Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ten Yankee Starting Pitcher Targets

Let's face facts: there's no way that the richest team in baseball is going to end the year with a back end of the rotation with Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre, Freddie Garcia or Bartolo Colon. And there are any number of low end MLB- teams with expensive starters that are going to want to dump a salary. So who would be right for the Bronx in a few months?

10) Johan Santana. Big name, big contract, already in town and a proven big-game competitor. Not going to be ready until late June or early July, but with the Mets in financial free-fall, you would have to think they'd be willing to move him with speed.

9) Brett Myers. A reasonable back-end option who had a solid year for Houston in 2010, and with a pretty tolerable contract size ($3.1M). He's still just 30, and used to working in big media markets with bandbox stadiums. Of course, there's that whole domestic abuse issue to try to ignore...

8) Joe Saunders. Not really the big name they'd be hoping for, but the DBacks and Yankees have made deals before, and Saunders $3.7M in 2010 doesn't really fit into the Arizona plans to lose 85 to 90 games this year and not contend. He's actually secretly terrible, but at least it's brand name terrible.

7) Ted Lilly. $13 million in 2010. No, seriously. The one-time Yankee farmhand can come home at age 35 and escape the divorce-tastic morass that is Dodgerland these days. If the Dodgers struggle, they will be selling assets with a vengeance, and you'd have to think that Lilly will be the prime candidate.

6) Aaron Harang. The 32-year-old ex-ace of the Reds is primed for a bounce-back year by going from Cincy to San Diego, but without Adrian Gonzalez, it's all too likely that the Padres will be moving players by mid-year. Two or three good months here could make him look really attractive, even if it's mostly park effect.

5) Barry Zito. Perhaps the most toxic contract in MLB, but don't forget that some of Z's best moments in his MLB career have come against the Yankees. He's also just flaky enough to charm the press, 32 years old, durable and maybe just a change of scenery -- and the chance to be just a cog, rather than a horrible contract -- away from a career renaissance. I think he might actually be good here, and it's obvious that the Giants wouldn't be asking for much.

4) Erik Bedard. Seattle has to be looking for an out after years of injury hell, and he does have a career past of doing good work in the AL East. He's far from a sure thing, but the Yanks can wait a few months and see how he's doing before pulling the trigger.

3) Fausto Carmona. Not really the strikeout artist that works best for the Bronx Bandbox with an older defense, but the Tribe has to know that they don't want to pay Fausto big dollars. He's probably too young at 27 to make this a real possibility, but I can't help but think that the Tribe will be failing to win games, sell tickets, or want to pay anyone.

2) Justin Duchscherer. The Duke is just the perfect kind of short-term asset -- 33 years old, wildly problematic injury history -- that can flip a short-turn asset for the back end of the year. He's battled depression along with the injury history over his career, and might not work out well in the Bronx fishbowl... or he might give them the best months of his life in an attempt to finish things with a ring. I'm rooting for him.

1) Chris Carpenter. Really the most obvious target, since the Cardinals are already looking DOA after the Adam Wainwright injury. CC is a true front-line starter, but he's also expensive ($15.8M in 2010), incredibly injury-prone, and 35 years and ticking. He's also combative and nasty enough to be utterly beloved by Yankee Fan. If he's starting a game against, say, Josh Beckett, there's definitely Brawl Potential.

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