Originally, our next Pinch Hitter was our leadoff hitter. Michael Laferriere’s post was scheduled to run exactly one week ago. It was going to kickoff the series with a few words in support of Brian Cashman’s patient winter.
Then Cashman got busy, and wouldn’t you know it, Michael was on board.
His original post centered on the idea of what the Yankees rotation could become if the team allowed time for development. Now, with the rotation enhanced, Michael has rewritten to take the latest moves into account. He’s a 25-year-old CPA living in Wolcott, CT who says his favorite Yankees player is Robinson Cano, but for this post, his focus is on the mound.
A little more than a week ago, everything was silent in the Bronx. If you listened closely, you could actually hear George Steinbrenner rolling over in his grave. Brian Cashman had been so cheap that he should have been staring in an episode of Extreme Couponing. And Yankee fans were growing restless.
The 2012 Yankees rotation had several questions surrounding it. Could Ivan Nova repeat his rookie success? Could Phil Hughes bounce back from a rough 2011 season? Did Freddy Garcia have one good year left in him? How many remotes would I shatter watching A.J. Burnett?
In the past, Cashman may have panicked in this situation. He might have spent $15 million plus per year on C.J. Wilson or Edwin Jackson, or traded away the farm to get Gio Gonzalez or Matt Garza. But why?
The Yankees needed a #2 starter, and in my opinion, none of the names mentioned above qualify. Yes, they might have been an upgrade in the short term, but for the first time in a long time, the Yankees weren’t focused on the short term. They were focused on the F word. A word that has been forbidden in the Bronx for as long as I can remember: The Future.
Cashman showed a newfound patience, and when the timing was right, he struck. And he struck gold. Thanks to Brian Cashman’s patience, the Yankees have the potential to have a young, dominant, and relatively affordable rotation for the foreseeable future.
Think about a potential 2013 rotation of (current age):
1) CC Sabathia (31)
2) Michael Pineda (22)
3) Ivan Nova (25)
4) Manny Banuelos (20)
5) Dellin Betances (23)
6) Phil Hughes (25)
I absolutely love both moves the Yankees made earlier this month. They added a veteran pitcher to the rotation on a low-risk one-year deal, and they traded for a young stud pitcher with No. 1 potential. Giving up Jesus Montero stings a bit, but to be honest, there’s not really a place for him on this team. Having a full time DH doesn’t really make sense given all the veterans, and Montero’s defense at the catcher position has always been questioned. Not to mention the Yankees have incredible depth at catcher with Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez still developing. Making this trade not only benefited the Yankees in the present, but it benefited the Yankees for the next ten plus years.
Now the 2012 Yankees don’t seem to have a hole. They already had one of the best lineups in baseball and arguably the best bullpen in baseball. Now they have an ace in CC Sabathia, an ace in training in Michael Pineda, a solid No. 3 in Hiroki Kuroda, and Nova coming off a strong rookie year. If Hughes can return to his 2010 form or if Burnett can finally get himself together, you can argue that the Yankees now have one of the strongest starting rotations in the game. They also have an insurance policy in Garcia.
Props to Brian Cashman, who on Friday the 13th made two transactions that should have the rest of baseball frightened. And Yankees fans overjoyed.
Associated Press photo