Speculation Surrounding the Yankees Rotation

By: Alex Reina

An argument can be made that the Yankee’s pitching rotation is the weakest part of their team right now. Currently, the Yankees have Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Chris Capuano, Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova (returning in May/June) and some others vying for a spot in the rotation. There’s also some other minor leaguers, free agents, and trade options the Yankees may try to utilize. 
First off, let’s start with what the Yankee’s have. Masahiro Tanaka, the clear cut ace of the staff, could be one pitch away from Tommy John surgery. No one can know what to expect from him this upcoming season. CC Sabathia is another question mark in the rotation. The last time he posted an ERA under 4.00 was the 2012 season when he posted a 3.38 ERA and a 15-6 record. In the past two seasons since, he has had a 17-17 record and has dealt with injury problems, particularly with his knee. Reports have said that his knee feels fine to him again, but once again we won’t know what to expect until we see him pitch.

Michael Pineda is another wild card. When he wasn't injured last year, he put up solid numbers and pitched extremely well (even without the pine tar).  But he has been plagued with injuries in the past, so a full season from him is unlikely. Nathan Eovaldi, who the Yankees recently acquired in a trade with the Marlins, has a lot of potential. He’s young, and is one of the hardest throwers in the league. But last year, he gave up the most hits by a pitcher in a weak hitting National League. If Larry Rothschild can get him to record more swing and misses and get him to use his pitches more effectively, Yankee fans could be in for a pleasant surprise.

That still leaves one spot left in the rotation. The Yankees have Chris Capuano, who they signed to a one year deal this off season, and Adam Warren, who could be converted from a reliever to a starter. Chase Whitley also showed potential to be a starter after his performance last year. Also in the minors is Bryan Mitchell. These guys will be the ones vying for that 5th spot, if the Yankees decide to stay away from free agents.

Here’s where the speculation comes into play: Max Scherzer and James Shields are both still on the market. The Yankees have said many times they are staying away from shelling out that kind of money, but where have we heard that before? (Teixeira in the 2008 offseason) There’s also lower tier starters such as Ryan Vogelsong, who is still a free agent.

The Yankees could also go for a trade using the surge of youth they have recently acquired. Although unlikely, the Yankees could trade for perhaps Cole Hamels from the rebuilding Phillies, or David Price, who is in a contract year, from the Tigers.

My prediction for the Yankees rotation next year is as follows:
Masahiro Tanaka
Max Scherzer
CC Sabathia
Michael Pineda
Nathan Eovaldi/Chris Capuano

If Scherzer remains on the market, theres a slight chance his asking price could go down, and I can’t see Cashman and the Yankees let him slip by at that point.

Follow me on twitter @alexreina07

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

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