As the playoffs are going on, (as I write this, Dodgers in NLCS, Pirates/Cards going to Game 5, Boston up on the Rays 2 games to 1, A’s up on Tigers 2 games to 1) and I’ve been busy, I haven’t written.
I did want to discuss what the Yanks may be like in 2014. I am NOT eager or optimistic about 2014.
Starting rotation. Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes won’t be back. Now some may cheer the fact that Hughes is leaving, esp. after his awful 4-14, 5.19, ERA+78 2013 season. But who replaces him? Hiroki Kuroda turns 39 next year. He is a free agent and is no guarantee to return. Kuroda was 11-13, 3.31, ERA+ 122 in 2013. If he doesn’t return, it leaves a huge hole in the Yanks’ rotation.
So who is certain? CC, who will be 34 in mid-2014 and who is coming off a bad 14-13, 4.78, ERA+ 85 year, and Ivan Nova, who all of a sudden is the #2 starter (too high?) and who was 9-6, 3.10, ERA+ 130 in 2013.
… and that is IT.
Do David Phelps and/or Adam Warren go into the rotation? Both are basically #5 starters. One in the rotation, ok. Both? Hmmm….
Phelps, 27, is 7-6, 4.39 in 23 starts for his career (10-9, 4.11, ERA+ 101 overall). Warren, 26, has made just three MLB starts in his career. He’s 3-2, 3.97, ERA+ 103 in his career in just 35 games, 79 1/3 innings pitched.
Michael Pineda, who’ll be 25 next year, missed all of 2012 with a shoulder injury, and pitched just 40 2/3 innings in 2013 (2-1, 3.32 at three minor league levels).
Who was at AAA? Caleb Cotham, 25 was 6-6, 5.48. 23-year-old Brett Marshall 7-10, 5.13. Nothing promising in those stats. I am not sold on David Huff. The 29-year-old is 21-27, 5.32 in his MLB career, ERA+ 77.
The truth is, Andy Pettitte, who’ll turn 42 next June, could be a better option than just about anyone here, and he is retiring after an 11-11, 3.74 (ERA+ 108) season.
With the Yanks being budget-conscious, you wonder who, if anyone, they’ll pick up in the offseason. Right now, the 2014 rotation is a mess.
To the bullpen. Mo is gone, retired, after a 6-2, 2.11, 44 save (ERA+ 192) farewell. It looks as if David Robertson (5-1, 2.04, 3 saves, ERA+ 199) will replace him as the closer.
But what of the domino effect? Who’ll now set up?
Boone Logan is a free agent. He is getting bone chips removed from his elbow. He was 5-2, 3.23, ERA+ 126. It looks like Cesar Cabral, 24, 0-0, 2.45 in 3 2/3 innings late in the year, could make a run at a bullpen job.
Joba is a free agent and he’ll be gone after a 2-1, 4.93, ERA+ 83 season. Such talent wasted.
Shawn Kelley and Preston Claiborne both were decent in mid-2013 but both faded badly down the stretch. Both wound up with ERA’s over 4.00. Kelley 4-2, 4.39, ERA+ 93 and Claiborne 0-2, 4.11, ERA+ 99.
Matt Daley is a 31-year-old journeyman who tossed six shutout innings at the end of the year. He’s 2-2, 4.38 in his MLB career (just 86 1/3 IP).
I liked what I saw of Vidal Nuno last year, the problem was he barely pitched. He was 1-2, 2.25 in 20 MLB innings, and 2-0, 1.44 in 25 AAA innings.
Can you really start 2014 with two guys in the rotation (Pineda and Nuno) who together, didn’t pitch 100 innings in 2013?
The Yanks have to find out if Dellin Betances can cut it. I believe he is out of options. They moved him from starter to reliever in 2013 and he did much better, going 6-4, 2.68 overall at AAA. 108 K in 84 IP. He will be 26 next March and was just 0-0, 10.80 in five MLB innings this season.
There is a lot of unknown here. Can CC regain his form? Who’ll be in the rotation? Will Kuroda be back? How will Nova and Pineda do, since neither pitched often in 2013? How will Mo’s departure affect the bullpen? Can Phelps, Betances and Warren step up?
The first way to turn a team around is with pitching. I’m not enamored with what I see for 2014.
This offseason, we’ll see what moves are made in this regard. The problem is, the Yanks’ frugality lately may bite them here.
What is available, and will the Yanks go get it?
Looking ahead right now, I am not optimistic about the pitching.
Next up in Part 2: The position players. Also, Girardi. Will he (a free agent) stay or go?