The reason the Yankees lost to the Tigers is abundantly clear. It wasn't an offensive problem, although they did struggle. Offensive numbers tend to be down in the playoffs, there's nothing new there.
No, the Yankees lost because they just didn't have top of the line pitching. No, that's not a knock on C.C. Sabathia. But all it took was one rain delay to change the Yankees' Game 5 starter from Sabathia to Ivan Nova.
That simply can't happen to a team with the resources of the New York Yankees. That's nothing against Nova, but a rookie should not be starting a winner take all game.
And what kind of pressure does that put on Sabathia? He's matched up against the other team's ace. Even without a rain delay, would Sabathia have beaten Justin Verlander twice?
The good news is that there are answers out there. Taking a look at the list of free agents, you will notice some pretty decent names.
Before we take a closer look at a few of them, let me state a few things. For one, take a look at the list. I am not looking at any players who could be free agents. Even if it's likely that their option will be declined, I am going to assume that's not the case.
Two, one of the names you will see as a guy with an option is Sabathia. I am writing this assuming that he will come back, which makes the most sense.
But with those out of the way, let's take a look at a few good names.
The options below him aren't bad, but Wilson is by far the best option.
I am not convinced that Wilson is an ace. Actually, I am rather sure that he's not an ace. But as a No. 2 starter, matched against the other team's No. 2 starter, Wilson is a good play.
Playing half of your games in Texas, a 16-7 record with a sub-3.00 ERA and a sub 1.20 WHIP is a pretty solid season.
Yankee Stadium is certainly a hitter friendly park, but Wilson is quite used to that.
The Yankees can overpay for Wilson in a way that no other team really can. That's something they really need to consider doing.
Jackson has actually been a solid player since leaving Arizona last season. His ERA has been below 4.00 since that departure, and that's not irrelevant.
The fear is that Yankee Stadium is a rough transition, and I certainly get that. But before getting too deep into that argument, realize that his ERA with the White Sox was below 4.00, both in 2010 and 2011.
A lot of the same fears apply there. The White Sox play in a hitter friendly park, and have to deal with the designated hitter.
Kuroda will be 37 on opening day, so he's nothing more than a short term option. But his ERA has been spectacular over the last two seasons. If the Dodgers were a better team, Kuroda would be winning around 15 games. As it is, he won 13 in 2011.
He would be a great option to back up Sabathia in the rotation. When the playoffs roll around, he's the kind of player that you would want going against the other team's No. 2 or No. 3 starter.