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Looking for upgrades: The pitching staff

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jun 27, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Two weeks from the all-star break and a little more than a month before the trade deadline, the Yankees are at a point where they can — sort of — figure out what they need to add for a second-half push toward the playoffs. Making this picture a little less clear is the status of their injured players who could provide a significant boost if/when they get healthy.

On the pitching staff, the preseason concern has become a surprising strength, and the preseason strength has become a surprising concern. These are three areas where the Yankees might look to upgrade their pitching staff in the second half.

Starting pitcher

The Yankees rotation has been better than anyone could have expected, and that’s despite injuries to Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon. The Yankees, though, will surely kick the tires on alternatives, if only to add depth and peace of mind.

Trade market: Hit-and-miss.
A starting pitcher will be traded before the deadline, history tells us that much. The question is whether an addition would be an upgrade over the Yankees in-house options. If Hughes and Colon come back and pitch well – and both Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova continue to pitch well enough – then the need for a starter will be minimal (though the want might still exist). If Hughes or Colon suffers a setback, Garcia or Nova regresses, or A.J. Burnett falls into last year’s habits, then the Yankees will need someone. Carlos Zambrano and Brett Myers seem to be available targets, but are they worth the headache? The Twins have been disappointing and could shed starting pitchers at the deadline, but are they more reliable than what the Yankees already have?

In-house: The kids.
Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos are still in Double-A and both are pitching well (though still working on some control issues). Not so long ago, the Yankees had Hughes and Alan Horne dominating in Double-A as highly regarded prospects, but the Yankees left them there, and there’s not much reason to expect the Yankees to change course and suddenly rush Betances or Banuelos without at least a brief stop in Triple-A. More likely options might be Carlos Silva, Hector Noesi or someone from the David Phelps-Adam Warren-D.J. Mitchell trio in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Warren is probably at the top of that pecking order with Phelps is currently on the DL.

Setup reliever

Joba Chamberlain is lost for the year, and Rafael Soriano is almost certainly lost until after the all-star break. Dave Robertson has been terrific in the eighth inning, but the Yankees are mixing-and-matching in the sixth and seventh, still searching for one-inning relievers to complete that bridge to Mariano Rivera.

Trade market: They’re all relievers. Last year, the Yankees took a chance on Kerry Wood, and that move completely changed the bullpen. At the time of the trade, though, Wood was coming off injury and had ugly numbers with Cleveland. He came to the Yankees as a complete wild card and became a dominant setup man. The Yankees could go looking for something similar, but relievers are an unreliable group. Based on what Wood was doing at this time last year, he would not have looked like an especially attractive target. There will be risk in anyone the Yankees go after, though some big names seem to be on the market, including Padres closer Heath Bell.

In-house: Untested. The Yankees have had success plugging minor league starters into bullpen roles, and that’s occasionally worked as a stepping stone to the big league rotation. Right now, they seem to be trying something similar with Noesi.* They also might have found something in Cory Wade, though his innings have been limited. Andrew Brackman has moved to the Triple-A bullpen, but the results have not been encouraging. The Yankees have looked at Kevin Whelan and they’ve run through a series of long-relievers, but so far Noesi has been the call-up standout and Luis Ayala has been better than expected. George Kontos still seems to be pitching himself toward a call-up in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Left-handed reliever

The Yankees top two left-handed relievers should be Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte, but those two proven veterans have yet to pitch this season because of injuries. In their place, Boone Logan has been erratic, unable to repeat last year’s second-half success.

Trade market: Still relievers. The same problem that applies to the setup trade market applies to the lefty trade market: These guys tend to be unpredictable. The Yankees could take their chances on a veteran, with hopes that he doesn’t fall into either the Logan Trap of ineffectiveness or the Feliciaino/Marte Trap of arm problems. The Phillies just released J.C. Romero, who actually had solid numbers against lefties this season but passed through waivers without a claim. Logan has struggled all season, and the Yankees haven’t traded for a replacement yet, which might say something about the market.

In-house: Minor league veterans. The Yankees have signed some lefties for the Triple-A pitching staff, and those might be legitimate options. Randy Flores has pitched well out of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre bullpen, holding lefties to a .233 average with nine strikeouts, seven hits and one walk. Greg Smith has pitched well out of the rotation, but that’s only 14.2 innings and he has almost zero bullpen experience. If he could pitch in relief, Smith could give the Yankees a second lefty who doubles as a long man. It’s also worth noting that Whelan has had tremendous success against left-handers, but he’s currently on the DL and his first stint in New York was so short, it’s hard to imagine the Yankees trusting him with the bizarre role of right-handed lefty specialist.

* In my mind, this is why it makes sense to have Noesi playing a bullpen role while Brian Gordon gets a few spot starts. Noesi’s role could be a long-term thing. The Yankees have a very real need in the late innings, and if Noesi adapts to the role, he could be a significant boost the rest of the way. The current rotation opening is a no-doubt-about-it part-time job. Gordon is going to get one or two more starts before Hughes is ready, and obviously they’re going to skip him when they can. He had great numbers this year, so the Yankees are riding the hot hand for a while. They’re hoping for more than a short-term contribution from Noesi.

Associated Press photos

 
 

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68 Responses to “Looking for upgrades: The pitching staff”

  1. Bret The Hitman June 27th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    ERIK BEDARD

    Trade them Nova + Nunez + Noesi

  2. Jerkface June 27th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Crazy overpay

  3. SoS June 27th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Anyone know if making the playoffs 15 out of 16 season is a Major League record?

  4. SoS June 27th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Im on the Bedard bandwagon. Is he a free agent after the year?
    JF,
    Who would you give up to get him(if you even like the idea)?

  5. Jerkface June 27th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    He is on a 1 year deal, I would trade them like one of the AAA starters str8 up.

  6. Mell June 27th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    A) Too much to trade for Bedard
    B) Not much better than 50/50 his arm survives the season
    C) Mariners are in a race for a division in which they have the best pitching. Why trade a contributor……..unless they too believe his arm is less than 50/50 to survive the season?

  7. Mike Ri June 27th, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    ERIK BEDARD

    Trade them Nova + Nunez + Noesi

    I like Bedard as well . .but this is a but much ??

  8. Jerkface June 27th, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Basically I would look at the Jarrod Washburn deal as a price setter. Washburn got traded for Luke French and a low A prospect.

  9. Bret The Hitman June 27th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Bedard has pitched as an ace of an AL East team in the past. His stuff is way better than Washburn’s.

    The price is higher than Washburn.

  10. Against All Odds June 27th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Is Francesa pushing Fielder to the Yankees?

  11. tomingeorgia June 27th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    The Yanks don’t “need” any of those trade prospects, not for the price some suggest.

  12. Mike Ri June 27th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Is Francesa pushing Fielder to the Yankees?

    Sounds like it !

  13. luis June 27th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Jf,

    That would seem to be a fair price, but aren’t you forgetting the yankee tax??, that’s why i wuouldn’t even aproach the mariners

  14. luis June 27th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Bret,

    No, because of the injuries, he WAS an ace in the al east

  15. GreenBeret7 June 27th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    People are overlooking the dazzling Kei Igawa as the long man/lefty specialist.

    OK, maybe not really overlooking him as much as hoping Mothra flies over Scranton and picks him up for a meal.

  16. SoS June 27th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Would anyone take a flyer on Carpenter?

  17. luis June 27th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Gb,

    thats very good!, lol

  18. Patrick June 27th, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    He is on a 1 year deal, I would trade them like one of the AAA starters str8 up.

    I’ll give them Phelps or something and that’s it. Bedard is just not worth much at all

  19. Jerkface June 27th, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Bedard has pitched as an ace of an AL East team in the past. His stuff is way better than Washburn’s.

    The price is higher than Washburn.

    Irrelevant , Bedard died for a number of years and is a huge injury risk. Not to mention he was good for like 2 years on the Orioles, then died, its not like he pitched a ton for the Orioles beating all comers. If the price is as high as you wish to pay then its not worth paying.

  20. Bret The Hitman June 27th, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I doubt the Mariners let go of Bedard for a Washburn return. He’s pitching close to the level he was at with the Orioles.

  21. GreenBeret7 June 27th, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    luis June 27th, 2011 at 2:16 pm
    Gb,

    thats very good!, lol

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    Nothing as much fun late at night than watching Godzilla and Mothra doing battle.

  22. Bret The Hitman June 27th, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Where does Mike Francessa think Prince Fielder will play?

  23. Jerkface June 27th, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I doubt the Mariners let go of Bedard for a Washburn return. He’s pitching close to the level he was at with the Orioles.

    Washburn had a 2 ERA at the time.

  24. Mell June 27th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Anyone know if making the playoffs 15 out of 16 season is a Major League record?

    ==============================

    Probably. Closest I can think of is the Yankees of old who played in the World Series 15 times in 18 years from 1947 thru 1964, and in two of those years they missed the postseason with 103 wins and 94 wins.

  25. Patrick June 27th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Bedard had two great seasons, was injured for portions of both of them. It’s highly unlikely he stays off the DL for the rest of 2011. I’d give up a low ceiling AAA starter, thats about it.

  26. Erin June 27th, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Ledger_Yankees So Jeter’s feeling positive about his work today: AP reports he took BP on the field for the first time.

  27. Mell June 27th, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Bedard has pitched as an ace of an AL East team in the past

    ==================================

    A LOSING AL East team. Man has never pitched 200 innings in his life and has not thrown as many as 85 innings since 2007.

  28. I Am Winning June 27th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    By looking at Bedard’s numbers alone, it seems like he’s a very good pitcher. A career 3.64 ERA in 900+ innings is impressive. Although, as you mentioned, he is a huge injury risk. He has pitched more than 30 games only once in his almost decade long career, which is scarey. I would stay away simply for that reason.

  29. Mell June 27th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Other thing with Bedard is he has a reputation for being an asswipe towards teammates and media alike.

  30. Mike Ri June 27th, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Considering Brett Meyers , Wandy R , and Carlos Z as the big trade canidates ,,,Bedard is worth the risk of some low level prospect …

  31. Jerkface June 27th, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I thought it was only to the media, and that he is an ok teammate. He is pithy with reporters because he is from some bumpkin canadian town, one of the french ones.

  32. Erin June 27th, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Mell June 27th, 2011 at 2:29 pm
    Other thing with Bedard is he has a reputation for being an asswipe towards teammates and media alike.

    **********************

    He and Soriano would probably get along just fine. ;)

  33. GreenBeret7 June 27th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    The ugliness of Andrew Brackman’s season.

    http://blogs.thetimes-tribune.com/yankees/?p=10667

    Gotta believe there’s more to this than just bad pitching.

  34. Erin June 27th, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    CC_Sabathia Yanks’ bats, CC keep bringing best out of each other http://fb.me/QvHkP2Nn

  35. 108 stitches June 27th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Need to see what Colon and Hughes bring to the table before getting serious about starters after the All Star break. Nothing eye popping on the market anyway.
    Also need to see what the progress is of Feliciano amd Marte. A possible low cost thought could be LH Randy Choate of the Marlins.

    http://florida.marlins.mlb.com....._id=329092

    At the expense of sounding like a parrot, send Andruw Jones packing. Greg Golson is only a phone call away.

  36. Erin June 27th, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    RiverAveBlues Perhaps the Yankees really do struggle against pitchers they?ve never seen before, says @jay_jaffe. http://bit.ly/lRsV3V

  37. Abe Peteraham June 27th, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Bedard huge injury risk, his wife is a pistol though..
    Worth a low level prospect, they won’t bite I’m sure..

  38. SoS June 27th, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I guess thats a no on Carpenter. I thought with the cardinals being injury riddled and probably not making the playoffs. Maybe Carpenter can get back to his Ace self and help in the stretch run.

  39. champ809 June 27th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve been saying that Bedard is the guy to go after and Seattle will make him available regardless of where they sit at the deadline. The issue complicating that move is the obvious lingering bad blood between Ca$h Money and Jack Z.

    If Phelps weren’t on the DL then he’d be a very good piece to build around. Looking at the M’s organizational holes they need a C and Romine would fit the bill…but Romine and Phelps or Romine and DJ or Warren seems like an overpay for Bedard because of the extreme injury risk regardless of how well he’s thrown this year.

    I’d still be inclined to see how I could get that deal done were I the Yanks.

  40. Jerkface June 27th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Cervelli and Mitchell, get it done.

  41. SoS June 27th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    With all these rumors of the Angels having financial problems. People talking about going after Weaver. Which I cant see happening. How about someone we should have landed last year? Wouldnt Haren be more realistic?

  42. Mell June 27th, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Gotta believe there’s more to this than just bad pitching.

    =============================

    Wasn’t aware that velocity has become an issue as well. Rather unfortunate after he appeared to be back on track with that terrific 2nd half last season.

  43. austinmac June 27th, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Brackman–yikes!! He must be hurt.

    With regard to Bedard, I do think, despite his reputatuion as a jerk, he is worthy of strong consideration were he to be moved. However, the Mariners want offense in return. That’s why I say Swisher for Bedard and acquire Beltran. I don’t know how else to give them offense.

    Carpenter is likewise worth a risk. If healthy, he is very tough.

  44. Erin June 27th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Dante19jr It’s awesome how my favorite player is at the fields everyday with us. And he remembered me from when I went to arch a game. Jeter’s the man

  45. Bret The Hitman June 27th, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    With the way Jesus Montero is performing and Martin has regressed…I’d hold onto Austin Romine.

  46. Bret The Hitman June 27th, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Mariners aren’t trading a guy who could be the missing piece of a WS champion for a B prospect.

  47. GreenBeret7 June 27th, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    From MLB-Rumors-R-Us

    “•The Yankees will eventually need 40-man roster spots for Phil Hughes, Rafael Soriano, and Eric Chavez when they come off the 60-day DL. Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues breaks down the most expendable Yankees currently on the 40-man. The Yankees are one of 19 teams with a full 40-man roster.
    •The Yankees, Rangers, Blue Jays, Athletics, and Padres watched Roberto Osuna throw in Mexico on Thursday, reports Roberto Espinoza of Vanguardia (link in Spanish). The Red Sox are also interested. The 16-year-old Osuna is one of the top pitchers in the July 2nd class.”

  48. Jerkface June 27th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Mariners aren’t trading a guy who could be the missing piece of a WS champion for a B prospect

    Then it isn’t worth it. You don’t overpay for something just because it exists and you want it.

  49. comet June 27th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Hey GB good to see you! How are things with you?

  50. G-C June 27th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Who is Bedard replacing in this rotation?

    Especially with Colon and Hughes on the mend?

    I don’t see it.

  51. GreenBeret7 June 27th, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Players to be dumped from the 40 man roster.

    Jones, Carlyle, Gordon, Marquez, Pope, Texeira? Another possibility to to open up a 25 man roster spot, recall Maxwell and put him on the 60 Day DL.

  52. Yankee Trader June 27th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Frank McCourt filed for bankruptcy in the latest move to keep the Dodger franchise.
    Included is the list of creditors with Manny topping the list at 21M, Andruw Jones next at 11M. Hiroki Kuroda is on that list. He might be a good arm to trade for if he waives his no trade.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.co.....uptcy.html

  53. Giuseppe Franco June 27th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    The Yanks will have a much better idea what they’ll need and where their rotation stands a month from now.

    By then, hopefully, Hughes and Colon will both be back and the rest of the rotation will stay healthy and continue to perform as they have thus far.

  54. blake June 27th, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Id take a flyer on Bedard if available but only by trading excess spare parts. The Mariners might just take their shot at winning that division though….

  55. blake June 27th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Trade Jonesy back to the Dodgers…..he could work off his contract by greeting fans at the gate with a smile.

  56. Erin June 27th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    MosheTYA David Robertson has more strikeouts than Ivan Nova.

  57. Against All Odds June 27th, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    # Mike Ri June 27th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Is Francesa pushing Fielder to the Yankees?

    Sounds like it !

    ————–

    Good old Mike always looking out for the Yankees until he decides that the Yankees should not have stars at every position. Watch a couple of months from now a fan will call up and say we should get Fielder and Mike will reply when is enough enough. :)

  58. blake June 27th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    In a vacuum Fielder would be awesome in YS short term….he could be the full time DH and would flirt with 50 homers. However he’s going to cost a fortune and would give the Yanks no place to rest Arod or to perhaps play Montero if he doesn’t stick at catcher. If they were going to spend a boatload this winter on a player then Reyes would be a better allocation of resources.

  59. GreenBeret7 June 27th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Afternoon, Comet or Blitzen, or Donner, whichever one of the reindeer you really are.

    Doing well, Comet. How are things in the Great White North? I read that the Winnipeg Jets are back in business. Lord, the originals could score in a hurry, led by the original Golden Jet, Bobby Hull, Serge Savard, Dale Hawerchuk, Dave Christian and Kent Nillson. will he have anything to do with the new team? I liked the wide open WHA in the day.

  60. Yankee Trader June 27th, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    To add to GB’s post from Mike Axisa:

    At the moment, the Yankees have eight players on the 60-day disabled list, which is the most I can ever remember them having at one time. Two of the 60-day DL guys are definitely done for the season (Joba Chamberlain, Colin Curtis), and one other almost certainly is (Damaso Marte). Given Brian Cashman’s recent comments about Pedro Feliciano (“we don’t expect him back this year,” paraphrasing), the lefty makes it four players that are likely to stay on the 60-day DL all season. That leaves four players expected to come back during the season that will require a 40-man roster spot opening.

    The first one is easy, since Reegie Corona (fractured arm) could just be removed from the 40-man roster when his time on the 60-day DL is up. He’s been on the 40-man bubble for over a year now. That leaves Phil Hughes, Rafael Soriano, and Eric Chavez, all of whom will probably be back right around the All-Star break, if not sooner.

    It’s also worth noting that Justin Maxwell will miss the rest of the season after tearing his labrum robbing a homerun in Triple-A, so I suppose the Yankees could always activate him off the minor league disabled list, promote him to the big leagues, then immediately stick him on the 60-day DL to clear a spot. Maxwell, his agent, and the union will love that because he’ll get to collect a big league salary and service time when he otherwise wouldn’t. I just can’t ever remember a team, nevermind the Yankees, doing that. It’s worth a mention though. Jeff Marquez’s shoulder issue is another wildcard; if the injury is serious enough to require a 60-day DL trip, well there’s another spot.

  61. SoS June 27th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Good point blake. The more and more I see Alex being nicked up and breaking down, the more I think he should see the dh position sooner rather than later. His defense is great but his offense is irreplaceable. The DH position should be his for years to come.

  62. Joe from Long Island June 27th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    With Prince Fielder, I’d be concerned that he would turn into Mo Vaughn, Chapter II. The better option for DH, I think, would be for Jesus Montero to split time there with Alex, Tex, Granderson. And, towards that plan, I’d bring Montero up sometime this summer and get an idea of how well he can ML pitching.

  63. Yankee Trader June 27th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    GB- I gave you a chance last night to shine but no reply.

    Any chance of the Yankees calling up Terry Stiffee, a switch-hitter?

  64. Erin June 27th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    New Post- Injury updates: Jeter hits, Colon pitches, Feliciano gets on a mound

    :arrow:

  65. blake June 27th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Sos,

    Alex is probably going to be the primary DH at some point before his contract is over…..he’s played a nice 3b this year but as you say….keeping him healthy enough to hit is the key.

  66. GreenBeret7 June 27th, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Reliever/closer Chase Whitley and starter Josh Romanski have been promoted from Tampa to Trenton.

  67. GreenBeret7 June 27th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Yankee Trader June 27th, 2011 at 3:21 pm
    GB- I gave you a chance last night to shine but no reply.

    Any chance of the Yankees calling up Terry Stiffee, a switch-hitter?

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    LMaO. Trader, I’m outspoken, but, even I wasn’t gonna make any remarks about that one.

  68. PRDENTIST June 27th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    If Colon comes back healthy and productive, and since Joba is gone, then i would put Hughes in the pen. He did it before and since the last account is that his fastball gets slower the 2 or 3 inning into the start, he can get arm strength and going only an inning or 2 at max. Plus, he would be there if Garcia or Colon start to fail really bad.


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