New York Yankees: Both Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda Need to Be Back in 2013
No matter how the 2012 season ends, the New York Yankees face major questions surrounding their starting rotation.
Phil Hughes will potentially be a free agent after the season and has been too inconsistent to trust.
Ivan Nova has taken a major step back after a strong 2011 while potentially pitching himself out of the playoff rotation.
Michael Pineda is recovering from shoulder surgery and had a major personal setback by getting arrested for a DUI this past week.
Even the normally rock-solid CC Sabathia has dealt with injury problems this year.
That leaves Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda, the two oldest members of the starting rotation, who are only signed through the rest of the 2012 season.
The 37-year-old Kuroda has been sensational for the Yankees in 2012, pitching to a 12-8 record, a 2.96 ERA with 125 strikeout in 167 innings.
The Yankees signed Kuroda to a one-year deal worth around $10 million back in January, and many wondered how he would handle pitching in the American League after spending his first four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For $10 million, Kuroda has been a bargain, and by obtaining him, it allowed the Yankees to trade A.J. Burnett, which ended up being a move they needed to make.
Pettitte shocked the baseball world in March by announcing he was coming out of retirement to pitch for the Yankees, signing a one-year, $2.5 million deal.
A lot of people wondered how the 40-year-old would pitch after a year away from baseball, but he looked like vintage Andy Pettitte; pitching to a 3-3 record, a 3.27 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 58.2 innings.
That was before he took a line drive off his ankle in a game against the Cleveland Indians back in June 27 and suffered a fractured fibula. Since then, Pettitte has been trying to rehab his ankle in order to get back on the field for September and, more importantly, October baseball.
Both Pettitte and Kuroda are going to be important parts of the playoff rotation, and the Yankees will need their oldest starters to be effective if they have any chance of winning a World Series.
Given the question marks with the rotation and how well both veterans have pitched in 2012, the Yankees really need to consider bringing both pitchers back for 2013.
According to Chad Jennings of the Journal News, Pettitte said he hasn't ruled out pitching in 2013 and will strongly consider it.
I think if the desire to play baseball is still there, Pettitte will be pitching for the Yankees in 2013. The skill is still there, as is the burning desire to win another championship.
Kuroda will be a free agent again, and I doubt he will be on the free-agent market as long as he was this past winter.
But given how well he has pitched with the Yankees, as long as he wants to come back and pitch for the Bombers, I can't see how Brian Cashman wouldn't give him another deal for 2013.
Additionally, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances had major setbacks in 2012 and certainly won't be ready anytime soon to pitch in the majors.
With each passing day, both Banuelos and Betances are looking like busts. Cashman needs to figure out if they have futures in New York, or if they are going to get shipped out like Jesus Montero did.
With the prospects not ready, and with Hughes, Nova and Pineda not being guarantees for 2013, that makes the case for Pettitte and Kuroda to be back in 2013.
And if both Pettitte and Kuroda have excellent performances in October that potentially lead to a championship, both veterans could likely name their price (within reason) next year.
Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.
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