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Pinstripe Alley Roundtable Discussion: Yoenis Cespedes, The Rotation, And More

As the Winter Meetings began, 3460Kuri, Travis G., and I (Brandon C.) decided to discuss many different topics about the off-season. The roundtable discussion will be a two part series, with the second part coming tomorrow.

Q: Would you be aggressive in pursuing Yoenis Cespedes?

3460Kuri: Personally, I'd probably stay away. Cespedes has obviously crushed Cuban baseball, but the limited information we have from the handful of Cuban refugees who have made the jump to them majors suggests that the quality of play there is similar to A ball in America. Looking at it that way, a 26 year old that's crushing A-ball, he's a little less impressive. If the Yankees were able to sign him for about what the Reds signed Aroldis Chapman, I wouldn't hate it, but I wouldn't be heartbroken if they took a pass altogether either.

Travis G: Somewhat. The gist of what I know much about him is from that one youtube video. I'll have to trust the scouts and front office. If they go hard after him, I have to believe they think he can be a star. He appears to be a tremendous athlete, but I don't see him being defensively superior to Grandy or Gardy, so if the Yanks signed him, it would be with the goal of taking over right field after Nick Swisher's contract expires next year.

Brandon C: As I said here, I much prefer Jorge Soler. For the price Cespedes will demand, the Yankees are better off spending their money elsewhere.

Q: What will the rotation look like next year?

3460Kuri: My guess is that 80-90% of next year's rotation is already with the team in some way shape or form. As the offseason rolls on and most of the big names sign, I expect the Yankees to take a flier on a couple of low-risk guys, similar to what they did with Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon in 2011, but that's about it. I would be utterly shocked if Yu Darvish, CJ Wilson, or Mark Buerhle is in pinstripes next season.

Travis G: I'm hoping/thinking it includes a certain Japanese-Iranian righty (who I do believe will be posted). So after CC and Yu, expect to see Nova, Burnett* and then, quite possibly, Garcia, with Hughes in the bullpen (where he's excelled way more than Joba did, relatively speaking).

Brandon C: I honestly believe the Yankees will end up with Yu Darvish, trade for a pitcher that has not been rumored yet, or stand pat. Most likely just stand pat.

Follow for more after the jump.

Q: Where do you see Phil Hughes/Hector Noesi/Freddy Garcia next season?

3460Kuri: I think Garcia will be in the rotation until he pitches poorly enough to be DFA'd. No bullpen work for him. Hughes will start out in the rotation but if he's struggling by the All-Star break, I suspsect they'll move him to the bullpen for good. My guess is that Noesi will enter 2012 as the 6th or 7th starter and will probably make the team as the long man out of the bullpen.

Travis G: I could easily see Hughes in the bullpen. Noesi should essentially be the long reliever/6th starter. He could be as good as Ivan Nova if given a chance, but unfortunately I don't see that happening anytime soon in the Bronx. Garcia surprised everyone with the club's second best ERA (3.62) among starters in '11, and if management doesn't feel confident enough in Noesi, Phelps or Warren to handle a spot, it'll go to Freddy the veteran.

Brandon C: I also think Freddy Garcia will not last the season in the rotation. Not sure if he ends up in the pen or DFA'd. I think Hughes actually has a solid season. Noesi will have an Aceves type role.

Q: If a young, frontline starter was available, would you move Montero as part of a package for him?

3460Kuri: Absolutely. I love Montero's bat, but I've always felt like the Yankees don't like him as a catcher, which creates a major problem because 1B is obviously blocked, outfield doesn't make sense, and their roster is constructed in a way that virtually guarantees some older, more expensive player will need significant at-bats from the DH slot in the relatively near future. There's a very good chance that Montero is a prospect with nowhere to play, so if you can exchange him for something of value, especially before it becomes plainly obvious that you have nowhere to play him, I'm all for it.

Travis G.: Really tough call, but yes. I love Montero and think he'll be a star, but if a true top-of-the-rotation starter, 25 or younger, were available (think Kershaw, Strasburg, Felix, etc.), then I'd have to say good-bye (as well as to Manny Banuelos+).

Brandon C.: Toughest question of them all. For Danks, no, but for someone like Clayton Kershaw of course yes. Someone in between is a tough call, but I'd lean towards no. A bat like Montero doesn't come around very often, the starter would have to be proven.