The Yankees have put it all back together. The fans that wanted Pettitte back are happy, the fans that were worried about the fifth spot in the rotation are happy, and now the Yankees have nothing left to do, except make sure they do it right. This is a few things I think that they need to keep in mind as the season draws closer.
Do: Make CC Sabathia your ace.
He is a regular season workhorse that will eat up innings and assure you that your bullpen will not be taxed moving on to the next guy in the rotation. He has been criticized for struggling in the postseason, but his regular season production will help assure that the Yanks make the postseason.
Do: Keep Joba in the rotation.
Chamberlain is a rock star with ace potential. He brings something to the Yankees that I haven't seen in a while. He is an angry and fierce competitor that takes the Boston/NY rivalry to that level that it should be at.
Am I the only one that remembers yelling at my TV when Pedro would give Yankee hitters some chin music and the tension of a bench clearing brawl at any moment as the two teams clawed for position down the stretch? Joba gave us that back when Youkilis ate dirt twice at the hands of the very scary fireballer. Let the guy live up to his hype, he is going to be something special.
Don't: Put Pettitte as your number three.
Some speculation has Pettitte at the three spot in the Yankees rotation, this worries me. That would be a terrible spot for him to be for several reasons. Pettitte is getting older and had trouble going long into games last year.
That may be past him and he could have rehabbed his shoulder but, putting Wang at the three spot gives the bullpen a much needed breather as it goes into the stretch of the four, five, and possibly sixth slots. Who knows maybe the Yanks will implement a six man rotation at the sacrifice of another utility bench player or a long innings reliever.
Do: Remember that Joba is only 23.
The innings cap on Joba is a great idea at this point as he learns to utilize his arm for more games. This season will be a big test for him since he was only a starter for half the season last year. The idea of a sixth starter has been thrown around, and I for one think it would be a great way to integrate a young pitcher into the rotation and protect your rotation from overwork.
Last, I cannot stress enough that the Yanks should not try to put him back in the bullpen, that would be a terrible waste of his talents.
Don't: Trade Ian Kennedy
Kennedy was not good in the majors last year. That having been said, he was one of the most dominant pitchers in the minors for the last two years. If/when he finds a way to make that transition he will be something special. Trading him now would only make you kick yourself later for not at least letting him build his value back up. There have been a lot of deals floating around with his name involved and if you trade him make sure that he gets what he could be worth.
Do: Work on a set-up man.
Edwar Ramirez has good stuff and is working well with Mariano and could be a good possibility as a set-up man. Jose Veras has good stuff and is a more mature option than Ramirez. Veras was more consistent than a lot of guys last year and could be groomed as the 8th inning guy. The other options are Demaso Marte, also a veteran arm and a lefty to boot, or someone from the minors that we haven't seen much of yet.
Humberto Sanchez has had a lot of buzz around him since he was acquired in the deal that sent Gary Sheffield to the Tigers, but he is often injured and perhaps could be better served as an eighth inning guy to preserve his fragile arm, but the need to fill in the spot that Joba vacated is glaring.
Other than that just let Kevin Long prove he deserves to stay. There has been a lot of talk about rebounding players and the offense getting back to form, let's see it. The pitching is set so lets give them a chance, offense.