Posted on: February 24, 2011 4:52 pm
The Yankees have an obvious top three in their starting pitching rotation in CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett. We know that. Behind those three, however, things get a bit murky. There's a handful of relatively uninspiring candidates vying for the last two spots -- including names like Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre.
Garcia does appear to be separating himself from the group, though, and he is the favorite for the fourth spot, according to SI.com 's Jon Heyman.
Garcia, 35, was a two-time All-Star early in his career for Seattle and then a solid starter for the White Sox for two years. In fact, he was part of the historic chain of World Series shutouts for the South Siders in 2005, throwing seven shutout innings and garnering the win in series-clinching Game 4.
He was in danger of falling out of the league for good at several points throughout the 2007-2009 seasons, but caught on with the White Sox again. He started 37 games for the Sox over the past two seasons, going 15-10 with a 4.56 ERA and 1.33 WHIP.
If Garcia does lock down the fourth spot, the Yankees' question marks in the staff hardly disappear. There's still that five spot, not to mention the questions that come with Hughes and Burnett.
The 24-year-old Hughes was an All-Star last season, but faltered down the stretch. After starting 10-1 with a 3.17 ERA, Hughes went 8-7 with a 5.07 ERA the rest of the way. That could be due to normal fatigue for a youngster or teams' advanced scouting catching up to Hughes' stuff.
Burnett was flat awful for most of last season. He ended with a career worst 5.26 ERA and a dreadful 1.51 WHIP. His record was 10-15, and this for a team that won 95 games. There's no question Burnett has talent, and at age 34 he should still have some gas left in the tank. He just needs to get back on track.
As for the fifth spot in the rotation, Heyman reports it's "anyone's guess."
-- Matt Snyder
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Posted on: February 23, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 12:47 pm
While there's not exactly a great time to lose a pitcher that's been in the top three of the Cy Young voting each of the last two years, February may be one of the better times to get that kind of bad news.
Tony La Russa, Dave Duncan (above) and John Mozeliak at least have time to assess their options.
First off, it puts more pressure on Kyle Lohse, who goes from the highest-paid No. 5 in the league to the highest-paid No. 4 ($11.875 million both this season and next).
For now, La Russa said (from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch), "We're not going to look outside the organization. The answer is here."
So what's the answer? Here's a multiple choice.
1. Kyle McClellan -- One of the Cardinals best options out of the bullpen the last couple of years, McClellan came up as a starter and was even in the race to make the rotation last season before being beat out by Jaime Garcia. He has the arsenal to start -- including a slider he's shelved the last two years in the bullpen -- and is likely the favorite.
2. Lance Lynn -- A big right-hander (6-foot-6, 250), Lynn was 13-10 with a 4.77 ERA at Triple-A Memphis last season. He struck out 141 batters in 164 innings last season. He pitches in the mid-90s and also has a decent curveball and changeup. Having spent more than a year at Triple-A, he's likely to debut sometime this season, regardless of what happens out of the gate.
3. Ian Snell -- The Cardinals signed the former Pirate to a minor-league contract this offseason, hoping he'd be Duncan's next reclamation project. Snell was a 14-game winner for the Pirates in 2006 (with a 4.74 ERA), but has gone 23-39 with a 4.74 ERA since. Last season he started eight games for the Pirates and appeared in four more, going 0-5 with a 6.41 ERA.
4. P.J. Walters -- Walters started three games for the Cardinals last season, going 2-0 with a 3.94 ERA. Walters gave up nearly a hit an inning, but also managed to miss bats, striking out 11 in 16 innings as a starter. He was less successful as a reliever, but showed promise as a starter. He went seven innings on Sept. 29 against the Pirates, allowing just three hits and no runs.
5. Adam Ottavino -- Like Walters, Ottavino started three games for the Cardinals in 2010. He went 0-2 with a 7.53 ERA in his two starts, allowing 12 runs in 14 1/3 innings, while walking eight. He was taken off the team's 40-man roster this offseason. He was 5-3 with a 3.97 ERA in nine starts at Memphis last season.
6. Shelby Miller -- Miller breaking camp probably isn't going to happen -- and shouldn't. Miller is the team's top -- and some say only -- prospect. Miller has a bright future, but his only experience so far is 26 games in the low-A Midwest League. Last season he went 7-5 with a 3.62 ERA for Quad Cities. He has a good fastball and curveball, but has yet to show command of his changeup. Miller will be in St. Louis soon, just not this soon.
Sure, they say they're looking in-house first, but they may not like what they see and decide to go outside. It wouldn't be the first time La Russa said something and then did the opposite. There are a few available options:
1. Kevin Millwood -- The veteran has been holding out for a big-league contract, perhaps anticipating such an opportunity as this. Still, Millwood may not get that big-league contract from the Cardinals. He was 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA for the Orioles last season.
2. Joe Blanton -- The Phillies have said they're holding on to their fifth starter, but the Cardinals could be tempted. The problem is St. Louis' system isn't very deep and may lack the prospects to land Blanton, unless Philadelphia is looking to give him away.
3. Yankees castoffs -- The Yankees have certainly searched the scrap heap to replace Andy Pettitte, signing Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. If either -- or both -- of those veterans are jettisoned before the end of spring training, the Cardinals could bring either in to work with Duncan.-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: February 3, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2011 6:51 pm
With Andy Pettitte choosing retirement, the Yankees now go toward 2011 in the position they didn't want to face -- with an incomplete rotation.
CC Sabathia still leads the rotation, with Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett behind him. After that? Well, it's up in the air. The internal candidates are Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre. The team has added Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia to minor-league contracts and there are reports they're still interested in Kevin Millwood.
Here's a look at the 2010 seasons from those hoping to fill Pettitte's shoes:
Nova: 1-2, 4.50 ERA, 10 games, 7 starts, 42 IP, 44 H, 22 R, 21 ER, 17 BB, 26 K
Mitre: 0-3, 3.33 ERA, 27 games, 3 starts, 54 IP, 43 H, 23 R, 20 ER, 16 BB, 29 K
Garcia: 12-6, 4.64 ER, 28 games, 28 starts, 157 IP, 171 H, 85 R, 81 ER, 45 BB, 89 K
Colon: (2009) 3-6, 4.19 ERA, 12 games, 12 starts, 62 1/3 IP, 69 H, 42 R, 29 ER, 21 BB, 38 K
Millwood: 4-16, 5.10 ERA, 31 games, 31 starts, 190 2/3 IP, 223 H, 116 R, 108 ER, 65 BB, 132 K
That's not quite the Sabathia-Cliff Lee-Hughes-Pettitte-Burnett rotation the Yankees had dreamed off when their 2010 season was ended by the Rangers. But it also doesn't end the Yankees' playoff hopes, either. Sabathia and Hughes are certainly good enough to get the job done at the top of the rotation, even if Burnett is a wild card. The Yankees also have a good enough farm system now that they can go out and get a starter at the trade deadline.
No, the Yankees aren't as good as they would be with Pettitte, but it's hardly time for 29 other teams to celebrate the death of baseball in the Bronx.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: January 26, 2011 11:58 am
Despite Colon's reputation as a durable pitcher -- he hurled 222 2/3 innings as late as 2005, when he was 32 -- he has broken down over the last few years with shoulder injuries and an assortment of other maladies.
Long known for being overweight, Colon has reportedly lost a significant amount of weight and posted a 1.47 ERA in seven starts while pitching for the Dominican Winter League. That's enough to get him another look in the majors, but the cards are stacked against him -- especially if things don't go his way as the Red Sox were abandoned by the portly right-hander near the end of 2008.
However, the Yankees can't get too cute in their pursuit of starting pitchers. The Yankees have no depth beyond the No. 3 starter and need to have reinforcements in place in case of injuries or attrition. Colon, along with Mark Prior, should compete for a rotation job in spring training although Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre remain the favorites.
-- Evan Brunell
Posted on: January 10, 2011 10:04 am
Coming off a World Series appearance, the Rangers have been anything but content this offseason. Few teams have been as active in the free agent market as Texas.
General manager Jon Daniels has reached high -- Cliff Lee -- and missed, but also reacted by signing the likes of Adrian Beltre and Yorvit Torrealba along with reliever Arthur Rhodes and took a risk on former Cy Young Award-winner Brandon Webb. The team was also in on trades for Zack Greinke and Matt Garza.
Under new ownership, the Rangers have been aggressive and shown they aren't content with what they've done. That hasn't stopped even after an offseason spending spree.
"There are still some things we're going to look into," Daniels told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram . "This may be the club we go to camp with. We're confident if it is.
"But there's a chance we'll try to improve as well."
Wilson notes the team could still be interested in other "risk-reward types" such as Jeff Francis and Bartolo Colon.
There's also the off chance the team could go after the top remaining free agent, Rafael Soriano, and move Neftali Feliz to the rotation. It may be a long-shot, but with the Rangers, it seems anything's possible.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: December 7, 2010 10:34 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 10:59 am
Could we see Bartolo Colon on the mound in Cleveland again?
The 37-year-old former Cy Young Award winner didn't play in the U.S. last season, but a source tells Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com that the Indians have "some" interest in Colon, who is 3-0 with a 0.91 ERA in five starts in the Dominican Winter League.
Colon pitched the first 5 1/2 seasons of his career with the Indians. He was last seen in Chicago, where he made 12 starts with the White Sox in 2009 and was released when he took off after being placed on the disabled list. I want him to make a comeback just for the return of the awkward headlines.
-- David Andriesen
UPDATE : Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer refutes the rumor, saying that the rumor had already been debunked prior to the Winter Meetings. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reveals, however, the Pirates are one team in on Colon who has reportedly lost 40 points. Uh-huh...
-- Evan BrunellFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .