I was, however, a little amused by Joe Girardi saying as much when asked about the move:
Rothschild said the Yankees talked about several options, but Joe Girardi said it ultimately came down to either a six-man rotation or optioning Nova to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The six-man rotation always seemed a little too far out of the box. The Yankees briefly discussed Nova in the bullpen, but they worried it would hurt his development.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but compare it to Mark Newman’s answer when asked about why Hector Noesi was being used sparingly as a long reliever in the big leagues rather than pitching in the Scranton rotation:
Our thoughts are that we’re in an ‘all-hands on deck’ scenario. Our mission is to win games in New York. Our secondary mission is to develop championship-caliber players in our farm system. In the ideal situation, Noesi would be a starter in Scranton right now and be continuing his development. However, we have to return to that priority of winning in New York. In that regard, we are doing what we have to do at this moment. It may not be what any of us like to do, but it’s what we have to do.
Now you can take that in isolation and criticize what we’re doing as detrimental to his development, or you can view it in the context of a bigger picture. You can ask any rabid Yankee fan and I would guess they’d care more about winning in New York than the development of a young pitcher.
Of course, the choice between “winning in New York” and developing pitchers is a false one, in so much as you can’t win at the big league level for long unless you’re developing pitchers who can get outs for you. And in general, with the amount of injuries to pitchers on the 40-man roster the Yankees have incurred in the past couple of months, I could see where you needed Noesi on the big league roster for a while, but if it was an emergency situation, why was Brian Gordon sent down instead of Noesi when Bartolo Colon returned to the active roster.
I really like Noesi, and think he has a chance to develop into a quality middle of the rotation guy if he can develop a true out pitch, but right now he’s not ready for the major leagues. He’s been good as he progressed through the minors, but in just 39 innings at the Triple-A level, he has a 5.7 K/9 and 1.92 K/BB, compared to career minor league marks of 8.6 and 5.06 respectively. And that’s translating in the big leagues right now too, as he’s striking out just 4.1 batter per nine innings, with a K/BB of 1.43.
And yet, he toils away in a long relief role, getting sporadic work at best. Actions generally speak louder than words when it comes to judging what professional baseball teams are doing, and right now the Yankees are treating Hector Noesi the way you would treat a non-prospect.