Thursday, July 21, 2011

Did Colon and Garcia's Last Outings Quell Yankees Trade Talks

Last week the New York Yankees seemed desperate to add another reliable starter to their rotation.  All eyes seemed to be focused on Colorado Rockies flame-thrower Ubaldo Jimenez.  Only problem was, the Rockies would literally be asking the Yankees for the farm to make any kind of trade for their 27 year-old righthander.

The Yankees remember all too well last year's lack of starting pitching in the playoffs and have to be wondering if they can pin four-fifth of their October hopes on Phil Hughes--a pitcher on the mend, A.J. Burnett--who has reverted back to his inconsistent self, Ivan Nova-- who just went on the Triple-A DL for a foot injury, and Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia--two aging veterans picked up during the off-season winter-sale.

Funny thing, outside of CC Sabathia, Colon and Garcia, have been the most impressive this season.  Now the question is can the 38 year-old Colon and 35 year-old Garcia hold up?

Both pitchers combined for a total of two earned runs in 13 innings in two games against the Tampa Bay Rays this week.

Garcia out dueled David Price and struck out seven Rays hitters over 6.2 innings last night.  Last week Garcia was battered in Toronto where he allowed five earned runs in five innings after a 12 day layoff.  Manager Joe Girardi said the layoff was responsible.

Colon's masterpiece the night before was spoiled after centerfielder Curtis Granderson lost a fly ball in the roof of Tropicana Field.  The hefty hurler went 6.1 innings and struck out nine batters.

Reports continue to swirl that the Yankees are still interested in Jimenez, but there hasn't been any official comment from management. Girardi seems content on keeping things as they are.

"This is what we have and we've gotten to this point because of them," he said.  "There's no reason that can't continue."

Well, many fans will dispute that sentiment and the Yankees reportedly have scouts buying more Rockies tickets than usual.

The reasons to add a player like Jimenez, who has 50 wins over his last three years and has over 33 starts in each of his three full seasons.  He had 214 strikeouts last season-- third in the NL-- and the durable pitcher who has thrown 845 innings without any real troubles.  Jimenez has only been on the DL once in his career for a broken fingernail.  The Yankees have to like the thought of getting a pitcher without shoulder, elbow or "dead arm" problems.

Jimenez could come cheap in contract but steep in trade.  He is making $2.8 million this year, $4.2 mil next season and an option of $5.75 in 2013.  Compare that to the $33 million the Yankees will be shelling out for A.J. Burnett over the next two years.

In exchange, the Rockies will probably want Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Jesus Montero--three of the Yankees top prospects.

Jimenez's bi-polar 2010 season has to be on the Yankees mind after he started 15-1, then sludged through the second half of the season.  He is 6-3 with a 2.61 ERA in his last 10 starts.

The Yankees could wait until the end of the season to get Jimenez and hang on to their prospects, much like they did with Sabathia in 2008, when they held on to Hughes and got the big pitcher they wanted anyway.

The questions now are if Hughes is back to form and  if Colon and Garcia can keep it up for another two-and-a-half months.

They will each get at least another start before the July 31 trade deadline--one more chance to show the Yankees the first half of their seasons weren't a fluke and the team can hang on to their prospects for the future.

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