Further exploring the options for the 5th starter spot…

In a previous post about Chien-Ming Wang’s injury, I slightly touched on the issue on who will take Wang’s spot. Today, I will explain a bit of a hybrid option

Phil Hughes

It sounds like most Yankee fans want Phil Hughes to take Wang’s spot in the rotation. While I don’t disagree, I am surprised that so many Yankee fans feel this way. Right now Hughes is in a similar situation that Joba Chamberlain was in back when he was the 8th inning man. And when Joba was in the eight, not many people wanted him out (myself not included). Now Phil Hughes has become a lights out reliever and has turned a decent bullpen into a very good bullpen.

Right now I am in favor of putting Hughes back into the rotation where he belongs. They can let him start on Thursday, and have Aceves and Tomko back him up, knowing that Hughes isn’t stretched out. Then during the All Start break they can send Hughes down to get further stretched out, and by the time a 5th starter is needed again he should be able to go around 90 pitches.

Hughes is on a innings limit this year which is supposedly around 180 innings. Right now he is at 49.1 innings pitched and in order to reach his innings limit he would need to pitch exactly 130.9 innings. While Hughes was in the rotation earlier this year he was averaging 5.0 innings a start, if he was to go back into the rotation and average 5 innings a start, he would need about 26 starts to reach his innings limit. I think it’s safe to say he would not get 26 starts, but let’s say he finishes the year in the rotation (don’t worry I have a plan for Wang, I’m not leaving him out), Hughes could probably get 15 starts. If he got those 15 starts, and he averaged 5 innings each start, he would be at 124.1 innings at the season’s end. Well, it’s not that crazy to assume that Hughes could average more than 5 innings a start, if he was able to average 6 innings a start, he would be just under 140 innings (assuming he gets 15 starts). While that still doesn’t sound great, it’s better than how many innings he could reach out of the pen.

Now the question you ask is, “If Hughes is going to stay in the rotation for the rest of the season, what will happen to Wang when he returns?” Let’s consider this, Joba Chamberlain has been averaging 5.4 innings per start this season. He is on a 150 innings pitched limit, if he continues to average 5.4 innings he will reach his limit after about 12 more starts. I don’t know how the Yankees are going to handle Joba with his innings limit, maybe they put him in the bullpen a little while before he reaches the limit, maybe they let Joba pitch over 15o innings as a starter. Anyway, while Joba nears his innings limit, let’s say Chien-Ming Wang rests rehabs. This time around Wang should stay in the minors until it is clear that he is ready, last time he was clearly rushed up. Once Joba reaches his innings limit, or the Yankees put him in the pen (if they do plan on it), then Wang can come up and take Joba’s spot. It’s an unorthodox plan, and it probably won’t happen, but I feel it’s worth considering.

What is likely to happen, is that Sergio Mitre gets called up from Scranton to take the one start before the All Star break, and then the Yankees will re-evaluate the situation.

How about you? Do you have any creative plans? Who do you want to take the rotation spot? Please feel free to comment all you want.

Call me crazy, but I'm allowed to make suggestions.

Call me crazy, but I'm allowed to make suggestions.

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