Andy Pettitte appears to be content to stay home in 2011, which may be the right move for him and his family, but it hurts the New York Yankees. And it hurts Pettitte's chances of earning a Hall of Fame nod. Another good year could have put him close enough to get consideration. But in either case, he just doesn't seem to be inclined to return. There are two big thoughts concerning Pettitte's decision: First, the Yankees have enough pitching prospects to round out the rotation. Secondly, the Yankees just won't do that. Thus, signing Chris Capuano AND Jeff Francis would be good moves.
The Yankees are in do or die mode every season. That mentality does not allow them to enjoy the risk of having two unproven pitchers in the rotation. With that in mind, Capuano and Francis make sense. Both pitchers are left-handed. Both should come fairly cheaply needing to prove they can be viable pitchers again after myriads of injury and adding both gives you the hope that one will work out and pitch close to Pettitte's numbers. If both worked out, then all the better.
The left-handed part is important because the Red Sox have an over dominance of left-handed batters. Both Crawford and Gonzalez bat from the left side and no matter how the Red Sox slice their line up, you will have Crawford, Gonzalez and Ortiz bunched in the middle. With Sabathia, the Yankees could then throw three lefties at them in a row if they chose to do so.
Capuano was a nice story last year. His velocity was back and he had a very nice K/9 and K/BB ratio stats. He is, of course, an injury risk, but in reality, so is every pitcher. Jeff Francis is a good example. He didn't miss a start for three straight years and then couldn't make them all the last two.
And Jeff Francis was much better than his 5.00 ERA indicated last year. First, he pitched in Colorado. Second, His BABIP was high (.322) and his K/BB ratio was 2.97. For the kicker in this argument, consider Francis' FIP and xFIP which came in at 3.88 and 3.94 respectively. That's over a run better than his actual ERA. Again, the big question for Francis is whether he can stay healthy. But an incentive-laden contract can be just the ticket for both of these pitchers. with a second year option that is worth fighting for.
This Fan was happy the Yankees didn't get Cliff Lee. Let the Phillies and the Red Sox take over some of that "buying the pennant" talk for a while. The Yankees have very strong pitching in the minors and it's time to start mining some of that talent. But having Francis and/or Capuano in the mix would be a nice luxury to have. This writer doesn't perceive the Yankees to be in as rough shape as other writers seem to indicate. Jeter should be better, A-Rod should be fine, Teixeira really had an off season last year and should be better and Cano is a blossoming superstar. Francis and Capuano simply add some leavening to the mix.
***UPDATE*** The Mets signed Capuano. So much for that...