Over at ESPN.com, Buster Olney has posted his picks for the top 10 rotations in baseball. It’s Insider-only content, so I won’t post the entire list, but it predictably begins with Philadelphia and San Francisco in the top two spots, and it predictably does not include the Yankees.
My question is this: How close are the Yankees to making the list?
Technically, Olney listed 11 rotations, with the Dodgers and White Sox tied for 10th place.
Those two have young No. 1 starters in Clayton Kershaw and John Danks, but right now I’d take CC Sabathia over either of them. Phil Hughes matches up fairly well with Chad Billingsley and Gavin Floyd — you might have a preference, but they’re in the same league — and depending on which version of A.J. Burnett shows up next season, he could matchup with Ted Lilly and Mark Buehrle.* The big difference comes at the back of the rotation, where the Yankees are currently featuring Ivan Nova and that 19-year-old kid from Hank’s Yanks (kidding, but you get the point).
My question is, what could the Yankees do to put themselves in the top 10?
Is Andy Pettitte enough to at least matchup with those two rotations? I’d say no, largely because I still don’t know what Burnett is bringing to the table. Would they become significantly better by adding Pettitte and also plugging a veteran (Kevin Millwood for example) into the No. 5 spot? What if they got Pettitte to come back and also traded for a Fausto Carmona-type? Would that put them comfortably into the top 10?
The Yankees clearly don’t have a top 10 rotation right now, but is it possible to build one before Opening Day?
* Granted, comparing Burnett to Lilly and Buehrle is kind of absurd. Burnett’s value comes in his raw talent and ability to be a dominant pitcher on any given night. Lilly and Buehrle’s value comes in their reliability. In a lot of ways, they’re the anti-Burnett.
Associated Press photo of Hughes