LADY AT THE BAT: For Yankees, Best Deal at Deadline May Be Rotation Shuffle

Friday, July 31, 2015

For Yankees, Best Deal at Deadline May Be Rotation Shuffle

Back in 1964, June 15th was the trade deadline. The Yankees were in the middle of a pennant race with Chicago and Baltimore much of that season. They had three reliable starters in their rotation in Whitey Ford, Al Downing and Jim Bouton. Three other pitchers, who were  in and out of  the rotation that year, Rollie Sheldon, Ralph Terry and Stan Williams, struggled with injuries or inconsistent performances. The Yankees could have used another starter  at that deadline (Most pitching staffs of the day had four starters with an occasional fifth starter, often referred as a "swing man" or "spot starter.") 

So on that deadline day in '64, two notable starters, Jim "Mudcat" Grant and Ernie Broglio were traded. You'd  think the Yankees might have had an interest in the Cardinals' Broglio, a recent 20 game winner. The Broglio deal to Chicago merely cost the Cubs a spare outfielder, as future Hall of Famer, Billy Williams was the Cubs  incumbent left fielder. Given the Yankees pitching status. you would also think they might at least have  kicked the tires on either Broglio or Grant.

Why is this old trade deadline story worth mentioning after all these years? Well, today's Yankees are in a similar spot in a way. They could use another starter. In 1964 they passed on whatever trade opportunities at the deadline, waited all the way until August 12 and brought up a young pitcher from Richmond named Mel Stottlemyre. Stottlemyre was the difference in the pennant race, making 12 starts and compiling a 9-3 record down the stretch. Might the Yankees be thinking in a like manner today?

Luis Severino is pitching as well at Scranton, as Stottlemyre did at Richmond. In Severino's last start he went 6 innings, allowing just  one hit and no earned runs along with ten strikeouts and no walks. Whatever they do, it's almost August and the Yankees need to rethink their rotation. Severino, Adam Warren and Bryan Mitchell might all deserve a shot at joining the rotation with Masahiro Tanaka, Nathan Eovaldi and Ivan Nova.

Which brings us to last night's starter, CC Sabathia.

Sabathia was once again, horrible in the Yankees 7-6 loss to the Rangers in Texas, surrendering 5 runs, all earned, in five innings of work. It is just not working this year for Sabathia. Isn't it about time the Yankees just admit it? Yes, Sabathia has a large contract.  Can they really move him to the bullpen? There is a space, recently vacated by Chris Capuano. Certainly not a pleasant set of circumstances for Joe Girardi, but it is painfully obvious Sabathia is dragging an already troubled rotation down.

So unless there is an injury that hasn't been disclosed, the Yankees have no choice but to move Warren, Mitchell or Severino to Sabathia's spot. As for the contract, the Yankees are not going to stop paying him, are they? That is all that matters. Pay the contract and utilize Sabathia in the best interests of the New York Yankees. Period.  Maybe Sabathia can figure something out while in the bullpen. You never know. The Yanks are also hoping for a healthy return, to the rotation, by September, for the recently disabled  Michael Pineda, which means they actually would need two of Warren, Mitchell and Severino for awhile.

Bonus points if you know who the Cardinals got for Broglio, If you are old enough to remember the deal, you already know the "spare outfilder" acquired by St Louis was none other than Lou Brock. Funny how a trade looks much different when its made compared to years later when it becomes a part of baseball lore, good for St. Louis and not as much for the Cubs.  Remember that if the Yanks swing a deal today in the waning hours of this trade deadline. Sometimes it is better to solve roster issues if you have in house options. I'm thinking Severino is just that one great option like Stottlemyre was in '64. There's only one way to know. Make the move, Yankees. Call up Severino with CC  going to the pen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

two thumbs up to this analysis!
spot on.