(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.