The Bronx is Boiling: Pitching Problems
Jun 2, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher David Phelps (41) reacts after loading the bases against the Seattle Mariners during the seventh inning of a game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Well, the week wasn’t terrible. The Yankees strung four wins together to start of a six game west cast trip. They even defeated the Oakland A’s stud pitcher Sonny Gray 7-0. Then the wheels came off and they lost the last two games of the weekend by a combined score of 15-6.
Monday is a travel day as the Yankees head home for a huge home stand against AL East foes the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles. Sitting at 35-33, the Yanks are tied with the O’s for second place while both are trailing the Canadian National Team by four and a half games. What can the Yankees do to get over the hump? The Bronx is boiling folks, and I need to blow some steam.
WHAT CAN BE DONE WITH THE YANKEES PITCHING STAFF
When the fourth inning ended Sunday, and the Yankees trailed 10-0, Yankees fans across social media wanted Vidal Nuno’s pink slip waiting for him in the clubhouse. I was one of them, I feel like this guy should have been DFA’d weeks ago, and in fact, I wrote an article about it. However, if he were to be optioned back to the minors or released, what better options do the Yankees have?
There is currently not one quality major league ready arm sitting at any level of the Yankees minor league system. That includes Alfredo Aceves. Every Yankees fan needs to wipe clean from their memory that one good season he had because he has never had another one. You can’t honestly believe the Red Sox would let Aceves go and just sign with the Yankees without putting up a fight if this guy had anything desirable left in his arm. So, with no quality arms in the minors, that means the Yankees need to put together a trade and acquire someone.
There are a lot of good pitchers entering their pending free agency within the next one or two off seasons. Take David Price or James Shields for example. Price would be hard to get being on an AL East rival, but when it comes to the Yankees check book, you can never rule anything out of the question. There have even been some Jon Lester rumors throughout the blogosphere.
In order to get one of these type of season changing pitchers, the Yankees would need to offer prospect that has can’t miss qualities. You can argue that Gary Sanchez, the top Yankees’ prospect, possesses those qualities, however, he has been benched for the last five games for disciplinary reasons. The issues haven’t been released to the public. That is going to be a tough sell. After Sanchez, there are huge question marks surrounding every other Yankee top ten prospect. That means it most likely would take two or three top prospects to get a pitcher worth depleting the farm more than it already has been.
That means the Yankees need to work with what they have. If Michael Pineda can’t work his way back (which by the way Yankees fans, it’s not looking like he can) that leaves three holes in the rotation until CC Sabathia returns. Right now, Chase Whitley looks like he has the third spot behind Masahiro Tanaka and Hiroki Kuroda locked down, but remember, it is still a small sample size. There is talk that the Yankees should move Adam Warren to the rotation.
This is a possibility, however, who will take his spot. He seems to be settling in with his new found set-up to the set-up man role. They tried that move with Phil Hughes and it did not translate well. And it just so happens that Hughes is not that bad a pitcher, as we are learning this season.
So, what is the answer to the question, what can be done with the Yankees pitching staff? The answer is seemingly nothing. We need to be patient and deal with the stinkers like Nuno threw today, and wait for the dominant performances like David Phelps had Friday night hurling 6.2 shutout innings after allowing 13 runs over his previous 11.2. If the Yankees take Nuno out of the rotation and insert Warren, then we, as Yankees fans, need to be patient, and wait as Phelps and Warren mature into consistent starters. That takes time and in the Bronx, time is something our franchise doesn’t have.