Daily Archives: February 24, 2012
On the evening of January 13th Yankee GM Brian Cashman emerged from a winter slumber of inactivity with two moves that sent a rumble throughout MLB. The first news to hit was that Cashman had traded Yankee uber-prospect Jesus Montero along with pitcher Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Michael Pineda. Just as Yankee fans and media were trying to absorb and analyze that surprising move the second shockwave hit. Cashman had also signed free agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a one year, ten million dollar deal.
It was about ten minutes after those moves were digested that the debate began about who the Yankees’ fifth starter in 2012 would be. It looked like a three-man battle would take place this spring between A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, and Freddy Garcia.
Last week the Yankees traded Burnett to the Pirates for two low-level prospects and the battle for the fifth rotation spot was down to Hughes and Garcia. So which of these pitchers should be the Yankees fifth starter in 2012? The answer, for a variety of reasons, is Phil Hughes.
By now almost everyone who follows baseball has heard of the Joba Rules. Many Yankee fans cringe when they hear a reference to these rules and with good reason. In an effort to protect the young arms of their prized pitching prospects from injury, GM Brian Cashman and the Yankees formulated a systematic plan limiting the innings that these young pitchers could throw in their initial years. The idea was to prevent injuries to these young pitchers like those that crippled the careers of young sensations Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. The general consensus is that overworking young pitchers can lead to problems later on.
On the surface these rules seemed to be a good innovation by a franchise looking to learn from the mistakes of others. It was the practicality of the application of these rules where things got sticky.