Carl Pavano's heavy legs and sore foot weren't enough to keep him from taking the hill against a potent Phillies lineup in spring training yesterday. Pavano pitched two uneventful innings, allowing 2 hits, 2 walks and 1 earned run.
It's notable that Pavano was able to make it to the mound and back without injuring himself, but of greater interest is a small piece from MLB Trade Rumors. The blog is speculating that Pavano's spring training performance is a showcase for a trade. Possible suitors for Pavano have included the Cardinals, Mariners and Rockies in the past, and the NY Post is reporting that the Braves, Mets and White Sox had scouts at the Yanks game yesterday, possibly to scout Pavano.
These rumors are fun, but starting pitching isn't an area of strength and I don't think the Yanks are looking to move Pavano at this point. I'd love to get rid of him, but the Yanks probably aren't ready to bring one of their young guns up to the Bronx right out of spring training and hand them the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Unlike years past, the Yanks will need a number 5 starter early in the season. Barring rain outs, that spot in the rotation will come up on April 11 against the Twins.
Like it or not, until the Yanks either call up Philip Hughes or one of the other AAA guys, and/or sign Roger Clemens and get him into the Bronx, Pavano is going to be necessary. I don't expect the Yanks to get much more out of Pavano this year than they did Jaret Wright last year, but they do need to get something out of him. If he gets hurt, that's one thing. Then you have to adjust, but trading him now would be scrapping the plans for the rotation before the season even begins.
This decision could hinge on the performance of Philip Hughes, Humberto Sanchez, Jeff Karstens or Ross Ohlendorf in Tampa. If one of them knocks the Yanks' socks off with his performance it would make it much easier for the Yanks to part with Pavano.