Yankees News: Have the Yankees Gambled On Their Biggest Need?


Entering the off-season, the New York Yankees had several large needs on their roster, most notably starting pitching, and infield talent and depth.  The Yankees have been able to retain Stephen Drew to play second base and Chase Headley to play third base.  They have also acquired Didi Gregorius to play shortstop, and Garrett Jones to back up Mark Teixeira at first base, something that was highly needed last year.  Alex Rodriguez will also be back from suspension, with Brendan Ryan on the roster, and Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela battling it out for roster spots.

Suddenly, the infield no longer has any openings, and while it may lack the top level talent it has had in recent years, it certainly does not lack depth.  Prospect Yoan Moncada could certainly join the infield equation soon, as the Yankees are expected to be willing to spend top dollar on the 19-year old Cuban infielder.

The starting pitching story has been far different though, as the Yankees have only brought in one new face, Nathan Eovaldi.  While the rotation was a pleasant surprise last year, considering that 4 out of the 5 Opening Day starters went down for significant time, the rotation is seriously lacking the depth it had last year.  Also concerning is that of the pitchers who carried the roster last season, several have moved on from the club.  Hiroki Kuroda is back in Japan, Brandon McCarthy received a $48 million deal from the Los Angeles Dodgers (a move I am glad the Yankees did not make), David Phelps was shipped to the Miami Marlins in the Eovaldi deal, and Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers in the Gregorius deal. [recent-category]

The way that the Yankees have been letting starters go, one would think that they have an abundance of major league-caliber pitching talent waiting in the minors, but this simply is not the case.  While Luis Severino is a top pitching prospect, he cannot be relied upon for 2015, and should probably be allowed to develop for another year.  Either the Yankees must have seen something significant in the recovery of their fragile starters (Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, and Ivan Nova) or they are gambling in a big way.  If these four starters are healthy, combined with an improvement from Eovaldi, the Yankees could have the top staff in the AL East, but that is a BIG if.

The Yankees theoretically could still bring in James Shields, but committing top dollar over several years to starting pitching has not been their plan this winter, and it shouldn’t be with so many talented arms slated for free agency next winter.  I rather would’ve seen the Yankees pursue low-risk high-reward contracts, as they are said to be doing with two-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana.  The Yankees would be wise to look into several other pitchers who fit this mold, such as former Atlanta Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy.  If the Yankees remain with their current rotation, Chris Capuano will be the fifth starter until Nova is healthy, with Chase Whitley probably next in line if injury occurs.  While both pitched as good as expected last season, neither really stood out, and really only pitched out of a desperate need.  If that need should arise again, the Yankees really do not have any options.

Next: Are The Yankees Really In On James Shields?

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