Saturday, November 19, 2011

Options for the Yankee Rotation

As we learned from Ben Nicholson-Smith's engaging summary of the NYY portions of Joel Sherman's column from Friday:

The Yankees have “looked into” Matt Garza, but a Cubs official downplayed the likelihood of any deal involving the right-hander, according to Sherman.
If you Buy High, Sell Higher
Cub fans should love the Cubs to trade Matt Garza while his stock is high. He had a good campaign in 2011.

There are only two ways the Matt Garza deal won't be remembered as a fiasco for Jim Hendry:

1.) Matt Garza or Zach Rosscup contribute positively to a Cubs World Series championship team.
2.) Garza or Rosscup are traded for more than Chris Archer, Robinson Chirinos, Hak-Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer, and Sam Fuld.

Garza pitched very well for the Cubs last season, raising his status to a potential co-ace or #2 starter for a good team.

Perhaps Cashman and Co. look at Garza as a worthy #2 starter to CC Sabathia. If so, the Cubs should begin discussions with yet to turn 19-years old Gary Sanchez.

More from
The Yankees particularly like Gio Gonzalez and the Athletics are open to anything, but GM Billy Beane is asking for an ace return for Gonzalez or Trevor Cahill.

The Yankees like John Danks and the White Sox like many Yankees prospects, particularly Austin Romine. However, Danks is a free agent after 2012 and the Yankees are reluctant to over-spend on a pitcher they’ll have for just one year.

If the Yankees don't make a major acquisition before Spring Training, they could pencil C.C. Sabathia, Ivan Nova, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes into four rotation spots. Free agent Freddy Garcia could return on a one-year deal and prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances may contribute at some point in 2012.
Billy Beane should ask for an ace return in his two young pitchers. Gio and Cahill may not exactly be aces, yet, but they are young enough to project towards having an "Ace" season within the next 2 or 3 years. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The Yankees can't get John Danks, Gio Gonzalez, or Trevor Cahill without giving up Ivan Nova or any of their 5-star prospects. Who else do the Yankees have to offer? Their return must be more blue chip than Matt Garza or John Danks to move Banuelos, Betances, Ivan Nova, or Jesus Montero.

What will the Yankees do with the opening(s) in their rotation? Penciling in the names, we find:

CC Sabathia
Ivan Nova
Phil Hughes
A.J. Burnett
tbd - Combination of Banuelos, Betances, and Hector Noesi, re-signing free agents Freddy Garcia and/or Bartolo Colon, signing other teams' free agents, or finding a trading partner.

As a snapshot of possibilities, a few quick comparisons:

2011 ERA+
C.J. Wilson 152
CC Sabathia 147
Gio Gonzalez 130
Jair Jurrjens 128
Ivan Nova 119
Matt Garza 118
Bartolo Colon 111
Hector Noesi 99
Trevor Cahill 97
John Danks 97
A.J. Burnett 86
Chris Capuano 82
Carlos Zambrano 81
Phil Hughes 77

2009-2011 ERA+
C.J. Wilson 146
CC Sabathia 140
Jair Jurrjens 124
Ivan Nova 114
Gio Gonzalez 113
John Danks 112
Bartolo Colon 111
Matt Garza 109
Trevor Cahill 107
Carlos Zambrano 106
Phil Hughes 104
Hector Noesi 99
A.J. Burnett 93
Chris Capuano 87

2011 SIERA
CC Sabathia 3.14
Matt Garza 3.31
C.J. Wilson 3.44
Bartolo Colon 3.60
Chris Capuano 3.60
Gio Gonzalez 3.78
John Danks 3.81
Hector Noesi 3.82
A.J. Burnett 3.89
Trevor Cahill 4.02
Ivan Nova 4.29
Jair Jurrjens 4.43
Carlos Zambrano 4.46
Phil Hughes 4.80

2009-2011 SIERA
CC Sabathia 3.54
Chris Capuano 3.66
C.J. Wilson 3.67
Hector Noesi 3.82
Matt Garza 3.85
Bartolo Colon 3.92
Phil Hughes 3.95
Gio Gonzalez 3.99
John Danks 4.11
A.J. Burnett 4.15
Carlos Zambrano 4.33
Ivan Nova 4.34
Trevor Cahill 4.41
Jair Jurrjens 4.42

Capuano, Wilson, Hughes, Nova, and Noesi all spent considerable time throwing out of the bullpen at some point since in the past three seasons, which skews the data for their contributions.

Interesting, how someone like Chris Capuano looks lousy in ERA+ and very good in SIERA. Hmmm?

Let's hear from the Yankee fans... What should Brian Cashman do with the tail end of the rotation? How many arms should they add before Spring Training? And, who do you like the most? Hit us up in the comment section (below) or on Twitter.

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