The Yankees have a serious issue that they need to figure out relatively soon.
Hiroki Kuroda recently turned down a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer from the Yankees for 2013 and will test the free-agent waters this winter.
We all know the Yankees want Kuroda back for 2013, especially after how brilliant he was last season.
With the chance of landing a multi-year deal, there's a chance that the Yankees don't bring Kuroda back for next season, which would really throw a wrench into their plans.
If Kuroda bolts from the Bronx, what does Yankees GM Brian Cashman do to replace his production?
Here are a few ideas in case that does happen.
I have a good feeling Andy Pettitte will be pitching anyway in 2013 for the Yankees.
But if Hiroki Kuroda doesn't come back to the Yankees, then Pettitte's return is vital.
When Pettitte was healthy, he brought a lot of stability and veteran presence to the pitching staff, and as a result, the team performed well in May and June.
He was limited in his number of starts in 2012 due to a broken ankle, and it sounds like the competitive itch in Pettitte is still there.
If I am Brian Cashman, give Pettitte whatever he wants for a 2013 return. Do not, in any way, haggle on a contract.
For Andy, I see a one-year, $12 million deal being enough to lure him back for one more go.
Aside from Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez is probably the next best starter on the free-agent market given his age and skill.
With the Tigers, he gave them a lot of depth in the playoffs and pitched very well in October for Detroit, which increased his value as a starter about to hit the open market.
Sanchez has been rumored to want a six-year, $90 million deal, which, if true, could take the Yankees out of the running if they are trying to cut on payroll.
However, if Sanchez's market drops and his price comes down, Cashman should strongly see if he can lure Sanchez to the Bronx.
If you are one of my long-time readers, you're probably wondering if I am still on the Cliff Lee-to-the-Yankees bandwagon.
And yes, I am still on the same Cliff Lee-to-the-Yankees bandwagon.
In the poll that was in the story, 62.5 percent of the 1,500 people that voted were for the trade.
I know it's a long shot to deal A-Rod, but if in the event that Hiroki Kuroda does leave, then Cashman needs to get creative and find solutions.
Taking on the remaining three years for Lee isn't a cheap solution, but he would bring production to a pitching staff that certainly could use it.
Some of you are going to think I am nuts with this suggestion, but we need to think outside the box here.
Barry Zito's name used to come up as having one of the worst contracts in all of baseball.
He's owed $20 million for 2013 and has a vesting option for 2014; however, if the option vests, Zito can opt out.
Zito also seemed to have re-discovered his talent last season, going 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA in 32 starts for the Giants, then 2-0 in three starts for San Francisco in the playoffs.
The Giants have built a solid rotation with Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong. With Zito as the fifth starter, I think he could be had in a trade.
I don't know what Brian Sabean would ask for, but for a 34-year-old lefty who has pitched well in recent time, I think it's worth calling to ask.
When the free-agent list comes out for 2013, this is the name I have circled: Josh Johnson.
He has one more year left on his current deal before free agency, which makes him trade bait come July, especially if the Marlins aren't contending.
When healthy, he can dominate a game and throw a one-hitter against any offense in the league. The problem is, he's stuck in Miami.
He was 8-14 with a 3.81 ERA in 31 starts for Miami in 2012 and struck out 165 batters in 191.1 innings.
He'll make $13.75 million in 2013, which, again, could make the Marlins look for contenders as partners to trade with.
If the Marlins have Johnson on the block, Brian Cashman needs to get involved for Johnson, because I think he'd be perfect behind CC Sabathia in the Yankees' rotation.
He'll also be only 29 come the 2013 season, so he still has a lot of good baseball left to pitch, and I think if the Yankees can float the right package to Miami, I think a deal could be possible.