You know, if the 2009 season were to start the minute after the final out of the 2008 World Series, the Yankees starting rotation would be:
Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Darrell Rasner, and Alfredo Aceves – with Ian Kennedy and Kei Igawa in reserve.
So, when Joe Girardi says the Yankees plan to upgrade their rotation with experienced pitchers, you better believe it.
In a perfect world, you want Wang and Chamberlain to have two slots in the rotation, with Hughes, Aceves, and friends fighting for another spot. That leaves two spots to be filled from somewhere else.
It’s starting to look like Mike Mussina will retire – so, he’s probably not going to be an option. Andy Pettitte? He might come back on a one-year deal. And, he would be fine as a “fourth guy” in front of whoever wins that last spot between Hughes and others.
Yet, even if you get Pettitte, you still need one more solid and above-average guy for the rotation. This is where guys like CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Ben Sheets, Derek Lowe, Jon Garland, Kyle Lohse, Ryan Dempster, Oliver Perez and Brad Penny come into play. Or, maybe you have to end up trading for a guy like Gil Meche or Justin Duchscherer.
There’s little room for error here. Everyone wants starting pitching. So, the Yankees are going to have to pick the right guy and make a hard play to get it done. You can’t pull a “Pavano” this time. So, let’s hope that the team really does their homework, correctly, when bringing in that experienced pitcher.