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Will he or won't he?
The Yankees' surprising rotation was the story of their season, but as of right now, A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova, and Phil Hughes are the only members of the rotation guaranteed to be back next year. C.C. Sabathia can (and likely will) opt out of the remaining four years and $86 million left on his deal. Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia are impending free agents.
Re-signing Sabathia will obviously be a priority for the team, and chances are C.C. is back in pinstripes next year. The only feasible explanation for him not returning is that he demands more years tacked on to his deal. The Yanks may be a bit hesitant to make such a long-term investment in light of a similar deal made a few years ago (see: Rodriguez, Alex).
Aside from Sabathia, the free agent starting pitching market is a bit weak. C.J. Wilson of the Rangers is the best guy available, and the Yankees will certainly give him a look, but the sentiment around baseball is they won't bend over backwards to get him.
However, there are guys who could be worth a look. Colon and Garcia are possibilities to return, but free agent names like Mark Buehrle (White Sox), Hiroki Kuroda (Dodgers), and Edwin Jackson (Cardinals) are likely safer bets. If the Phillies decline their mutual option with Roy Oswalt, he could be a possibility as well.
Recently, GM Brian Cashman has suggested that 2011 rookie Hector Noesi may compete for a spot in next year's rotation. In 30 appearances (two starts) this year for New York, Noesi posted a 4.47 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, and 45 strikeouts over 56.1 innings.
We're still months away from spring training, so speculation is a little difficult, but my projected rotation for 2012 consists of Sabathia, Burnett, Nova, Hughes, and Edwin Jackson. While C.J. Wilson is the ultimate prize aside from C.C., Jackson has posted solid numbers over his career, and it doesn't seem like the Yankees would have to break the bank to get him.