Yankees Rotation

    Monday, January 24, 2011, 4:59 PM [General]

    Even though the Yankees will probably not be able to acquire a marquee name before the start of the regular season, they should strongly consider signing a pitcher who can be relied upon to post a solid ERA and pick up about 10 wins. As of now, CC Sebathia and Phil Hughes are the only ones that can truly be relied upon, since nobody really knows if AJ Burnett will be dominant or completely wild from start-to-start.

    Those are the top three in the rotation right now, which is basically set in stone and then Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre will come next. One of those two should not be in the rotation come opening day. Mitre should be moved to the long relief role because that is a role where he can truly benefit the team. Since the Yankees have signed Rafeal Soriano as their bridge to Rivera, and are convinced that Joba Chamberlain is not fit to make the transition back to the starting rotation, it is worth trading him to a team that will either have him start or be another team's primary eighth inning option. As a last resort, I think Ivan Nova could be the Yankees number five starter.

    However, there are a few free agent options that I think Brian Cashman should strongly consider.  Now that Armando Galarraga has been traded to the Diamandbacks, I would seriously go after signing one of these pitchers: Justin Duchscherer, Braden Looper or Freddy Garcia.  Duchscherer would be serviceable short term options until one of the Yankees young studs like Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman or Manny Banuelos are ready to be called up.  As team's fall out of the playoff chase in July it is likely that the Yankees will be able to trade for a starting pitcher.

    All of the three free agent will not demand a very high price tag, since Looper's 4.75 million salary was the highest of the three last season.  I might hesitate on signing Looper, since he is 36, but if they don't sign either of Maine or Duchscherer, he would make sense.  They can all be relied upon to eat up innings and post a respectable ERA, especially Duchscherer, who led the AL in ERA for a stretch, in 2008.  He only started five games last season after recovering from shoulder trouble, and back trouble but I think he can have a bounce back season.  Garcia only made one million last year, picked up 12 wins but posted a shaky 4.64 ERA. However he is durable since he pitched 157 innings last season.

    These would all be decent stop-gap options, until either one of the Yankees starters from the minor leagues is ready to be called up or they can trade for a player in July. In order I would sign Duchscherer, Garcia and then Looper. Ideally they will be able to trade Chamberlain for a quality pitcher, but these pitchers mentioned would work for the back-end of the Yankees rotation. A dark-horse pitcher to keep in mind would be the 6'8 Dellin Betances.

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