According to Mike Puma of the NY Post, “[w]ith his everyday lineup for 2010 set, Cashman has turned attention to the rotation, and will almost certainly add a starter by New Year’s, according to a major league source.” The fact that Brian Cashman is looking for an additional starter is, of course, no surprise given the GM’s own recent admission. However, Puma does provide fans with a tangible deadline for such an addition, which is certainly new information.
Furthermore, while Puma outlines the usual suspects from this year’s current crop of free agents (e.g., Ben Sheets, Jason Marquis, Joel Pineiro), citing them as options for the Yankees, he first tosses another name into the ring as well, one that is only acquirable via trade. According to Puma, Brian Cashman “is believed to have inquired about Carlos Zambrano,” the fiery right-hander from the Chicago Cubs. However, adds Puma, the Cubs’ asking price for Zambrano was too high, which is why the Yankees will, instead, pursue one of the current free agents available this winter.
Now, if we momentarily assume Puma’s report is correct with regards to the 28-year old Zambrano, I’m not quite sure why Brian Cashman would have any interest in the righty. He has been injury-prone for the past two seasons and could earn $73 million over the next four years (he would receive close to $18 million in 2010 through 2013). Plus, Big Z basically stopped being a top starting pitcher about three years ago. Since then, his peripherals have become questionable and his velocity has decreased. He does not seem like the type of player the Yankees would want to acquire. To be fair to Puma, he basically says as much, stating that a free agent signing is the likelier route.
If the Yankees add an extra arm by the end of the year, it will probably be in the form of a Ben Sheets or Justin Duchscherer, rather than a Carlos Zambrano or Derek Lowe. The Yankees could have some difficulty adhering to their own deadline, though, as starters appear to be employing a patient approach this winter.
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