Heading into last year’s spring training the Yankees appeared wounded. New York failed to land their top target Cliff Lee and their rival, the Boston Red Sox, landed two premier offensive players in Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Brian Cashman was left bargain hunting to add depth to his starting rotation and plucked Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon off the market. Both starters combined for 20 wins and helped New York capture the AL East division crown.
This year the Yankees find themselves in a similar situation. The rotation is anchored by C.C. Sabathia, along with the emerging Ivan Nova , former 18-game winner Phil Hughes and the enigmatic A.J. Burnett. With Hughes and Burnett question marks due to health and inconsistency, and a spot open at the back of the rotation- there’s a need to add depth. The current free agent market doesn’t bode well for the Yankees. C.J. Wilson is the best pitcher on the market, but wants to be paid like an ace without a proven track record. Yu Darvish is the latest Japanese phenom to draw interest in the U.S. Yet, questions surround the small workload Darvish had in Japan since he pitched only once a week and due to the recent failures of Kei Igawa and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Roy Oswalt has a lot of mileage on his right arm and was hurt much of last year with the Phillies. As for Colon, he was injured and ineffective the past four years before his comeback performance with the Yankees. Towards the stretch run Colon appeared fatigued and became ineffective. At 38, his career appears at its twilight stage.
That leaves Garcia and Mark Buehrle as the best remaining options. Buehrle has been a model of consistency for the past eleven years in the White Sox rotation averaging 14 wins per season and nearly 221 innings pitched. Buehrle has also thrown a perfect game and no-hitter in that span. Garcia won twelve games for New York last year and posted a 3.62 ERA, his lowest in eight years. Both provide a different look as soft tossing pitchers that rely on location and movement to get hitters out. New York would benefit from their consistency and veteran presence in the rotation for a run at title number 28 in the Bronx.