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The inexact science of an unfinished product

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[2]At this point, you have to wonder if the have all of the rotation options they’re going to have when camp opens in two weeks. Last week, Brian Cashman left now doubt that he’s still in the hunt — “I need starting pitching,” he said on Wednesday. “That’s what I need.” — but the trade market is surely established by now, and the free agent market is only getting thinner.

Late last night, Justin Duchscherer came off the board, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Orioles. [3]

According to MLB Trade Rumors’ free agent tracker, [4] these are the remaining free agent starters: Jeremy Bonderman, Doug Davis, Freddy Garcia, Rodrigo Lopez, John Maine, Pedro Martinez, Kevin Millwood, Jamie Moyer, Andy Pettitte and Jarrod Washburn.

Ten names, and of those 10, Moyer is out for the season, Washburn might be finished and Martinez hasn’t pitched more than 109 innings the past three years. We all know the Pettitte situation.

Nothing stands out from the past month that might have changed the trade market (making a previously unavailable starter suddenly available). If anything, the market has thinned with Wandy Rodriguez signing a three-year deal with Houston and the Cubs trading away one of their excess starters — Tom Gorzelanny — in a deal with the Nationals.

Cashman says quite often that a team doesn’t have to be built in the offseason. There a few small moves to be made at the end of spring training (it’s not out of the question that a back-of-the-rotation starter could be available at that point) and teams reevaluate themselves in early June or early July (that’s when Cliff Lee was traded last season). The trade deadline, obviously, brings a  ton of movement.

For now, though, the Yankees can hope for a Pettitte return, they can add one of those remaining free agents, and they can keep looking for a worthwhile trade opportunity.

Or they can go into spring training with what they have. They can give A.J. Burnett a chance to rebound, give Ivan Nova a chance to establish himself and give Bartolo Colon a chance to re-establish himself. If that plan doesn’t work, they can try to reload.

It’s hard to imagine the market on May 31 being much worse than it is on January 31.

Associated Press photo