If you are new to the blog we have been evaluating the Yanks, Sox and Rays position by position and giving out grades. We started this back on the Yankeesguy blog with Catchers and are nearing the end where we will give summations and final grades and predictions. Without further rambling lets look at number four starters. Lets keep in mind that the positioning of the pitchers is purely my opinion on where I feel they fit in their respective rotations. For the Rays Andy Sonnanstine had a good season in 2008. Not a great season but a good one. He went 13-9 with an era of  4.38. He just gives up to many hits and to many homers. In 32 starts he pitched 191 innings and gave up 212 hits and 21 HR.  To his credit he only gave up 37 walks, in 191 innings that is terrific. He doesn’t go really deep into games and is not going to be a high strikeout guy. Hopefully he will continue to put up double digit wins. At 25 he seems like a guy that most would like to have as a number four starter.  B-    For the Yankees after much negotiation Andy Pettitte returns on what will most likely be the last one year deal of his great career. Now Ill be honest with you I was one of the ones who thought bringing back Pettitte was a bad Idea. But for the price he was the best deal out there. What Andy is going to give you is double digit wins and era around 4.00 (maybe a little higher) and 300 plus innings. That is what his biggest plus is at this stage in his career. He obviously isn’t a top of the rotation guy any more but his clubhouse presance and four world series rings are almost mandatory if the Yankees are going to make a run at a world series title.   Grade   B.

For the Red Sox it gets a bit more confusing than for the others. With the acquisition of John Smoltz he seems like the logical choice for a number four starter. However he is not without risk at 41 years old he is coming off Labrum surgury. Now I know a thing or two about Labrum surgery I have had it twice. Now I’m not a professional athlete but I cant even throw a ball in the back yard for my dog. It is predicted that he wont be ready to pitch until May or June apparently he was touching 90 mph back in January. I am sceptical as to how effective he will be this season or ever again. But assuming that he makes a full recovery,and that’s a huge assumption he  has been as good as he ever has been over the past few seasons with a career era of 3.26 and usually strikes out close to 200 batters a year. However this year I’m predicting he only pitches about 90 innings with an era around 3.95 if he is lucky.  Grade B-

This brings us to Tim Wakefield.  Wakefield is ageless the 15 year,41  old veteran knuckleballer  has the type of motion that really puts little stress on his arm or body.  Tim is hit or miss. On days that the knuckler is dancing well he can be almost unbeatable and when hes flat its like the taking batting practice. Wakefield does well against teams that don’t have allot of patient veterans at the plate or free swinging teams if you will. The Twins come to mind and so do the Rays. However the Yankees always seem to have his number. Patient veteran hitters like A-rod and Jeter aren’t swinging at allot of bad pitches. Last year Tim was 10-11 with an era of 4.13 and his age is starting to show as he has missed time the last 2 years do to injury. All and all he is probably the best bargain on the squad at 4 million a year as long as he can still make the ball dance the Red Sox will likely give him that opportunity.  Grade C+

We are almost done evaluating the starting rotations we will touch on the bench players briefly before diving into the bullpen. The goal is to wrap this all up before the end of spring training. Next up, number five guys  Chamberlain, Penny,Bucholtz,Price

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