The Yankees have come under quite a bit of scrutiny in the past few months over the large sums of money they have shelled out for A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia. Why? The two aforementioned pitchers were first and eighth in innings pitched last year respectively.
They combined for eight complete games, finished second and third in the league in K’s, and were a remarkable step up from what Mussina and Pettitte provided. The biggest problem the Yankees ran into last year was a taxed bullpen due to the untimely injury of Chien-Ming Wang and the ineffectiveness of Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes.
Innings pitched is HUGE! That is the most important stat a pitcher could have. If you go into a four-game series with the Angels or the Red Sox, and the third game is pitched by three innings of Dan Geise, two innings of Darrell Rasner, two innings of Dave Robertson, one inning of Edwar Ramierez, and two innings of Jose Veras, then who do you have to finish the game when Andy Pettitte lays an egg and gets pulled in the fifth the next game?
A.J. Burnett averaged 6.5 innings per game in '08, Andy Pettitte averaged 6.1, that’s a difference of 14 innings a year that’s two more quality starts worth of pitching out of the “injury prone” Burnett than the Ex-Yankee Pettitte.
CC Sabathia averaged 7.2 innings per game started; replacing Mike Mussina who in a career year averaged 5.9 innings per game, that is an astounding 45.5 innings pitched by Sabathia the Mussina left up to the bullpen.
That’s over five whole games and almost seven quality starts. If you get those nine games out of the two pitchers recently acquired that they achieved ahead of the two yankee best last year then the Yankees would have won the division by a game.
Chien-Ming Wang only made 15 starts last year going 8-2. That’s 11 wins shy of the back to back 19 win seasons the two years before. Kennedy and Hughes are great prospects who are lights out in the winter leagues and you throw Humberto Sanchez, whom the Yankees acquired in the Sheffield trade to Detroit, in the mix with the 6’10” monster Andrew Brackman, and I say “Good day to you, Mr. Pettitte.”
Enjoy finishing your career in free-agency limbo instead of $10 million richer in a comfy No. 5 slot in a more-than-impressive rotation at the best stadium in baseball.