This arrangement has been assumed for a few days now, but the Yankees just made it official.
According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia have won the final two rotation spots. Bartolo Colon will pitch out of the bullpen.
Colon made a pretty solid case for the rotation by posting a 2.40 ERA and 17/1 K/BB ratio over 15 innings this spring, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger that he wants to use the veteran right-hander much like he did Alfredo Aceves in 2009. Aceves posted a 3.54 ERA and 69/19 K/BB ratio over 84 innings that season in a long relief role.
If yesterday’s Kevin Millwood signing tells us anything, it’s that the Yankees just want bodies. Maybe one of them will work out. Maybe all of them will flame out in epic fashion. Baseball is a funny game sometimes, so who really knows? The Bombers are just trying to stay afloat long enough until they can acquire someone before the trade deadline. And you know they will.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.