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New York Yankees Land Pitchers Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda - What It Means for the Yankees' Starting Rotation Going Forward

By Beardandstache @BeardAndStache

New York Yankees Land Pitchers Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda - What it Means for the Yankees' Starting Rotation Going Forward


- Adam Parker
The New York Yankees solved their lingering questions surrounding their starting rotation and shattered their silent winter in just one night, with the acquisition of electric right-hander Michael Pineda from the Seattle Mariners and signing veteran right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $10 million deal.
During the first two and a half months of the 2011-12 offseason, the Yankees remained uncharacteristically quiet. Talk about a paradox - the historically big-spending Yankees and the penny-pinching Marlins had swapped places. The Bronx Bombers were quietly trying to lower their $189 million payroll, while the usually quiet Marlins moved to Miami and became, well, the Yankees.
But let's be honest with ourselves. Did we really think the Yankees would remain stagnant throughout an entire offseason?
Until Friday night, the highlight of the Yanks' offseason was locking up ace CC Sabathia, an important move for sure, but an underwhelming one considering the Yankees' offseason spending habits.
With this move, the Bronx Bombers were finally able to answer the most pressing question that all the Yankees' fans (like myself) have been clamoring to have answered -- We have our ace in Sabathia. Now, who do we throw out on the mound when CC doesn't pitch?
Well, problem solved.
In fact, the Yankees no longer have to worry about who will go behind Sabathia and instead have the 'problem' of more depth in the starting rotation than they know what to do with.
They have a true ace in CC. They have a future ace in Pineda. They have the under-appreciated Kuroda, whose 2.85 road era tells us his numbers weren't just a byproduct of hurling in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium.
As we wind down, let's take a final look at who we here at Beard and Stache project as the starting rotation for the Yankees in 2012.
#1 - CC Sabathia. I mean, was there really any doubt? This guy has been as dependable and dominant a workhorse ace as they come.
#2 - Michael Pineda. Pineda, who turns 23 next week, could be skipper Joe Girardi's natural choice to slide into the No. 2 slot behind Sabathia, giving the Yankees an impressive one-two punch to compete in the American League East. Pineda was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA in 28 starts pitching for a offensively-challenged Mariners squad last season.
#3 - Hiroki Kuroda. Girardi could consider the veteran righty for this or the fourth slot in the rotation. Kuroda, who turns 37 in February, was 13-16 in 32 starts for the Dodgers last year. We like Kuroda as the No. 3 man.
#4 - Ivan Nova. This is where things get interesting for the Yankees and where the pitching coach and manager will really earn their money for their personnel decisions. Nova won 16 games in his rookie campaign, but the young right-hander was rattled in the middle of the season. He showed improve confidence on the mound in his last few starts, but moving him here takes some pressure off the young arm.
#5 - To be determined. Unless the Yankees trade A.J. Burnett, Freddy Garcia, or Phil Hughes to potentially bring in a bat to fill the designated hitter role, these three will be slugging it out for the final spot in the rotation throughout Spring Training. They all have their pros and cons, and I personally like Freddy Garcia here because of the stability he would bring to the bottom of the rotation.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has long believed that pitching is the key to the kingdom, so now we ask you - If you were making the decisions for the Yankees, who would be your starting five?
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