New York Yankees: 5 Potential Options for Pitching in Wake of Phil Hughes Injury

Doug RushSenior Analyst IFebruary 21, 2013

New York Yankees: 5 Potential Options for Pitching in Wake of Phil Hughes Injury

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    You can never have enough pitching.

    It's an old phrase you will hear just about everyone in baseball utter at one point or another in a season.

    And up until this past week, the New York Yankees' starting rotation seemed to be just fine.

    However, in wake of the bulging disc in Phil Hughes back, which will require him to sit out at least two weeks, the Yankees may be looking around for pitching depth, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

    Right now, it's just two weeks that the Yankees want to give Hughes a lay-off from baseball, but what if the injury gets worse? Hughes is slated to be the Yankees' No. 4 starter in 2013.

    Now, Yankees GM Brian Cashman has already said that he has no interest in former Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse because obtaining Lohse would cost the Yankees their first-round draft pick.

    However, there are plenty of cheap options that are still available on the free-agent market that the Yankees could look at if they need depth.

    And it wouldn't cost them any prospects either in any kind of deal.

    Let's take a look at who Cashman could still sign for 2013.

Derek Lowe

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    Back in 2008, the Yankees had to decide between A.J. Burnett or Derek Lowe for their No. 2 spot.

    The team took Burnett, but four years later, Lowe ended up becoming a Yankee.

    With injury problems to the team, the Yankees signed Lowe as pitching insurance back on Aug. 11 and put him in the bullpen after he was cut by the Indians.

    With the Yankees, Lowe pitched pretty well, putting up a 1-1 record with a 3.04 ERA in 17 appearances.

    What I've always liked about Lowe is his ability to stay healthy, as he always made at least 30 appearances as a starting pitcher and was trending towards that goal in 2012.

    Lowe still remains unsigned, but could be a nice insurance arm to have.

    And even if the Yankees didn't use Lowe full-time as a starter, he could go back in the bullpen, where they know he could be successful again.

Chris Young

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    Chris Young fits the mold of the kind of players Brian Cashman likes to sign.

    A cheap, veteran player who he can bring in on a minor league deal and give an opportunity to in hopes of making the team.

    Last year, Young made $1.1 million with the Mets and remains unsigned for 2013.

    Young was 4-9 with a 4.15 ERA in 20 starts and showed he was healthy after battling a number of injuries over the years, the most recent being a torn capsule in his right shoulder.

    At 33 years old, Young still has a lot of baseball left in him to pitch and might be someone worth taking a flier on if needed.

Randy Wolf

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    When I looked at the free-agent list of starting pitchers still around, I was shocked to see Randy Wolf's name still on it.

    As a veteran left-handed starter, Wolf would have made sense on plenty of teams rotations, but yet, here we are in February, and he's still a free agent.

    Wolf spent time in 2012 with the Brewers and the Orioles, as it was the first time in his career he ever pitched in the American League.

    With his short time in Baltimore, Wolf was 2-0 with a 5.28 ERA in five appearances, two of which were starts.

    At 36 years old, Wolf might be coming close to the end of his career, but I could still see a team taking him on with a minor league deal to kick the tires on.

    And for the Yankees, I could also see them taking the flier on Wolf to see what he has.

Carlos Zambrano

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    If you're a longtime reader of this website, you've seen Carlos Zambrano's name tied to the Yankees.

    Personally, I've written about the Yankees potentially going after Zambrano in the past; once back in December of 2010 after the Yankees missed out on Cliff Lee.

    And again back in June of 2011 when the Yankees needed pitching depth at the trading deadline.

    The Yankees steered away from a deal with Zambrano mostly because of the salary he was owed in his deal with the Chicago Cubs.

    In 2012, Zambrano pitched for the Miami Marlins and had a so-so season: 7-12 with a 4.49 ERA in 35 appearances, 20 of which were starts.

    If the Yankees wanted to take a flier on Zambrano, I wouldn't be opposed to it, but it would definitely have to be on a minor league deal.

    The one concern I have on Zambrano is his temper and whether he would be able to keep it in check.

    With a Yankees locker room with guys like Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera as the veteran leaders, I honestly don't think Zambrano would be an issue though.

Chien-Ming Wang

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    In my gut, I have a hunch Chien-Ming Wang might be a Yankee again.

    Last week, I had reported that the Yankees were keeping tabs on their former ace and would be monitoring his pitching in the World Baseball Classic.

    If all goes well with Wang, I could see Brian Cashman signing him to a minor league deal with a chance to make the roster.

    And now that Phil Hughes' back is acting up on him, Cashman's interest in Wang could really intensify over the next few weeks.

    When healthy, Wang was one of the most reliable starters for the Yankees, but then he ran into injury problems in 2008 and 2009.

    Over the last two seasons, Wang has pitched for the Nationals in his efforts to resuming his baseball career and hasn't looked as impressive as he once did in his career.

    However, I think it would be fitting if Wang got one more opportunity to come back to the team he cut his teeth with in his MLB career, and don the pinstripes again.