Read the opposing argument from Bleacher Fan.
It’s no secret that the New York Yankees are going to attempt to make a big splash after failing to even make the World Series in 2010. Obvious weaknesses were shown on this season’s team and that’s why they made a big push in July to acquire pitcher Cliff Lee. They knew back then holes existed in the pitching rotation. Those holes didn’t go anywhere in the closing months of the regular season. Facing Lee in the ALCS against the Rangers was a painful reminder of what could have been for the 2010 Yankees. The Yankees saw firsthand how dominant Lee could be, and with problems still remaining in the starting rotation, I believe signing Cliff Lee should be a higher priority than signing Carl Crawford.
The Yankees have one of the top pitchers in baseball in C.C. Sabathia, who happens to be a former teammate of Lee’s from their days in Cleveland. Sabathia very well could be named the American League Cy Young winner later this month. But that’s where the stability ends in the Yankee rotation.
On the surface, it looks like the number two spot in the rotation is nailed down with Phil Hughes. After all, Hughes did win 18 games this past season. But he struggled somewhat in the second half of the season and after the All-Star break was just 7-6 with an ERA of 4.90. In the post-season he totally blew up with an ERA of 6.32, and he took two losses in the ALCS loss to the Rangers. Andy Pettitte, a stalwart of all of these dominant Yankees teams, has finally (maybe) let that retirement age catch up to him. He’s entering the off-season unsure of whether or not he will be pitching next year (haven’t we heard this before with him? Haven’t we heard this before in another sport?). And A.J. Burnett? My goodness, where do we begin? His two years since signing that ridiculous contract have been a huge disappointment to say the least, especially this season. A 10-15 record with an ERA of 5.26 will get you skipped over in the rotation in the first round of the playoffs every time, and that’s what happened to Mr. Burnett. In his one start in the ALCS, he took the loss by giving up five runs in six innings, though I admittedly thought his line looked worse than he actually pitched. Still, this is unacceptable for what he is getting paid. And Javier Vazquez? Does the word “bust” come to mind? The bottom line is that this rotation desperately needs Cliff Lee.
What all of Major League Baseball saw this post-season was the domination by the San Francisco Giants and their starting rotation. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner gave everyone a blueprint to follow on how to win a championship. By combining Lee with Sabathia, general manager Brian Cashman knows he would have two front line starters that would make the Yankees extremely difficult to beat in a short series, regardless of what the rest of his rotation looks like. As Cashman said after being eliminated by the Rangers, “It’s always pitching. Pitching is the key to the kingdom, which is why you try to collect as much of it as you can.”
Cashman obviously agrees with me because apparently the Yankees have apparently already contacted Lee’s agent. They need Lee much more than they need Carl Crawford. Pitching wins championships. The Giants just proved that, and that’s where the Yankees want to be.