10 Starters the Yankees Can Sign if They Fail to Get Cliff Lee

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Kevin Millwood – Had an unimpressive 83 ERA+ last season, but had a 127 ERA+ in 2009 and a 107 mark over his career.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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24 Responses to 10 Starters the Yankees Can Sign if They Fail to Get Cliff Lee

  1. Mindkind says:

    After Lee it's gets ugly fast indeed. The only guy that I think mmight be capable of pitching effectively is Pavano. I don't want the Yankees to sign him though because I agree that some people just can't handle New York. So it's sign Cliff Lee or trade for another elite pitcher.

  2. smurfy says:

    From the list, only Pavano and Pedro interest me, although I should admit to being unfamiar with Young and Kuroda. Pavano's showed he is still a good starter, although the fans would put extra pressure on him. Pedro is a legend, and a very clever pitcher. He could perhaps be effective two innings at a time.

    Andy probably cannot be depended on for the full season, unless he is limited to, say, 80 pitches per start, with occasional exceptions. That could be where Pedro fits in.

    AJ MUST be reclaimed (and develop another pitch). Phil and CC will do their jobs. Nova showed a lot of promise.

    If we can't land the Cliff Lee, we should look to trade for/audition further prospects. That way, we would avoid being in a free agent bind every year.

    • Mindkind says:

      Yeah I would like Pedro as a relieve pitcher the problem is that Pedro is a very proud man and doesn't want to go to the bullpen. He still wants to be a starter and will probably get a job as one somewhere. Kuroda is capable but is another old pitcher and the Yankees want to get better and younger. And on Burnett I agree that he needs another pitch no doubt about it. I think the Yankees should really push on him to add another pitch. I think only relieve pitchers can get away with one or two pitches but very rarely if ever starting pitchers.

    • Norm says:

      This article is pretty freaking silly. There is NO way the Yankees would ever sign Pavano again. Can you imagine the crapstorm if they did and he tanked just like he did the last time? Cashman likes his job too much to ever make that mistake again.

    • jeet says:

      carl pavano,are you mentally in sane?do not you remember we had him he was a dog

  3. Tanned Tom says:

    That is quite a drop off. I think they should pass on all of them. For a team with a payroll over $200 million, they should concentrating on developing young talent, not paying free agent money to has beens and injury prone pitchers. There isn't a guy on the list I really like.

    What the NYY really need to do is trade Burnett. Signing him, like the majority of Cashman's recent moves, was ill-advised. He needs to find another Swisher-type trade. Perhaps getting Beltran from the Mets?

    • The Yankees can't win the 2009 World Series without signing Burnett. I would trade 4 bad years of Burnett for 1 World Series everyday of the year.

      • Tanned Tom says:

        I understand your thinking, but you assume that his replacement would've lost, not a given. Making him the 5th highest paid pitcher was laughably bad judgement. In any case I think you'll agree that Burnett's 2010 was very different and much worse than 2009. When a player is this bad, and gets paid this much, then it's time to trade him. If the NYY have to eat some of his salary so be it. And if they're serious about signing Lee AND keeping payroll at or under $200 million I can't see how that's possible WITHOUT trading Burnett.

        • Burnett cannot be traded. The Yankees are not going to eat what they would have to in order for it to be worth it for another team to take him off their hands. He may be the most untradable person in all of baseball.

          As for winning in 2009 without him, I just cannot see it. Here is the argument I've already made. http://bronxbaseballdaily.com/?p=9247

  4. UK Brave says:

    Yanks should acquire Jair Jurrgens from the braves for outfield prospects and cash/more prospects

  5. Mikey says:

    Trading Burnett is not an option as no one would want that contract. Trading for Beltran is ridiculous – he adds nothing to the team except his bad attitude.

    That the writer can even mention Pavano and the Yankees in the same breadth gives this writer no creditablility

    • If you read what I wrote properly, I really just said that Pavano was the best pitcher on this list, but that the Yankees should not sign him. Yep, my credibility is shot now. What ever will I do?

  6. JJNJ2ATL says:

    Mikey – Not being able to trade AJ is entirely UN-true. He has 49 mill for 3 years left. (which IS absurd) If the Yankees ate say, 20 mill of that…that would reduce his value to 3 x 30. With his talent level and the innings he eats, a 3 x 30 salary in the NL would not be out of the question…especially in a bare free agent market.

    Rob – I thought the Yankees should have traded for Kuroda at the deadline. He has quality stuff and would make a nice #4 starter in this rotation.

    What I would like to see the Yankees do is make a MONSTER trade this offseason for a quality starter. I want to see Cashman actually earn his keep for a change! Offer the M's Hughes, Joba, Montero and Gardner for King Felix! THEN sign Lee. Convince Andy to have a last hurrah…and give Nova the #5 spot. A rotation of Lee, CC, Felix, Andy and Nova would be the best in MLB and bring home #28!

    • I disagree. AJ Burnett is untradable. The Yankees are not going to just swallow $20 million. It's unrealistic and not going to happen.

      The thing that worries me about Kuroda is that he's old and that he's pitched his entire MLB career in the NL West which is a very favorable division to pitch in.

      Also, I like where your head is at with King Felix. He is one guy that you should be willing to break the bank for, but you should try to be realistic in your expectations. Giving up four major league caliber, and cheap, players for him is not the best idea. Also, if he did hit the market, you have to realize that there would be other teams out there just as excited to trade for him as the Yankees would be. This is not a video game and you would have to replace all those players you sent to Seattle.

  7. Dennis Vavra says:

    Trade Gardner, Chamberlain, Hughes, and Motero for Ichiro and King Felix. Seattle can really be a teamin two years.

    • This is not a video game.

    • Mindkind says:

      Wow trade Gardner, Chamberlain, Hughes AND Montero for Hernandez? Not a lot of good GMs in here! I don't think that would be a good trade for the Yankees even if it brings back a Hernandez. Who's going to replace Brett? Chamberlain for all his struggles is still a cheap, young power arm out of the bullpen. Hughes is a cheap, young still developing already 18-game winner. And Montero is the Yankees number one prospect.

  8. Bronx Knight says:

    If we can't get Lee, then I would be willing to bring Pedro in as a fifth starter. Come to think of it, we should bring in Pedro regardless, as insurance, given Andy's and even Sabathia's recent injuries.

    Pavano definitely bounced back in Minnesota, but he is apparently one of those guys who can't play in New York. I mean, he was horrible, going on the DL when he had a stomachache (not exaggerating by much). Please please don't bring him back.

    Oh, and if Burnett doesn't straighten out in spring training, please please just send him down to Scranton, or Trenton. We ate the $45 million we paid for Igawa, we can eat money for Burnett. We can't have Burnett out there playing home run derby every fifth game. Screw it, just bring in Ivan Nova and give him a shot.

    • Eric Communiello says:

      I know AJ was absolutely horrible for half the season, but I think it's way too soon to write him and his huge contract off. He will be back in the rotation next year no matter how much anyone protests.

      I really think he can turn it around too. His days of racking up 200 strikeouts are behind him, but he can definitely be a serviceable number four or five starter. A little more than a year ago today he dominated the Phillies in game two of the WS. Most people only remember the bad times with AJ. Sometimes you just gotta have faith, even if it's blind faith.

  9. Kerby says:

    Can't forget about Brandon Webb, who'd fit in the rotation

  10. I listed these injury prone players on this list because a lot of people ask about them. But in reality, the Yankees are a playoff contender every year and they have a decent stock of young and talented pitchers. They should be above signing pitchers like Webb.

    Why count on him in your rotation when there is no guarantee that he'll be ready by spring training or even pitch in 2011 at all?

  11. The Monk says:

    This list says very little because the Yanks won't go after any of them. Simple point: their in-house options (Nova, Noesi, Phelps) are just as good.

    How about a list of arbitration eligibles from cheapsh!t teams that the Yanks could trade for? Sanchez (Fla), Billingsley (LA) would top that list (assuming the Fish would never part with Johnson nor the Duds part with Kershaw and the Yanks are not dumb enough to trade for Nolasco and his 4.51 ERA from a pitcher's park). If Seattle ever wanted a motherlode of prospects (Nova, Montero, Laird and Warren) it would dangle King Felix. What about other frequent trading partners of the Yanks like the Chisox (Danks)? Any of these would be a more likely scenario than the Yanks nabbing one of the stiffs or retreads listed above.

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