Friday, May 22, 2015


The Yankees rotation has been effective so far in the first six weeks of the season (although the team has been struggling as of late) but there are changes coming. Ivan Nova is closing in on his return to the Bronx from Tommy John surgery, Masahiro Tanaka is rehabbing and should return soon and Chris Capuano just returned. With only five (or perhaps six occasionally) spots to fill, what do the Yankees do with their starting rotation?

When Tanaka went down, Chase Whitley was thrown into the mix and pitched well but has underwent Tommy John surgery. That really sucks. All of us here at the BYB family are wishing Whitley a speedy recovery. That injury essentially opened up a spot for Chris Capuano to jump in though. And jump in he did... for three whole innings while allowing four runs. Yikes.

Ivan Nova is progressing and should return sometime next month or so, the same with Tanaka. So that leaves CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, Adam Warren, Chris Capuano, Ivan Nova and Masahiro Tanaka vying for spots in the rotation. So how does this play out? Who is in and who is out?

Let's start with the guarantees, assuming there are no other injuries in the near future. Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka are certain to be in the rotation. I'd bet the bank on that. CC Sabathia would probably be next on the list of a guaranteed rotation spot. His history, salary and overall ability to eat innings should solidify that. Ivan Nova is returning and has had some productive years for the Yankees, and at one point was probably their best starter. He will be in the rotation once he returns. He's earned it.

So who is the fifth starter? The top candidate is Nathan Eovaldi who is sporting a 4.73 ERA over 45.2 innings. He's young and has a ton of upside. He has been decent with a lot of room to improve, but the Yankees didn't trade for him to be a relief pitcher. As hard as he throws though, perhaps he could be? I doubt it out of the gate, but you never know. Adam Warren has a 4.26 ERA over eight starts and has not been bad, but he could be a very good candidate to return to the bullpen and take some innings from David Carpenter. Carpenter has struggled and our skipper here at BYB, Mr. Casey, has spoken up about that! Warren could possibly be moved to the minors as well and stay in the rotation down there to keep him stretched out.

So it likely leaves Capuano and Warren as the odd men out of starting rotation jobs. Eovaldi could be transitioned to a reliever, with Warren staying in the rotation, but I doubt they give up on him as a starter after just six or seven weeks. Although I respect Capuano, he is just not deserving at this point. He is a long reliever and spot start option or maybe even just released.

Warren earned his keep in the bullpen and although he is a respectable fifth starter, he could fill a void that the bullpen has. Really it's the bullpens only void! But that does make a bit of a cluster in the pen. Now as it rolls downhill, what happens to the bullpen? Justin Wilson has underperformed and with Chasen Shreve pitching well (2.30 ERA over 15.2 innings), he could be an odd man out. Esmil Rogers has also pitched well over 13 appearances and is sporting a solid 3.12 ERA, but could be expendable if need be. Chris Martin has also performed well over 15 innings and is averaging more than a strikeout per inning and has a 3.55 ERA, but may be another guy that could be moved somehow or another. I don't really want to see any of these guys go, however I would like to see Wilson and Carpenter pitch better though!!

So come the time when Tanaka and Nova return, Joe Girardi is going to have to make some tough decisions. It's better these good problems, in theory, than not having enough pitching! It is no fun when the team overall is succeeding (until the last week) and some pretty drastic changes are going to have to be made though. So what do the our BYB followers and the Yankees Universe think? Let us know @BleednYankeeBlu or me personally at @DManLucia. This could be interesting and fun to debate!!

Dan Lucia
BYB Writer
Twitter: @DManLucia


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