Via Ken Rosenthal -
The New York Yankees act like they’re in jail. They’re not.
They could sign free-agent right-hander Kyle Lohse and then trade either right-hander Ivan Nova or right-hander for the offense they so desperately need.
General manager Brian Cashman, however, wants no part of Lohse.
“I don’t think it would make any sense whatsoever,” Cashman said. “We have all of our pitching intact. Our problem is not our pitching. Pitching is our strength.”
The Yankees have six starters: Lefties CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte and righties Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Nova and Phelps. A seventh possibility, righty Michael Pineda, is recovering well from shoulder surgery, Cashman said.
“Pitching is our strength.”
Every time I hear this, albeit from Cashman or a Yankees fan, I want to scream.
I like David Phelps. He’s young and a fine pitcher for the back-end of your rotation.
Hiroki Kuroda is usually good for a quality 30 starts and 200 innings. But, he will be 38-years old this season and nearing the end of his career. So, there’s some risk there. Also, for what it’s worth – and I know many don’t care about this type of stuff – for most of his career he’s been a hard luck pitcher. When that happens, over and over, there’s usually a reason for it.
CC Sabathia has thrown 1,399 innings over the last 6 seasons – an average of 233 IP per season – and is coming off elbow surgery. And, while he’s slimmer this spring, he’s still not a well conditioned player – in terms of carrying too much body fat. Sooner or later, and more likely sooner, his pitching arm is going to cry out “Uncle!”
Andy Pettitte, who is one of my all-time favorite baseball players (ever!) will be 41-years old this June. The last time he had more than 21 starts in a major league season was four years ago. The last time he won more than 14 games in a season was six years ago. So, why should we expect him to make 30 starts and win 15+ games this season at his age?
Last season, Ivan Nova faced 748 major league batters and they had a collective .511 Slugging Percentage against him. Forget what he’s doing in Spring Training. You can never trust Spring Training stats. When the bell rings, he won’t be fooling anyone – he didn’t last year.
Phil Hughes should make 30 starts, win 15+ games, and pitch close to 200 innings this year. He’s done that two of the last three years. Plus, he’s pitching for his free agency – so, there’s a carrot on the stick for him this year. But, he’s not a staff leader. He’s more a middle-to-the-back-end starting pitcher at this point in his career.
Don’t even get me started about the Dominican John Blutarsky, Michael Pineda.
“Pitching is our strength.”
Tell me that in August and September. When I see it then, I will believe it. Right now, it’s just a promise and a wish from Brian Cashman.