We’ve already taken a look at left handed relief possibilities that the Yankees could sign this offseason. It is possible that the Yankees don’t sign Cliff Lee this offseason thought and if that happens scrambling to find another starter will become a bigger issue.
Here are the top 10 candidates the Yankees could turn to on the free agent market:
- Hiroki Kuroda (re-signed with Dodgers) – Unfortunately after Lee the free agent is pretty bare. Kuroda might be the next best starter on the market. He’s going to be 36, but is coming off of a season with a 113 ERA+. His K/9 has also improved each season in the league.
- Chris Young – This guy is a bit of a question mark, but has solid potential. He threw just 20 innings last season, but has a career ERA+ of 109 and has really shown potential during his career. The problem here may be that not only is he coming from the NL, but he is coming from a strong pitchers park in San Diego.
- Carl Pavano – I hate to say this, but Pavano may be one of the better options on the free agent market. He was very solid in 2010 putting up an ERA+ of 111. His biggest problem during his career hasn’t been performing, it’s been staying healthy and he’s done that for the past two seasons.
- Jake Westbrook (re-signed with Cardinals)- After Pavano there is a pretty big drop-off. Westbrook might be the best of the rest. He’s coming off season with a 92 ERA+ which isn’t impressive. His second half ERA+ of 113 with St. Louis is though.
- Kevin Millwood – Had an unimpressive 83 ERA+ last season, but had a 127 ERA+ in 2009 and a 107 mark over his career.
- Brandon Webb – Here is where we start scraping the bottom of the barrel. Webb was once considered a top pitcher, but shoulder injuries have set him back. If healthy he could be a decent gamble. Yankees should probably avoid this though.
- Chien-Ming Wang – A shoulder injury ruined his 2010 season. A former Yankee, but a longshot gamble for 2011. It would probably be smart to stay away from giving him anything more than a minor league contract.
- Justin Duchscherer – Regularly has injury problems. He has dealt with shoulder problems in the past, but missed most of 2010 with hip surgery. He’s probably more likely to have a good 2011 season than both Webb and Wang.
- Erik Bedard/Rich Harden – Injury risks. Should not be counted on or probably signed for anything more than a minor league contract. I would say Bedard is more of a risk because of shoulder problems, but Harden is just so damn fragile.
- Pedro Martinez – This is just not going to happen for a number of reasons, but it’s possible. For what it’s worth he had a 117 ERA+ in 2009, just 44.2 innings though.
As you can see, if the Yankees miss out on signing Lee things get ugly fast. Even the best options are not very good ones. It makes me think that if they do fail to sign Lee making a trade may be their only option.
Believe it or not, I might almost consider signing Carl Pavano, but Javier Vazquez’s pathetic 2010 season makes me think that some guys really can’t pitch in the Bronx. Pavano very likely is one of these people.
There are a couple of guys that I wouldn’t mind seeing the Yankees offering minor league contracts to, but overall I hope they stay away from all of these guys.