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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Brian Morgan Breaks Down The Yankees Off Season Pitching Moves

    Now that Nov. 4 is out of the way, true baseball fans should be looking forward to Nov. 14, when players are eligible to sign with different teams.

    In the 2008 baseball season, the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies were the envy of their respective leagues by reaching the World Series, so the other 28 teams will look into the free agent market to reach the same goal in 2009.

    The New York Yankees fell well short of the World Series since they weren’t even playing in October, so they have major holes to fill.

    Pitching should be on the top of their list. At the end of last season, the Yankees had a debacle of a starting pitcher rotation made up of Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, Sidney Ponson, Carl Pavano, and Alfredo Aceves.

    In 2009, only Chien Ming Wang, and according to Hank Steinbrenner, Joba Chamberlain, are guaranteed to be in the rotation. Mussina and Pettitte are still unknowns, as reports are saying that Mussina may be leaning toward retirement, and Pettite had a rough second half.

    Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy are possible candidates to replace them, but after their performances last season, can the Yankees count on them contributing to the rotation next season?

    So who to go after?

    CC Sabathia is the hot item of this free agent class. He is everything the Yankees need: a durable ace, who can lead a team into the playoffs. And with close to $80 million off the books, the Yankees will have plenty of money to spend, and they can afford the large contract Sabathia will demand. Many, however are worried about how many innings he’s worked over the last few years, and his size — he stands at 6’7″ and over 300 pounds.

    Other starting pitchers the Yankees may look at are A.J. Burnett, Ben Sheets, Derek Lowe, and Ryan Dempster. Burnett and Sheets are injury prone, and Dempster looks as if he is going to return to the Cubs, leaving Lowe as the only option.

    Dempster is a great postseason pitcher, and has had a decent career, but if the Yankees want to make a real improvement, it’s either CC or bust. If the Yankees do land the hefty lefty, and Pettitte does decide to return, like many believe he will, the Yankees will boast a starting rotation that will be able to compete with teams like the L.A. Angels, Tampa Bay Rays, and Boston Red Sox.

    In the bullpen, the Yankees probably won’t make any major changes. The only major free agent I can see them signing is Kyle Farnsworth. It’s obvious he and Joe Girardi have a solid relationship and it would be unsurprising to see him sign with the Yankees for cheap. He was one of the Yankees best relievers before he was traded, and this year’s middle relief free agent class doesn’t have many feasible options.

    Next week Brian will be back to talk about the improvements the Yanks should make to the lineup.

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