Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hughes Makes First Start; Pitching Rumors Abound

Phil Hughes made his first start of the spring this afternoon and was solid through two innings of work. The young righty walked one, but thanks to a double play, faced the minimum six batters. The talk of the day seemed to be the lack of his use of the change up during his short stint, as he threw only three to the six batters he faced.

Hughes needs to get his change working this year. The cutter is a devastating pitch and his fastball can be sneaky good. Still, he needs another off-speed pitch besides his curve to keep hitters honest. If that fourth pitch can be developed into something at least average then 18 wins will be just the beginning for him.

There were two other pitchers in the news today that could effect the Yankees rotation of the future. Speculation has run rampant since New York lost out on Cliff Lee that the Yanks would make a play for the Cardinals Chris Carpenter. The odds of that happening took a couple of hits, first when Albert Pujols failed to sign an extension, and then when Adam Wainwright went down for the year. Now Carpenter is out with a strained hamstring. Though it may not be really severe, Carpenter's health has never really been more than a house of cards. Any little breeze will threaten to send him to the DL. It will definitely be something the Yankees will have to monitor.

Rumors have also spread that the Yankees are pursuing the Twins Fransisco Liriano. It has also been said that the Yankees would only need to offer a package headlined by either Ivan Nova or Joba Chamberlain. I'd have to believe Brian Cashman wouldn't hesitate to send either if not both of those players if that is what Minnesota GM Bill Smith requested. Sadly though Yankee fans dreams of Liriano in pinstripes will have to wait. Buster Olney reported earlier today that the Twins aren't thinking of moving Liriano... yet.

As always, the Yankees will show patience and let the market develop. Tomorrow's starter may have a big impact on that discussion. If A.J. Burnett can bounce back to his 2008 form, or at least his 2009 form, then the Yankees may not be desperate for pitching help come July 31st. That doesn't mean the wont be looking to improve, but a solid Burnett could keep teams from trying to play on Yankee desperation to raise their prices.


Dennis said...

Yeah, Joba Chamberlain for Francisco Liriano, why wouldn't the Twins do that?

You know who could pull that deal off, George Castanza! Why, I remember when he traded Jim Leyritz, and got Bonds AND Griffey, in the same outfield!

Peter said...

I'm not saying it would be smart on the twins part, but look at what bill smith got back for Johan Santana. A speedy role player for the outfield and a starter with zero chance of emulating the success of a number one starter. I wouldn't be surprised if cashman fleece them for Liriano.

Dennis said...

That was over 3 years ago, when the Twins were still run by Flintheart Glomgold, aka Carl Pohlad, a man so cheap he volunteered the Twins for contraction. Now they are playing in the cash cow Target Field, run by Pohlad's free-spending sons, and sporting a payroll of over $100 million. They are happily paying 5 players $10 million plus per season, and Liriano, who is making only $4.3m this season, is under team control until 2013. He is not going anywhere.

Peter said...

Liriano is going to be heading into his age 29 season when he hits free agency. Do you honestly expect the Twins to hand him a 4 or 5 year deal for about $80 million (as long as he stays healthy I would expect him to at least match the A.J. Burnett deal)? Maybe they would, but I suspect that come trade deadline time in 2012, Liriano will be on the move.

Dennis said...

If the Twins are contending in 2012 (no reason to believe they won't be), I can't see them trading their best pitcher and giving up a shot at the World Series.