Friday, December 19, 2008

Rotation Shaping Up

The Yankees went out and got two high profile starting pitchers in CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. The Rotation is definitely coming into focus now, but there is still work to be done. Right now you’ve got CM Wang, CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Joba Chamberlain. That’s four guys and the Yankees will have to come up with a fifth soon. Chamberlain is doubtful to last a full season as a starting pitcher in my estimation, and so the Yankees really need a six man rotation this year. That means two additional starters need to be found.

You’ve got Hughes and Kennedy available, and re-signing Pettitte is still on the table. Ideally, I’d like to see the Yanks go out and sign Derek Lowe. I’ve been high on him for a while now and am surprised he wasn’t a higher priority than Burnett. Somehow, I think the idea of the Yanks getting another big name guy is pretty low. Still, with Burnett’s injury history, and Chamberlain’s durability problems, it would make sense to me to get another reliable arm. Even CM Wang had injury trouble last year. I’m extremely worried that this year’s rotation is going to blow up due to injury and we’re left scrambling to bring up guys from the minors and having another off season.

Andy Pettitte is available but I can’t see signing him for too much money, or a long term deal. 1 year at 12 million or so sounds about right. Again, Derek Lowe would be my first priority, but I think that is unlikely. I’ve lost faith in Hughes and Kennedy and think each needs to spend a full year in AAA ball, but the likely outcome is that one of them will be in the starting rotation at the beginning of the season and the other will get a start before too long.

The Yankees don’t seem to be too active in the Texiera hunt and with Boras as his agent, I don’t blame them. The deal with the Brewers for Cameron is currently off, but this on again, off again saga fluctuates on a daily basis. Cameron isn’t a huge pickup and the only reason the Yanks were looking at this was to make CC Sabathia feel at home with a friend of his on the field.

Center field remains a bit of a problem with Cabrera and Gardner looking like the best options at the moment. I’m not sure there are too many better options available. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Yankees give up a little offensive production for some better defense, and I don’t have a problem with guys like Nick Swisher playing first. On the other hand, injury issues with guys like Matsui and Posada could be a bigger problem without enough other big bats around.

Last but not least, thank goodness they got rid of Betemit. He was just awful and Girardi seemed to love to play him for some reason.

Things are winding down for offseason moves, but I expect one to two more announcements before the spring, namely the signing of Pettitte and possibly a trade for a CF or unloading Kennedy or Cabrera.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CC Coming to Town

Finally this morning the news broke that CC Sabathia will be joining the New York Yankees. Apparently the deal is for 7 years and 160 million, approximately.

This is a big deal for the Yankees and Yankee fans. CC was dragging his feet and each day that went by it was looking more and more like he would sign somewhere else. The Yanks now officially have a healthy ace to lead off the rotation. If Wang stays healthy he’s their number two and Joba will be number three.

That leaves at least two more spots to fill. There have been rumors before the CC news that the Yanks were stepping up talks with Burnett and Lowe and that they had also been talking to Ben Sheets. The last I heard was that a better offer was made to Burnett and that the Yanks were close to a deal with Lowe. I don’t know how things will change now that Sabathia has been signed, but expect the Yankees to sign at least one of these guys.

Personally, I think Lowe should be the number one priority at this point. He’s the best value out there and the most consistent of the bunch. I’d look at Sheets a little more than Burnett as well. There hasn’t been much word on the Yankees and Andy Pettitte, and all the news concerning him is about talks with other teams.

I think the Yanks will try to sign two more starting pitchers, won’t go after Texiera hard any more, and will still shop around Cano, Cabrera and Kennedy for a center fielder or a utility infielder.