Despite the fact that the Yankees declared that the race for the fifth rotation spot would be an open one, Joe Giradi announced that C.C. Sabathia will fill the fifth spot.
Open race? Really? Compare his numbers with those of Ivan Nova. At least the Red Sox have the guts, to bench a player with a mulit million dollar contract because he is simply not good enough. I hate to say this, but you should take them as an example, Yankees.
Ivan Nova once again showed flashes of brilliance but in the blink of an eye he also struggled mightily. For sure he is not a stable factor at the moment. Sabathia on the other hand pitched like crap. Sure during Spring Training, pitchers are trying some new things and they will get hit when doing so. But overall he pitched a lot worse that Nova did.
I realize that this year, the fifth spot was a tough one as the Yankees did not have many choises, but still they could have chosen for the least worst option instead of favoring the guy with the biggest contract.
Sabathia posted a 5.51 ERA, with a WHIP of 1.65 while his opponents hit .286 with him on the mound.
Nova on his turn did quite better. Sure he is far from the phenom that he appeared to be a few years ago, but he posted an ERA of 4.13 with a WHIP of 1.21. Also the BA of his opponents was much lower compared to Sabathia: .227.
Us Yankee fans must wait how this will develop. Perhaps Girardi has opted for Sabathia because he is more stable. We all know he is a slow starter but eventually he will turn around; at least he did a few years ago when he wasn’t bothered by knee problems. Nova is too unstable to rely on. As written above, he can be great and then all of a sudden he cannot find the strike zone.
The Yankees have a third option for that fifth slot: Bryan Mitchell. In the few games that he played with the Yankees in 2015 he did start only two games. Back then his ERA wasn’t something to write home about with 6.37, but at AAA level he has shown tremendous promise as a starter. During this Spring Training, Mitchell appeared in six games, started three of them, won two of them with an ERA of 0.57. and a WHIP of 0.64. I keep saying that ST numbers do not mean much, but at least his numbers look a lot better than those of Sabathia and Nova.
Even Mitchell would have gotten the fifth spot in the rotation, 2016 would be a tough year for the Yankees. They’re still an aging team with a lot of players on the wrong side of thirty. But on the bright side, many are in the final year of their contract and it is unlikely that they will get a contract extension. Sabathia still has two years left on his contract but the Yankees have a $5 million buy out option for 2017. I know what I would do. Spend the five million on the buy out and spend the remaining 20 million of Sabathia’s final year on another player.
There are still a couple of players that are injury risks. Masahiro Tanaka still hasn’t had surgery on his elbow. Despite the rest that he got, he still was bothered by arm problems. IMHO he is still a ticking time bomb. It will be a daunting task for Girardi to keep the older players fresh. This demands a lot of resting days for them.
Overall I think that this team will fall short as a contender. Even though Cashman has rejuvenated the team, the older players will slow down the team. And that is the price the team is paying for the ridiculous big contracts that they have given.
Personally I will find some joy in how the younger players will perform; seeing how they will develop and how they will contribute. I only hope that IF the Yankees will reside in the lower part of the standings (which I think they will), the younger players are not dragged into a downward spiral.
But even though I don’t have high hopes for the Yankees this year, I am looking forward to the upcoming season.