Help me, Wilson…
Brian Cashman announced that it was 99 percent likely the Yankees would head into the season with the current assortment of starting pitchers. The Yankees already have strong pitchers in Mashairo Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and Michael Pineda. However, the back end of the rotation has some question marks. Luis Cessa, Chad Green, and Luis Severino are some of the top names to earn a spot in the back of the Yankees rotation. However, all of these pitchers had an ERA over 4.00 last season and are very inexperienced. Bringing in an experienced pitcher would help stabilize the Yankees pitching staff and bring a veteran presence that is invaluable in the postseason.
Last season’s rotation was just ugly. Tanaka pitched brilliantly, as his 14 wins and 3.07 ERA were team highs. However, CC Sabathia was the only other starter to have an ERA below 4.00. Pineda, Eovaldi, and Nova each had at least a 4.76 ERA. Eovaldi was released and is still a free agent while Nova signed a three-year deal for $26 million with the Pirates. Bringing back Eovaldi would signify that the Yankees are complacent and satisfied with mediocre performances.
Obviously, the Yankees need to look for an inexpensive pitcher with a history of postseason success to act as a mentor to the younger pitchers. One pitcher that makes sense is C.J. Wilson. Wilson is a two-time All-Star, and throughout his career, he compiled 97 wins and a 3.74 ERA. Despite that Wilson is 36, he remained a solid contributor with a 3.89 ERA over 21 starts last season. His experience and success pitching in the World Series proves he can thrive on the biggest stage and in a market like New York. In the 2011 World Series, Wilson amassed a 2.92 ERA over three games with two starts. His nine strikeouts in the 2011 World Series were the most of any Rangers pitcher. Wilson’s performance in the World Series earned him a massive five-year, $77.5 million contract from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Over his five years pitching for the Angels, Wilson averaged over ten wins per season with an ERA of 3.87. If Wilson could pitch to his averages in his showings with the Angels, the Yankees would be getting an absolute steal.
The Yankees current staff is quite ambiguous. While their total team’s ERA ranked seventh in the American League, and they only ranked that low because of their dreamy bullpen. With guys such as Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, and Sabathia suddenly had a career renaissance, pitching to his lowest ERA since 2012, they did very well. Can the Yankees really count on that again? If Wilson could follow with a repeat performance, it could be the deciding factor that pushes the Yankees into the playoffs and beyond.