Dear Mr. Girardi,
I want to take this opportunity to commend you on your management of this team so far. Coming into the season, the New York Yankees were not expected to do well at all, and yet your managing ability combined with the incredible performances you have received from your players has propelled you to be one of the best teams in baseball right now.
However, I am not writing this letter to just say, “job well done.” Oh no, there is still plenty of baseball left to be played, and I along with every other Yankees fan expect this type of performance from the team for the remainder of 2013.
No, I am writing this letter today to talk about Ivan Nova.
During Saturday’s 7-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, we were all witness to a masterful pitching performance from David Phelps. “Phelpsy,” as you like to call him, pitched seven strong innings and only gave up one run. This was the longest – and arguably best – outing of his young career. Many times, Phelps has shown us all that he can hold his own in the starting rotation. In some cases, he has been better than other starters. Yet, the only reason he is currently in the rotation is because of the injury that Nova suffered. With reports that Nova is getting closer to returning, I ask that you please think twice about what you do.
Through the second half of 2012, right up to his recent injury, Nova has struggled mightily. His average ERA over the past two seasons is 5.75. Now I don’t know if you’re much of a sabermetrician, but Nova’s ERA+ this season alone is 65. I’m not really into sabermetrics myself, but even I know that that’s really bad. In fact, his ERA+ last year was just as bad at 82. I can even go as far as to say that he has been less effective than Phil Hughes. Yet, whenever he is healthy, he finds himself in the rotation.
Mr. Girardi, he has had too many chances, and he has failed too many times. To put it simply, he does not belong in the rotation any longer.
Remember, there’s a reason you kept him off the playoff roster last year.
As I write this, I’m listening to a post-game interview with David Phelps. You know what he’s saying? He’s saying that he doesn’t think he had his best stuff. Can you believe that? He pitched seven extremely impressive innings, and he didn’t even think that he was that good. Imagine how he would have pitched if he did have his best stuff. It’s almost scary.
I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m asking you to keep Nova off the team (although, I do think that younger guys such as Preston Claiborne and Vidal Nuno probably deserve spots on the roster more). All I’m asking is that you keep Nova out of the rotation.
Let’s face it – sans a few starts from Hughes – the starting rotation has been excellent without Nova. It has unfortunately gotten to the point where if Nova is on the mound, it’s almost easy to guarantee that he will have a short outing, and the Yankees will have a tough time winning the game.
It’s evident that Phelps is the much better pitcher, and you need him in the rotation far more than you need Nova in it. Nova has had too many chances, and he has fallen flat too many times.
So Mr. Girardi, when it comes time to make a decision regarding Nova, do everybody a favor, and keep him out of the rotation – and more importantly, keep Phelps in.
Hunter Farman, and Yankees fans everywhere.