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Yankees give Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia final rotation spots

Mar 26, 2011, 10:02 AM EDT

Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman

This arrangement has been assumed for a few days now, but the Yankees just made it official.

According to Bryan Hoch of, Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia have won the final two rotation spots. Bartolo Colon will pitch out of the bullpen.

Colon made a pretty solid case for the rotation by posting a 2.40 ERA and 17/1 K/BB ratio over 15 innings this spring, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger that he wants to use the veteran right-hander much like he did Alfredo Aceves in 2009. Aceves posted a 3.54 ERA and 69/19 K/BB ratio over 84 innings that season in a long relief role.

If yesterday’s Kevin Millwood signing tells us anything, it’s that the Yankees just want bodies. Maybe one of them will work out. Maybe all of them will flame out in epic fashion. Baseball is a funny game sometimes, so who really knows? The Bombers are just trying to stay afloat long enough until they can acquire someone before the trade deadline. And you know they will.

  1. uyf1950 - Mar 26, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    Certainly not unexpected after the Mitre trade…and probably the way it should have been even if Mitre had not been traded. Now Millwood is merely an insurance policy if someone gives out before the trade deadline. If not look for the Yankees to acquire someone by the end of July, a solid #2 or #3 would be my guess preferably a lefty.

    • bigharold - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:32 PM

      Personally I think that Colon, who I’ve never been impressed with, earned the right to start with his performance this spring. A lot has been said about him only being sharp because he ahead of schedule due to pitching winter ball and that he’ll fade or that the hitters will catch up. OK, fine but in the mean time the Yankees would likely get a handful of productive starts. When/If he falters then slide Garcia or Milwood into the rotation. The Yankees are not expecting Colon, Garcia or Milwood to hold down the 5th starter spot for the entire season so the idea should be to plug in the guy with the hot hand and right now that seems to be Colon.

      And, people keep talking about the Yankees getting another quality starter or as you say “..a solid #2 or #3..” like it’s a done deal. That’s a best case scenario. More likely the Yankees sign a shaky #3 or #4 as part of a salary dump or in other words an expensive gamble. It’ll all depend on what is available and how desperate the Yankees are at the time.

      Finally, the trade deadline is four months away and it wouldn’t be realistic to expect a decent starter to become available before the end of June which is three months away. That’s a lot of baseball.

      Colon is throwing well right now, the Yankees should have plugged in Colon and let Garcia wait his turn.

      • uyf1950 - Mar 26, 2011 at 3:55 PM

        You might be right about both Colon and the pitchers that are available come June/July. We will have to wait and see.
        But I can understand what other poster and experts are saying about Colon and his lack of work over the last few years (did not pitch in 2010 and less then 65 innings per from 2006 through 2009). So I can certainly see where durability would be a concern. That’s not to mention his conditioning (weight). I honestly am not concerned one bit that a quality starter will be available come early to mid summer, always have, probably always will. Just one final comment, if only shaky #3 or #4’s are available as you seem to suggest I doubt they will be expensive and I doubt Cashman and company will bit on such a pitcher if the cost is to high. After all if that’s all that’s available they could always just call up Banuelos or someone else for 2 or 3 months. That’s just my opinion.

  2. yankeesfanlen - Mar 26, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Rotation has a lot of moving parts in it right now so the real evaluations come when the games start.I can and will live with this, the fifth starter is really pertinent yet.
    Most importantly is that the offense meshes. As seen the other day against the Blue Jays, late inning power can overcome at least 3 run deficits if we can stay close til the seventh.
    UYF, I agree we’ll get someone in July, just don’t have a guess who it’ll be.
    Hey, maybe it will be purdueman, he seems to keep up with the Yankees, we can tell him he’s replacing Goose Gossage.

    • uyf1950 - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      My friend it could very well be someone from the AL Central like Marcum, Dempster, or Buehrle or Carmona or may be Liriano. Who knows someone might be a rental someone might be a long term trade. I do think it will come from either the AL or NL Central. Because as soon as one or more of the teams fall out of the competition they might look to do something.

      • uyf1950 - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:30 PM

        oops, missed the “or NL” in the first line. Sorry

  3. Jack Marshall - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Good. Colon lives in infamy in Boston for jumping the team when it asked him to go to the bullpen for the 2008 playoffs. His story then was that he couldn’t pitch out of the pen. Lots of luck with Bartolo, Joe.

  4. aburns77 - Mar 26, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    I’m fine with this arrangement despite Colon’s strong start because it’s such a small sample size compared to his consistent struggles the last few years. As mentioned above I think this rotation is not set in stone and will be flexible, and by adding depth like Millwood Cashman has enough replacement arms to take over if one of this guys (well more like when) craps the bed and needs to be taken out. It’s not the ideal situation for a team with a $189million payroll, but Cashman could do a lot worse

  5. nyyankeefanforever - Mar 26, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    The Yankees are returning a team that led MLB in offense, the AL in defense, has the best bullpen and came within just two games of a consecutive trip to the Series. I can’t believe all the to-do over our #4 and #5 pitchers. Garcia replaces Pettitte quite neatly, Nova has all the hallmarks of a young stud ready for his close-up, and Colon – regardless of his hot hand, weight or health — isn’t anywhere near stretched or prepared to be a starter but is made to order for long relief. Any way you slice it, this team is significantly improved over last season, with more experienced battle-tested young’uns and healthier veterans — and we only missed the Series by two games last year. Think about it.

  6. maineyankfan - Mar 28, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    Starters are deep enough with the best bull pen in baseball. Come July there won’t be any pitchers of value on the market.

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