Yankees Vow to Add Pitching This Winter
When you're team tops the list of salaries in Major League Baseball and missed out on the postseason, you know that your general manager has his work cut out for him this offseason. The Yankees ($209,081,579) fit that description and will look to improve many areas of their club, mainly the pitching.
The Bronx Bombers will have a distinctively different looking staff come next April. Chien-Ming Wang will return from his foot injury to either reclaim his spot at the top of the rotation or be behind a potential ace acquired via trade or free agency. At the recent General Manager's Meetings in California, Brian Cashman made it quite clear where his attention lies.
"I just know that we need starting pitching, and it's not just one," he told reporters. "We're not going to be one and done. We need multiple."
In a perfect world, adding the likes of CC Sabathia and Jake Peavy would make Cashman's wish come true. Sabathia is this year's Johan Santana, so expect Hank Steinbrenner to stay on top of the negotiations of the prized lefthander.
Where Sabathia would prefer to go to the west coast, money talks and the Yankees will have a printing press with the new Yankee Stadium opening in 2009. It may be difficult for the former Indian and Brewer to walk away from what expects to be the most expensive contract for a pitcher in the game.
Peavy, 27, will have to be acquired via a trade from the San Diego Padres, and the Yankees received some unexpected good news when he added them to a list of teams that he would approve a trade to. Although he hopes to stay in the National League, Peavy may have to think that over carefully. The Atlanta Braves, not exactly known as a free spending organization, are the early frontrunners to land Peavy and the $63 million over the next four years of his contract.
If A.J. Burnett opts out of his contract with Toronto, he will also get a look from the Bronx. That may be a risky proposition due to the long history of injuries that the former Met farmhand has endured over the years.
Already ensured of a spot in the rotation is Joba Chamberlain, who may be better suited for the set-up role that he began 2008 in. Once the youngster became a starter, he had arm issues. The Yankees - especially Hank Steinbrenner - seemed hell bent on having Joba start, even if it may not be the best thing for him.
Two older veterans from last year may or may not return. Andy Pettitte (14-14, 4.54 ERA) has informed the Yankees that he would like to pitch in 2009. If the southpaw could give them what he did in the first half, he may be worth bringing back. Mike Mussina, who won 20 games for the first time in his illustrious career, will most likely retire.
Although they declined the option on him, the Yanks may think about bringing back Carl Pavano at a much-reduced rate. The four-year, $39.95 million deal he signed as a free agent has mercifully expired and the way he pitched at the end of the summer could make him an interesting option for the back end of the rotation. In seven starts, the much-maligned hurler finished 4-2.
Just where Phillip Hughes and Ian Kennedy fit in remains to be seen. Finishing 0-8 between them, the once-promising prospects may be used as trade bait or stay in Triple-A for more seasoning. One or both may end up in the rotation at some point, salvaging their careers and Cashman's reputation.
However Cashman fills out the staff, expect it to look much different than it did at the end of the season. Money is no object, but the playoffs are.