Thursday, January 29, 2015


This idea has been kicked around for a few years now, with the prevalence of arm injuries and pitchers pitching into their later years. There are conflicting thoughts on how much rest and caution is required to keep starting pitchers healthy. What is clear is that the Yankees have a very fragile starting rotation to start the 2015 season (see Dan Lucia’s article THE YANKEES ROTATION SCARES ME). They have to consider how to give their pitchers rest, and the best way may be to have a 6-man rotation.

About a year ago, I wrote a piece called “COULD THE YANKEES USE A 6-MAN ROTATION?”. In it, I made the case for how and why the Yankees could benefit from a 6-man rotation. The strategy was that you would have 5 regular starters and a 6th starter who would float through the rotation, taking the place of a different starter each time through. The result would be that everyone would get a break once every 6th turn through the rotation. The problem I was trying to solve was how to fit in six legitimate quality starters into a 5-man schedule, when many starters need the rhythm of taking the ball every 5th day.

The reasons for a 6-man rotation are different now. I believe that the Yankees need to consider seriously having a standard 6-man rotation, with starters taking the ball every 6th day. Let’s review the Yankees’ starting rotation. The likely starters are C.C. Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and Chris Capuano. They have Ivan Nova rehabbing, with a probably return in May. Who believes that any of these other guys will be pitching the entire season without missing a start due to injury? Sabathia is coming back from knee surgery. Tanaka pitches under the cloud of a fragile UCL and Tommy John surgery, with some speculating that it is inevitable. Pineda’s shoulder troubles have gotten a lot of press coverage. Though Capuano served us well in 2014, remember that he missed significant time due to various injuries in 2013.

With all that, would extra rest help? Most doctors and physical therapists will tell you that more rest allows the body to heal and reduce the risk to the kind of injuries that come from over-stressing the muscles and tendons used in a pitching motion. An extra day off would mean more time to heal. Over the course of a season, it means fewer innings and less strain on every starter’s pitching arm. It would mean carrying an extra pitcher on the roster, but the strong bullpen helps offset the risk. It would also give opportunity to rising stars like Adam Warren, Chase Whitley, and others to get some experience and help carry the load. Who knows, we might get a full season with minimal injuries to our starters. What a welcome sight that would be.

--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row

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