Pinstripe Alley: Everybody Wins

We've heard from Lookout Landing, but what about Pinstripe Alley? Here are a couple of chunks of analysis from PA's williamnyy:

Now that Pineda and Kuroda have been added, the Yankees' rotation is suddenly bursting at the seams. With Sabathia and Ivan Nova already entrenched in the rotation, that leaves three pitchers for one spot. In a perfect world, the Yankees would be able to unload A.J. Burnett's contract, allowing Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia to battle for the fifth slot during Spring Training. Both pitchers would not only be more than adequate in that role, but the odd man out could also prove to be an invaluable sixth man. However, getting rid of Burnett is probably wishful thinking, so it seems more likely that he will open the season as the fifth starter. And, who knows, maybe a lightened burden will translate into more success for Burnett?

I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the Yankees are going to pick the best man they can for No. 5 starter. I don't think they're going to give the job to Burnett, merely because they still owe him $33 million. Granted, that's a lot of money to just eat, but I think both Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner are well familiar with the concept of sunk cost.

Then again, they might figure that with this rotation, they can afford to give up a few wins, in the interest of getting Burnett back on track, at least to the point of becoming attractive enough to another club that the Yankees could actually trade him (while no doubt still eating a big chunk of the contract).

By acquiring Pineda and Kuroda, all of the dominoes on the pitching staff have fallen into place. However, the absence of Montero now leaves a big hole at DH. To address that need, the Yankees have reportedly expressed interest in Carlos Pena, who would form a nice lefty/right DH platoon with Andruw Jones, while also strengthening the bench. There are a myriad of other options too, ranging from veteran free agents like Vlad Guerrero and Johnny Damon to potential value buys like Kendrys Morales. Also, the Yankees could instead target a more versatile player (someone like Martin Prado), which would allow Joe Girardi to use the DH slot as a resting place for his aging veterans. All of these options are viable, which is probably another reason why Cashman decided Montero's bat was expendable.

Agreed on all points, but I think the single biggest reason for Montero's dispensability is Alex Rodriguez's contract, which runs for six more seasons. I think the second-biggest reason for Montero's dispensability is Mark Teixeira's contract, which runs for five more seasons. The Yankees didn't seem to think that Montero would be a catcher in the long term, which presumably would leave two positions: first base and DH. Teixeira's got first base locked up, and I suspect that Rodriguez will soon become a part-time DH, and perhaps a full-time DH, in the interest of keeping him in the lineup.

I've often thought the one weakness of a franchise like the Yankees is that they can get hamstrung by huge contracts given to veterans like Rodriguez and Teixeira, thus blocking cheap hot prospects like Montero. Of course, that problem looks a lot less serious when you can flip a guy like Montero for a guy like Pineda. The veterans can still be a problem, of course, if they're not playing well but their salaries compel you to play them anyway.

To this point, that's not been a real problem. It might still become one, if Rodriguez and Jeter continue to decline. But this roster now has a great deal of room for error.

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