By Drew Kilman
The Yankees failed to make any big offseason moves this year, and probably the biggest bust was letting Cliff Lee slip away to the Phillies. The Yanks’ pitching killed them down the stretch and in the playoffs last year, and they tried to make sure that wouldn’t happen again by attempting to sign Cliff Lee. This was to no avail, and now there is a question that looms over the Yankee organization: Which pitcher will step it up for the Yankees this year?
Surely the Bombers cannot win another World Series without four strong starters. Beyond C.C. Sabathia, who has been solid as a rock as the Yankee’s ace, here are the candidates who can make a big difference for the Yankees this year:
Andy Pettite (11-3, 3.28 ERA)— who has yet to come out with a formal retirement, could have a significant impact in 2011. Without him, the Yankees will look to add a veteran prescence like Chris Young or Jeff Francis. Pettite is a great pitcher who could have had a great year last year if not plagued by injuries. Will he continue to pitch well or is he too old and injury prone?
A.J. Burnett (10-15, 5.26 ERA)— very strong some of the time, sporadic most of the time. He needs to work on both his mental and physical game to retain his status as an elite pitcher.
Phil Hughes (18-8, 4.19 ERA)— this young gunner came up huge last year, but needs to work on his performances against winning teams and other teams in the divison, who battered him.
I’m also excited to see some youngsters make some appearances in the bullpen, such as the 6’10” Andrew Brackman and the 6’8” Dellin Betances. The Yanks need to improve in all aspects of pitching, and both the veterans and the rookies need to step up their game if the Yankees want to play postseason ball.