A few years ago, it sure looked like the Yankees farm system was going to cement our starting rotation for the next 8 or 10 years. We introduced 3 young fireball pitchers, all with a ton of moxie:
Ian Kennedy had essentially one full season as a Yankee, ended up with an injury and a bruised ego. He was never the same, so the Yankees traded him as part of the Curtis Granderson deal. No question Grandy has been great. But, so has Kennedy, pitching two solid back-to-back years for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Enter Joba Chamberlain. Feisty guy, throwing the ball a million miles an hour. Has a bit of a problem in the playoffs early in his career, then the Yankees come up with the “Joba Rules” to try and shove him into the rotation. The experiment got a grade of incomplete, as Joba was never as good in the rotation as in the bullpen. So, they try and move him around, and the story stops at Tommy John surgery last season. If (BIG IF) Joba returns to something meaningful this year, it’s unlikely he has a role, since the Yankess already have an overpaid 7th inning guy, a great 8th inning guy, and some dude name Mariano. It’s starting to sink in that Joba may have pitched his last meaningful stretch in a Yankees uniform.
That leads us to Phil Hughes. In the words of a sports writer last year, Phil Hughes was put on the disabled list with a dislocated fastball. Phil was lights out as a setup guy for Mariano, but again the Yankees decided this prized gem needed to be in the rotation. Then, last year, his fastball speed drops 10 miles per hour, and he’s more hittable than the slow fat kid in high school dodge ball. Maybe Phil Hughes pitches well this year, maybe he doesn’t. He’s 25 years old and a complete mystery.
Most teams are ecstatic if they have one prospect like the three of these guys. The harsh reality is it looks like the Yankees are destined to write off all 3 of these guys, and it’s unclear how much they are to blame.
CC can’t pitch 5 days in a row. Better hope Pineda’s not a flash in the pan.