Blog Entry

Yankees upgrade rotation in one night

Posted on: January 13, 2012 10:30 pm

By C. Trent Rosecrans

In one night the Yankees' rotation has gone from weakness to strength, adding right-handed starters Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda.

While it remains to be seen exactly how the Yankees' rotation shakes up behind CC Sabathia, it's ultimately better after Friday night's moves as Kuroda and Pineda join the rotation in the Bronx. No matter what whether it's Kuroda-Pineda or Pineda-Kuroda, it's better than the Ivan Nova-A.J. Burnett combo penciled in behind Sabathia at about 7 p.m. on Friday.

Yankees' big night

Sabathia's an ace, that's for sure, and Nova's a good, young pitcher. But Pineda's a potential ace and Kuroda is a steady starter that will certainly benefit from having the Yankees' offense in his corner.

Nova, 25, started the season in Triple-A, but established himself as one of the team's most consistent starters and should be a shoo-in to stay in the rotation. However, if he has a horrible spring training, there's a chance he could be lumped in with the competition for the fifth spot along with Burnett, Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes. The Yankees have let it be known they're willing to deal Burnett, eating a large chunk of the $33 million still owed him, but it still seems unlikely they'd find a taker. Garcia, like fellow long-shot Bartolo Colon, exceeded expectations in 2011 and the team brought him back on a one-year deal.

The team could boast five starters with at least nine wins (an average of 13.8) and an ERA under 4.00 in 2011. A total of five of their choices had at least 10 wins and four had at least 160 strikeouts, while three had as many as 190 innings pitched last season.

Here's a look at the team's improved rotation for next season with 2011 stats:

CC Sabathia: 19-8, 3.00 ERA, 237 1/3 IP, 230 K, 61 BB, 3.02 xFIP, 7.1 WAR (FanGraphs)
Hiroki Kuroda: 13-16, 3.07 ERA, 202 IP, 161 K, 49 BB, 3.56 xFIP, 2.4 WAR (FanGraphs)
Michael Pineda: 9-10, 3.74 ERA, 171 IP, 173 K, 55 BB, 3.53 xFIP, 3.4 WAR (FanGraphs)
Ivan Nova: 16-4, 3.70 ERA, 165 1/3 IP, 98 K, 57 BB, 4.16 xFIP, 1.5 WAR (FanGraphs)
Freddy Garcia: 12-8, 3.62 ERA, 146 2/3 IP, 96 K, 45 BB, 4.36 xFIP, 2.2 WAR (FanGraphs)
A.J. Burnett: 11-11, 5.15 ERA, 190 1/3 IP, 173 K, 83 BB, 3.86 xFIP, 1.5 WAR (FanGraphs)
Phil Hughes: 5-5, 5.79 ERA, 74 2/3 IP, 47 K, 27 BB, 490 xFIP, 0.7 WAR (FanGraphs)

While Hughes is most likely headed to the bullpen (or onto the trade block), it would be interesting if the Yankees decided to move Burnett there as well. With his fastball and high strikeout rate, he could be effective out of the pen. Opponents hit just .228/.302/.394 against Burnett in their first plate appearance against Burnett in 2011, .263/.332/.474 the second time through and .301/.392/.549 the third time through the lineup. If the team can't get rid of Burnett, they should at least find a place where he can succeed, and now without a glaring need in the rotation, now could be the time to experiment.

If Garcia or Hughes don't work out, it could be time the Yankees give either lefty Manny Banuelos or right-hander Dellin Betances get a shot at the big leagues. But that's now a luxury the Yankees have, not a necessity.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Since: Dec 6, 2010
Posted on: January 14, 2012 10:25 am

Yankees upgrade rotation in one night

Wow! Another fantastic job by Cashman, landing 2 solid pitchers, one of them an absolute stud in Pineda! This kid is a monster on the mound and throws gas! The Redsox fan who claims the Yanks are in serious trouble is just trolling, looking for a response even though many people who posted, who are not Yankee fans, agree this was an incredible move. Yes, Pineda struggled down the stretch but remember, the kid was a raw, 22 year old and was on a pitch count the second half of the season. Would take either of these two over Roy Oswalt any day of the week! Unfortunate that we did not get to see Montero play a full season but he would have been our DH and Andru Jones will be a better fit as he has been in the game, as well as pressure situations, many times in his career. Montero is unproven. Great move Cash!!!

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: January 14, 2012 9:53 am

Yankees upgrade rotation in one night

I may not like the Yankees, but I have got to respect them.  These are two outstanding, OUTSTANDING moves.  Wow, I do expect them to contend and to win the World Series next season.  Just brilliant. Montero may not grow into a star.  Kuroda is great and Pineda is a stud, stud.  Pineda will pitch great for them and they can do something with Burnett like middle relief or something.  Nice job, Yankees, nice!

Since: Dec 15, 2010
Posted on: January 14, 2012 7:41 am

Yankees upgrade rotation in one night

hey Biscoff, maybe you should talk to the Indians ownership about acquiring this stud. He aint good enuff for us

Since: Nov 18, 2007
Posted on: January 14, 2012 6:52 am

Yankees upgrade rotation in one night

Another long year for the Birds...
birds- Is Duquette in hibernation?

Since: Jan 7, 2007
Posted on: January 14, 2012 6:25 am

Yankees upgrade rotation in one night

This is a very good move for Yanks. Kuroda is a very steady pitcher that sneaks up on you, he eats innings and keeps team in game. With Yanks Offense he could easily be a 16-18 game winner. He reminds me of Jamie Moyer of 10 years ago. He competes and finds a way. 10 million well spent. Pineda is more of a question mark. The first half of last year he was one of luckiest pitchers in MLB. Nearly every Pundit predicted his downfall eventually as season wore on. He had one of the lowest avg against with balls hit in fair territory to start the season. The those balls started to find the wholes in the infiels and the gaps in the outfield. He has great control and a lot of time to learn, and I believe he is under Yankee controll for 4-5 more seasons where his salary will be low. I saw a lot of Sabbathia in him when Sabbathia first started. Obviously a good thing. As far as Montero, the Yanks are dealing from a strength in a shallow pool. They have 2 more high prospects in minors. Of the 3 prospects(Montero included here), they gave up the polished hitter that can't handle pitchers, while they still got 2 more blue chips in minors. Both of whom can handle the job behind the plate. The Yanks had to trade at least 1 of these 3, and I believe the dealt the right one.

Great Moves by a pitcher hungry Yankees team. They were like a cobra without its fangs, you see them and their lineup and just want to get away, but when forced to confront them you see they aren't as dangerous as thought. Now they got their fangs back. Watch out.

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: January 14, 2012 5:40 am

Yankees upgrade rotation in one night

they are both good signings. not sure why more teams weren't interested in Kuroda...especially my O's. I think good pitching is much harder to find than a DH Pineda is so young. Another long year for the Birds...

Since: Sep 21, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 3:51 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jan 25, 2009
Posted on: January 14, 2012 12:37 am

Yankees upgrade rotation in one night

I have to be honest, I've long thought the Yankee's were a dynasty past their prime.  But this offseason has been really interesting.  Frugally avoiding the luxury cap (and the lure of nightmare contracts to Fielder/Pujols/Buehrle/CJ Wilson) the Yankees have suddenly produced a durable rotation, without spending 100 million dollars.  Pineda has one of the highest ceilings in baseball.. and Kuroda played for one of the worst offenses in all of baseball--he's a much better pitcher than his win/losses would indicate.  He's a solid middle of the rotation guy.    While the Red Sox continue to spiral into chaos (Bobby Valentine does not = stability folks) the Yankees make a high risk/high reward deal and find themselves as the frontrunners again in the AL East.

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: January 14, 2012 12:05 am

Yankees upgrade rotation in one night

What, Carl Pavano not available?

Since: Sep 30, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2012 11:25 pm

Yankees upgrade rotation in one night

As an Indians fan I must admit I am jealous of the Yankees ability to actually spend money on proven talent (an unheard of concept here in Cleveland unfortunately) but there is no doubt that this makes the Yankees a much better team. Kuroda is a very good and consistent starter and Pineda's ceiling is through the roof, if I had any idea that Pineda was available I would much rather the Indians had made an offer for him as opposed to Ubaldo who hasn't shown any signs of improving thus far. Nice moves Yankees, it no doubt makes you the clear favorite in the AL East if they weren't already.  Congrats again to the Yanks, I hope the Indians have a move or two in them before the offseason is over.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or