Girardi to make rotation decision soon

“You look at Freddy’s year last year and it was really good,” the manager said. “And for a guy that’s not supposed to be pitch well in spring training, he sure has pitched well.”

That said, I think King is likely being over generous with his interpretation here. As Chad Jennings notes, the most obvious difference between Garcia and the collective of Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, and Phil Hughes is that the latter group figures to be an important part of the Yankees’ roster for multiple years going forward, while Garcia looks like a year-to-year back end of the rotation piece at best. All else being equal, that potential impact on the future should be the determining factor in a close decision. King calls Garcia the known commodity, but that seems like a euphemism for “he’s pretty old” more than anything else, really. After all, Garcia is still the guy who posted a 4.64 ERA in 2010, his peripherals last year don’t exactly reach out and scream “sustainable!” at you, and even granting the positive aspects of his 2011 production, he was only good for 146.2 innings, a number that doesn’t figure to grow with another year on the body.

That’s not to say I don’t see an argument for giving Garcia the final rotation spot, however. He has been pitching quite well this spring and, at this point, I would seriously consider consider Garcia over Nova, at least at the outset of the season. Not that Nova has been particularly horrible, per se, but he has struggled his fastball to this point, and given that he lacks overpowering stuff and depends on getting a lot of groundballs to avoid significant damage, that’s something Nova simply cannot afford to do on a consistent basis. Sending Nova to the minors could also help with the much documented austerity budget plan in 2014 as, with Andy Pettitte slated to bump the fifth guy in the rotation sometime in May anyway, there’s a fairly decent chance that Nova could spend enough time in the minors this season to delay his first year of arbitration eligibility to 2015.

I’m not saying that Nova definitely should be the sixth man when this is all said and done by any means, but I don’t think that possibility should be out of the question, either. Nova might have been the Yankees’ second best starter last April, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t their sixth, or even seventh, best option now.

About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

6 thoughts on “Girardi to make rotation decision soon

  1. I was always a big fan of Nova, even when others weren't. But – as you say, last year's best #2 is definitely not the best one this year. Of the three "competitors" he's the one I'd rather see in the minors. It motivated him last year; based on some reports of his sense of "entitlement"* coming into camp, it might not hurt this year.

    *I understand, Brien – I have NO idea how he came to camp, or WHAT he is/was thinking – there is so much conflicting info from so many sources, I'm pretty sure that Girardi and Cashman are among the few who actually know. But every now and then there might be fire where you see smoke.

  2. It pretty much has to be Nova doesn't it? Unless you're trading Freddy.He won't get enough work in the bullpen with the way it's constructed.

  3. If I could go slightly OT here, Brien. (please) – One thing I haven't seen anywhere is the possibility that Kuroda comes in and performs as well as Javy did in his second go-round. Is there any chance that could happen? After all, Javy looked like a really good hire after the year(s) he had in the NL, before returning to the Yankees.

    If the answer is "No way" – great. But in reading yet another piece about the rotation, that just kind of jumped out at me. We're all assuming Kuroda will be solid, etc. Kind of like when the innings eater with the better record (Javy) came back.

    • Well, it's possible of course. I'd guess no one is paying attention to it because worrying about worst case scenarios is kind of a pointless endeavor. But on the bright side, with the Yankees' pitching depth, Pettitte on his way back, and the fact that Kuroda is only on a one year deal, I'd venture that it'd be just a matter of time before the Yankees cut bait on Kuroda is he were to become irredeemably awful.

  4. I'm thinking that they'll break camp with Garcia, Pineda & Hughes in the 3-5 SP spots & Nova starts out in the Noesi role unless Garcia is sold/traded before Opening Day.

    If Pettitte is ready by mid-May, either Nova goes down (and Freddy goes to the MRP role) or Freddy goes out (traded) and Nova stays in as the MRP.

    Great problem to have. I had a Phillies fan tell me that the Yankees are losing it in "not believing" in the guys they signed or traded for and Pettitte was a desperation move. I laughed and explained that it is only upside as it is a minor league deal that should raise everyones level of play.

    • I'd be really surprised if Nova were used as a long reliever. Noesi was breaking into the big leagues last year, and injuries depleted the available stock of long reliever/swing man types on the roster. Nova is more established as a starter, and it would make more sense to keep him stretched out given that he has options than it would to add him to an already deep bullpen.