Yes, Michael Pineda is on the disabled list, but look at what the Yankees' pitching rotation has, and what the Boston Red Sox has.
For the Yankees right now, they have C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, and Freddy Garcia.
C.C. Sabathia is one of the most consistent pitchers over the past decade. He's the ace of the organization for a reason. He logs in plenty of innings strikes guys out, and posts low ERAs each season.
Hiroki Kuroda doesn't have the best win-loss record in the majors, but if you look beyond that, he posts great numbers. Heck, even though Kuroda just turned 37, last season—with the Los Angeles Dodgers—was his best yet. He pitched in over 200 innings last season, and posted career-highs in wins (13), strikeouts (161), and ERA (3.07).
Phil Hughes might be the wild-card in this rotation, but that doesn't mean he lacks talent. In 2010, his first full season as a starting pitcher, he earned 18 wins. However, in 2011, he suffered from shoulder inflammation. If he can somehow return to his 2010 form, it certainly will help out the Yankees. And if it turns out he truly wasn't fit to be a starter, they could always relegate him to the bullpen (in 2009, he went 3-for-6 in save opportunities and earned eight wins in 51 games).
Ivan Nova had an impressive rookie season last year. He won 16 games and recorded a 3.70 ERA. So far, he's starting off the regular season well, helping the Yankees win their first game of the season Monday. If he can keep performing as well as he has, and increase his strikeouts, he'll be a mainstay for years.
Finally, there's Freddy Garcia. After several years, battling injuries and mediocre pitching performances, he signed with the Yankees as a low-risk, potentially high-reward deal, alongside Bartolo Colon. Well, he delivered. In 25 starts, Garcia earned 12 wins and posted a 3.62 ERA.
You also have to consider Pineda in the mix, when he eventually returns from the disabled list. Despite what has happened this year, this kid is young, but has plenty of talent. He did a great job in the first half of 2011 with the Seattle Mariners. His second half wasn't too bad either, although you couldn't tell if you merely looked at the win-loss record.
There's also Andy Pettitte, who after a year of retirement, decided to come back and pitch (at least) one more season. He may be 39 years old, but here's why I'm confident he'll be just fine in 2012. There is only one season in Pettitte's entire career, in which he did not record double-digit win; that was in 2004, when he was with the Houston Astros, and that was because he needed elbow surgery. He's also starting off 2012 on the right foot; on Monday, he pitched three innings for Class-A Tampa, allowing two hits and one run in his outing.
Meanwhile, in Boston, we have Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, and Daniel Bard.
There is doubt in my mind that Jon Lester is a phenomenal talent. He's a 200-plus innings, 200-plus strikeouts kind of guy, who nets 15 wins a season easy, and has an ERA that ranges between 3.20 and 3.50.
Josh Beckett is another solid talent. He recorded a 2.89 ERA last season, and is another pitcher that can pitch 200-plus innings a season. And if it weren't for that September disaster, his overall statistics would have been a lot better.
From the third to fifth spots in the rotation, however, is where I'm concerned.
I like Clay Buchholz, I like the way this guy pitches. In 2010, he went 17-7, with a 2.38 ERA, which is very impressive. And it certainly looked like he was going to perform similarly in 2011. Unfortunately, he went on the disabled list in June and it was discovered in August that he suffered a stress fracture in his back. There's little doubt in my mind that Buchholz can still pitch effectively. My question is, will he continue to suffer back problems, which in turn, can affect his effectiveness on a long-term basis.
After that, you've got two players who have little to no experience as starting pitchers in the major leagues.
First, there's Felix Doubront. He played in 12 games back in 2010, and started in three of them, going 2-2. Last season, he made 11 more appearances, but didn't get a start, and had an ERA of 6.10. This is his first full season, so there's no idea as to how he'll do. He might do well like Ivan Nova did last year, he might now.
The other, Daniel Bard, has pitched in the majors before, but not as a starting pitcher. Instead, he was the setup man last year and did a great job in that role. He made 70 appearances, posting a 3.33 ERA over 73 innings. However, the organization decided to switch him to a starter. He suffered throughout spring training and was roughed up by the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, allowing five runs and eight hits in five innings.