Brian Cashman already made the most important move of the off season in signing CC Sabathia. And though my birthday is today, I'm going to thank Cashman for the early gift.
The Yankees have the best front two starters in baseball right now in CC and Wang. If Joba can last the whole season, then maybe the best front three. Yet, the Yankees teams I grew up with did not have a dominating front end to their staff, but instead had six or seven legitimate stating pitchers.
In the playoffs, teams can be carried to a World Series championship because of their front two or three starters (Arizona in 2001), but in order to make the playoffs in a division like the AL East, the Yankees need a deep rotation.
That is what brings us to the debate on who the next Yankee signing will be. Derek Lowe or A.J. Burnett. Now they have already made an offer to A.J. Burnett, but I think they could make a better move. The guy they should be going after is Derek Lowe.
First off, I have major concerns about Burnett. I understand Burnett is younger and can be more dominating than Derek Lowe, but he has major health concerns. The last thing the Yankees need is another starter on the DL.
Another Carl Pavano would destroy the team. Also A.J. Burnett has very little, if any postseason experience. This is something that should concern the Yankees because every year its about winning the World Series, not just getting in the playoffs.
Lastly, Burnett does not seem to play as well when he is not in a contract year. Giving him five years guaranteed may led to an apathetic approach to the game for him.
Derek Lowe is a horse. The man has never been on the DL in his entire career and he eats up innings. In his seven years as a starter, he has pitched over 200 innings four times and had another year with 199.1 innings.
During his time in Los Angeles, he has quietly been one of the most consistent pitchers in all of baseball. Lowe's ERA has not been over 3.90 and his WHIP (a stat I put great emphasis on) has not been over 1.26 in his four years as a Dodger.
Most importantly, he is the most proven pitcher in the postseason in this free agent class. Everyone remember's how dominating he was in the 2004 postseason and he was effective in his one start in the 2008 postseason.
He has an ERA around 3.33 and in his starts, he has averaged about six innings a start. That ability to go deep into games is one of the most important things in the playoffs.
I'm not saying Burnett is the wrong move. He can be a dominate starter if he stays healthy and is motivated to succeed. However, to take one that kind of risk with your starting rotation is a dangerous risk.
Like Bill Parcells said, "You lose with potential. You win with performance."
Derek Lowe has shown he can perform when it matters most and is the rock in the middle of the rotation the Yankees need.