(Friend of TYU) Evan Roberts broke a bit of news with SI’s Jon Heyman this morning on his radio show when discussing the Yankee plans for the rotation had the Cliff Lee deal went through. I transcribed it, so here’s the link to listen for yourself and here it is to read in it’s full context:
Evan Roberts-“Obviously Cliff Lee is an elite pitcher, he’s one of the best pitchers in the sport right now, that’s how good he is. So you can understand why the Yankees would want him. But what was the plan if they pulled this off? Was Javy Vazquez going to be turned around and traded right away?”
Jon Heyman-“No. As it turns out, from what I’m hearing and I’ve talked to a few people today as well, they were going to use Hughes in the bullpen, even though he’s been an All-Star as a starter. Their plan was to have excess, to give Hughes some extra breathing room, and see how it went there. And I don’t think that’s a bad plan. If you have Cliff Lee, and you’ve got Sabathia, and you’ve got all these pitchers, you strengthen your bullpen, I think it’s not a bad idea. “
Evan Roberts-“Wow, that’s incredible. “
They went on to discuss whether or not that would mess him up, like some people think it did with Joba. But Heyman dismissed the idea as “illogical”, and I would agree with him there.
We all know the Yanks operate differently than any other team, but this just goes to show how there was absolutely no need for Lee on this team, since the next move would be to send an All Star starter to the bullpen. I’m sorry, but this would-be trade makes less and less sense with every additional detail that comes out about it. Why not just make a much cheaper deal for a reliever, keep Montero and leave Hughes where he is? And still get Lee next year as a free agent.
UPDATE 8:32 PM-Andrew Marchand of ESPN-NY had a similar take, but was much less definitive than Heyman. Girardi and Eiland denied it, but Phil was quoted as saying this:
“I figured I might go to the bullpen, but I’ve done that before,” Hughes said after the Yankees’ 6-1 victory over the Mariners, which extended their season-best winning streak to seven games.”
(h/t to Nathan @ RAB for the heads up)