The Yankees are stockpiling has-been pitching stars. This is a low-risk, high reward philosophy. With Brian Cashman unwilling to trade for a starting pitcher, and unwilling to take a flyer on 2011 free agents like Brandon Webb or Justin Duchscherer he decided to stick his hand deep into the bottom of the barrel to sign Mark Prior, Bartolo Colon, and Freddy Garcia.
Now, once you accept that Cashman is not going to trade away Joba Chamberlain or Jesus Montero for an elite pitcher, and once you accept that he didn’t want to spend money on a good pitcher, you should be okay with these scrapheap signings.
These guys are virtually free (using relative baseball economics) and out of all of them Freddy Garcia is a good 5th starter. Garcia was better than AJ Burnett last year for the White Sox (12-6, 4.64, 157 innings pitched). Granted, Freddy threw under 60 innings every year from 2007-2009, and is very injury prone, but I don’t have a problem with the signing. Yeah, I know it’s an EMBARRASSING signing and leaves itself open to mockery, but Freddy is better than Sergio Mitre. It should be noted Garcia “outdueled” AJ Burnett last year. Well, at least Garcia looks like a Latin version The Rock, so female Yankees fans and gay Yankees fans should be pleased.
Bartolo Colon had fallen off the cliff after he was 21 games for the Angels in 2005. And he fell real, real bad and has been out of baseball. This is truly a shot in the dark. He’s still fat, too, and would be the third coming of Sidney Ponson (mostly will get rocked, but may have a semi-decent start vs The Red Sox). And the plus side, he has a history with CC Sabathia on the Indians (they were Cleveland’s 1-2 punch).
Mark Prior, whose last season was 2006 (7.21 ERA), needs to show he could pitch in the minor leagues before the Yanks even sniff him. Mark was struggling in the beer leagues, but Cashman is praying that he could pull off being 2010 Kerry Wood for a month. Experts are saying that Prior will not be seen in a Yankees uniform.
Some Yankees faithful are still holding out for Andy Pettitte to walk in through that door and save the season. If he does, the 2011 Yankees starting rotation would look like: CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, AJ Burnett, and a mixture of Ivan Nova or Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon.
Without Andy, the rotation is CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, AJ Burnett, and a bunch guys (Ivan Nova or Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colo) who are really 5th starters occupying both spots, this time including the greatness that is Sergio Mitre. When you consider they are still better than AJ Burnett, the Yankees rotation comes down to CC and Hughes.
Anything can happen, of course; that’s the fun of baseball- nothing can be predicted with certainty. I’m okay with Garcia and Colon if they have good Springs or AAA starts. And I’d love to see Nova get a few months of starts under his belt [FREE IVAN NOVA]- I know Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman aren’t sold on him, and like Mitre better.
I would like for Girardi to think outside the box with their usage and get some work in for all of them and see what sticks. There’s no way Nova, Mitre, Garcia, Colon, and Prior hit 200 innings by themselves, but mixing them up when be OK.
If they suck, and the Yankees pitch like 2004, look for Andy Pettitte to return and save the season.
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