The Yankees own the best record in Major League Baseball, with 54 wins and 34 losses, but starting pitching could be a potential weakness for them heading into the postseason in October.
For the Yankees, starting pitching always begins with ace CC Sabathia, who is 9-3 with a 3.45 earned run average in 15 starts this season. He hasn’t pitched in a month because of a left groin strain but he is expected to return to the rotation this week.
The rest of their starting rotation is solid but nothing special. They have 37-year old Hiroki Kuroda, who is 8-7 with a 3.67 ERA in 18 starts, Ivan Nova, who is 10-4 with a 4.18 ERA in 18 starts, and Phil Hughes, who is 9-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 17 starts.
The Yankees also have veteran Andy Pettitte, who is 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA in nine starts since his return to the game of baseball earlier this season. But he fractured his ankle on a line drive against the Cleveland Indians on June 27th, and his return this season is questionable. And young stud Michael Pineda, who was acquired during the offseason in a trade with the Seattle Mariners, won’t pitch at all this season after suffering a right shoulder anterior labral tear.
Adding Hamels to the rotation would be huge for the Yankees. The 28-year old lefty is 11-4 with a 3.07 ERA in 18 starts this season. He would bring toughness and leadership to the Yankees, and don’t forget about his postseason experience. He’s made 13 starts in the playoffs, winning seven of 11 decisions with a 3.09 earned run average. And he’s been the MVP of the NLCS and the World Series (both in 2008).
If the Yankees did trade for Hamels, they would have to try to re-sign him following the season when he becomes a free agent. Experts are predicting that Hamels could threaten Sabathia’s contract (seven years, $161 million) for the largest in baseball history by a starting pitcher. But no team shells out money like the New York Yankees, who have had the game’s largest payroll for years and years.
However, it has been reported that general manager Brian Cashman is not planning to be as aggressive this season as he has been in the past, thanks to a couple of new rules in baseball’s collective bargaining agreement.
The first says that teams no longer get compensatory draft picks when players leave after being acquired during their final year of free agency. The second is that the Yankees do not want to go over the luxury tax threshold of $189 million, and signing Hamels would probably put them over.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for Eagles Central and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.