At the start of Spring Training the impression was that CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda were the only two with confirmed spots in the starting rotation and the rest were up for grabs between Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, Freddy Garcia and Michael Pineda.
Right from the start it felt like a rigged competition.
It just seemed that the Yankees were determined to give Phil Hughes a starting spot as long as he pitched somewhat decently.
GM Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi cannot seem to shake the 18 games he won in 2010, which I could understand more if 14 of Hughes wins were not in games when the bats scored 6+ runs. And he only pitched a total of 176 innings and that is very low for a pitcher who made 31 starts and went 18-8.
And some reason, I still don’t trust Hughes as a starter as the only time I truly felt confident watching him on the mound was when he pitched in relief in 2009.
The main question I have is if this real competition is based on Spring Training stats, because if it is than Hughes securing a spot is not really justified.
As you can see, Hughes is not pitching any better than Garcia or Pineda. He has the best ERA but the lowest number of strikeouts.
Garcia is pitching about equal to Hughes, with one more earned run but the same number of runs, one more homer and two more walks but also Garcia also has three more strikeouts.
And if you look at last season because logically you have, Hughes was out of shape, which affected his health; and Garcia won 12 games in 25 starts. Garcia gave up 16 homers and 59 earned runs in 2011, compared to 2010 Hughes who gave up 25 home-runs and 82 earned runs.
My concern is that Hughes is closer to being inefficient again than not, and it seems the Yankees are still dreaming of the 18 wins and already had him penciled into the rotation no matter what.
So, if the Yankees pick Hughes and Garcia ways bye-bye what happens when injury prone Hughes velocity drops or he becomes inefficient once he gets on the hill out of Spring Training?
All Hughes has proven is that he can pitch in Spring Training because he lost a ton of creditability with me after 2011, which in turn made me re-study his 2010 stats. That is when I realized Hughes 18-win season consisted of just a decent first half and that he also had the most run support of any starting pitcher that season.
Whatever the Yankees infatuation is with Hughes I just do not get, at least not yet.
Is it some guilt over wrecking Joba Chamberlain after endlessly trying to make him a starter?
It certainly is giving off the same odor.
I can only hope this doesn’t blow up when it is too late, and Garcia is already in another uniform.
If any of what the NY Daily News turned from borderline a fact to confirmed truth than there was never really a competition to begin with.
And from what I can see Garcia, or Pineda are both more consistent and reliable based on the bigger picture.