The 2011 season is now over, and it's time to think about the 2012 Yankees season. In addition to pitching, I will also be writing about my extremely early roster ideas for hitting, and coaching, eventually.
Let's take a look at the 2011 pitching staff at the end of the season.
Luis Ayala, Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman, A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain*, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes, George Kontos, Aaron Laffey, Boone Logan, Hector Noesi, Ivan Nova, Scott Proctor, Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, CC Sabathia, Rafael Soriano, Raul Valdes, Cory Wade, Kevin Whelan.
Out of those pitchers, here are the categories I would put them into.
Pitchers that should be on MLB 25 man roster no matter what: A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain (assuming he can pitch) Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, Hector Noesi, Ivan Nova, Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, CC Sabathia, Rafael Soriano, Cory Wade.
Pitchers that should start in AAA, but have a chance at MLB: Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman, George Kontos, Aaron Laffey, Kevin Whelan.
Pitchers that should never wear Pinstripes again: Luis Ayala, Scott Proctor, Raul Valdes.
Pitchers that should go, but pitched well for the Yankees: Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia.
Explanations after the jump, along with who the Yankees should target to fill the holes left by the departing players.The Yankees need to re-sign CC Sabathia if he opts out, and they should do that at whatever the cost is. I'm fine with the Yankees giving CC a blank check. Rafael Soriano may opt out, but it doesn't look likely.
Luis Ayala pitched well according to ERA, but I can't take another year of seeing him pitch in important situations and then seeing runs added to the board over and over again. Scott Proctor is awful, and Raul Valdes can't even pitch against lefties.
I reluctantly decided that both Colon and Garcia do not belong on the 2012 Yankees roster, even if they can be signed for little to no money. Colon's arm died as predicted at the end of the 2011 season, and Garcia is at best a fourth starter, while the Yankees could instead give Hector Noesi a chance at the rotation.
There are eleven pitchers on my definite list for the 2012 roster, which isn't a bad number. The rotation should include:
One of the main goals for the Yankees this offseason should be getting Phil Hughes in shape to start the 2012 season with a working arm. Hughes' dead arm was a huge issue for the Yankees, and if Hughes can get an out pitch and not lose the usage of his pitching arm; he could be a #3 starter for the Yankees.
I expect a bounce back year from Burnett, so I am including him as a definite here. Burnett and Nova can mentor each other to success.
The fifth starter spot is an interesting decision. The Yankees could go after a starter, like Yu Darvish, C.J. Wilson, or someone else, or the Yankees could trade for a starter. If the Yankees don't acquire a starter, there is always the option of making Hector Noesi a starter, or giving one of the Killer B's a chance at the rotation.
My solution is to avoid a bidding war for either starter, avoid trading the farm for a starter, but look very closely at the starting pitching market. The Yankees could use a trade like the Tigers trade for Doug Fister. Sorry, too soon, I know.
If the Yankees don't end up with a starter at that point, sign a veteran to compete with the Killer B's, David Phelps, Adam Warren, and Hector Noesi. Winner gets the spot.
At that point, the Yankees can mix a few spring training invitees, a few minor league relievers, and Joba to round out the bullpen.