5 Pitchers the Yankees Could Trade for to Replace Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2012

5 Pitchers the Yankees Could Trade for to Replace Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia

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    So far, the Yankees have been able to weather the storm caused by injuries to left fielder Brett Gardner and closer Mariano Rivera.

    The storm moved to a category five hurricane today with the loss of Andy Pettitte, who suffered a broken ankle after being hit with a comebacker on the mound.

    To make matters even worse, staff ace CC Sabathia will also head to the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin. Whether the Yankees can shrug off this latest bombshell remains to be seen.

    Andy Pettitte was undoubtedly the catalyst of the Yankees' extended hot streak, and his presence served to add poise and confidence to a once struggling and lost rotation.

    While Sabathia isn't expected to miss significant time and should be able to return shortly after the All-Star break, what if he can't go?

    Can they somehow stay afloat without Pettitte and Sabathia? What will the Yankees do to stay in contention without their two most proven rotation stars?

    Chances are, they wouldn't let their World Series aspirations rest in the hands of an unproven commodity from their minor league system—they'd look to add a veteran arm to their rotation.

    Who could they look to acquire in a trade?

    Let's take a look at five veterans who could be in play to replace Andy Pettitte, as well as the potential of CC's DL stint going awry.

Matt Garza, RHP, Chicago Cubs

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    The Yankees have been linked to Matt Garza for months, but the price this past winter was deemed to be far too much more than what the Yankees were willing to pay.

    According to ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews, "far too much" back in January equaled two, if not all three of the team's top prospects at the time: catcher Jesus Montero, southpaw Manny Banuelos and righty Delin Betances.

    Garza, who has had success previously in the American League East with the Tampa Bay Rays, is signed through the end of the 2013 season.

    As he told Alex Spier of WEEI 850 AM in Boston, he's open to pitching in New York and the lineups that he'd face in the division don't faze him:

    I just want to keep playing. It doesn't matter where. I’ll pitch on the freaking moon. I love the city. My kids love the city. It would be a great place for them to grow up. But like I said, it’s out of my control.

    I'd love to stay here, but if that's not in [Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein's] plans, then so be it. I just want to keep playing. The AL East doesn't scare me a bit. Everywhere I go, it's a blast.

    Sure to be one of the most hotly sought after pitchers if and when the Cubs officially put him on the trading block, the Yankees may have to pay the steep price they refused over the winter to replace Andy Pettitte long-term.

Zack Greinke, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

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    The Milwaukee Brewers are ready to move 28-year-old Zack Greinke if they cannot come to an agreement on a contract extension soon, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. It stands to reason that the Yankees will have interest.

    It's been said that the Yankees worry about Greinke's mental makeup—not that he's a lunatic—but whether he could handle the increased attention and pressure that comes with playing in New York.

    While Greinke is set to become a free agent following the season, he's proven that he can handle American League pitching, winning the 2009 AL Cy Young Award as a member of the Kansas City Royals.

    It would behoove the Yankees to see whether they can work out a deal with Milwaukee to acquire Greinke. It would give them, and Greinke, a two-month window to see whether he could be a feasible long-term addition to the club—as well as add a dynamic No. 2 to fit in behind CC until Andy (hopefully) returns in late-August.

Jeremy Guthrie, RHP, Colorado Rockies

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    This would be the most inexpensive move for the Yankees to make from a player personnel standpoint.

    Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says that while the Rockies are no longer foaming at the mouth to trade 33-year-old Jeremy Guthrie and the salary remaining on his deal for 2012 (somewhere around $5 million), they would still pull the trigger if they got legitimate talent in return or a team to pick up most of the money on his deal.

    While Guthrie has been awful for the Rockies, posting a 6.34 ERA and 1.73 WHIP over 65.1 innings pitched, he was a solid pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles from 2007 to 2011, posting a 4.12 ERA and 1.27 WHIP.

Wandy Rodriguez, LHP, Houston Astros

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    Last summer, I wrote about how the Yankees needed to "Just Say No" to acquiring Wandy Rodriguez from the Houston Astros, and nearly a year later, I continue to be steadfast in my stance.

    The Steinbrenner family ignored their GM, Brian Cashman, and entered into trade discussions with the Astros themselves before talks broke down over how much of Rodriguez's contract the Astros would cover.

    It's not that Wandy Rodriguez is a bad pitcher, because he's not terrible. But he's not a very good one, either.

    While his peripheral numbers in 2012 aren't bad—namely a 3.52 ERA and 1.26 WHIP—he has a career ERA of 4.03, a career WHIP of 1.34, and a career spent entirely in the National League Central with the Houston Astros.

    He's not a power pitcher, and he doesn't miss bats, evidenced by his 5.82 K/9 ratio this season. He'd get crushed by the lineups in the AL East.

    But that doesn't mean that the Yankees aren't going to look into acquiring the 33-year-old again, especially now that they're left scrambling to fill at least one crucial rotation spot.

Jason Vargas, LHP, Seattle Mariners

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    The Yankees and Mariners already hooked up on one trade this year, why not another?

    With the Mariners having three of the best pitching prospects in baseball in Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker—all who could be in the Mariners' rotation in 2013—Jason Vargas, the 29-year-old southpaw, could become expendable.

    The team isn't competitive as currently constituted, and it desperately needs help on offense and in the bullpen. Vargas, who is signed through the end of the 2013 season, won't come as cheaply as Guthrie—but he won't be as expensive as Garza or Greinke.