With Pettitte retiring, how screwed are the Yankees?

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I’ve been putting off thinking about the Yankees rotation until we knew for sure what was going on with Andy Pettitte. He’s too good a pitcher and can make too big a difference to make any kind of pronouncement without knowing his status.  Now that he’s apparently retiring, however, let’s ask the question:  Is the Yankees’ rotation good enough to get the job done?

I’m going to give a qualified yes.  It will be worse than if Pettitte was there, obviously, but a team with this rotation can compete, make the playoffs and make some noise.  That is, if everything breaks right.  The quick version:

  • Sabathia: Arguably the best pitcher in the AL. No issues there.
  • A.J. Burnett: The biggest wild card in all of baseball?  If he’s 2009 A.J., things are fine. If he’s 2010 A.J., it’s panic time.
  • Phil Hughes:  I don’t know too many people who think that he’s not the real deal and that he won’t progress nicely. If healthy, he’s more than good enough to be a #2 or #3 starter on a championship team.
  • The wild card #4:  Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon or Sergio Mitre are currently in the mix.  I wouldn’t bet much dough that any single one of them will have a solid, 30-start season, but I wouldn’t bet against at least one of them being solid. Does that make sense?  In my mind it makes sense.  It will take a lot of work, monitoring and gambling on Joe Girardi’s part, but if he reads the signs from spring training correctly, plays the hot hand and is eager to use the pen when necessary, any of the four of those guys — or more likely, some combination of them — may work out well.
  • Fifth spot:  The fifth spot in a rotation is almost always a crap shoot. Even one of the #4 guys who isn’t on-point can cover this competently if need be.

The optimistic spin here:  the Yankees rotation is no worse today with Petitte’s retirement than it was yesterday with him not yet committed.  The worry: there is no margin for error here. If Burnett has another lost season and if there is an injury to either Hughes or Sabathia, it’s time for a full-blown freakout.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.