After an offseason where fans were begging the organization to make an impact move, general manager Brian Cashman once again decided not to shop at the Lord and Taylor’s for the high-priced free agent. Instead, he goes to your local K-Mart or Target and picks up players you just do not expect. This year, he gets two pitchers, one via trade with Michael Pineda and one via the free agent market in Hiroki Kuroda.
When I first saw these two moves, I liked them because they do increase depth for the Yankees’ rotation. One of the problems New York had last year was when they got to the postseason, we were wondering who was going to pitch after CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova. Now, those questions might be answered if the Yankees are playing deep into October in 2012. If you ask me, right now, I still think the Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays have the two best rotations in the American League, but the Yankees are right up there because of the depth.
The one minute problem that I have with these moves is that there is still not a bona fide number two starter or at least a proven one behind Sabathia. I know Ivan Nova had a great rookie season last year, but how many times do we see a player have a sophomore slump?
The other problem I have is with the aforementioned Brian Cashman. The problem with Cashman is that he just does not know how to handle young pitching. We have seen the experiment fail three times with Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, and possibly Phil Hughes. Michael Pineda was great to watch last season. You could stay up late on the East Coast to watch this kid’s fastball because it is that entertaining. He was 9-8 with a 2.58 ERA on July 4th, but he flamed out pitching just 63 innings after that stretch. Seattle did shut him down, but that is still a concern for me.
As for Hiroki Kuroda, his wins will increase in New York, but you have to question if the guy can handle the AL East bats compared to the light hitting National League West. Kuroda is 2-1 with a 6.67 ERA in the postseason with two quality starts. I like that he has a track record and it is only a one year deal, which opens up the possibility of signing Cole Hamels in the Winter of 2012. Another thing I like about Kuroda is his durability. Players are hitting just. 241 against him when he reaches 100+ pitches on the pitch count. Hopefully this Japanese pitcher will be a success in the Bronx.
All in all, I like the moves for the Yankees. These are moves that had to be made and now they can go look for another cheap, quality bat on the free agent market after the Fielder sweepstakes is over or look to the trade market with whoever loses the starting pitching competition in camp. Are these the moves that win the Yankees their 28th championship in 2012? That has yet to be determined, but these moves do go a long way to giving the Bronx Bombers the AL East crown once again.