The Yankees are in quite a predicament. Their budding star Phil Hughes could be lost for the season as a red flag was raised during the plethora of tests done this week. A circulatory problem could have been detected, but we will not know for sure until he visits a vascular specialist in St. Louis.
New York has a few options on the table. They can either sit with their fingers crossed in hope that Hughes will return at some time this season and be able to find his fastball, or they can be proactive and try to bring in another starter.
As much as Colon and Garcia have dazzled this season, banking on their service for an entire year seems a bit optimistic.
It is quite obvious that the starting pitcher market is quite bleak. The options that could be available are not the most tempting, and it wouldn't be surprising for Cashman to stick to his guns and not make a hasty decision. On the other hand, it wouldn't be too shocking to see the Yankees brass try to make something out of nothing.
With the resurgence of Russell Martin, the abundance of catchers in the farm system, Cashman has a chip that he could make a play with. That chip is Jesus Montero. With the right deal in front of him, or a desperate front office, Montero could be moved to bring in a fix for Hughes and his dead arm.
With Weaver pitching at the level his is pitching at right now—6-0 with a sub-one ERA—it will be difficult not to reward him top dollar before he becomes a free agent after 2012. He has proven his worth and will be looking to cash in on his incredible performance so far this season.
Dan Haren has pitched quite well this season as well, but it seems to fly under the radar since the ace of the staff is blowing everyone out of the water.
Haren has a 4-1 record to go along with a 0.75 WHIP and 1.23 ERA. Did I forget to mention that he is holding opposing batters to a .166 BA?
Haren returned to the AL last season after spending the better part of the last three seasons with the Diamondbacks. Since his homecoming to the AL West, he has a 9-5 recored and a 2.12 ERA.
It is obvious that if the Angels want to make Jered Weaver and his agent Scott Boras happy, they will have to break the bank. Haren will be looking at a dried up well and looking else where for his next paycheck when he becomes a free agent in 2012.
We all know that the Yankees can pay him what he wants if they decide to pick up his massive option in 2013 and the Angels could be interested in Montero. Their DH Bobby Abreu is getting up their in age and Montero could add some pop to their lineup.
Catching is not much of a need for the Angels with Hank Conger, but more power could be added with Montero's bat.
It might be quite difficult to fathom a deal between these two teams, but you never know. WIth Chuck Greenberg out of the picture, Nolan Ryan and the other head honchos in Texas might be willing to listen.
Wilson could hit the open market next season and if he pitches as well as he did last year, could be looking at making some decent money. Most believe that with a serviceable 2011 season, Wilson could warrant money similar to Ted Lilly, but if the market is sparse in starting pitching, he could see his value sky rocket.
He is already making a nice impression this season going 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA through six games.
The Rangers catching options are nothing to be too optimistic about. Yorvit Torreabla and Mike Napoli are not the teams back stop of the future. Jesus Montero would be a nice addition to the Rangers lineup and would be a serviceable catcher. His bat would thrive in the hitter-friendly stadium in Arlington.
Gavin Floyd left the Bronx last week after a masterful performance. He struck out 10 and worked in nasty offspeed pitches paired perfectly with his low-to-mid 90s fastball.
Last season, the White Sox were fielding offers for their young right-hander and the Yankees were a team with perceived interest. I'm sure the abilities he showcased in their matchup only helped to spike his value in their eyes.
Floyd is a rather cheap option at this point and his contract is not too much to handle which comes to an end after 2012.
Montero would be a nice fit for the White Sox as well. A.J. Pierzynski is not the catcher he once was, and Tyler Flowers is struggling to make adjustments and become the catcher Chicago thought they had.
The team needs some pop in their lineup as well. Newly acquired Adam Dunn is having trouble finding his groove and so is Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham.
Myers has seem to turned over a new leaf since joining the Astros last season. He had a career low 3.14 ERA and ate up 223.2 innings. He is quite the work horse.
The Astros are usually out of the playoff race early in the season. It is sad, but it is a fact. They are already eight games below .500 and 6.5 games behind the first place Cardinals.
Houston and Myers reached a deal this offseason that would keep him in Texas through 2012, and if they do not pick up his option, he is free to test the market. If he keeps pitching the way he did last year, his value could be quite high.
Houston is looking toward the future and Montero would be a nice piece to build their team around.
Myers, at best, would be a fourth or fifth starter on a team in the AL, but he would be able to eat innings at the back end of the rotation.
We all remember Arroyo from his cornrow days back with the Red Sox. Since then, he has ditched the hair style, but is still pitching at a high-level for an 11-year veteran. In 2010, Arroyo went 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. This was good enough to earn him a three-year contract extension with the Reds.
Even though he put his name on the dotted-line, he was not given a no-trade clause, but since most of the money in his contract is deferred. This essentially is his no-trade clause, since it would be a daunting task for any team, outside of the Yankees, to pick that up.
The Reds catching depth is nothing to get excited about as Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan are not a long term option. Montero could step right in and take over.
Arroyo is a decent back of the end option, but giving up Montero for a 34-year-old pitcher might not be in their best interest.
Mark Buehrle looks to be, as long as CC does not opt out, the best free-agent pitcher on the market in 2011. He is a work horse who will give you 200-plus innings as he has reached that plateau ever single year since his debut in 2000.
Buehrle doesn't have a rocket-arm, but he is a very smart pitcher and knows how to pitch to contact and allows hitters to get themselves out. He is a veteran pitcher who understands his role and would be a fantastic addition to a team trying to make a sure up a shaky rotation.
He is struggling a bit so far this year with a 5.12 ERA and a 1-3 record, but as the season progress, he will most likely creep closer to his career ERA of 3.87.
Like I stated before, Flowers and Pierzynski are a bit shaky as options behind the dish both with the bat and the leather, and Montero could step in and make some noise for the stagnant Sox lineup.
Liriano was the center of Yankee trade speculation throughout the offseason and the beginning of the year. At first it seemed as if it was all hearsay, but with Liriano's recent struggles and Joe Mauer hitting the DL, Montero looks like an appealing option.
After coming off a strong 2010, Liriano was looking to duplicate his success but has been less fortunate. His 1-4 record and 9.13 ERA are rather dreadful. Through 23 innings, he has the same number of K's as walks—18.
Joe Mauer has been sidelines for quite some time with a viral infection and leg weakness. The head trainer of the Twins, Rick McWane, acknowledged the fact that Mauer was not ready to return to action when he did this year. Over the course of his DL stint, Mauer has lost 15-20 pounds.
It is a shame that such a fantastic player has had so much trouble staying healthy. This could open a door for Montero to come in and bring some insurance to the catcher position. Especially if Mauer's time behind the plate has to come to an end and he can only be used as a DH.
Even though Liriano is struggling, it might be the perfect opportunity to strike on the south paw. Maybe a change of scenery would help to right the ship even under the scrutinizing eye of Yankee fans.
Carmona is a sinker-ball pitcher who has had his ups and downs over the course of his career. He went 19-8 in 2007 with a 3.06 ERA. Over the course of the next two seasons, Carmona posted a near six ERA and and went 12-19.
In 2010, he seemed to return to his past glory boasting a 3.77 ERA and a near .500 record. He has struggled thus far this season, but when he is on, he's on.
Carmona is a free agent after 2011 and has club options that can be picked up from 2012 through 2014. The options are quite pricey, but nothing that the Yankees couldn't absorb if they wished.
The Indians have a star in Carlos Santana behind the plate which makes Montero not quite as attractive. Travis Hafner is a nice power hitting DH, but only when he is healthy which is rarely.
Montero could take over the DH spot and add some more pop to this lineup and the Yankees would get a nice back-end starter.
Here is when things start to get a bit scrappy as we are looking at some not so sexy options. That's not to say that the previous players are studs, but they have a better track record than these next two.
Edwin Jackson has shown that he has the stuff to be a strong pitcher in any league, but his control is his Achilles heel. Who can forget when he no-hit the Rays even though he had eight walks.
While he has struggle through the better part of his career, he has had a few strong seasons. In 2009 with the Tigers, Jackson went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA. Even though he wasn't lights-out with the Diamondbacks, when he came over to Chicago mid-season, he went 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA.
Frankly, this would be a real stretch for the Yankees. Giving up Montero in a deal for Jackson would seem to be a move of desperation, but when it boils down to it, desperate times call for desperate measures, especially if the Yankees are vying for a playoff spot.
Every team that make a deal for Erik Bedard knows what they are getting. He is a player with elite skills but can't stay out of the training room.
Before joining the M's, he was the ace of the Orioles staff. During 2006 and 2007, Bedard's ERA was a combined 3.46. What is more impressive was the rate that he struck out hitters. Through 378.1 innings, Bedard rung up 392 batters.
He hasn't been able to stay healthy since he has joined the Mariners in 2008. Over the course of the last three seasons, not including the five starts he has made in 2011, Bedard has only made a total of 30 starts. He missed the entire 2010 season with injuries.
We all wish that we could somehow obtain the ace of Seattle's staff, but that is not a reality. Bedard would be a better option even though he is extremely risky. You could be sending one of your premier prospects for a player who makes a few starts, but then spends more time on the DL then toeing the rubber.
Montero would fit in nicely with the young studs that the Mariners have coming up. We have already seen what Michael Pineda can do, and Dustin Ackley is still waiting in the ranks. Miguel Olvio is only a place holder and not their catcher of the future.
Like Jackson, Bedard is not the most attractive option, but like Colon and Garcia have thus far, could rekindle some of their past magic.
Reality has set in. Phil Hughes could be lost for the season and might never be the pitcher we thought he could become. While Burnett was a question mark coming into the season, Hughes was suppose to be a constant, someone who could be relied upon.
Now Bartolo Colon is providing that stability, but can someone who hasn't pitched in over a year be able to handle the rigors of a full season?
As the season progresses, Cashman will have some decisions to make. Is Montero worth parting with and trying to move while his value could still be on the rise? Are Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine the future back stops for the Yanks?
Some of the options on the table are not the most appealing, but they all need to be considered. This is what Cashman gets paid the big bucks for, to make the big decisions. Let's just hope he is able to pull the trigger when the time comes.