Notable additions: LHP Pedro Feliciano, C Russell Martin, RHP Rafael Soriano
Notable subtractions: LHP Andy Pettitte, RHP Kerry Wood
The Yankees entered the off-season focused on signing left-hander Cliff Lee to pair with CC Sabathia atop of the rotation, but a funny thing happened on the way to the ballpark—the Phillies stole Lee out from under the Yankees nose at the eleventh hour. Hey, turn about is fair play, right? The Yankees did the same thing to the Red Sox a few years ago when they signed Mark Teixeira.
Karma can be a bitch!
And to compound the Yankees dilemma, the Red Sox stepped in and signed Carl Crawford (NY’s plan B) while the Yankees fiddled around awaiting Lee’s decision. You had better believe that George Steinbrenner would NOT have allowed his GM to pursue such a passive course of action. Hank doesn’t appear to be much of a chip off the old block! (Oh, wait, he stepped up and ordered the signing of clubhouse cancer Rafael Soriano ... woopie!)
With Lee lost and Andy Pettitte seriously considering retirement, the Yankees face the prospect of opening the year with AJ Burnett, Ivan Nova, and Sergio Mitre at the back end of the rotation. Ouch! That should not be the rotation of a $200 million ball club.
The addition of Rafael Soriano may provide the club options, but he is not the savior many Yankees fans have already declared him to be. (Is he going to improve on Kerry Woods’ 0.69 ERA with New York? I don’t think so.) He could, however, allow the Yankees to move Joba Chamberlain—either into the rotation or in a trade during the season.
Don’t be surprised to see Andy Pettitte pull a Roger Clemens and make a mid-season return for a half-season (once his kids are out of school and are able to travel to New York City for the summer).
The Yankee offense should be better in 2011, with Alex Rodriguez another year removed from his hip surgery, Curtis Granderson now acclimated to life in Gotham, and Jesus Montero poised to take over behind the plate.
But until they do something about the rotation they are no better than #4 on my list, with the Rangers just a starting pitcher away from overtaking them.