Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Evil Empire Strikes

And so goes the quiet off-season that Brian Cashman was talking about for months. The Yankees have made two major moves that will bolster their starting rotation. The Bombers acquire young Seattle star Michael Pineda and prospect Jose Campos in exchange for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi. It is a gutsy move by Cashman to give away Montero, a proven hitter at the major league level in a small sample size. I also believe that Noesi has a lot of upside and if not for Banuelos and Betances, could have prospered in the Yankees organization for years to come.
However, there is a positive that comes out of all this, and not a small one. The Yankees get two quality starting pitchers! They now have a rotation that features CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Hiroki Kuroda, and Ivan Nova. If that doesn't scare you as an opposing team, it should. The Phillies have aging star pitchers. Two of the Yankees top 4 are under 26 years old. Don't forget that Banuelos and Betances are waiting in AAA to get a chance to pitch for the Bombers. I would rank the Yankees starting rotation in the top five in the American League, joining the likes of the Angels and Rays. The Yankees splash also leads to another series of questions. The first one being that they have seven starters. Who will be the odd man out between Hughes, Burnett, and Garcia? The other question that remains is who will be the Yankees designated hitter in 2012? Let's start with the first question. The Yankees may have something else up their sleeve. Phil Hughes and AJ Burnett are the odd men out based on last year's statistics. If Hughes isn't traded, I can see him joining the Yankees bullpen while Joba Chamberlain is on the DL recovering from Tommy John surgery. If the Yankees can find suckers to take on the majority of Burnett's salary it will be a miracle. This leaves Freddy Garcia as the most sensible option to round out the Yankees stacked rotation. (Never thought I would say that). To answer the second question, the Yankees have an eye on Carlos Pena. I do not think he is a good option to fill the designated hitter slot in the Yankees lineup. A .225 average would not serve the Yankees very well. I envision a possible reunion between Johnny Damon and the Yankees. It would make sense. He would be a great leadoff option against right-handers and Jeter would remain the leadoff hitter against lefties. Damon is also a proven asset in the American League East and in the past has been very clutch and reliable for the Yankees. Nevertheless, look out for the Yankees to make a move in the DH department and soon.

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