Mael Rodriguez - One more pitcher for the Yankees?
I was thinking about the Yankees pitching staff and I was wondering why the Yankees weren't going after another pitcher. It seems to be the Yankees MO to always have an extra pitcher on hand. With the Yankees' 5 pitchers, there seems to be room for one more pitcher, especially with some of the Yankees with past injuries. Then I saw a reference to Mael Rodriguez, the defected Cuban pitcher who is allegedly 24 years old and throws 100 mph. He set the single-season strikeout record in Cuba with 263 in 178 1/3 innings three years ago. This season, he was 8-3 in 113 innings with 117 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.11. I read somewhere that he is going to be working out for some teams soon, but I can't seem to find the article right now.
So I'm wondering how interested the Yankees are in Mael. They already have Contrares, so I'm guessing the Yankees would have a small leg up on the competition. If they're interested in the of course. Only time will tell. If the Yankees did sign him, that would allow them to put Contrares or Lieber into the bullpen as the longman - which they currently really don't have right now. There's no Mendoza-type pitcher in the bullpen and signing Mael (if he is indeed healthy and throwing 100 mph) it would allow the Yankees the luxury that they had last year of having an extra starting pitcher (or two).
I know that this just may be pie-in-the-sky dreaming on my part, but it IS the off-season - I think that I'm allowed a little of that.
- Addendum -
One interesting point the came up in the comments was: where would Mael fit into the Yankees 24-man roster? Right now, all 24 slots are filled. 10 pitchers and 14 batters. Here are the pitchers: Brown, Contreras, Gordon, Heredia, Karsay, Lieber, Mussina, Quantrill, Rivera, Vazquez. Also, as point of fact, Mael is a righthander. None of those guys can just be dumped off the roster. They could be traded, but they are all under contract and they can't just be tossed away (well, the Yanks can do anything they want, but in a sane world, none of them would just be tossed away). Karsay is coming back from injury last year, so if he's not ready, Mael could take his slot, but that's only a stopgap solution. How about the offense? Well, Enrique Wilson is a waste of space, but if you get rid of him, then you only have one backup 2B/SS/3B in Cairo. The Yanks are carrying 5 OF with Sierra being the most expendable, but since he's their best guy off the bench, I don't imagine him going anywhere (though Cairo could serve as the 5th OF if really necessary). My guess is that he'd start in AAA and pitch for a while until the Yankees get an inevitable injury. You can never have too much pitching, but I don't know if Mael is willing to go to AAA for as long as he might stay with the Yankees. If he signed with the Tampa Bay (as one rumor that I heard said he may do), I'm sure he'd make it to the majors much quicker. But then he'd be on Tampa Bay, so I guess you get what you pay for (or in this case, you get what you get paid for).
posted by shawn
: 1/14/2004 10:06:00 PM -