While CC Sabathia and Bartolo Colon may rival the legendary tag team of Earthquake and Typhoon, the Yankees starting rotation is actually quite thin. With the free agent pool now empty, the groupthink in Yankeedom is to simply wait for the mid-season trade deadline. We disagree. There is no better time than right now for Brian Cashman and his crew to put on their thinking caps and get a deal for a starter done.

Here’s why.

While acquiring someone in the offseason will certainly be more prospect-expensive than waiting until the trade deadline, making a move now will allow the Yankees to leverage a minor league system coming off a monster year that could quickly see its value erode. We don’t have to go back to far to see just what we’re talking about.

Zach McAllister, the 2009 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year, entered the 2010 season as the Yankees #4 and #5 prospect according to us and Baseball America, respectively. To put this ranking in perspective, he was the Yankees’ top pitching prospect in April; fast forward to August and he’s being announced as the PTBNL in the Austin Kearns trade. McAllister went from being a decent bargaining chip to only worth a half-season of a fourth outfielder in a matter of weeks.

The Yankees have a strong farm system, among the best in the league, but its greatest strength is having a number of projectable back-of-the-rotation arms, all coming off great years (Noesi, Warren, Phelps, Nova). If that doesn’t sound like McAllister to you, you haven’t been listening. That isn’t to say that they’re all going to fall off a cliff like Z-Mac did, but it is intended to portray how volatile their value is. Suffice it to say there’s a reason the phrase “Buy low, sell high” exists.

With a glaring weakness in their starting rotation and the pieces to fix that problem, the Yankees have few reasons, if any, not to make a move ASAP.

*In Part 2 of “Selling High”, we’ll highlight specific trade targets that should be on the Yankees’ hit list.


Lay off the Bartolo signing, he’s starving.