Discussion: Possible Starters In 2011

Although it seems like the Joba debate will continue to roil forever (see the comments on Steve’s post), let’s move forward assuming that Joba is staying in the bullpen for the foreseeable future. If that holds true, then the Yankees will only have 3 starting pitchers under contract for 2011, with CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Phil Hughes forming a solid trio that the Yankees are sure to supplement with free agent signings. How might the Yankees fill those holes?

Obviously, Andy Pettitte can renege on his stated desire to retire after this season. Furthermore, Javier Vazquez has mentioned a willingness to go season-to-season on one year contracts, but I wonder if he will still be willing to do so if he has a moderately successful 2010 and has the ability to score a big contract on the free agent market. The following pitchers will be free agents:

Bronson Arroyo (34) – $11MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Josh Beckett (31)
Erik Bedard (32)
Kris Benson (35)
Jeremy Bonderman (28)
Dave Bush (31)
Jose Contreras (39)
Kevin Correia (30)
Doug Davis (35) – $6.5MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout
Jorge De La Rosa (30)
Justin Duchscherer (33)
Shawn Estes (38)
Josh Fogg (34)
Jeff Francis (29) – $7MM club option
Freddy Garcia (35)
Jon Garland (31) – $6.75MM mutual option with a $600K buyout
Rich Harden (29) – $11MM mutual option with $1MM buyout
Aaron Harang (33) – $12.75MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Livan Hernandez (36)
Jason Jennings (32)
Hiroki Kuroda (36)
Cliff Lee (32)
Ted Lilly (35)
Rodrigo Lopez (35)
Kevin Millwood (36)
Sergio Mitre (30)
Brian Moehler (39)
Jamie Moyer (48)
Brett Myers (30) – $8MM mutual option with a $2MM buyout
Vicente Padilla (33)
Carl Pavano (35)
Brad Penny (33)
Andy Pettitte (39)
Tim Redding (33)
Nate Robertson (33)
Ben Sheets (32)
Jeff Suppan (36) – $12.75MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Brett Tomko (38)
Koji Uehara (36)
Javier Vazquez (34)
Brandon Webb (32)
Todd Wellemeyer (32)
Kip Wells (34)
Jake Westbrook (33)
Dontrelle Willis (29)
Chris Young (32) – $8.5MM club option

Cliff Lee is an obvious choice, and Josh Beckett and Brandon Webb are intriguing depending on the length of contract and their health. However, I do not see the Yankees signing two pitchers to long-term deals, and I am not thrilled with the second-level talent available. How much would it cost to get Ted Lilly? What about Jake Westbrook? Would Vazquez require more than 3 seasons? If Chamberlain does in fact stay in the bullpen, the Yankees will likely find themselves overpaying for one of those players, or trading prospects to acquire a starter. Hopefully, they can find a way to bring in someone willing to sign a short-term deal that can slot in as a reasonable 4th or 5th starter on a championship caliber team.

Which of these players interests you?

0 thoughts on “Discussion: Possible Starters In 2011

  1. Cliff Lee is clearly the best on the market and the guy that interests me the most. Beckett and Vazquez would be my choices ahead of Brandon Webb. At this point, I have no interest the Yanks going after a guy recovering from shoulder surgery. The dark horse that I see from this group is Jorge De La Rosa. He issues too many walks, but he’s relatively young 30-31, left handed and racks up Ks. Maybe he’d even be moderately affordable – more so than a guy like Beckett. IF Joba stays in the ‘pen permanently, I kind of like the idea of targeting Lee and De La Rosa to fill out the vacancies.

    The problem here though is that we’d be surrendering way too many draft picks. Especially if the Yanks go after an OF as well.

  2. Didn’t realize Lilly put together an impressive 2009 season. Lilly’s 33 and i think starting the season on the DL for a couple weeks. Not sure but he’s rehabbing from some injury. Nevertheless, Lilly’s making $12 million and might not budge too much. If he likes Chi-town, and considering the success he’s had, he probably re-signs. Nobody does come close to Cliff Lee.

  3. Cliff Lee is hurt already! He threw 50 innings more last season for a total of 273. The Phillies traded him because of his work load. If I were the Yankees I would pass. To much potential injury risk with Lee.

    • You keep saying this, but it isnt true. The Phillies traded Lee because he made it clear that he didnt want to sign a long-term deal. The Phillies actually wanted to sign him.

      • I’m not sure what was going on there. The minute Lee was traded, he was all distraught and said he wanted to stay there, that the agent was just posturing. Maybe he and the GM just crossed signals, or maybe Amaro was so caught up in getting Halladay that he was going to do whatever he had to. But that whole deal seemed very odd to me. Seems like the Phils would have been better off just resigning Lee.

        • I think Halladay is a better bet going forward, but the prospects they gave >> the ones they got, IMO. Agreed, the whole thing was strange.

      • Moshe you can say that but how do you really know? Including the post season Lee threw 49.2 innings more then the year before. That is a lot of innings and I am sure the Phillies took this in account when they traded for Halladay while dealing away Lee.

        To me already knowing Lee’s previous workload and seeing him injured already sends up a huge red flag. I would not bet on him becoming a Yankee.

        • Let’s calm down about him ‘being injured’. He has a strained abdomen. Has anyone ever heard of a career-ending strained abdomen? I’m sure it’s annoying him, but he’ll be fine.

        • Fortunately, the Yankees have all of 2010 to assess whether Lee now seems to be an injury risk. No need to render a verdict now.

  4. It’s either resign Andy or Javy and let one of the rookies in AAA take the 5th spot. The extra 8 mil will go towards An outfield spot. The Yankees will not go beyond the 210 mil so the rookies will have to get more chances to see what they are made of.

  5. I would guess that Lee will take Andy’s spot, and that Vasquez will pitch well enough to earn a 3-4 year extension/deal. I’m not sure about Hughes, but if he holds his own then your 2011 rotation is set right there.

    BTW-I’d pass on Beckett. The Sox have had enough trouble keeping him on the field, and his reputation far outweighs his actual numbers.

    • I’m very uncomfortable having 4 pitchers over 30 under contract for 13m+ and at least 3 more years on their deals. It will leave the team with very little flexibility in the case of injury or lack of development in other places (ie catcher, both corner outfield spots). That’s why I think it is insane if Joba stays in the pen. Assuming Hughes is adequate in 2010, you go with Lee, CC, Burnett, Hughes, and Joba, and you have the latter two helping to offset the first 3 a bit. ALternatively, if Javy pitches well in 2010, you can eschew a long-term deal to anyone and simply resign Javy to a 3-4 year deal. A lot more flexibility, and it would allow them to better address the holes that seem likely to crop up on the offensive side of things.

      • We’d have to look at the 2011 commitments to see how this all works.


        Cots has them at 144. Add 20 for Derek, 15 for Mo and you’re at 179. 20 for Lee and you’re at 199. Bring back Vasquez and you’re around 112-114, plus you need to fill out the bench and make room for arb raises. So if they want top stay around 210, something’s got to give.

        But it’s also possible they offer slightly back loaded deals to Vasquez/Lee, where they make less the first season and take advantage of some of the 107 mil committed for 2012. If Lee/Vasuez take 5 mil less each their first season (and make it back the next) there’s no issue. Things like that can be often be worked out.

        • My issue was less with the initial budget and more with leaving some room in case of emergency and in case you need to replace important players two years down the road. The odds of all 4 pitchers over the age of 30 holding up are slim, and then you have a major sunk cost.

          • Young pitchers get hurt, too. I’ll take the stellar health history of a Vasquez, Sabathia, and Lee over that of any young player. Even AJ has made most of his starts 4 of the past 5 years. Proven guys tend to repeat performance, young players are an unknown.

          • Right, but when players under big contracts get hurt, it can cripple a team. I’m talking about sacrificing a bit of reliability for flexibility. I think any team with CC and Lee should be fine.

          • Bear in mind that C.C. has an opt-out clause following 2011, which complicates the entire calculation about their commitments going forward.

          • What about CC, AJ, Phil, Joba and Vasq as your starters? Vasq has said he only wants to pitch another year or two. Give him (Vasq) a year to year deal, for what ever they want to pay him.
            If someone goes down we do have a couple of guys knocking on the door.

  6. I think there are a lot of “wait and see” picks in there, including Jeremy Bonderman, Brandon Webb, Aaron Harang, Rich Harden, and maybe even Erik Bedard. So, I will wait and see. A healthy season out of any of those guys would get a contract offer from me, if I were Cashman.

    I have less of an issue with Cliff Lee’s arm as I do with the contract it will require. Two of five starters costing almost 50 million? Flexibility will be an issue.

  7. Lee”s WS impressed me no end, and he appears the perfect replacement for Andy, though Rooster’s note of caution is prudent, a scout should be tracking his performance for health issues. I would try to attract him with top dollar bid per year for three years (as I’ve said elsewhere, if he believes his own worth and longevity, he should be comfortable with the sum of our offer plus his next contracts). If he looks very strong, I would offer +25% for AAV.

    Presuming Javy has a good year, I would look to sign him for one or two or three, depending, and let him enjoy some of the value savings we earn from avoiding the draft selection giveaway – good point Craig. Finally, I would plan on holding another (longer) competition for the 5th spot, among long relievers and AAA, even AA pitchers. (Joba’s in my competition, depending.)

    Any cracks in need for starters or prospects, I would deal from ML riches, ie, give up a dandy player, one who has prospect of coverage from within. In mind of Craig’s very good point, I would be loathe to give draft choices for high-end position players, unless the need was great.

  8. Why doesn’t anyone mention the Yankees in house young options?

    De la Rosa
    DJ Mitchell

    Does anyone think one or two of these 9 can step up?

    • Few if any of those names appear to have front-of-the-rotation talent, so you are talking about fifth-starter types at best. The injury histories of several (Garcia, Kontos) make them long shots. At this point, they are just names; apart from Joba, none has a track record of success at the AAA level.

  9. I like Webb the most. Obviously he has to show good health this season, but he’d be the best value for the Yanks.

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