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The Yankees have a weak starting rotation.
CC Sabathia is a sure thing to pitch for 220 innings with 20 wins and an ERA around 3.00 but other than that, do the Yankees have another pitcher you wholeheartedly trust? Ivan Nova might fit that bill but he has only 207.1 innings in the major leagues under his belt. Yes, they have been very impressive, but I would be much more comfortable if Nova was the Yankees' No. 3 starter instead of their No. 2.
Outside of Sabathia and Nova the Yankees have Phil Hughes, who is inconsistent but has shown some promise, AJ Burnett, who has great stuff but is a headcase, and Freddy Garcia, who was excellent last year but did fall off after the All-Star break.
Now let's turn to possible trade targets. If I were Brian Cashman, I would focus on Tim Lincecum, Gio Gonzalez, Josh Johnson and Felix Hernandez. Let's say the Mariners refuse to trade Hernandez and the Marlins refuse to trade Johnson because they need to fill seats in their new ballpark—that narrows it down to Lincecum and Gonzalez.
Tim Lincecum is one of the seven best pitchers in the majors in my opinion, with Verlander, Kershaw, Hernandez, Sabathia, Lee and Halladay. So, in order to trade for him it will take a huge return. If I was Cashman I would start off a package with Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, Phil Hughes and Nick Swisher and see what the Giants GM, Brian Sabean, says.
Gio Gonzalez would cost considerably less but he is still a very good pitcher. Gonzalez is a 26-year-old lefty with a 94 mph fastball, two straight seasons of 200-plus innings of work, a 3.17 ERA in those seasons and is under team control for four more years. If Brian Sabean nixes a trade for Lincecum, the next person on the phone should be Billy Beane.