Analyzing moves made by the Yankees in the off-season and game recaps during the season.
Banner/Layout courtesy of Zach Lasky.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Where They Stand
Where do the Yankees stand only one week before pitchers and catchers report to Tampa, Florida? There are many questions surrounding the rotation being the excess pitching that is not a sure thing to work. Late last week, the Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates began heavy discussion surrounding A.J Burnett. The Yankees need to get rid of pitching, the Pirates need pitching; the Yankees need to get money to sign a DH, the Pirates need a cheap player who can provide stability and a veteran presence in their rotation.
I initially thought that the Yankees would enter Spring Training with Burnett penciled in to be their number five starter. Since then, the discussions got deeper and the prospect of Burnett being traded became more of a reality. A deal needs to get done. Burnett is a fragile creature and if the trade falls through, his ego will be further bruised, so expecting him to fall apart early in the season would not be unfathomable. My gut tells me that Burnett will not begin the season as a Yankee. His Yankee career will conclude with a record of 34-35, a 4.79 ERA and 99 appearances (98 starts). The possibility of not having Burnett in the rotation gives me hope. He was a good project but his time has come and gone in the pinstripes.
What does scare me however, is the lack of quality depth behind C.C. Behind the ace, are five starters who have the ability to be something special but are not givens as great starters. Michael Pineda has never started a game in New York and his second half 2011 stats scare me. Ivan Nova had a stellar year but there's no guarantee that it will translate into the 2012 season, (look up Hughes, Phil). Hiroki Kuroda made a living pitching in the National League and for a west coast team. He is also 37 years old and nobody knows how he will perform under the scrutiny of New York fans and media. Phil Hughes is coming back from a terrible season. Freddy Garcia's best years are behind him and chances are that he does not repeat the year he had in 2011.
That is what to expect coming into Spring Training. Hopefully my skepticism is put to rest and my fears do not take the best of me. One thing is promising however, and that is A.J Burnett's career as a Yankee is probably over.