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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Prior to the 2011 campaign Yanks get some Colon and a Chief

Although the title of my most recent entry may have left readers in disgust I will try to make sense of the recent off-season starting pitching pickups by the New York Yankees and find out if they can crack the starting rotation.

The first flyer picked up by Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman was Mark Prior. The former Chicago Cub, Texas, and San Diego minor leaguer signed another minor league deal with the Bombers on December 15th. Prior hasn't pitched in the major leagues since 2006 because of lingering arm troubles. In '06 with the Cubs he posted a 1-6 record with a bloated ERA of 7.29 in nine starts. Prior signed a minor league deal in 2009 and 2010 with the San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers, respectively, both times Prior failed to reach the big leagues. But GM Brian Cashman took a flyer on him. Also, with former Chicago Cub pitching coach Larry Roethschild joining the Yankees Cashman could have believed that he could get Prior back on track.

The second flyer taken by Cashman came more then a month later. Cashman signed former Cleveland Indian, Montreal Expo, Chicago White Sox, Anaheim/Los Angeles Angel, and Boston Red Sox Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal on January 26th. Colon hasn't pitched since 2009 when he posted a 3-6 record with a solid 4.19 ERA with the Chicago White Sox in 12 starts. Like Prior, the 2005 AL Cy Young winner Colon has had troubles with arm issues since that '05 season just making 47 starts in the last five seasons. Also, Colon has not only had arm issues, he has had weight issues. Colon weighs a cool 245 pounds with his 5 foot, 11 inch frame. Just something to watch.

The third and final flyer taken by Cashman was former Seattle Mariner, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Philly, and Detroit Tiger Freddy Garcia was picked up on January 29th. Like Mark Prior and Bartolo Colon, "The Chief" signed a minor league deal and was also invited to Spring Training. The former 2005 World Series champ has also struggled with arm problems. But unlike Prior and Colon, Garcia did pitch in 2010. He made 28 starts with the Chicago White Sox and earned a 12-6 record posting a 4.64 ERA in that season. Right now I would say Freddy Garica is the clear cut favorite out of those three cast offs due to the fact he has pitched in recent play.

Although if the season were to start today Mark Prior, Bartolo Colon, nor Freddy Garcia would break camp as the number four or five starter for the Yankees. But we are still several weeks away from the Yankees even getting to camp so there are still a lot of possibilities. Right now the leading candidates for the number four and five starters are Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre. Also contending for a spot are minor leaguers Adam Warren, Dellin Betances, and Manny Banuelos although they are even bigger long shots compared to Mark Prior, Bartolo Colon, and Freddy Garcia.

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