New York Yankees Position Breakdown: Starting Pitching

by Gavin Ewbank | Posted on Thursday, October 17th, 2013
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C.C. Sabathia

Well, now that we’ve gone through all of the fielding positions, it’s time to take a look at the New York Yankees‘ potential starting rotation for the 2014 season.

Coming into the season, it was expected that the Yankees would need to rely heavily on their rotation in 2013 in order to succeed — given the injuries suffered in spring training, coupled with the offensive losses over the offseason. Early on, the rotation was giving them everything they pretty much could have hoped for, helping lead the way to the good start they had in April and about halfway through May.

But things quickly began to slip once the offense started shutting down, and the pitching staff wasn’t able to get batters out consistently.

CC Sabathia finished the season with an ERA near five , qualifying for the worst season of his career; Phil Hughes pitched his way out of the Bronx with a terrible contract-year, finishing with a record of 4-14; Hiroki Kuroda was the no-doubt ace of the first four-and-a-half months of the season, but was hit hard with fatigue late, fading off at a time when the Yankees really needed him; and Andy Pettitte ended his career in style, announcing his retirement with just over a week left in the season, and then finished things off with a complete-game shutout in Houston against his hometown Astros. Considering he was the league’s oldest starter, it’s hard to say anything but that he had a pretty decent farewell season.

With Pettitte retire, Hughes no way in hell of coming back, and possibly Kuroda leaving for Japan, or even retiring, the Yankees’ rotation will look a little different that what it was in 2013.

Sabathia will be back with the Yankees next season, they’re banking on him returning to form at the top of the rotation. his velocity dropped off this season, and it’s very unlikely that it will ever come back. If Sabathia can’t find himself next season, he’ll start to make the Yankees regret giving him his long-term deal.

Ivan Nova, too, will be back in 2014 after finding himself for most of the second half. After spending some time in the minors, things seemed to click for Nova, and he finally began showing off his true potential of what could be a good career, should he continue to pitch well next season and beyond. the hope is that he’ll be the number two starter behind Sabathia, but he’ll obviously have to earn that in spring training.

Should Kuroda decide that he wants to play another season in the US, the Yankees would be able to lock him in for 2014 on a one-year deal. Depending how things play out in the spring, Kuroda would start the season as either the Yankees’ No. 2 starter. He pitched great in 2013, and his late-season breakdown shouldn’t scare the Yanks away from bringing him back for another season.

Unless something changes, I really don’t see many pitchers that will really catch the Yankees’ eye. At the moment, the biggest known target on the radar is Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who will be eligible for posting at the beginning of November. The right-hander has been considered by scouts to be as good as Yu Darvish. Of course, there will be several teams in the bidding for Tanaka. Should the Yankees be the team with the winning bid in posting, Tanaka would be projected as the No. 2 starter in the rotation behind Sabathia.

The rest of the rotation is expected to by filled out by guys such as David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, Michael Pineda and Adam Warren. These four pitchers are going to be competing for two spots in the spring, and hopefully the Yankees can truly find the best two men for the job.

Follow @GavinEwbank2013 on Twitter for Yankees coverage.

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Gavin Ewbank
About the Author

Living in always-too-hot Florida, Gavin an MLB Columnist for BHC. Apart from that, he occasionally covers high school sports for the Palm Coast Observer. You can follow Gavin on Twitter @GavinEwbank.

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