Thursday, October 16, 2014

2015 Yankees if I Were GM: Starting Rotation

If I were the GM of the New York Yankees we would have well over 30 World Series championships by now, but I digress. I have revealed what I would personally do if I were in Brian Cashman’s shoes with the infield, outfield, and bullpen so today it’s time for the starting staff. The Yankees have a starting staff chock full of question marks heading into the 2015 season which means the need for stability, depth, and young talent may never be more important than it is right now. Heading into the season the Yankees staff looks something along the lines of CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Shane Greene, and David Phelps in no particular order. Hiroki Kuroda is all but gone, Brandon McCarthy is a free agent, and Ivan Nova won’t be ready until May or June after rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. For my first move as the GM I will spoil the offseason for a lot of fans by stating that I will not be going after any of James Shields, Jon Lester, or Max Scherzer. Sorry Yankees family.

The Yankees need stability and I think that comes in the form of Brandon McCarthy. While I worry about his ability to stay on the field, those should injuries scare me, and while I also worry about having my expectations too high after his second half stint with the Yankees bringing him back makes a lot of sense. If he stays healthy he can keep the ball down, keep New York in games, and give you 200 innings. I think of McCarthy more as a replacement for Kuroda in 2015 filling that role than I do an ace of the staff type signing. I would also entertain a Chris Capuano return but only on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. Capuano was good for the Yankees but there are much better options already on and around the team and that 40 man roster spot is valuable.

In the prospects department I think New York is set. The team got stellar results from Bryan Mitchell the half a second they used him and I truly think he could be the next Shane Greene/ David Phelps/ Adam Warren type to come out of the Yankees system. Manny Banuelos finally looks healthy and ready to contribute at the major league level after his Tommy John surgery and would also be waiting in the wings at Triple-A. Another reason not to bring back Capuano is simply because Luis Severino seems to be on the fast track to the majors and could be a factor in the second half to late 2015.

I finish my search for starting pitching with a lengthy discussion with Jason Hammel of the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics. Hammel pitched extremely well for the Cubs in a tiny little ballpark, albeit in the National League, but got bombed in the American League with the A’s. The ballpark he pitched in while with the A’s was much bigger with a lot of foul ground and he simply struggled to get outs. I don’t believe with the flip of a switch Hammel forgot how to pitch and I also look to examples like Jim Johnson as a reason to think maybe it’s Oakland, the weather, the ballpark, whatever and not the pitchers themselves. Hammel may be the steal of the offseason after a down half season in Oakland and is a definite low risk high reward type player. Hammel could be a steal and I want him to be a steal for the Yankees, not a team like the Tampa Bay Rays or Minnesota Twins.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. With McCarthy, Sabathia, Tanaka, Greene, Phelps, Pineda, Nova, Hammel, Mitchell, Banuelos, and Severino the Yankees may have too much pitching and not enough spots to fill them all, and that’s the best kind of problem to have. I think it’s realistic and I think it could be done without huge commitments for long years and huge contracts. Whether it happens or not remains to be seen but if I were GM this is what I would do, what would you do?

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)