MLB Free Agency 2012: 6 Pitchers the New York Yankees Should Target

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst INovember 1, 2011

MLB Free Agency 2012: 6 Pitchers the New York Yankees Should Target

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    Now that CC Sabathia is locked up after signing an extension with the New York Yankees, the Bombers must begin their search for another starter to deepen their rotation.

    There won't be any superstars on the market this season that'll help catapult the Yanks rotation to being the best in baseball.

    However, there are several free agents that could add a ton of credibility to the Yankees rotation.

    Here are five pitchers the Yankees should target (some more than others) to compliment CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova.

C.J. Wilson

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    It isn't clear how hard Nolan Ryan will go after his best pitcher, but if there's a team that can outbid him, it's the Yankees.

    Wilson would most likely be a No. 2 for the Yanks, something they already have in Ivan Nova.

    Then the question becomes: Do the Yankees need that good of a starter? I don't think so as long as Nova continues to make progress like he did all year in 2011.

    On top of that, Wilson will command a ton of money being the best pitcher on the market. An all-out bidding war could end up making the Yanks overpay for his services, something the Yankees are no strangers to.

    The biggest thing that will hurt Wilson is his poor showing in the playoffs the past two years.

    His career postseason record is 1-5 with a 4.82 ERA.

    Numbers like those in the playoffs will make you forget all about a 16-win season. Besides, everyone knows, if you can't pitch in the playoffs, you can't pitch for the Yankees.

Yu Darvish

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    Yu Darvish has been highly touted by MLB scouts across the sport.

    So was Hideki Irabu, Kei Igawa, Daisuke Matsuzaka and every other Japanese pitcher to try and make the jump to the MLB.

    If anyone knows the risks of bringing in a Japanese pitcher, it's the Yanks.

    They most likely will have to pay a posting fee just to talk to Darvish, and that doesn't include what it will cost to sign him.

    Long story short, the Yankees will be paying millions of dollars for an unproven commodity. Say what you want about his career in Japan, it means nothing when he comes to the majors and faces a higher class of hitters, let alone an offensive division like the AL East.

    The Yankees would be foolish to target Darvish and take a chance going down the same long, expensive road to uncertainty and failure.

    Despite the fact the Bombers should pass, they will still be very much in the hunt for Darvish.

Mark Buehrle

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    I believe Mark Buehrle is one of two pitchers on the market that would fit the Yankees perfectly.

    Buehrle is a gamer with past playoff success, something that is vital if you want to be a member of the Yanks. Not to mention, he has pitched and had success in the World Series.

    Injuries wouldn't be an issue either, as Buehrle has never made fewer than 30 starts in any of his full big-league seasons.

    Last year, Buehrle had a 13-9 record, posting a 3.59 ERA. Those would be the perfect stats for the Yankees to implant into the No. 3 slot in the starting rotation.

    Buehrle could have easily won 15-17 games with an offense the likes of which the Bombers have, one that is far better than his old team, the Chicago White Sox.

    And he is no stranger to pitching in a big market having played in Chicago his entire career. He may not be the sexiest name on this list, but he is the most logical and realistic for what the Yankees need.

    My vote goes to Buehrle. That is, as long as his heart is into it.

Roy Oswalt

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    If the Yankees can't land Mark Buehrle, their next step should be going after Roy Oswalt.

    I put Buehrle over Oswalt because he has battled injuries over the past few years and missed a good amount of starts in the process.

    Still, Oswalt would be one of the strongest No. 3 starters in the majors and would give the Yankees the depth they need.

    Oswalt also has had past playoff success, including pitching in the World Series in 2005, oddly enough against Buehrle's White Sox.

    Despite a shaky start in the playoffs this year, his numbers as a whole are impressive at 5-2 with an ERA of 3.78.

    He would certainly be a dependable option for the Yankees in 2012 as long as he is healthy and could easily win 15 games with the support he'll get from the Yankees high-powered lineup.

Edwin Jackson

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    With the exception of an unknown Yu Darvish, Edwin Jackson may be the least desirable on this list.

    Jackson had a decent season with the St. Louis Cardinals last year, going 12-9 with a 3.78 ERA.

    Those numbers aren't so impressive in the National League alone, imagine what they could balloon to in the AL East. He spent three years with the Tampa Bay Rays, posting ERAs of 5.45, 5.76 and 4.42.

    Still, Jackson remains one of the top pitchers in a market that is thin with top pitching.

    Jackson should be a last resort if all else fails and even then, I feel the Yankees would be better off doing nothing than possibly overpaying Jackson out of desperation.

Hiroki Kuroda

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    The chances Hiroki Kuroda will leave Los Angeles to play for the Yankees are slim as he loves playing for the Dodgers.

    That still shouldn't stop the Yanks from inquiring about one of the best pitchers on the market this offseason.

    Last year, Kuroda was 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA. Those are impressive numbers when you consider he was playing for a third-place team who didn't score many runs.

    On the Yankees, Kuroda would get a ton of run support and in my opinion, could easily win 17-20 games so long as he pitches how he did in Los Angeles.

    Kuroda might be the biggest sleeper on the market this offseason, but there's no telling if the Yankees have enough to drag him out of Los Angeles where he enjoys playing.

    It may be more realistic to take him from LA seeing as how the Dodgers owner is in big financial trouble and may not be able to re-sign Kuroda.

    Keep a close eye on this situation as statistically, Kuroda is the second best pitcher on the market.

Conclusion: What the Yankees Should Really Do

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    Most Realistic and Best Options:

    In my opinion, the two best fits out of these pitchers are Buehrle and Oswalt. Both have a ton of playoff experience and success, and would fit in nicely as a No. 3 starter.

    Not to mention, you won't have to overpay to get them like you would a Darvish or Wilson.

    Not Worth the Money:

    There just simply isn't enough of a track record to give Yu Darvish and his current Japanese team tens of millions of dollars to bring him to the states. There is a track record of the Yanks having nothing but failure with Japanese pitchers.

    The Bombers can't take another chance in locking up more money and years in a player that gives them nothing in return.

    C.J. Wilson is a nice pitcher, don't get me wrong. But his playoff failures as a starter with the Rangers are alarming and will do nothing but hurt him in New York.

    After Sabathia decided not to opt-out, Wilson immediately became the best option available on the free agent market. That means teams in desperate need of a good starter would overpay to bring him to their team. In that case, the Yankees would be caught in a bidding war and end up overpaying him altogether.

    Lord knows the Yanks have enough guys they are paying an excessive amount of money to long-term. They don't need to add Wilson to that.

    Worth it, But Unrealistic:

    The reason I don't have Kuroda as the best option for the Yanks is because I don't believe he'll be an option at all. Chances are he'll stay on the west coast because he enjoys playing there and it is closer to his native Japan.

    Kuroda would have a ton of success with the Yankees and could easily be their No. 2, but don't expect it to happen.

    Realistic, But Not Worth it:

    Jackson is only 28 and could develop into a better pitcher, but the Yankees don't have the time or patience to wait.

    Jackson's numbers in a weak hitting division like the NL Central would certainly balloon even higher if he pitched in the AL East.

    I could very well see another A.J. Burnett situation where Jackson will get knocked around on a nightly basis, wasting more of the Yankees money and time.

    Stay away from this one.


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