As you’ve probably heard, Andy Pettitte will not be pitching in 2011 (glove slap RAB). The first thing that ran through your head was probably a stream of expletives. Now, more than any time this offseason, we want the Yankees to make a move. Sign someone. Trade for someone. Do SOMETHING to help the rotation.
I can’t help but be on board with that mentality, but at the same time, we need to realize that the options out there are not all that wonderful. With each player out there–Jeff Francis, Justin Duchscherer, Jeremy Bonderman, Freddy Garcia–there is a good amount of risk. Francis and Duke are health concerns; Bonderman and Garcia are performance concerns. The White Sox looked to be shopping starters earlier in the Hot Stove Season, but we’ve heard nothing on that since, and now it seems unlikely that they will move a starter. Just about all other trade markets have been silent. Even if we don’t want to be patient, we have to be.
The Yankee Front Office–in which I have a lot of faith–likely recognizes the noticeable absence of good starting pitching options. They have also likely taken note of the relief pitching market, which has a stunningly similar lack of effective options (this isn’t to say that there aren’t good relief pitchers out there who could help the Yankees; it’s only to say that other things like cost and compensation will get in the way.). But on the other hand, the Yankee Front Office probably realizes that a rotation that is two fifths Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre isn’t all that great and probably won’t perform incredibly in the A.L. East. And while it’s likely that A.J. Burnett improves from his 2010 season, the only thing we can predict from his right arm is unpredictability. It looks like, though, we’ll have to deal with that rotation for at least some portion of the 2011 season.
As always, and as we all should, I have complete confidence in CC Sabathia. Phil Hughes, with even more experience under his belt, should improve. A.J. Burnett’s 2011 can’t possibly be worse than 2010. Ivan Nova does have some upside, no matter how small, but there’s still some there. Sergio Mitre…well…he gets ground balls? Mitre is really the only one I’m uncomfortable with. Luckily, replacing him at some point during the season shouldn’t be too hard. Like I said, there are some buy low options on the free agent market and at any point during the season, the trade market could develop and the Yankees could snag someone.
It’s not going to be easy, but we need to be steadfast in sticking with the patient outlook we’ve all taken on in the last few months. I’d be willing to bet that the Yankee starting five in October is not the one we’re looking at right now.