But the depth doesn't stop there. Going back to the halcyon days of Ramiro Mendoza, the Yankees right now have not one, but two, extra starters entering 2010: Chad Gaudin, and Sergio Mitre. With Left Field still a question mark, does this make sense?
Gaudin is the more valuable of the two. He turns 27 next year, and has shown signs of being a potentially good pitcher. He started 34 games for Oakland in 2007, and put up an ERA+ of 96. His WHIP of 1.53 that season wasn't pretty, but the overall production from a young pitcher is encouraging.
Gaudin improved slightly in 2008, but purely as a reliever. He put up an ERA+ of 97 and an improved WHIP of 1.32. In 2009 Gaudin was unimpressive with the Padres, but he performed well with the Yankees. He started six games and put up an ERA+ of 125. That's the classic case of a small sample size, but its pretty good as far as auditions go.
Sergio Mitre, on the other hand, is not a good pitcher. He's older than Gaudin. He has been called upon almost exclusively as a starter. And that performance has been ugly. His career ERA+ is 78, which is probably below replacement level. He's never cracked an ERA+ of 100. The closest he came was 93 in 2007 with the Marlins. In 6 starts with the Yankees Mitre posted an ERA+ of 63 last season, which is bad. Oh, and he was banned 50 games for failing a drug test. Mitre proclaims his innocence, but the failed test doesn't add glitter to an already underwhelming resume.
The Yankees avoided salary arbitration with Mitre, signing him to a one year $850,000 deal. It probably makes more sense to keep him on the team, especially at that price, than to let him walk in free-agency. There really is no such thing as too much pitching.
But do the Yankees need 7 starters heading into 2010 with Brett Gardner set to start in left field? Given that Joba and Hughes are going to be training as starters this preseason, it seems excessive to keep both Gaudin and Mitre on the roster when one could potentially fetch a left fielder in trade. Of the two, everyone involved in baseball would prefer Gaudin, but that has to include the Yankees. Its not clear Mitre is worth enough to get a decent left field option - platoon or otherwise. If the Yankees could receive a left fielder in return, would it be worth it to part ways the promising Gaudin?