Adam Wainwright Injury Means Bad News for the New York Yankees

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIIFebruary 24, 2011

DETROIT - JULY 05: Kevin Millwood #34 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches during the first inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers on July 5, 2010 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Orioles 12-9.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Just to clarify:

Yes, I know that Adam Wainwright is in St. Louis.

And yes, I know that the Yankees are in no way directly related to him.

Yet, Adam Wainwright's injury could spell bad news for the Yankees as they begin their long climb back to the top.

We all know of the Yankees' rotation woes. It's been well-documented through every single form of media available to the masses. Nos. 1 through 3 are a lock, and that's not saying much as Hughes and Burnett are question marks, and Nos. 4 and 5 are up for grabs.

The Yankees have plenty of options for those last two spots, but none that they are absolutely in love with. Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre, Andrew Brackman, Hector Noesi and David Phelps are all in competition for those last spots, and each one is just as inconsistent as the last.

There are a few intriguing free agents left, such as veteran Kevin Millwood, the oft-injured Jeremy Bonderman, left-hander Doug Davis and even the injury magnet himself, Ben Sheets.

The Yankees would prefer to offer any free-agent starter a minor league deal, this way, there's no guarantee that they'll crack the rotation. They would rather have a competition this spring, and rightly so.

Now, even if they wanted to sign any of the aforementioned free agents, they'll have very stiff competition from the Cardinals.

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The Cardinals can, and probably will, offer a major league contract to any free-agent pitcher they chase after, and, of course, a major league contract versus a minor league contract is a joke. 

The Yankees already attempted to entice Millwood with a minor league deal, but to no avail. He has chosen to hold out for a major league contract, and he may get one in St. Louis.

Having Millwood could really help the Bombers. An innings eater his entire career, Millwood has the potential to give the Yanks 180-190 solid innings. For argument's sake, let's just say that Sergio Mitre occupies the spot that Millwood doesn't.

The only time that Mitre has cracked the 100-inning plateau was in 2007 when he threw 149 innings for the Marlins. He was 5-8 with a 4.65 ERA. In my personal opinion, keeping Mitre out of the rotation is incentive enough to sign Millwood.

Remember that Chris Carpenter to the Yankees rumor?

Well, you can forget about that one now.

I'm not sure how reliable that rumor was, but it's moot now. The Cardinals will be extremely reluctant to trade their ace now that his co-ace has gone down for the season. 

Adam Wainwright's injury affects more than just the Cardinals.  The Yankees will have to fight even harder to attract some of the remaining free agent arms.  If not, the Yankees are going to have to catch lightning in a bottle in 2011 and hope that Hughes, Burnett and the fourth and fifth starters will produce.