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2012 Yankees Thoughts: Pitching

This is not necessarily what I believe will happen, but what I would do as GM of the Bombers.

  • We just have to hope CC doesn't opt out. If he does, then there's not much choice but to give him (nearly) what he wants. There might not be a more valuable Yankee.
  • Go all out for Yu Darvish (assuming he's posted). He's better than Daisuke, will cost nothing in terms of draft picks, and is still young. The club could really use a true (potential) No. 2 behind the big guy. The 25-year-old righty has a 92-38 record over seven seasons in Japan with a 2.01 ERA. He's also coming off a career year: 17 wins (in a 140-game season where starters only go once a week) and a 1.49 ERA with a ridiculous .843 WHIP and 7.5 K/BB.
  • If that doesn't happen, make a serious run at C.J. Wilson. He'll be 31, but he's lefty and only has minor wear-and-tear on his arm, having started for just two seasons now. He also has excellent numbers against AL East opponents. 
  • Give Phil Hughes another chance at starting. It's too early to give up on him in that role yet, but his clock is ticking. He has the potential to be an excellent starter for years to come. But if he struggles with success or health again, a permanent move to the bullpen might be in his and the team's best interests. (I can't recall a pitcher with a such a drastic drop in velocity from one inning to the next.) For some reason, he hasn't shown the ability to maintain velocity through a whole game.
  • Groom David Robertson to succeed Mo. I believe, even if Mo has another Mo-type year, that 2012 will be his last. He seems like the kind of guy that's proud enough to want to go out on his own terms, not when he can't play anymore. And with buddy Jorge Posada presumably gone, there'll be one less reason for him to stay. But I do foresee him staying with the club in some capacity.
  • Let Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos spend a full year at Triple-A. Their control and offspeed pitches still need work. And we don't want a repeat of Joba '07, who came up and was so good as a reliever that some had trouble seeing him in any other role. They also have a handful of solid pitchers who already spent significant time in Triple-A/MLB (Adam Warren, David Phelps, and a little-used guy called Hector Noesi).
  • Make Andrew Brackman a reliever. If he didn't have a ML deal, this would be different, but he does, and he has to stick on the Yankees roster by 2013. He was atrocious as a starter in Triple-A this year. After a late season conversion to the pen, he was a completely different pitcher. If he's doing well at midseason, and there's a need at the big league level, promote him.
  • Let Joba take his time back. The former phenom will probably return sometime next year from Tommy John Surgery. But Joba and the Yanks should take their time. The bullpen was excellent this year, and might be even better next. We want Joba for the long term. That means not rushing him.