28 Jul 2007
Lost in all the anticipation of Phil Hughes’ return to the Yankees is Jeff Karstens. Karstens has been doing very well in the minors rehabbing and it is hard to imagine the Yankees will keep him in AAA much longer.
So, what role does Karstens take and who does he replace? If we assume the Yankees are serious about keeping 12 pitchers, and I think they are, a very interesting dilemma is approaching. Figure that Hughes will swap places with Henn, but the Yankees would then have to drop/demote either Myers, Villone, Bruney, Proctor and Farnsworth in order to activate Karstens. (Side note, Hughes is on the 60-day DL, so activating him will also require a change to the 40-man. Colter Bean would be my guess as to who is dropped.)
Seems to me like this is another sign that a trade is coming. Joe Torre has said for awhile he wants a “real” long reliever in the bullpen and Karstens would give them that. So, the bet here is that they add him to the roster, but not before trading away one of the other arms.
Brian Cashman looked very smart on Friday when the Diamondbacks announced that Randy Johnson will miss the rest of the season with back surgery. While the prospects he received in the trade have not done much to date (Gonzalez is hitting in Trenton, but he bombed in AAA, Jackson has been a disaster and Ohlendorf has been hurt and inconsistent) Luis Vizcaino has emerged into a real plus for the team. Johnson managed only 56 innings for Arizona, a figure that Vizcaino will probably surpass in the next week and the Yankees saved $11-million in the process (Rj’s $16 million salary minus Vizcaino’s $3-million and the $2-million they sent to Arizona as part of the trade).