You can never have enough pitching

Baseball aromatherapy??? I like it. Copyright that, Lisa, before it’s too late.

Now that the Randy Johnson trade is complete, we can say that Ross Ohlendorf (along with Steven Jackson and Alberto Gonzalez on the Minors side and Luis Vizcaino on the big league side) are Yankees. Thus ends the long saga of waiting for everything to become official. I talked about Ohlendorf going through the Rookie Program as a member of the Diamondbacks, waiting to find out if he actually was officially traded.

Well, the Princeton product joined us on Around the Minors today (go to MLB Radio and check out the archive when it’s ready) and is clearly very excited about donning the pinstripes down the road. For now, he’s likely headed to Triple-A Scranton which could easily have the deepest rotation in the Minors in 2007. Check this out:

Phil Hughes
Humberto Sanchez
Tyler Clippard
Ross Ohlendorf
Steven Jackson?

I used a question mark for that No. 5 spot because that’s where things get very interesting. With all the moves the Yankees have made, they are now ridiculously deep on the mound at the upper levels. If Jackson is in that rotation — and with an ERA well under 3.00 in Double-A last year, he clearly deserves to move up a rung — that leaves out a lot of other decent arms. Matt DeSalvo didn’t have a very good year in 2006, but has been to Triple-A in the past. Jeff Karstens went 11-5 with a 3.29 ERA across Double- and Triple-A and had a 3.80 ERA in the bigs. Steven White pitched well with Trenton, not as well in Triple-A, but should be back there. Darrell Rasner was 4-0 with a 2.76 ERA in 10 starts in Triple-A last year and also contributed to the big league club. That makes nine starters. Even if one or two make the leap to the bigs — and it’s a big stretch trying to figure out how that would work, especially considering the logjam in the pen that also now exists — there are still way too many arms for spots.

My question is this: What’s going to happen. Will there be some unhappy hurlers forced back down to Trenton? I’m sure the party line will be something like: Things always have a way of figuring themselves out, it’s a nice problem to have, or, you can never have enough pitching. I’m curious to know what people out there think will happen — send me your thoughts on the Yankees rotation/pen as well as the Scranton Yankees rotation.

4 Comments

As a Yankee fan, i love this problem. I am sick and tired of paying overpriced pitchers with middling success. I would much rather pull for a young rookie than watch the Big Unit scowl fom the mound. There is just something about watching one of your own climb the organizational ladder. As for the rookies? There will be plenty of injury roles for them to assume, and we know Torre will burn out the bullpen.

As a looong time Yankees’ fan, I think it’s great!!! Maybe we can get areplacement(acouple years down the road) for Andy, Moose, etc, without going outside the organization. Or –package a few of these prospects for–oh maybe– Johan Santana?

That would be something, huh? Replacing Pettitte — an original homegrown player who came back to NY to finish his career — with someone actually from the farm system. Even if it’s a guy they traded for, at least it’s building from the ground up, which is what got them all those rings to begin with…as for Johan — you may just have to wait for free agency for that!

Nice problem to have. Everybody’s pointing to Hughes as the man, but of all he’s the one with least experience at even AA, and he’s only 20. Wouldn’t be shocked to see him start season at Trenton – it’s not like it’s illegal to promote all the way from there.

Yanks tend to be conservative in moving guys to Majors, so expect Karstens and Rasner to get first crack at filling in in NY, and if so they need to be working as starters at AAA. All 5 guys in Majors (Moose, Wang, Andy P., Igawa, & Pavano) are signed / controlled through ’08 (Pettitte w/ $16 mm Player option), and while injuries (see Pavano in Webster’s) are likely to open some chances, there isn’t a rush to move guys should each succeed, though NY would probably move Pavano if he builds any trade value. And don’t get us started on Clemens.

Figure Sanchez & White for 2 AAA spots since they were there already. DeSalvo struggled at both AA & AAA, so expect him back at AA, and his 40 man spot is at risk.

Now the mess begins. Clippard, Ohlendorf, & Jackson were all good in full AA seasons. Clip is only 22 – I’m afraid he might get held in AA with Jackson. Ohlendorf is likely 5th in Scranton. It doesn’t get any easier from there, with some lesser lights – J. Jones split AA & A, B. Smith, Horne, and Coke all deserving bump up from full A seasons. And it doesn’t get any easier lower, with guys like Marquez, Garcia, the ’06 draftees, etc. Plenty of talent, plenty of trade bait. Life is good!

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