10.Justin Duchscherer: Justin missed last season due to elbow troubles and clinical depression. However in 2008 he had sick nasty stuff. Justin is a type B free agent and was offered arbitration fro m the A’s. If he declines it the A’s would receive compensation from him signing elsewhere. He is kinda risky but probably could be had for a smaller salary than most of the free agents.
9. Rich Harden: Another former Athletic that had a rough year with the Cubs. Rich was 9-9 with an ERA of 4.09 but you know what? He is only 28 years old and has had more good years than bad. If healthy he could be one of the bargains out there.
8. Noah Lowry was originally the number eight on my list but after further review I don’t see him being a good fit for the Yankees in any way shape or form. He hasn’t pitched sense 2007 and in the National league. So I am dumping him and replacing him with John Garland. The main thing that comes to mind when you think of John is workhorse. He has had good years and bad years but he is usually good for 200 innings a year and has had 10 or more wins every year sense 2002. certainly not a top of the rotation guy but an upgrade over Gaudin as a number five type guy should the Yankees not use Hughes in the rotation.
Now we start to get into the pitchers that are a little more intriguing and valuable.
7. Joel Pineiro: It wouldn’t be the first time that Pinero was on the Yankees Radar. This nine year veteran brings meaning to the word control pitcher. He led all of baseball in walks per nine innings with a sparkling 1.1. Last season Pineiro pitched 214 innings with an era of 3.49.
6. Aroldis Chapman: Chapman prob would not make the starting rotation out of the gate as his stuff needs a little tweaking. But Lefties that can throw 100 MPH only come around every 25 years or so. Chapman would probably be ready for primetime by mid season and at 22 years old would be a great investment for the future.
5. Ben Sheets: Ben did not pitch in 2009 due to injury but it appears that he has been given a clean bill of health. If he can return to form there aren’t many pitchers with better stuff. A second tier option amongst the top free agents he is being considered a possible consolation prize for whomever loses out on the John Lackey sweepstakes.
4. Edwin Jackson: I cant say enough about this kid. The former Ray now tiger is on the block because the Tigers wont be able to afford him next year and they hope to get an attractive package of young talent for him. At 26 years old Jackson lived up to his potential as a pitcher in his prime. His record of 13-8 with an ERA of 3.62 and 161 k’s speaks for itself.
3. John Lackey: Lackey is the cream of the free agent crop. With a career record of 102-71 Lackey is a beast of a pitcher. On that note he will require a beast of a contract. Some have even mentioned CC Sabathia type money. I don’t think he will get that kind of deal, primarily because I don’t think he will sign with the Yankees and I don’t think anyone else can afford that kind of deal. Except perhaps the Red Sox where I would not be surprised if he eventually landed. The Yankees will of course remain engaged if only to ensure that the price remains high.
2. Josh Johnson : At 25 years old Johnson is brilliant and only made a little more than a million dollars last year. He has the third highest average fastball velocity in baseball at 96.1 . He is 23-6 sense 2008. It was expected that the Marlins would work out a nice long deal for him that would keep him a fish for years to come. However the Marlins refused to give Johnson the fourth year he wants. If the Marlins dont cave and give him the forth year they would be foolish not to trade him for a huge package of young talent. If the Yankees were to pull off a deal like this it would be a painful one as far as the cost. Im guessing the conversation starts with Hughes,Chamberlain and Montero + one or two other prospects. Feel the pain? It would be worth it.
1. Roy Halladay : In my mind the most complete pitcher in the game. At 32 years old Halladay is far from over the hill and worth a five year extension. This 11 year veteran has had a winning record every year sense 2001. With a career record of 148-76 he is the most intimidating pitcher out there. In order for the Yankees to get him away from the Blue Jays it could cost them Hughes,Chamberlain,Jackson,Montero (pick two form this group) Yes its a high price, but winning back to back world series would make it worth it.
8-10 are those rehab last ditch we couldn’t get anyone else kind of guys. What I would really like to see the Yankees do is get Halladay and Chapman . A splash like that would secure a Dynasty for years to come.