Do the Yankees need to trade for a starting pitcher?

Though you may not realize it (and honestly I didn’t until I looked it up), Yankees’ starters currently rank 5th in the American League in fWAR and FIP, and 4th in xFIP. In the American League East, they’re first in all of those categories, and 2nd to the Rays in ERA. Though the Mariners, Angels, and White Sox are head and shoulders above the rest of the league in terms of fWAR, the Yankees are just 0.1 win behind the Athletics. And had Phil Hughes been put on the DL sooner and Bartolo Colon gotten another start or two, they’d likely be ahead of Oakland. Their 3.83 xFIP puts them in basically a tie with Chicago, Oakland, and Anaheim, behind the Mariners’ league leading 3.57 mark. Not to bad for a group consisting of a headcase, a junkballer, a rookie who can’t strike anyone out, and Fat Bartolo backing up Sabathia for most of the season.

Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t potential issues. Colon is still best regarded as an injury waiting to happen, though his rotation spot is certainly safe so long as he’s healthy. Freddy Garcia has been very easy to hit at times, and he’s probably due for some regression in the rest of the season. Ivan Nova is…well he’s Ivan Nova. And Mo only knows how much you can count on A.J. Burnett. And there’s always the possibility that someone gets hurt between now and the trade deadline.

What this means, however, is that the Yankees really aren’t desperate for starting pitching. They can search the market for potential upgrades on their terms and at their prices, rather than feeling as though they may need to overpay for a short term fix, balancing the long term interests of the roster against short term needs. Because, hard as it would have been to believe back in Spring Training, the Yankees don’t actually have a particularly large need for help in their starting rotation.

Now, about that bullpen…

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

9 thoughts on “Do the Yankees need to trade for a starting pitcher?

  1. Jack Bauer is dead

    It's gonna be a little strange come the postseason in the ALDS/ALCS with only one marquee name (Sabathia). I don't mean that as a slight to Burnett and the rest; I'm just used to thinking 'Pettitte' and 'Clemens' and 'Mussina.' That conjures an image different to 'Nova' and 'Garcia.'

    I shouldn't have thought that far ahead. Now I'm dreading watching the World Series, regardless of the teams, with the present Joe Buck at the helm. With those two black holes continuing the play-by-play, we're all like a limp deer that's been clipped by a minivan. Just end the torture already. :'(

  2. Jacques

    I'd like to see David Phelps, Hector Noesi or Adam Warren get a shot @ September, which makes a trade unnecessary at this point. I think the team will get a better view once Hughes and Colon returns from DL, assuming they both make it back before the trade deadline.
    Plus, there aren't any impressive pitchers on the block. And no, not another NL starting pitcher.
    BTW, I thought Rob Neyer was the guy who said Teixeira and Cano didn't deserve gold gloves last year… shows you the writer's quality that is below-average.

    • BrienJackson

      I don't really want to see any of those guys making more than a spot start in September…because that probably means something went wrong with someone else.

    • mikeNicoletti

      I'm not sure I'd ever want one of those guys starting in September. None are projected as more than a #4 starter, and that is when they are in their prime, not getting battered around in their rookie season.

      Note: Without Rob Neyer, the internet baseball nerd community doesn't gain half of it's current fan base. Rob isn't always right, but he's one of the best.

  3. Evan3457

    Pretty much what I've been telling people about the Yanks' rotation, but it doesn't jibe with the narrative going in, so nobody wants to hear it. Hughes' 3rd and last start so far this season was April 15th. Since then, the team ERA is 3.33. The Yanks team ERA is actually slightly lower than the Red Sox' ERA since their 2-10 start. In those 59 games, the Yanks are 35-24, and the starters have an ERA of 3.53, averaging a little less than 6 1/2 innings a start. 32 of the 59 have been "quality starts".

  4. David, Jr.

    This is very true. There may be no desperation for starters. I believe that, under the assumption that one of Colon or Hughes comes back, Cashman will not look at short term incremental improvements for starters. Instead, he will pretty much go with what we have or he will do something of the major blockbuster variety that would improve the starting pitching now and in the future, like he tried to do with the Lee / Montero deal.

  5. Larry

    To win the Series, you often need either 2 great starters (Johnson, Schilling for AZ) or 3 very good starters (CC, AJ & Andy in 2009). The Yankees will need 2 of their 5 non-CC starters to be consistently very good in the 2nd half of the season.

    As for the bullpen…well, despite an early clumping of blown saves from Mo and the Monday night 9th inning SOS that needed Mo, the Yankees bullpen actually has the lowest AL bullpen ERA (2.88) and the 2nd lowest BA against (.231). So despite the trailing off question at the end of the article, the results so far this season have been very good…even if we have to check news updates daily to find out who is in the bullpen today.

  6. Zipper

    The Yankees' need for a starter is more of a trust issue than a bad rotation issue. Yeah, the statistics are good, but we can't really trust Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia for an entire year and in the post season, can we? Coming into the season, everything that New York was going to get from those guys was basically a bonus. Colon's already living up to his reputation being on the DL, and like the article said, Garcia and Colon are prone to getting hit around every once in awhile.

    If Hughes can come back and be his 1st half self from last year, then the Yankees are probably set. I do feel good about the team because they've been playing well through the injuries, but it can't hurt to add another starter at the right price if it's a proven guy or especially an ace.

  7. forcomiver

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