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Time for Some Bitching About the Yankees' Pitching!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
hello, pavano?"Hello, Carl? It's Mr. Cashman....From the Yankees...Yeah, you're still on this team..."

Pitching seems to be the downfall of the Yankees’ otherwise dominant organization year after year, and the current 2007 rotation isn’t shaping up to be any better than the last few years. Wang and Mussina (whose new 2-year, $23 million contract should be finalized this week) combine to offer a 1-2 any team could be proud of, but the Yanks have little else to rely on in the form of starting pitching. Wright is gone (not that he was 100% reliable…but at least he had healthy buttocks), leaving Pavano, the Unit and Humberto Sanchez to round out the rotation, all three of whom make me very, very nervous. The Unit underwent back surgery just 3 weeks ago, and while he will be healed enough to play next season it is unclear whether the old man will be able to rehab in time for opening day. Pavano, of course, is more likely to take a tumble over a pile of batting gloves and impale himself on Joe Torre’s pen than to pitch more than 4 innings next year, and while I am very excited about the addition of young Humberto Sanchez I don’t think it would be prudent to expect a 23-year-old rookie to lead the team just yet.

Daisuke Matsuzaka has been the name on the top of every GM’s Christmas list all year, but much like Tickle Me Elmo, the demand simply exceeded the supply. Many people – Yankees Chick included – believed that the Yanks would put up the big bucks to ensure that the Great Matsu would be wearing pinstripes when he crossed the International Date Line, but their (comparatively) conservative bid and subsequent loss of any chance of a New York Matsuzaka means that they will simply have to look elsewhere to fill the gaping holes in the swiss cheese that is the Yankees’ rotation. Here’s a look at some folks who are considered to be options for the Yanks’ rotation at this stage in the game:

dr proctorScott Proctor: The Yankees are apparently considering transitioning Doctor Proctor out of his reliever role and putting him into the starting rotation. This isn’t an inherently bad idea, as he did a swell job pitching several times a week (102 innings over the course of the season) in 2006 and probably wouldn’t have too big of an problem adjusting to the higher pitch counts. However, this would simply shift the hole in the cheese to the bullpen, which isn’t in such hot shape itself.

Andy Pettitte: He is officially a free agent now, though he hasn’t said if he plans to pitch next year or if he will be heading to the retirement home. Cashman has expressed an interest in him, but I have a feeling ol’ Andy will be following in his boyfriend best friend Roger Clemens’ footsteps and will stick around in Astro-ville.

Kei Igawa: The 27-year-old lefty from Japan's Hanshin Tigers was posted last week and teams have until 5 p.m. Nov. 27 to make a bid. Igawa has a 3.15 ERA in 8 seasons, pitching in close to 30 games each year since 2001. With Matsuzaka being touted as the hot ticket this year, Igawa has flown somewhat under the radar, but he would likely be a fine – and more affordable – starter for the Yanks.

TED LILLYTed Lilly (right): The Yankees love bringing back former team members, and Ted could be just the salve the Yankees’ pitching pains need. He’s apparently looking for a 4-year deal in the $36 million range, which is pricey, but the meager market drives prices up faster than a bidding war for a PS3 on Ebay. Since leaving the Yanks in 2002 (when they traded him for Senor Scowl Jeff Weaver), Ted has put up consistent numbers for Oakland and Toronto. Just yesterday Cashman acknowledged that the Yanks are indeed looking into a Lilly-redux, but I don’t believe any contact has been made at this time.

As for Barry Zito, the Yanks don’t seem to be too keen on entering into the sort of mega-contract Scott Boras would no doubt demand. Zito will probably fetch a 5-year deal worth upwards of $75 million (yes, you read that correctly), making Lilly, Pettitte or Igawa seem like a bargain in comparison. The Yanks have slightly more than 4 months to put together a rotation to back up their awe-inducing batting lineup, and Cashman’s patience and insight in recent years has satisfied me enough to feel confident that they will indeed add a respectable arm to the roster in plenty of time - - - and if he can somehow keep Pavano wrapped in enough bubble wrap to prevent major injury for even a month of the season, I believe my feelings for Cashman would skyrocket from “satisfied” to “awe-stricken deification”…

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Sunday, November 19, 2006  
  • At 7:57 PM, Blogger MikeyBronx said…

    I'm with you on this one. I think they need to grab a guy like Gil Meche and perhaps Lilly if they cannot get Pettitte back. I'd probably give Zito the $75 million, as sad as it sounds. He's not much older than the Japanese guy and he's somewhat proven. Believe it or not, we might have to rely on Pavano. So help us, God.

  • At 9:52 PM, Blogger Mr. Faded Glory said…

    Humberto Sanchez? More likely to make the opening day rotation than Humberto Sanchez:

    Jeff Karstens
    Darryl Rasner
    Phillip Hughes

    and yet no mention of any of these three guys in the article? Give me a break.

  • At 2:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    The Yankees are again scraping the bottom of the barrel for starting pitching since they lost out on Matsuzaka.

    Al Leiter, anyone?

  • At 8:36 AM, Blogger Stan said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 8:40 AM, Blogger Stan said…

    No free agents please. Any free agent out there is a very, very bad idea. Pettite's a bad idea. Lilly's a bad idea. Gilgameche is a bad idea. Chicken Suppan is a bad idea. Zito is a very, very bad idea. Randy even at this low trough of his career is league average in the AL East which is still quite incredible. He's definately a rip-off, but better than what's out there.

    Faded glory mentioned 3 better than market options for the back-end of the rotation. But he didn't mention Tyler Clippard who is definately better than Karstens or Rasner. So we saw how good Rasner and Karstens did last September and then we have 2 pitchers who are even better waiting to take up the back end of the rotation.

    The only option you mentioned that makes any sense is Igawa but even then there are questions whether he'll be able to get by with his low velocity (88-90 fastball).

    So right now the rotation looks like
    Wang, Moose, Unit, Pavano and 4 high-upside prospects fighting for position #5.

    And if Unit does well by mid-year he would be fantastic trade-bait to get some younger arms.

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