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The Yanks Still Have Holes to Fill: Part One

Author: Aaron Marcus

With all almost half a billion dollars worth of moves made by the Yankees this offseason, it’s hard to imagine that they still have voids and question marks in their lineup and pitching staff.  However the pitching horrors that the Yankees had last season may not be forgotten if they can’t fill their number four and five spot in the rotation.

Joba Chamberlain is not a proven starter.  Last season his lack of durability, and quasi-starter role on the Yanks, wasn’t nearly good enough to get them into the postseason.  Given that the Yankees are depending on Chamberlain to be a dominant number four, and future ace of the staff, they need him to perform up to his potential.  By allotting a certain amount of pitchers for the young chamberlain you strain the bullpen and weaken the moral of the team.  If Chamberlain is having a dominant game, but has a set number of pitches, he’ll be pulled from the contest, leaving the rest of the team to question whether or not the incoming pitcher will be able to perform as well as Chamberlain.  If Joba is to stay the number four starter throughout the season, the Yankees need to take the leash off pitch to his fullest potential.

Even if Joba is able to pitch up to his potential, there is still a high risk of injury.  At the current moment the Yankees starting rotation looks as followed; C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnet, Chien Ming-Wang, Joba Chamberlain and either Phil Hughes/Ian Kennedy with still the slim possibility of Andy Pettite.  If Pettite returns I would be a lot more comfortable with the rotation.  But if Pettite decides to not accept the Yankees offer, the unproven Hughes or Kennedy, both disasters last season will be in that five spot. 

Without a prominent number four and five starter, the Yankees will be in the same place they were last season.  Being the Yankees, it’s not far-fetched to expect 60 to 65 wins out of the starting rotation.  But with huge gaps still in the starting rotation, the Yankees will be lucky to get 40 wins out of them.  Let’s not forget that Burnett has been on the DL nine times since 2000, and Wang missed most of last season with injuries as well.  Unless the Yankees make some serious moves before Spring Training, we may be looking at a repeat of 2008.

I know Cashman has been under a lot of scrutiny for spending so much money in such tough economic times.  But the Yanks must spend more in order to secure the Yankees role as the team to beat in the Al East.  They are still almost $20 million under their team total from last year.  Why not at least reach that mark, and satisfy the needs that the team so desperately needs?

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