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February 1, 2007

Newsday - Mussina: Put-up time for Pavano
by SG

"I think he has to be there," Mussina said of Pavano, when asked what the perennially injured righthander had to do to win back his teammates. "I think he has to pitch. I think he has to do his job. Just kind of be the new guy again, is the best way to put it.

"He's been away a long time. He's come and gone for periods of time, and he's been real close, and everyone thought he was coming back and he didn't. So he's got to earn some trust from some players again, from a coaching staff and a manager and an organization.

"But if he can do it, we know he can pitch, and we know he can get people out. If he gets over those other hurdles, he'll be an asset."

Until I see Carl Pavano pitching in a regular season game for the Yankees, I have to assume he's a non-factor. He's been a bust so far, which isn't exactly news, but you have to assume that a "healthy" Pavano will be better than a combination of Darrell Rasner and Jeff Karstens as the fifth starter this year? How much better? Let's see if we can figure that out.

Using ZiPS projections, Pavano projects to a 4.64 ERA in 2007. Karstens projects to 5.25 and Rasner to 5.12. Over 100 innings, that's 52 runs allowed for Pavano, 58 runs for Karstens, and 57 runs for Rasner. So for every 100 innings Pavano can pitch, it's a projected 5-6 run upgrade. If Pavano can pitch 200 innings as a fifth starter, the Yankees are about a win better.

I'll believe it when I see it. If Pavano shows he's healthy and reasonably effective, the Yankees could also ship him mid-season for a similar upgrade at a position of need, be it backup catcher, or first base, or whatever.