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The New York Yankees had a sad, annoying, and disappointing offseason. They couldn't sign either of the two starting pitchers they wished to, as Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies, and Andy Pettitte retired.
This could end up being the worst season in ages for the Yankees, because right now, their starting rotation is a mess.
CC Sabathia is still the ace and won 21 games last season. Phil Hughes is still developing as a young pitcher and he won 18 games in 2010. So, what could possibly be so bad? Well, just about everything else after those two guys.
The Yankees hired pitching coach Larry Rothschild and for one big reason—A.J. Burnett. After an at least somewhat acceptable first season in the Bronx in 2009, Burnett was atrocious in 2010.
He lost 15 games for a Yankees team that won 95 games. His ERA was 5.26, and that's in a full season, having started all 33 games.
The biggest question mark concerning Burnett when the Yankees signed him two years ago was: would he be able to stay healthy? He's never missed a start as a Yankee, but his performance has been terrible.
After his spot, which is sadly third, the Yankees are basically hopeless unless they trade for a big-name pitcher immediately. They recently signed some retreads to show what they have in spring training. Guys like Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, and Mark Prior.
The fourth spot will probably go to Ivan Nova. The 24-year-old showed some good stuff last season. Even so, he's still very unproven, and the fifth spot could go to Sergio Mitre or one of the other three that they signed. It's really a terrible rotation if you examine it.
The good thing is, the Yankees have a great lineup. It's the same exact one from last season, with the only addition being Russell Martin behind the plate.
Other than that, it's the normal cast of characters, with the most dangerous hitter being Robinson Cano after his breakout season.
The bullpen won't be too bad, either. The Yankees acquired two quality arms in Rafael Soriano and Pedro Feliciano.
It's going to be a strange year for the Yankees, and it may not be an easy one—for once—either.
AL East team rankings
Starting rotation: 2nd
2011 prediction: 88-74, 2nd place