After this season, the free agent crop is not too impressive when it comes to starting pitching:
Mark Buehrle CWS
Chris Carpenter STL *
Bruce Chen KC
Aaron Cook COL *
Kyle Davies KC
Ryan Dempster CHC *
Justin Duchscherer OAK
Zach Duke ARI *
Jeff Francis KC
Freddy Garcia NYY
Jon Garland LAD *
Aaron Harang SD
Rich Harden OAK
Livan Hernandez WAS
Edwin Jackson CWS
Kenshin Kawakami ATL
Scott Kazmir LAA
Hiroki Kuroda LAD
Rodrigo Lopez CHC
Paul Maholm PIT
John Maine COL
Jason Marquis WAS
Kevin Millwood NYY
Scott Olsen PIT *
Roy Oswalt PHI *
Brad Penny DET
Oliver Perez NYM
Joel Pineiro LAA
CC Sabathia NYY (may opt out)
Carlos Silva NYY
Javier Vazquez FLA
Adam Wainwright STL *
Tim Wakefield BOS
Chien-Ming Wang WAS
Brandon Webb ARI
C.J. Wilson TEX
Chris Young NYM
I’m going to assume that CC Sabathia opts out of his deal with the Yankees and re-negotiates with them for a better deal. I’d be all for that. Still, even with Sabathia, the potential Yankee rotation in 2012 might not be so great. Let’s assume Sabathia re-signs. The rotation would probably lineup like this:
That’s an okay rotation; it’s got an ace, but some questions after that. Burnett is great at times, but is anything but consistent. Hughes, well, I think the jury is still out. He needs to prove that the first half of 2010 wasn’t fluky for me to have some more faith in him again. Nova’s a good back end starter, but I’d prefer to see him bumped back to the fifth spot (though it doesn’t make too much difference). As for the internal fifth starter candidates, I’m not sure which guys will step up. They could, of course, in the next few months and in Spring Training, but it’s a bit dangerous to count on that. It would be nice to see another starter added to the team, no?
Like I said, the free agent crop of starters is not good and I doubt we’ll see the Yankees trade for anything more than a rental during this July. I think they’ll at least peruse the pitching market come December and I think C.J. Wilson will be a definite target.
In public and private, I’ve been more or less against the Yankees signing Wilson. We’ve heard whispers that he’ll want a Burnett type deal, and that is hardly desirable. He’s had pretty limited success, too. But, during a G-Mail chat with Larry last night, I pulled up Wilson’s page on FanGraphs and started to reconsider.
This year, Wilson has cut more than a full walk off of his BB/9 rate from last year while maintaining solid strikeout and home run rates. He’s also still got a high 40′s groundball rate and that’s always helpful in a ballpark like the one in Arlington or Yankee Stadium.
There are downsides, like his age and his limited success. The age, Wilson will be 31 in November, isn’t horrible, but it’s not desirable either. He still may find a long term deal, but I don’t know if many teams will be willing to go five years for him.
The limited success is a bit of a double edged sword for Wilson. On the one edge, he’s still kind of “unknown.” He’s had success in a rotation for just a year and a half now, so can we be sure that he’ll do it for longer? But at the same time, it makes him a little more attractive because he doesn’t have as many miles on his arms as most 31 year old pitchers do.
After looking more closely at the numbers and contemplating the lack of innings his arm has racked up, I’m finding Wilson just a bit more attractive. That may be, though, because of how bare the market will be for pitching. By no means am I saying the Yankees should go all in for him and give him a five year contract. However, they should definitely be in on him. I could swallow a four year deal, but I would aim for a three year deal, even if it meant more money. I’d much rather the Yankees overpay than over commit.
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