Print and Go Back ESPN.com: SweetSpot [Print without images]

Sunday, March 27, 2011
Roundup: Garcia deserves shot over Colon


Some quick takes at news items from around the majors:

1. Yankees start with Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova in the rotation, put Bartolo Colon in the bullpen.

Take: Thumbs up. Garcia has had a poor spring, but deserves the initial chance over Colon based on his OK season with the White Sox in 2010 (28 starts, 4.64 ERA). Since winning the 2005 AL Cy Young Award, Colon has made just 47 starts, including none in 2010, with a 5.18 ERA. For all the consternation about the Yankees' rotation, they won 95 games last year with A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez posting ERAs over 5. It's About The Money wonders if the Colon snub is an outrage.

Silva
Silva
2. Cubs release Carlos Silva, eat $8 million, give fifth rotation slot to Andrew Cashner.

Take: Thumbs up. Silva has been pounded this spring, just another indicator that his decent 2010 season was a fluke. And remember that his good first half was really just a good two months. Cashner pitched in relief as a rookie in 2010, but has a live arm and some upside if he can throw strikes.

3. Nationals trade Nyjer Morgan to Brewers for Cutter Dykstra, son of Lenny.

Morgan
Morgan
Take: Thumbs sideways. For both teams. The Brewers already have Nyjer Morgan and his name is Carlos Gomez. Milwaukee needed a backup outfielder after trading Chris Dickerson to the Yankees for Sergio Mitre. The Nationals officially hand over their starting center field job to Rick Ankiel, but I suspect Roger Bernadina will get a fair share of time out there as Ankiel has issues staying healthy. As for Dykstra the Younger, he hit .312 with a .416 OBP in the Midwest League, but (A) lacks power; and (B) needs to find a position (fielded .894 at third base). But anything that keeps a Dykstra in the news is a good thing.

4. A's name Brandon McCarthy their fifth starter.

Take: Thumbs down. The odds of this working seem pretty slim. McCarthy, of course, has always had issues staying healthy. He's been about a league-average pitcher with marginal peripherals when he does pitch, and his major problem (home runs) should be lessened a bit pitching in Oakland. That said, I would have gone with Tyson Ross or even Bobby Cramer. But these issues usually end up resolving themselves on their own and if the A's actually get 20 starts out of McCarthy, kudos to them.

5. Mike Hampton retires.

Hampton
Hampton
Take: Thumbs up. It would be easy to make a crack about the excellent schools in Denver, but you have to give Hampton credit for persevering and trying various comebacks when he could have hung up the spikes years ago. As a Mariners fan, it still irritates that he was traded to the Astros for Eric Anthony. Hampton had pitched poorly in a few innings as a 20-year-old rookie in 1993, Lou Piniella for whatever reason wasn't a fan, and the Mariners traded him that offseason for Anthony, a left fielder who wasn't any good and lasted just one season in Seattle. Just one of many terrible trades Seattle made around that time. The Mariners could have had a great rotation in the mid-'90s with Randy Johnson, Jamie Moyer, Jeff Fassero and Hampton. Instead, that club never reached a World Series.

Anyway, Hampton might not have lived up to the huge contract he signed with the Rockies, but he had an excellent career with 148 wins. He was one of the best-hitting pitchers of the past 25 years with 16 home runs, including seven in 2001. Or more than Nyjer Morgan will probably hit in his career.