Now that the Yankees have re-signed Freddy Garcia their rotation is technically full with five starting pitchers including CC, A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, and Garcia and aside from CC Sabathia none of those guys are very trust worthy.
Buster Olney of ESPN thinks that this could possibly be the way the rotation stands come opening day. He mentions that the Yankees believe that Hughes will have a big bounce back year and could use more low-cost veterans and their prospects to fill in the holes as needed.
If this is the plan, it is a terrible one. They were forced to go the Bartolo Colon/Garcia route last offseason because Brian Cashman went full bore after Cliff Lee and then didn’t have a backup plan if and ultimately when Lee signed elsewhere. This offseason is quite different as he knew what the market would look like and going with a patchwork rotation cannot be excused. They got extremely lucky in 2011, hoping to get that lucky again with a $200 million plus payroll is insane.
Even if Hughes has a huge bounce back year, which is highly unlikely, can we count on the same from Burnett? How about Nova, sure he was more than anyone expected last year, but his track record is not nearly long enough that he can be counted on as a major rotation piece. And don’t discount the possibility that Garcia goes back to being the injury plagued pitcher he was for the past five seasons.
The Yankees need to go hard after Yu Darvish and probably even Mark Buehrle or another free agent too. If those moves don’t work out then a trade needs to be made. The Yankees have too many valuable pieces in the minor leagues that there is no excuse not to land a big pitcher this offseason.
They currently have Hector Noesi, David Phelps, Adam Warren, and D.J. Mitchell who will all be ready to contribute at the major league level at some point in 2012. The year after they will have two pitchers who will be ready who are even better than any of those guys in Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos. It’s not even possible for all of those guys to even fit on the roster so dealing one or more of them isn’t going to drain the prospect pool.
That’s before we even mention Corban Joseph and David Adams, who are blocked as infielders. Heck, even as much as the Yankees like Eduardo Nunez, he’s just a utility infielder and should not be anywhere close to untradable.
Those aren’t even their best position player prospects. Next season they will work in Jesus Montero behind Russell Martin. Well, they also have Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine that can be included in trades. Beyond them Gary Sanchez may be a valuable piece that they may consider dealing soon as attitude problems have already arisen with him.
It’s fine to talk like their roster is all set. If teams think they are not in on Darvish it could mean a significantly lower posting fee. Also, if they think they don’t need to make a trade then that could put them in a much better negotiating position. However, if Cashman actually takes the rotation into the season as it currently stands this could easily count as one of his worst offseasons.