I’m laughing. I find it funny that the Yankees don’t know what to do with all of their starting pitchers. This is funny because the past offseason was filled with panic over the Yankees’ starting rotation.

It started off with losing Andy Pettitte to retirement (I still can’t say that without getting choked up). We didn’t know how we’d survive this loss, because Andy left a huge hole in our rotation.

We knew we could depend on CC Sabathia. We thought we could depend on Phil Hughes. We weren’t sure what would come from A.J. Burnett, but that’s pretty much A.J. Burnett in a nutshell. Then there were Ivan Nova (a young, relatively untested arm), Bartolo Colon (who hadn’t pitched in forever-and-a-day it seemed), and Freddy Garcia. So, going into Spring Training, we were looking at having two reliable starters, a strange case of Dr. AJ and Mr. Burnett, and having to choose two consistent pitchers out of three unknowns (Freddy and Bartolo are known career-wise, but we didn’t quite know what they were still capable of doing).

As fans, we were worried, to say the least.

Coming out of Spring Training, and into the season, we were looking at having two reliable starters in CC and Phil, still a strange case of Dr. AJ and Mr. Burnett, the relatively untested Nova, and Freddy “Does He Still Have Anything In The Tank” Garcia, with Bartolo Colon throwing stem-celled gas out of the bullpen. Basically, it was a case of hoping two-and-half out of five ain’t bad. (The “half” is AJ Burnett)

My, how this season has surprised us all.

Now, nearly halfway through the season: CC Sabathia leads the majors in wins (13 strikeouts in yesterday’s game. Can you say BEAST MODE?), A.J. Burnett has been far more good than bad, Ivan Nova has done what we hoped he would, Bartolo Colon has been the poster [big] child for comebacks, and Freddy Garcia far surpassed what we expected of him. We lost Phil Hughes early in the season to injury, yet the aforementioned haven’t made us feel this loss. Then Bartolo got injured, yet the Yankees managed to continue winning.

With Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon rejoining the team off of the DL soon, we’re now in another state of worry: WHAT DO WE DO WITH ALL OF THESE PITCHERS?!

If you told me prior to Spring Training that, in the beginning of July, I’d be racking my brain trying to figure out how Joe Girardi will handle having one-too-many starting pitchers, I would have laughed at you and called you crazy. I would have also told you to quit smoking crack.

I guess it all goes back to that famous John Sterling phrase.

I am not a fan of the six-man rotation, but hey, you never know. With Girardi’s love of protecting pitchers’ arms, we could very well see a six-man rotation, or some form of one. You have to admit that having the luxury of giving starting pitchers more rest in the second half of the season is very, very tempting.

I do hope Joe Girardi stays away from it, however, as appealing as it may seem. I don’t like Sabathia on extra rest, but Freddy Garcia could probably benefit from the rest eventually.

I think we’ll probably see Ivan Nova going to the bullpen. Not because he deserves to be in the bullpen (his performance as a starter has been very good), but because the other pitchers have seniority over him. At least for now, Nova will probably become the team’s long reliever, and relieve us of having to depend on Sergio Mitre in any way, shape or form.

My heart and stomach can not handle dealing with “The Sergio Mitre Experience” again. That man is like herpes: Once you think he’s gone for good, he comes back.

Maybe Freddy Garcia will start to show signs of fatigue as a starting pitcher, and be moved to the bullpen. Maybe the same will happen to Bartolo Colon. I don’t want to get back into the “Phil Hughes should be a reliever” argument, but with all the surprises in Yankees pitching so far, nothing would shock me (although I highly doubt Phil will pitch out of the bullpen ever again).

No matter what your opinion is about which pitchers should start, and which pitcher should be moved to the bullpen, you have to agree with one thing: This is a pretty good problem to have.

Sitting in his box, watching the games, Brian Cashman says “I told you so.”


Posted on July 1, 2011, in AJ Burnett, Bartolo Colon, CC Sabathia, Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova, New York Yankees, Phil Hughes. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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