Right now the Yankees rotation is AJ Burnett, CC Sabathia, Joba Chamberlain, Andy Pettitte, and Sergio Mitre. But, with the news that Chien-Ming Wang will not be returning this year, and the likelihood that Joba Chamberlain will go back to the bullpen once he reaches his innings limit, the Yankees could use an upgrade in the rotation. Here are a few options:
The Yankees could always put Hughes back into the rotation, taking Sergio Mitre’s spot. The argument against this is that Hughes has become too valuable to the bullpen. Well, why not trade for a reliever so there will be someone to make up for Hughes not being in the bullpen. The Yankees could try to make a trade for a guy who could fill the role that Hughes is in now, then when (if) Joba goes back to the pen, he becomes the 8th inning guy, and whoever the Yankees got in a trade takes a step back to the 7th inning guy. Some of the possible candidates to trade for are:
- Scott Downs – Downs is currently the Blue Jay’s closer, has recorded 9 saves in 12 opportunities this year, sports a 3.18 ERA, and is a lefty. Not bad, certainly a good option.
- Chad Qualls – Qualls is currently the Diamondback’s closer, and has recorded 18 saves in 22 opportunities this year, while putting up a 3.46 ERA. Another solid option, he has 34 strike outs and just 5 walks in 41.2 innings.
- Heath Bell – Bell is currently the closer for the Padres and is having a terrific season. He is 25 for 26 in save opportunities, and sports a 2.01 ERA. Would seem to be a very good option, he probably won’t be cheap, but I won’t be worrying about the price of relievers because they are pretty much always lower than the price of starters.
- John Grabow – Grabow is currently with the Pirates (a team the Yankees seem to love trading with), and 3.57 ERA, and he is a lefty.
- Brandon Morrow – Morrow is currently with the Mariners AAA affiliate. They are trying to get him straightened out as a starter, but it could just be that he is better suited as a reliever. Last year he spent 40 out of 45 games in the bullpen and put up a 3.34 ERA. He also saved 10 games in 12 opportunities in 2008. This year he has bounced around from reliever to starter, so I’d rather not use the stats, but I’ll mention that he has a 5.28 ERA this year. I’d consider him a high risk, very high reward option.
I can’t leave him out, can I? Of course if the Yankees acquired Halladay he wouldn’t be their fifth starter, he would just push everybody back a spot. I don’t think I need to give a scouting report on Halladay, do I? There are many fans out there that want the Yankees to get Halladay, but the price is extremely high, and I personally would make Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Jesus Montero untouchable in trade talks. So, Halladay to the Yankees is unlikely.
His case is similar to Halladay’s, obviously Halladay is a better pitcher, but Lee is no scrub, he did win the Cy Young award last year. Cliff Lee also would not come cheap, and like Halladay, probably can’t be had without giving up at least one of Hughes and Joba (if not both).
Washburn is a very interesting option. He is having a career year with Seattle putting up a 2.64 ERA. He would come cheaper than Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay, but the Yankees couldn’t get him for nothing. Earlier the rumor was that the Mariners wanted Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner for Washburn, that has probably changed now that Gardner is on the DL. Also, one has to wonder if Washburn would be able to put up the same numbers with the Yankees that he is putting up with the Mariners. In Seattle he is pitching in a pitchers park, and he is a fly ball pitcher with an outfield trio (Left field – Griffey/Langerhans, Center field – Gutierrez, Right field – Ichiro) that is incredible defensively.
Snell is currently with the Pirates AAA affiliate after asking to be sent down because of the negativity with the media (could be a problem in New York). He has dominated AAA in his 32.1 innings there, allowing only 2 earned runs while striking out 43. I have mixed feelings about acquiring Snell though. If he can be had cheap then why not, but even if he could, would you want a guy who was flustered by Pittsburgh’s media to be pitching in New York? I not too sure I would.
Update: Never mind. Ian Snell has been traded to Seattle along with Jack Wilson in exchange for Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno, and three others.
I don’t think Arroyo could help the Yankees at all. At this point in his career he is only an innings eater. With the Reds this year he has a 5.17 ERA, I can’t imagine that would get better in the AL East. I don’t want to sound close-minded (which I am not), but thankfully the rumor has been shot down by Pete Abe, and Jon Heyman.