I consider a lot of things.
Ordering organ meats at a fancy restaurant. Growing a mustache. Driving to a natural disaster site and throwing my wallet and cell phone into some burnt or flooded-0ut rubble in order to provide sufficient cover for me to fake my death and start anew in some strange but carefree land.* Doesn’t mean I’m going to do any of those crazy things.
Likewise, Joe Girardi said he’s considering something, though I kind of doubt that he’d really do it:
Bartolo Colon has been cleared to come off the disabled list and start tomorrow at Citi Field. Phil Hughes feels healthy and is anxious to be activated himself. Meanwhile, the Yankees have four starting pitchers all throwing well lately. That leaves six pitchers for five spots.
Or does it?
Yankees manager Joe Girardi left the door open yesterday to going with a six-man rotation.
“It’s something we’re going to think about,” he said.
In the end, it seems like there’s little percentage for a Yankees manager to go with a six-man rotation. It takes innings away from some pitchers who are doing pretty well right now. It smacks of indecisiveness. If either the number five or number six guy have a bad outing, Girardi would get killed. Yes, he’d get killed if the guy he chose as his definitive fifth guy in a five-man rotation got lit up too, but at least that would have been a conventional choice, thereby limiting the avenues of criticism.
In the end, though, fear of media criticism is not a good basis for decision making. I’d avoid the six man here simply because it seems like something you should do if and only if you have a lot of similar, unspectacular pitchers, several of whom would benefit from extra rest. That’s not the Yankees’ situation, though.
*Note: I may have considered this a lot more seriously about four or five years ago than I do now.
The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.
It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:
We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.
While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.
Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.
Twins’ right-handed pitching prospect Yorman Landa passed away in a tragic car accident on Friday night, per a team statement. According to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, 22-year-old Landa was in the passenger seat of the vehicle when it struck a fallen tree.
Daniel Szew, Landa’s agent, spoke highly of the young pitcher, who was one of his first clients back in 2010. Szew acknowledged Landa for helping him expand his company, LA Sports Management, and referred to the late pitcher as a leader and his “little brother.”
He was very even-keeled,” Szew said. “That was his personality. He wasn’t wild. That’s why this is so tragic. He wasn’t a wild guy. He was a happy-go-lucky guy who took life as it came, and he was super happy — always happy.
If leadership was one facet of Landa’s personality, so was loyalty. The 22-year-old agreed to a minor league contract with the Twins on Tuesday after getting cut from the 40-man roster, fulfilling a promise to re-sign with the club despite fielding multiple offers from competing teams. The deal included an invite to spring training, and comments from his agent suggested that the right-hander was “super confident” he’d break through to the major leagues in 2017, notwithstanding a troublesome shoulder injury that hampered his progress in High-A Fort Myers during the 2016 season.
“He never wanted to leave,” Szew told Berardino. “It was the only organization he ever knew.”
Our condolences go out to Landa’s family and the Twins organization during this terrible time.