. . IF (and that’s a big if) the Yankees land another starter. Brian Cashman was interviewed on the Michael Kay show this afternoon, and cleared up the confusion that was caused by his remarks and the reports that made the rounds soon thereafter.
Kay opened up with a question on this very topic, and I transcribed it word for word, so everyone can read it in its entirety. Though feel free to click the above link for the podcast to listen for yourself, especially since Brian is rather wordy and inflection and emphasis can sometimes alter meaning. Anyway, here goes:
Michael Kay-“So many people were shocked when we played the cut of you yesterday saying that Joba and Phil (Hughes) would be battling for one spot in the rotation. Did you misspeak? Or did you mean that there would be only one spot in the rotation for the two of them?
Brian Cashman-“No! I was very clear, actually. The question that I responded to was ‘If you get another starter, what does that do for Joba and Hughes?’ because all winter long it’s Joba and Hughes are coming in as starters, along with Aceves, Mitre and Gaudin, they’ll be prepared as starters and after that, we’ll see where we go. And essentially, the follow up question was ‘You say you’re looking for starting pitching because you can’t have enough’ and what happens if you do secure another Starter, via Free Agency or trade? My response to that was well, clearly then the competition goes from those 3-4-5 guys for, along with Nova and McCallister, would go for, instead of those guys competing for two spots, they’re competing for one. And the remaining guys would either go to our bullpen or go to AAA as options. So that’s assuming we ever trade, or acquire another starter. Because obviously we have Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte right now, and we have the Hughes and Chamberlain’s and Gaudin’s and Mitre’s and Aceves’ and McCallisters and Nova’s competing for those final two spots. If we acquire another starter that population can only compete for one more spot. ”
Michael Kay-“Now, I guess the thing that stunned everybody, and was surprising to me Brian was I mean these guys have always been touted as future starters for the Yankees. So you’d be cool with one of them possibly being in the bullpen next year then?”
Brian Cashman-“If we went in with a starter that we actually like better, yeah. I have no problem with that, I mean we went into the playoffs with Hughes, Aceves and Chamberlain all in the bullpen. Why? Because we had guys we were giving the ball in the rotation , although it was a truncated rotation, we were giving the ball to guys we felt were more capable at that moment in time. So there’s no change in philosophy, as of right now, those guys are all starters. And if nothing changes, those guys are all starters. The question was ‘Well what if you get a starter?’ well, that means we have four, that means the remaining population competes for the final spot”
So long story short, if we get Ben Sheets then one of these guys winds up in the bullpen. That really shouldn’t surprise anyone, but the fact that everyone around the organization seems to think we need another starter makes this a likely scenario. And if they land an arm, they’ll be looking for one with a high ceiling. There’s not much point in getting another Sergio Mitre, they already have plenty of depth as Brian detailed. What they lack is proven upside from that second group.
One interesting note, notice how Brian gave each starter in rank order for the rotation, from his #1 through his #3 starter and did so chronologically. He then proceeded to list the remaining pitchers in what appears to be a chronological order of rank as well, but put Hughes in front of Chamberlain. May be nothing, or may be a window into who the organization thinks more highly of at this time.