I refuse to believe that the Yankees are going to enter the postseason with a rotation consisting of CC and the Uncertains.
Plain and simple, the Yankees need to acquire a starting pitcher before the non-waiver deadline Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
Their current group behind Sabathia isn’t going to cut it. Their top prospects at Class AA, lefty Manny Banuelos and righty Dellin Betances, aren’t ready. And while the Red Sox have their own rotation questions – where have you gone, Clay Buchholz? – it’s just difficult to imagine the Yankees getting through three postseason rounds with Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Co.
Problem is, the Yankees are in a bit of a bind.
The Rockies likely will not drop the price for right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, seeking at least Betances, right-hander Ivan Nova and catcher Jesus Montero from the Yankees, and probably more.
Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda might be more attainable, assuming he is willing to waive his no-trade clause, a question that has not yet been answered. But Kuroda would not necessarily be an effective counter to the Red Sox’s left-handed thump: Left-handed hitters have a .760 OPS against him this season.
One rival exec says that Erik Bedard, the Mariners’ oft-injured lefty, actually would be a better fit for the Yankees than Kuroda. Both the Yankees and Red Sox are expected to scout Bedard on Friday night when he comes off the disabled list against the Rays. He has not pitched since June 27 due to his latest ailment, a sprained left knee.
Maybe the White Sox suddenly will make lefty John Danks and/or righty Gavin Floyd available; maybe the Astros will try to dump lefty Wandy Rodriguez and the nearly $40 million remaining on his contract for a modest return. But from all appearances, the starting-pitching market isn’t overflowing.
Colon and Garcia have been terrific, mind you, combining to go 16-13 with a 3.26 ERA. Perhaps the Yankees could find each a “breather” if their postseason berth looks secure; they currently lead the Angels for the wild card by five games.
But how much can they trust the Bart-Freddy combo to pitch deep into October? How much can they trust A.J. Burnett? (Uh, I think you know the answer). How about Phil Hughes, whose fastball has been MIA all season?
Banuelos and Betances are tantalizing August options, mind you, but if both are averaging nearly five walks per nine innings at Class AA – and they are – then they are hardly ready to pitch in the American League.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman rarely panics, but his staredown with the Rockies over Jimenez in the hours before the deadline should be fascinating.
Jimenez might be no better than a No. 3 starter in the AL East, Kuroda the same or even a touch worse. But in a rotation consisting of CC and the Uncertains, either would look pretty good.