Brian Cashman took an opportunity to speak to the media on Thursday night, and he stated that the team would be open to signing more than one starting pitcher. On the topic of Brandon McCarthy, Cashman said that the Yankees "clearly have interest," and that even if they did sign McCarthy, that wouldn't keep them from signing another starter. Cashman also said that he still hasn't heard what Hiroki Kuroda's plans for next season are, but he didn't seem to think he would retire. He didn't say whether the Yankees would want Kuroda back, but reiterated that the team does need starting pitching, so Kuroda could potentially help out in that area.
As things currently stand, there are quite a few health concerns and some empty spots in the rotation. CC Sabathia is on track to start the season in the rotation. He previously planned to throw a bullpen session around Thanksgiving to test how his knee felt, but since then he's decided that it feels "pretty much 100%." His new plan is to leave for spring training early and we can pencil him in to the rotation and hope for the best. Masahiro Tanaka only made two starts after being activated from the disabled list in 2014, and even though he got hit hard by the Red Sox in the second start, Tanaka insisted that his performance was due to poor command and had nothing to do with the health of his elbow. The worry with both CC and Tanaka is that they missed significant time last season, and it's impossible to say how their respective knee and elbow will hold up after receiving the stem cell treatments. Michael Pineda, who returned from his own injury in mid-August and was able to make nine starts, is a lock for the rotation. The fourth pitcher in the rotation will probably be Shane Greene, unless the Yankees do sign two starting pitchers. Ivan Nova is expected to return from Tommy John surgery at some point in the season, possibly around May.
At the very least, the Yankees need to get one starting pitcher to be the fifth guy in the rotation while Nova is rehabbing. It would make better sense to get two. After the rotation was decimated by injuries last season, they should be prepared for that to happen again. Not to mention the fact that CC's performance has been on the decline for the past few years. Unless he gets traded, they do still have David Phelps. The team could do what is becoming a traditional spring training competition for the fifth rotation spot again. This year's could feature David Phelps, Adam Warren, Chase Whitley and Bryan Mitchell possibly.
If the team wants to go the free agent route, and they don't end up re-signing McCarthy and/or Kuroda, then things start to get very unclear. According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees are interested in bringing back Chris Capuano, who was decent in his time with the team last year, though Capuano may be more interested in pitching in Japan. There have been conflicting reports as to whether the Yankees are interested in Max Scherzer or not. Without Kuroda or McCarthy, the plan for starting pitching is all guesswork. It should be fun to see how the offseason plays out.