It is believed that the New York Yankees and free agent pitcher A.J. Burnett have reached a preliminary deal of 5 years, $82.5 million. Burnett went 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA with Toronto. Just days after the Yankees signed southpaw C.C. Sabathia, they land another dominant pitcher. So with the two newcomers, how good does this make the Yankees?
It's impossible to say for sure what this staff's numbers are going to look like in 2009, but this is how I see it playing out.
C.C. Sabathia- 19-6, 2.90 ERA. Sabathia showed that he is the most dominant pitcher in the league last year and should continue to put up great numbers with the best offense he is ever going to have.
A.J. Burnett- 18-9, 3.50 ERA. A little better than his numbers last season, I feel like Burnett has the stuff to produce these types of numbers. Along with his usual 200 plus strikeouts, I expect him to be a good fit for the rotation. The only knock on him is his health. Burnett has only pitched 200 plus innings 3 times in his career. If this flamethrower can stay healthy, I don't see why he can't put up better numbers than last season.
Chien-Ming Wang- 20-8, 3.20 ERA. I believe Wang could have a Cy Young type year. Wang is an innings eater and has a quiet demeanor and stays low key, but from 2006-2008, nobody has more wins than him. He was a solid ace before Sabthia and Burnett came to town, and I can see him getting better with these guys around.
Andy Pettitte- 15-11, 3.90 ERA. Pettitte is aging and didn't have his best year in 2008. Right now it is unsure if he will come back because the Yankees are asking him to take a $6 million paycut, but many insiders expect Pettitte to return. Pettitte has always been a great second half pitcher and I believe he will be a great #4 starter.
Joba Chamberlain- 15-8, 3.30 ERA. If Joba does end up in the starting rotation next year, he will be an awesome #5 starter. When Joba had a starting job last year, he had a great ERA and his strikeouts were impressive. His only knock last year was his low amount of innings pitched, but I feel if they groom him to be a starter out of spring training, that he will be ready to improve his innings pitched.
These are just my predictions. I don't think the Yankees are done adding free agents just yet. I wouldn't be surprised if they went after Derek Lowe if Andy Pettitte decided not to come back. I also think that sometime during this winter, they will add a big bat into their lineup. They have already been trying to acquire Mike Cameron from the Brewers for Melky Cabrera. Cameron provides more power than Cabrera and is just as good defensively. This would be a solid pickup until emerging star OF Austin Jackson is ready to get called up to the big leagues. The Yankees are on their way to putting together a great team and have taken care of their starting pitching, something that they have been lacking for a while.