There are a few ways the 2010 Yankee pitching rotation could end up. Let’s run ’em down. Disclaimer: I’m not including Javier Vazquez in any of these plans. I think there’s literally a 0.0% chance he is with the Yankees after 2010.
First, there’s this one:
CC Sabathia/Cliff Lee/A.J. Burnett/Andy Pettitte/Phil Hughes
That’d is probably the most desirable rotation out there. It’s got two of the best lefties in the game, a flame throwing (but inconsistent) right hander with a devastating curveball, a veteran lefty who can pitch a good amount of innings, and a young righty with plenty of upside. It will be hard for any team to top this hypothetical rotation.
Then, there’s the possibility that the Yankees sign Cliff Lee, but Andy Pettitte retires. In that case, everyone moves up, and there’s a hole in the fifth spot. In that case, I’d imagine we’ll see another competition for the fifth starter’s spot. I’m sure Ivan Nova would be involved in that and, hopefully, Joba Chamberlain would be as well. As Ben Kabak, others, and I discussed on Twitter the other day, we would be pretty mad if the Yankees have an open spot in the rotation come Spring Training and don’t give Joba Chamberlain a shot. I’m not holding my breath, but it could happen.
Then, there’s the situation that’s not optimal: the Yankees don’t sign Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte decides to hang ’em up. In that case, there’d be two rotation spots open and in that case, I really think the Yankees would be forced to give Joba another shot. If that happens, though, they could change course a bit. Perhaps in that situation, they’d look to trade someone (Brett Gardner, perhaps, as his stock has risen a bit) for a starter and go after Carl Crawford or look to retain Austin Kearns as a full time starter. I say they’d possibly go for a trade because after Cliff Lee, the starting pitching market is rather thin. Well, I guess in that situation the Yankees would have to give him at least a second thought, but I still don’t think we’ll see Javy with the Yankees after 2010.
No matter what happens, we’ll look back at this post on April 1, 2011, and laugh at my awful crystal ball skills.