Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Training 3/21/12

Phil Hughes may have cemented what we all expected him to have, the 5th spot in the starting rotation, today with a very solid 5 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. He gave up two runs on a Matt "Babe Ruth Of The Grapefruit League 2012" Joyce in the campaign along with three hits and one walk in route to a Yankees 5-2 victory.  Hughes threw 73 pitches with 50 of them being strikes and you do not want to put much stock into spring training games but Hughes was pounding the strike zone all day long with numbers like that.

The game was tied at two runs a piece heading into the ninth inning when Cole Gardner lead off with a ground rule double to right center field. Jorge Vazquez proceeded to move the runner along on a routine sacrifice fly out and finally Justin Maxwell knocked him in with a bloop double to right field. Gustavo Molina came in and hit a two run home run to open the flood gates and the Yankees win by that final score of 5-2.

Up next for the Yanks, with the regular season drawing closer and closer, is the rival Boston Red Sox. David Phelps will get the nod down in Jet Blue Park down in Fort Myers FL and will face Aaron Cook. The game is scheduled for 7:05 ET and will be on MLB TV.

The Yankees Can't Lose

Future ace?

For a while people have been saying that you can't grade the trade of Jesus Montero & Hector Noesi for Michael Pineda & Jose Campos for many years, and I have been agreeing with that assessment. Until we see what each player has to offer MLB, then there's no way to know one way or another that the trade was good or bad. But maybe that's not true.

I've been having a discussion/argument with Greg from Evil Empire Prospects and Bronx Baseball Daily about the trade. He believes that if Montero turns into the perennial all-star that many believe he will be, and Noesi turns into an ace, that the Yankees lost the deal. It won't matter if both Pineda and Campos are aces for the Yankees, because the Bombers would have lost something that they really don't have in the minor leagues right now... an incredible hitting prospect, that could lead the middle of their order for many, many, years. His point is that the Yanks already have CC as the ace of the staff, an excellent pitching prospect in Manny Banuelos, and many more B+ pitching prospects in guys like Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, DJ Mitchell, and David Phelps. And the team simply doesn't need that many aces to succeed (look at the Cardinals' pitching rotation versus the Phillies' pitching rotation).

It's hard to disagree with that logic. However I've been pointing out that it's better to buy hitters than pitchers, and the Yankees have plenty to buy with. Combine that with an awesome young pitching staff and the team can be incredible successful for years. But today I hit upon something that I wanted to share...

The trade simply can not be called a bad trade. Bad trades, to me, are those that damage a team's ability to win. Look at the damage Omar Minaya did to the Expos/Nationals by dealing away Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, and Cliff Lee for Bartolo Colon. That's a bad trade (if any Indians fans are reading this I apologize for making you cry over this again). But the Yankees will continue to have one of the best offenses in the game, and they will continue to be able to acquire top pitching. So even if Montero and Noesi are future HOFers, while Pineda and Campos are future journeymen in MLB, it won't make a lick of difference. The Yankees will still be winning, and will simply look back on this trade and think "damn, that sucked, but we don't have time to dwell on that because we're gearing up for the postseason again".