A year of inconsistent starting pitching will have the New York Yankees shopping for a pitcher in an attempt to bolster a mediocre rotation.
“New York can't just throw money at the problem this winter because ownership has tasked general manager Brian Cashman with bringing the team's payroll under the luxury tax threshold by 2014, when it increases to $189 million,” reported Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated.
The Yankees’ current payroll is upwards of $200 million. Unlike the Yankees of old, this season they can’t spend nonsensical amounts of money to bail themselves out of the media microscope.
The Yankees need to consider all options in the free agent market, whether it be pitching or hitting, and determine how they can acquire the most talent for the cheapest price.
One thing remains certain in this esteemed organization: failure is not an option and October baseball is not only a priority, but an expectation.
Here are five starting pitchers the Yankees should really consider this offseason.
Kuroda pitching in Game 2 of the ALCS against Detroit.
On Friday the Yankees made an offer to right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, reported David Waldstein of the New York Times. “Kuroda has a real chance of accepting it.”
The Yankees need to make re-signing Kuroda to a multi-year deal a top priority this offseason.
Kuroda has been one of the most underrated and consistent pitchers in Major League Baseball since his induction into the league in 2008.
Last season, Kuroda had the best year of his five-year MLB career. He was a 16-game winner with 167 strikeouts—both career-highs—and pitched to an ERA of 3.32.
Over his career he’s put together a record of 57-57 with an ERA of 3.42.
Kuroda was an inning-eater this season for the Yankees. He threw 219.2 innings, sixth most in all of baseball. He gave the Yankees’ bullpen a much needed rest at least once every week.
The Yankees knew what they were doing when they signed Kuroda to a $10 million deal last offseason. Management needs to make sure Kuroda is in pinstripes for 2013.
Dempster facing Oakland in the final game of the season, Oct. 3.
If the price is right, 35-year-old Ryan Dempster may be a good option for GM Brian Cashman and the Yankees to look into.
Dempster has put together a very respectable 15-year career and is only improving with age. In 2005, Dempster saved 33 games for the Cubs out of the bullpen.
Since returning as an everyday starter in 2008, Dempster has been masterful going 65-49 with a 3.74 ERA. Over that stretch, he’s averaging 200 innings pitched a season.
If the Yankees can’t get a deal done with Kuroda, Dempster may be the second best inning-eater in free agency this offseason.
Saunders walks off the mound to a standing ovation in the Wild Card Game against Texas.
Joe Saunders provided the Orioles with quality pitching this season and played a big role in pushing them to a playoff berth.
Since coming to Baltimore in a trade with Arizona, Saunders went 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA in seven games for Manager Buck Showalter.
This year’s free agent market lacks left-handed starting pitching. As a 31-year-old left-hander, Saunders is a commodity that any team would benefit from inserting into the latter part of their rotation.
Saunders also proved that he can be successful in the postseason, even in the Bronx. In this year’s playoffs, Saunders pitched two games against MLB’s top offenses in the Yankees and Rangers.
The veteran left-hander went into Arlington and the Bronx, holding both teams to one run through 5.2 innings.
McCarthy pitching against LA on Sept. 5.
Brandon McCarthy is one of the youngest starting pitchers in free agency, and has become a formidable right-hander in the American League.
On just a one-year, $4.28 million deal last season, the 29-year-old McCarthy established himself as Oakland’s true ace in the rotation.
McCarthy went 8-6 with a 3.24 ERA on the season, striking out 73 hitters in 111 innings pitched.
His season was cut short after he was clocked in the head on an Erick Aybar come-backer on Sept. 5.
The Yankees should be looking to offer McCarthy something in the area of three years, $21 million to try to prevent him from returning to the Athletics.
Wang pitching for the Yankees in 2009.
Chien-Ming Wang hasn’t been the same pitcher since injuring his foot in June of 2008.
The former 19-game winner and Cy Young Award candidate has had stints on and off the DL since his ’08 injury.
Wang is a free agent this offseason, and could be an affordable chance this Yankee team may be willing to make.
The now 32-year-old ex-Yankee prospect went 55-26 with an ERA of 4.16 in his five seasons in pinstripes.
Wang’s weapon is his sinking fastball, which has managed to do anything but sink over the last few years.
Yankee pitching coach Larry Rothschild has worked with guys like David Robertson, Ivan Nova and David Phelps, improving their fastball location and movement.
If the Yankees can work a deal somewhere in the one year, $2 million range, Wang may be worth acquiring. Wang would be the Yankees’ experiment, one that could pay dividends in 2013.