The Yankees appear to pretty much be done adding any more new players this offseason, but the rotation still has me a little worried beyond just the #5 starter. Let’s take a look at the rotation to see just where my worries come from.
#1 CC Sabathia- A true ace, one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball no can really deny this. But in the past 2 years he has pitched roughly a total of 500 innings. For those who don't know that’s a ton. On average aces will pitch about 220 innings per year. Now I'm not saying he is going to get injured, if anyone has the body to be able to withstand the stress of pitching that many innings it’s CC. But I do think we will see about 40 less innings out of him this year
#2 Chien Ming Wang- Obviously a very solid pitcher who should put up another 200 innings this coming year. All he has to do is avoid any more freak injuries and avoid running the base baths at all costs.
#3 A.J. Burnett- This is where my worries start, in the past 5 years AJ has only managed to pitch over 200 innings twice. No one can argue that the guy has some of the better stuff in the league, but I'm still not convinced he has gotten over the injury bug which he has displayed throughout his career.
#4 Joba- Joba has shown he has the stuff and the mentality of an ace, but also appears to be plagued by the injury bug. In college he suffered from triceps tendinitis and this past year suffered from rotator tendinitis. I don't think we can expect to see anymore than 150 innings out of him and that’s being optimistic in my opinion.
#5 Phil Hughes- As of right now it looks like Phil Hughes will be the #5 starter for the Yankees in the 09 season. Even though he had a poor 08 season brought to a close early by injury, after a strong showing in the Arizona fall league I still think he will be able to have a solid 09. Like Joba though I can't see him pitching anymore than 150 innings.
#6 Aveces,Ian Kennedy, Dan giese, Phil Coke, etc- After the mess that was the Yankees rotation last year I don't think we can rely on any of these guys to even be serviceable starters (no Ian Kennedy even if you believe you did not pitch that badly last year it doesn’t make it come true. ERA's of 8.17 are actually quite awful).
So the starting five in my opinion project to total about 900 innings in total, which is a perfectly good number. But let’s say AJ Burnett and Phil Hughes gets injured then what? Can the Yankees really afford Sidney Ponson type production from the 4th and 5th spot in the rotation again? I personally don't think the Yankees can even with their improved lineup from last year. For this reason I believe it’s imperative that the Yankees go out and sign one more pitcher to give the Yankees the depth they need. Now this pitcher doesn’t have to break the bank or even put up above league average numbers.