With Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda safely back in pinstripes and Mariano Rivera likely to follow sooner rather than later, a very big chunk of the Yankees’ offseason to-do list has already been checked off. While re-signing familiar faces is never as fun as acquiring new ones, given the Yankees’ present circumstances and the state of the market it’s probably the best thing they could have done for themselves this year, and now the starting rotation looks like a strength of the team heading in to 2013.
It may all seem like things were always in hand now, but as I said in our podcast last night (which you can listen to here, by the way), there were a few too many parallels to the 2010-11 offseason for total comfort. You remember that winter, right? When the Yankees were going to sign Cliff Lee to join Pettitte, C.C. Sabathia, and Phil Hughes to form a killer rotation that would certainly yield a World Series winner? Well as it turned out, Lee and Pettitte were not on the 2011 team, Hughes had an injury plagued season, and things most certainly didn’t go the way we all drew it up (the Yankees did finish with the best record in the A.L., but I digress). A couple of weeks ago, it didn’t take a ton of imagination to envision a scenario in which Pettitte made a surprising retirement announcement for the second time, Kuroda returned to Los Angeles on a two year contract, and the Yankees’ rotation outlook was a very bleak one.
Thankfully, that’s not how things played out this time around. This time, everything did go according to plan, and the Yankees will come into Spring Training with the rotation they wanted to have. That doesn’t guarantee success by any means, Kuroda and Pettitte are both 40 years old (give or take) after all, but the Yankees got their guy(s), and if both can closely approximate their 2012 campaigns, there will be a good chance that the Yankees made the best two pitching moves of the offseason, even if it was just bringing back some familiar faces.