Thursday, December 19, 2013
Some alternatives to Masahiro Tanaka
By Wallace Matthews
NEW YORK -- Although it's not official, it seems fairly certain we will not see Japanese stud right-hander Masahiro Tanaka in Yankees pinstripes this season, and likely not before 2016, since the Rakuten Golden Eagles appear determined to hold on to him for the remaining two years he's under their control.
In that event, the Yankees are going to need starting pitching, and badly. So where do they turn?
• RHP Phelps made 22 appearances (12 starts) last year, going 6-5 with a 4.98 ERA and 1.42 WHIP.
• LHP Nuno made five appearances (three starts) and went 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.
• RHP Warren made 34 appearances, mostly in middle relief, and just two starts, never going beyond five innings. His overall numbers were 3-2, 3.39 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, but one of his wins came in a start against the Astros in the final series of the season in which he threw five shutout innings.
• RHP Pineda missed the entire season after undergoing shoulder surgery in 2012. The club has said he will compete for a job in spring training, but his status is very much in doubt.
Personally, I think Oswalt, despite his history of back problems, and Santana, coming off two major shoulder surgeries, might be worth a look if they agree to low-risk minor league deals with incentives built in if they make the club. One of the beautiful things about being the New York Yankees is you can invest a modest amount of money in guys like this and not be hurt if the investment doesn't pay off.
QUESTION: Assuming Tanaka is out of play, whom do you think the Yankees should take a flyer on for their rotation this spring?