Thursday, March 1, 2012

Does It Really Matter If The 5th Starter Competition Is Rigged?

(If I had a vote, I'd pick this guy.  Courtesy of The AP)

Earlier in the week, Joel Sherman caused a bit of a stir with this story in The Post that included this comment on the "Hughes vs. Garcia" rotation competition:

"The competition is rigged. If it is close, Hughes wins. If it is advantage Garcia, but only slightly, Hughes wins. Hughes can only lose this by doing what he did last spring, having his fastball go on a mysterious hiatus."

Before I even had the chance to read the full story, the blogosphere was alive with people commenting on this development, to which I can only ask, why?  Why does anybody care if the competition is rigged?  Why is anybody even surprised that this is the case?  It's not like the Yankees haven't done this before.  The competition was rigged for Hughes over Joba in 2010 because the organization had already decided that they wanted Joba to be a reliever, and it was rigged last year to give the older guys (Garcia and Colon) the advantage over the younger guys (Noesi, Phelps, Warren).  It's what the Yankees do.  They throw the word "competition" out there any time there's more pitchers than available rotation spots to give the media something to talk about, but they've usually already made the decision.

And not for nothing, but if the competition is rigged again this year, shouldn't it be rigged for Hughes?  The Yankees have already invested more in him than they have in Garcia, and Hughes is more likely to factor into the Yankees' future plans as a younger pitcher with a higher ceiling.  The Yankees need to know what they are going to get from Hughes this season and what they can expect from him moving forward.  They don't need anything from Garcia.  So yeah, if Hughes pitches better than Garcia, or at least relatively close, he should get the spot.  If he pitches like absolute crap, then Garcia should get the spot.  And if they both end up shitting the bed, then it's onto David Phelps and Adam Warren to keep ManBan's seat warm for 2013.

I've learned to accept that this is how the Yankees handle their business when it comes to the rotation.  Now it's time for everybody else to do the same.  Don't waste time and energy writing about a non-story.  Whether the competition is rigged or it isn't, it doesn't matter.


David said...

thanks for the blog I enjoy reading it every day. I agree with everything you say but it worries me to have two pitchers starting who have only two pitches and will be working on the third pitch during the season. it also bothers me that Phil feels so comfortable that he does not stay in shape on his own. If the competition is close this spring I would send Phil down to the minors not the pen this way he can work on adding a third pitch and learn that he is not guaranteed a spot in the majors.By doing this we not only provide extra depth we allow Freddy a chance to prove himself before June when his no-trade expires this would also allow Pineda to be the fifth starter and he can work on his third pitch in the simulated games that come with being the fifth starter in April.

ktchnman said...

The very first thing that comes to mind is that the premise presumes that we come out of Spring Training healthy. That's far from a sure thing. I can't think of too many teams that wouldn't want to have this discussion. By the beginning of May we will be in full 5-man rotation mode and as we all know, it's a long, long season. I'm rooting for Hughes because I think he represents the future, but I have no problems with The Chief being my 6th starter.