs to stay healthy, the Yankees want to work with him on his changeup. He has a great fastball and a good slider, most want to see that third pitch. If he is able to have three pitches he will be a number one or two starter at worst. I think this was a good trade for the Yankees and one they had to made.
Ivan Nova is a guy who if he continues to progress can be a number two or three starter. On the Yankees in 2012 he may be a third but probably a fourth starter. The Yankees signed Hiroki Kuroda who is a risk coming west to east and NL to AL but he seems to be a pretty good number three starter. I could see Nova and he flip flopping but for now I would put Kuroda at three and Nova at four.
The fifth starter is where this gets tricky, the Yankees have A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia. Burnett is a high priced veteran with immense talent. The problem for Burnett is he has never lived up to it and will have to earn it this season. Garcia is a solid five starter, he will win 12-15 games and give you innings but get hit hard by some of the good teams. Phil Hughes is somewhat of a mystery because of the terrible year he had. He is someone the Yankees still envision as a number two or three starter who can win 15-20 games a year.
I would say that Burnett will probably win the job and Hughes will go to the bullpen along with Garcia at this point. I think Garcia can be the long man and spot starter and Hughes has bullpen experience. I don’t think Burnett could go to the bullpen and it doesn’t look like the Yankees can trade him unless they eat a huge portion of his salary. The Yankees could also trade Hughes but his value right now is so low it wouldn’t be a wise move. The other possibility is that someone or more then one gets hurt. I would let this all play out in the spring and see what happens. It is also possible that someone doesn’t work out and they have to adjust. It isn’t neccessarily a bad thing to have so many pitchers although right now it looks like it is. The