When winter meetings started, the New York Yankees had lots of question marks at multiple positions. They needed to fill holes at second base, third base, shortstop and needed to take a long look at their current starting rotation. Last year the Yankees top 5 starters all underperformed. Masahiro Tanaka had a splendid first season, but went to the DL and only started 20 games. CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, and Michael Pineda combined for a total of 25 starts. Sit down, relax, and read that again. 25 combined starts from a guy who was supposed to be your ace, a guy who was supposed to solidify the middle of the rotation, and another one who was traded for and viewed as a possible ace in a year or two. Not a good look for a team that wants to contend for a championship every year.
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Question marks about players’ health have been a big concern for the Yankees over the last three years. Solidifying the rotation was something the Yankees needed to do. Did they make a smart move saving money and not signing any of these free agent starting pitchers, or did the swing and miss on a suitable starter? Lets have a look at four righties and three lefties who have signed the big contracts this off-season.
Right-Handed Starting Pitchers
Ervin Santana: 4 yr. $55 million (5th year club option) with Twins.
Solid back-to-back years with the Royals (2013) and Braves (2014). However he still has control and command issues. Smart pass
Brandon McCarthy: 4 yr. $48 million with Dodgers.
Came to the Yankees and was impressive with a 7-5 record and a 2.89 ERA. Durability issues have always haunted him, and they always haunt the Yankees. Smart pass
Jason Hammel: 2 yrs. $20 million (3rd year club option) with Cubs.
Before being traded to the A’s, he was 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA. Post trade: 2-6 with a 4.26 Era. $10 mill a year? No thanks. Smart pass
A.J. Burnett: 1 yr. 8.5 million with Pirates.
Looked as if he fixed his career from 2012-2013. Last year he was 8-18 with a 4.59 ERA. Should the Yankees have given him $8.5 million to underperform for the Yankees again? Never again. Smart pass
Left-Handed Starting Pitchers
Jon Lester: 6 yrs. $155 million (7th year option) with Cubs
He is a proven stud and has shown he can dominate the AL East. Could he keep up this play on the back-end of the contract (36-38 years old)? Push
Francisco Liriano: 3 yrs. $39 million with Pirates
The NL transition has helped save his career and he has had two straight seasons with a sub-3.40 ERA. On top of that, he demonstrated last year he was capable of pitching against AL teams. Swing and Miss.
Brett Anderson: 1 yr. $10 million ($4million in incentives) with Dodgers
Career 3.73 ERA is nice. 81 starts in six years for a starting pitcher is not nice. Smart Pass