Since their World Series championship in 1996, the New York Yankees have easily attracted top free agents to the Big Apple. As a result, the Yankees have found themselves with incredible depth over the past 15 seasons, especially in their starting rotation.
Among some of the Yankees? No. 5 starters in the past ten years were Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, and Chien-Ming Wang -? all potential top-of-the-rotation starters anchoring the back of a rotation.
Entering this season, starting pitcher was a major concern for the Yankees, as Hughes, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett seemed to be their only reliable pitchers. Hughes has since been sent down to Triple-A, and the Yankees have relied on an assortment of rejected veterans (Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon) and rookie pitchers (Ivan Nova, Brian Gordon).
Colon, Nova, and Garcia have exceeded expectations this season. Colon has a 3.10 ERA, Nova is 6-4, and Garcia has already surpassed his innings pitched total from three of the past four seasons. Still, considering age (Colon is 38 and was recently placed on the DL; Garcia is 34), inconsistency, and the resurgence of the rival Boston Red Sox, the Yankees are looking to make an addition to their rotation.
The New York Post suggested two of the Yankees? weekend competitors, Cubs pitchers Carlos Zambrano or Ryan Dempster, even though a Yankee source recently said there was ?zero interest? in the fiery Zambrano.
The Post also notes that the Yankees would prefer lefties and rentals. Of course, considering the Yankees? payroll, it?s not a stretch for them to trade for a player with more than a year remaining on his contract.
Houston Astros pitcher Wandy Rodriguez has been rumored to be one of the top lefty starting pitchers available. Rodriguez is signed through 2013 and would likely take a top prospect to pry him from Houston.
If the Yankees are sincerely looking for a rental, MLBTradeRumors.com made a list of free agent lefties after the 2011 season. Among the top names are Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm and White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle.
The Yankees appeared to be the front-runner to sign Cliff Lee during the off-season and appeared to have a deal in place to trade for Lee last summer. The Yankees may be kicking themselves for not being able to get either of those deals done.