Give Them a Chance: How The Yankees and Sox Ruin Young Pitchers.

Pat EganCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 26:  Philip Hughes #65 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 26, 2007 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

I noticed this back when the season started. I was completely disgusted and brought it to a few people’s attention. None of which could really give me an answer. I want to know why some teams, mainly the Yankees and Red Sox, never let their young guys develop. Instead of letting these youngsters develop they instead sign just about every free agent pitcher available. WHY?

I started to notice this really with the Yankees. Their reluctance to let young pitchers develop at the major league level. I mean case in point is the way they handled Joba Chamberlin. Is he a starter? Is he a reliever? No one knew. Hell Joba didn’t even know. The Yankees were so nervous about letting a rookie in their rotation that they had no idea what to do with Joba Chamberlin. Reluctantly they gave him a spot in the rotation. He’s 8-2 with a 3.73 ERA. Not too bad.

Their other "stud" pitching prospect is Phil Hughes. Hughes has been a stud pitcher all through the minors. The Yankees brought Hughes up for a few spot starts where he didn’t fair too well. But he’s a rookie. The Yankees have Hughes out of the bullpen this season where he has a 3.60 ERA. He should be a starter. But because he hasn’t duplicated his minor league numbers I doubt the Yankees will truly give him a real chance at the rotation

Instead of immediately just giving Joba and Hughes rotation spots and letting them develop into their natural position at the major league level they went out and signed CC Sabathia to a 7 year 161 Million dollar deal. They also signed AJ Burnett to a 5 year 82.5 million dollar contract.

Now I understand the fact that the Yankees GM Brian Cashman is unable to actually make a managerial decisions other then opening his check book and that it was a given that CC would sign with the Yankees. Everyone knew that was going to happen. But I would say that the Yankees biggest problem this year has been their bullpen (other than the always reliable Mo Rivera) Now Burnett has been very good for the Yanks but I believe he has been unnecessary. I think they could have thrown Hughes into the rotation and took the money they spent on Burnett and gotten a few decent bullpen pieces. But they didn’t.

Then we look at the main culprit. The Boston Red Sox. It’s amazing to think that at one point GM Theo Epstein actually looked up to A's GM Billy Beane. Because at this point he has seemed to turn into the exact opposite. This guy had a really good rotation last year. but decided to go out and sign both Brad Penny from the Dodgers and John Smoltz from the Braves. He also signed Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa. They basically signed 2 pitchers they really didn’t need and a high end prospect....who they didn’t need. The problem i have is they signed Penny when they had Michael Bowden in the minors. They also had Clay Buchholz dominating in the minors for the first few months of the season without giving them a chance to make an impact in the minors. And don’t even get me started on Justin Masterson.

I mean they had so many pitching prospects last year they had to turn one of them into a reliever (Masterson) and while one of the prospects had thrown a no hitter already (Buchholz) he still didn’t deserve a spot in the rotation i guess. And Michael Bowden is still waiting to get a start this season. They just called up Tazawa and DFO Smoltz, and Dice K might not pitch for the rest of the season. So while Buchholz will get a shot to show what he’s got I doubt Tazawa and Bowden will this season.....or next season. Luckily for Masterson he got traded to the Indians where he will get a shot to start.

The problem i have with both cases is that while most teams are willing to give their #5 spot to a good rookie prospect, the Yankees and Red Sox wont. They instead decide to sign every pitcher available. Hell the Red Sox just signed Paul Byrd......don’t know where he’s going to fit. A prospect cannot develop when he’s being shuffled between the rotation and the pen. Or the rotation and then quickly back to the minors. I mean people are calling Hughes a bust but he has yet to get a fair shot.

I think the problem is that both the Yankees and the Red Sox don’t want to lose an edge. If one team is willing to let a Clay Buchholz go through the entire season pitching in their #5 spot chances are he’s going to get lit up from time to time just because of the fact that he’s a rookie. The Al East is always one of the most competitive leagues with both the Yankees and Red Sox battling it out. Because of this fact I think that both Cashman and Epstein don’t feel like they can afford to let a rookie pitch a full season in the #5 spot. Especially when there is an established starter on the market

Look if you would rather not go with the rookies because you fear that having a ? in your #5 spot is going to hurt you I get that. Where i have a problem is the fact that the Red Sox and the Yankees are reluctant to trade these guys. So they went give them a decent shot at the majors and they won’t let them go to say a San Diego where they could possibly get their career started. It’s not healthy for these kids to not know what their future holds. The way the Yankees have held back Philip Hughes progression is unfair and unjust. Philip Hughes should be starting somewhere. But it may never happen. He MAY finally get a shot when he’s 26 or 27. But that’s probably only going to happen on another team

It just seems that every other team in the major leagues will let their stud prospect prosper in the majors. Everyone except for the Yankees and Sox. I would say that most of the times when a team realizes there is no room on their roster for a stud prospect on their roster because of one reason or another they usually trade them. Just look at the Matt Laporta CC Sabathia Trade. Laporta was traded from Milwaukee where they had Braun and Fielder at LF, and 1B. Both of those positions Laporta played. So they traded him.

It’s not fair to keep these guys in limbo. Either give them a chance or trade them is all I’m saying. I am happy for Justin Masterson that he may finally get a chance. But I feel bad for the Bowden’s, Buchholz, Tazawa, and Hughes who may never get a fair shake in this league because of their selfish GM's