Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What Comes Next?

Cliff Lee has signed with the Philles. Andy Pettitte is leaning towards retirement. The Royals want four top prospects for Zack Greinke. Carl Pavano and Freddy Garcia are the best bets on the free agent market. With two sizable holes in the rotation, what are the best options available for the Yankees?

01. Don't panic.
While this may be the same as filling the rotation with hopes and dreams and rainbows, it remains crucial. The laws of supply and demand dictate that the cost of pitching skyrocketed around the time Lee to the Phillies was announced. The Yankees cannot deal from their impressive prospect pool to acquire a mid-rotation option - it's simply not worth it.
02. Scour the trade market.
This sort of contradicts the first point, but not entirely so. There's no harm in asking what the White Sox want for Buehrle, or what the Astros want for Wandy Rodriguez. There are always buy-low candidates to be found. That being said, these aren't the sort of pitcher you sell the farm for - now if Felix Hernandez were available...
03. Sign a high-risk, high-reward starter.
Rich Harden. Brandon Webb. Chien-Ming Wang. Ben Sheets. Justin Duchscherer. None of these pitchers are in a position to ask for a great deal, and the Yankees have the funds to take advantage of that. Rich Harden could recapture his ace form, or struggle as he did with the Rangers - either way, it's a risk the Yankees can afford.
04. Stretch out Nova and Chamberlain.
Both have good stuff, and both would likely be in the rotation for twenty or so other teams - and many seem to forget that Chamberlain performed fairly well considering his age and experience level. With the money saved by not signing Lee, the Yankees could give Chamberlain a real shot at the rotation, then bring in Bobby Jenks or Rafael Soriano to fill the gap. They may not be able to offer them the closer's role, but they could overpay a bit.
05. Convince Pettitte to return.
This is self-explanatory, but I think it can be done. Pettitte left for Houston due to his not feeling wanted way back when. Ensure that he knows how much the Yankees need him, and I believe he will don the pinstripes for one more year.
06. Have Burnett move-in with Larry Rothschild.
Rothschild has a knack for harnessing a pitcher's stuff for the best possible results. For all of his faults, Burnett has very good stuff - this seems like a match made in heaven. The Yankees are invested in Burnett for three more years; they must attempt to maximize their return by any means necessary.

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