Once upon a time in Yankeeville, in a place called Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, there were three starting pitchers designated for greatness: Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes. (Just pretend Shelley isn’t in the picture.)
Now Kennedy has been shipped off to Arizona to become a Diamondback.
That leaves two surviving members of the trio. Cashman says pitching is still a priority, even after luring Pettitte back for another year. Does he mean he’ll be forking over serious dollars for Lackey? Is he planning to cobble together a staff from among Joba, Hughes, Gaudin, Aceves, Mitre and the traveling secretary? Or will he shock us by trading for Halladay in an effort to give us another ace and reunite Doc with AJ?
If Halladay is an option, it surely will mean having to bid farewell to either Hughes or Joba. As much as I adore Doc, am I ready to part with either H or J? I’m having some sleepless nights over this one.
Joba’s ups and downs have been well documented, so I won’t bore anyone with the Rules, the flashes of brilliance, the decreased velocity, the fact that he wants to be a starter but seems better suited to the bullpen. Does he get another crack at the rotation? And if he falters, how long will his rope be?
Hughes looked tremendous out of the pen prior to the playoffs, and setting up successfully for Mo had to boost his confidence. But I always saw him as a starter.
OK, the truth is I don’t want to part with either of these kids. Let them both start, relieve, who cares. Keeping them affords the Yankees lots of flexibility. So I’m going to completely reverse myself and advocate that we forget Halladay and sign Lackey, who won’t cost us players and will make our pitching staff stronger. I know, I know. I said I couldn’t stand Lackey and his tantrums.
But maybe his supporters are right, and he’s just a “fierce competitor.” And maybe Girardi will take him aside and school him in the Yankees Way of doing things.
Anyhow, I want Joba and Hughes to hang around. I want Lackey instead of Halladay since we wouldn’t have to give up Joba/Hughes. And I want Gaudin/Mitre only as a last, very remote resort.
That’s where I stand at 8:08 p.m. Pacific Time. I could change my mind within the next ten minutes.