The New York Yankees‘ starting rotation currently contains three guys who are not under contract for the 2014 season. This is important because two of these guys (Andy Pettitte & Hiroki Kuroda) are more than likely going to call it quits after this season.
The third unsigned pitcher is Phil Hughes, and I wrote an earlier piece about how the Yankees should avoid re-signing Hughes at all costs due to both financial and talent concerns.
If the Yankees lose their 2-3-4 starters in the rotation this off-season, then who will fall in place behind C.C. Sabathia? Well, for the most part, the Yankees are going to go with a youth movement in their rotation, but in baseball, having a veteran 1-2 punch is always a positive.
So the only thing to figure out is who the Yankees should pursue as their No. 2 starter of the future. This winter’s trade market doesn’t have many options but may include David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays. However, with the way Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman has been hoarding prospects in recent years, a trade for Price seems very unlikely. This means the Yankees would most likely have to look to free agency for their veteran starter.
The potential free agent market of the 2013-2014 off-season has a lot of risky starters like Tim Lincecum, Ubaldo Jimenez and Johan Santana, but the diamond in the rough is 30-year-old Matt Garza. The Chicago Cubs‘ ace is currently on the disabled list with a lat injury that has delayed the start of his 2013 season, but he should be back in the next few weeks.
With the Cubs in a rebuilding mode and Garza in the last year of his deal, there is a pretty good chance that he’ll be traded before the July 31 deadline. This is important for the Yankees because if he is traded mid-season, then his new team would not be able to receive draft pick compensation for him if he signs elsewhere when he hits free agency.
So the Yankees would have no issues other than money in the way and with the amount of money they have coming of the books, they should be able to sign Garza even with their plan to keep the team payroll under $189.9 million in 2014.
Garza makes a great deal of sense for the Yankees on the field as well, as he has always been a sub-4.00 ERA pitcher who can definitely be considered an innings-eater. Garza also made his name in baseball while pitching in the AL East for the Rays, and knows the division extremely well.
In fact, Garza never had an ERA over 4.00 while starting at least 30 games in the AL East. Garza has a 3.21 ERA in his career when pitching at Tropicana Field and when you take a look at his stats against the remaining AL East foes, the numbers truly speak for themselves.
|Toronto Blue Jays||13||2.14||0.615|
|Boston Red Sox||18||3.83||0.716|
Garza also excels in the area that Yankee fans care the most about: the postseason. He has a career postseason line of 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA and 29 Ks in only 31 innings of work. It’s worth mentioning that Garza even was named the 2008 ALCS MVP as he led the Rays to their first and only World Series appearance.
So in Garza, the Yankees could potentially acquire a pitcher to give Sabathia excellent support in the rotation at an affordable price. This is the kind of move that could definitely help keep the Bombers as title contenders as they move into the next era of Yankees’ baseball.
Chris Ronca is a New York Yankees writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter; @ChrisRonca.