Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Our focus this week is on the spring training highs and lows of Big Apple teams, namely our New York Yankees and the New York Mets. We are another week closer to the start of the 2015 season and the Yankees are being cautious about naming their closer.  According to's Adam Berry, "Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Saturday morning he doesn't expect to decide on the Yankees' late-inning bullpen order until near the end of Spring Training, so the "Betances or Miller?" debate will continue."

"I think it's affected by possibly losing someone out of your bullpen to a starting role. That changes things. So we've got to figure that out first, then we put the rest of it together," Girardi said. "I won't make that decision until really late, because to me, that's not one of my pressing decisions." So we don't know about a closer, but what we do know is that Adam Warren is taking one more step toward becoming our rotation's fifth starter.

According to's Bryan Hoch "Warren's outing last week against the Red Sox's starting lineup in Fort Myers, Fla., looked solid, and he may be able to take advantage of a landscape that has changed following Chris Capuano's injury. There will be innings to go around before Ivan Nova's expected return in June, especially if the Yankees use a sixth starter at times in April and May." Speculation around starters heats up as Nathan Eovaldi continues to pitch well this spring.

According to Berry, "Eovaldi was dominant once again Sunday afternoon in the Yankees' 3-2 win over the Phillies, striking out three and giving up only two hits. In four innings of work at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Eovaldi threw only seven balls. Thirty-eight of his 45 pitches were strikes, and he was in command of all his pitches."

"You can't expect much more," Girardi said. "We're really excited to have him in camp with us as one of our starters. We think he can do a really good job for us." A lot of positive insights around pitching given all of the negative banter about Alex Rodriguez and other holes in our infield.

Meanwhile, over at Mets camp, there is discussion around what is being called Sandy Alderson's stockpile of arms and what that means when one arm goes down.  Joel Sherman writes, "But in this era, there is a better chance Kanye and Kim will stay together than a rotation will stay intact. Elbows are stemware in an earthquake, more likely to shatter than not. The Mets might never have the whole band operating in harmony for any sustained period. Matt Harvey back, Zack Wheeler gone — a menace of one step forward, one step back." With Wheeler facing season ending Tommy John surgery, there will be room for another in the rotation.  According to Sherman, "the Mets need the majors’ oldest starter, Bartolo Colon, 41, to hold together, Jonathon Niese and his temperamental shoulder to make 30 starts, Harvey and deGrom to be about low ERAs, not high MRI visits, and at least one from among Matz, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero to grow up fast." There is also talk about Dillon Gee stepping in from the bullpen to fill in for Wheeler.  

Finally, there is a spark of leadership in our neighboring New York team coming from their newly signed 35-year-old veteran right fielder Michael Cuddyer.  With the scramble to figure out how to re-distribute the pitching after both Wheeler and closer prospect Josh Edgin are out with pending surgeries, Cuddyer lifted the team with a little bit of positivity. “We’re going to have to keep playing,” Michael Cuddyer said. “The season’s going to start on April 6 regardless. We’re going to have guys step up.” That's the kind of mindset our teams need to be competitive despite setbacks.  

That's it for this weeks' Hot Stove.  We are keeping a watchful eye on shifts and changes in pitching - oh and by the way Cole Hamels had a bad start this week as Cliff Lee announced his trip to the disabled list.  No movement here for the Yankees, but right now, it seems like we have all we need. 

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer

BYB Hot Stove Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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