The Yankees made a move for a pitcher today. Not Roy Halladay or Jarrod Washburn, but instead the Rockies Jason Hirsh. Acquired for the cost of a player to be named later, Hirsh is only two seasons removed from Baseball America ranking him as one of the 50 best prospects in baseball. At the time, Hirsh was fresh to the Rockies scene. Acquired in the Jason Jennings deal, Hirsh snapped a power fastball and good breaking pitches from his 6’8” frame.
Hirsh has since suffered through a number of injuries. A broken right fibula and sprained right ankle cost him more than four months in 2007 and rotator cuff inflammation sidelined him for nearly as long in 2008. In between visits to the trainer’s table, Hirsh pitched in a little over 100 innings with the Rockies, posting a FIP over 5.
As an extreme fly ball pitcher, Hirsh gets his fair share of home runs hit against him. Hirsh pitching in New Yankee Stadium against the AL East is about the worst combination possible. For the time being the Yankees are simply throwing Hirsh into a minor league rotation. Maybe they try him as the long reliever at some point down the road – Brett Tomko was designated for assignment to clear room for Hirsh – but it’s hard to envision Hirsh getting more than a throwaway start this year.
As for the Rockies return; who knows. Hirsh certainly didn’t hold much value for them, and if nothing else it could free up a 40-man roster spot for another acquisition.