Saturday, August 15, 2009

Upcoming Rotation & Potential Roster Moves

Yesterday the Yankees announced their rotation for the next week plus:

Today: Mitre @ SEA
Sunday: Chamberlain @ SEA
Monday: Burnett @ OAK
Tuesday: Sabathia @ OAK
Wednesday: Gaudin @ OAK
Thursday: Off
Friday: Pettitte @ BOS
Saturday: Burnett @ BOS
Sunday: Sabathia @ BOS
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Chamberlain vs. TEX

This deviates somewhat from the plan that was rumored heading into the road trip, which would have had Mitre and Gaudin closing out the Seattle series with Chamberlain held back until the getaway game in Oakland. The Yankees apparently thought better of having Mitre and Gaudin going in back-to-back games, fearful of overtaxing the bullpen.

This set up is probably best. It allows them to line up their three best pitchers against Boston. Chamberlain still gets skipped, giving him some necessary shutdown time, but by starting him tomorrow the Yankees have a little more flexibility with the bullpen today should Mitre turn in another stinker.

I know that save for Brian Bruney the bullpen is at full strength tonight and Alfredo Aceves is Girardi's long man of choice, but the Yankees would be wise to get Chad Gaudin some work today. Since his final start with the Padres on August 5th, he's thrown all of two innings, both coming in Wednesday's game. He's thrown just seven innings since July 26th. Giving him two or three innings today will allow him to sharpen up a bit and still be well rested for his start Wednesday.

Since the Joba Rules v2.0 have been mostly revealed I like the Gaudin deal more and more. That of course could change you know, once he actually starts pitching. But in theory, he gives the Yankees a viable spot start option who is more stretched out than Alf. When not starting, he could prove to be a valuable bullpen arm as he was with Oakland in 2006, as he's holding RHBs to a .229/.294/.348 batting line this year.

As for Mitre, I'm starting to think more and more that today will be his final appearance as a Yankee. He has not pitched well by any stretch of the imagination. Given the off days and the Gaudin spot start, the Yankees will not need a fifth starter again until August 29th. Meanwhile Damaso Marte's rehab assignment expires on Monday, and since he was transferred on the 60 day DL last Saturday, the Yankees will need to make room for him on both the 40 and 25 man rosters. DFA'ing Mitre would accomplish both. There is also the possibilty that the Yanks could discover a "new" Marte injury resetting the clock, but he's now pitched 11 AAA innings to the tune of 2.45 ERA. He's as ready as he's going to be. [UPDATE: Tyler Kepner implies Marte isn't coming back any time soon, h/t to our friend Joe P at RAB]

Gaudin could make the August 29th start, then with rosters expanding three days later, the Yankees will have a lot more flexibility to rest Joba, deal with the Labor Day doubleheader, etc. As Jay pointed out this morning, by that point a comfortable lead, while not a sure thing, will allow them further flexibility in setting up their pitching down the stretch.

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