With the Winter Meetings well in the rearview, the new year dead ahead, and pitcher-catcher report dates closer than you might realize, it appears as though the Yankees have made all the major moves they're going to make this offseason. Hiroki Kuroda would have made a lot of sense, but his announcement that he will return to Japan to pitch in 2015 ended the possibility of him being brought back as additional rotation depth. Scott astutely pointed out how that might not be the worst thing in the world earlier this morning, but even without a declining Hirok the need for more starting pitching depth is obvious. If the organizational rotation depth was ranked 1-10, here's how it might look right now: 1) Masahiro Tanaka 2) Michael Pineda 3) CC Sabathia 4) Nathan Eovaldi 5) Chris Capuano
6) Bryan Mitchell (made final start of 2014) 7) Ivan Nova (slated to be back from TJS in May; might not be useful until August if at all) 8) Jose De Paula (made 24 starts between Double-A and Triple-A since 2013) 9) Chase Whitley (pitched to a 4.76/3.81 split in 12 Major League starts in 2014) 10) Manny Banuelos (pitched 76.2 innings over 25 starts in Minors in 2014 coming back from TJS)
That's not very deep at all. There are the omnipresent injury risks at the top of the projected Opening Day rotation, the performance question marks at the back end, and only 1 starter in the next group with any kind of significant MLB track record to speak of.
This breakdown does not include Adam Warren, who was told to prepare to compete for a rotation spot but will most likely end up back in the middle relief role in which he excelled in 2014, or Esmil Rogers, who has been spoken of as a potential starter by Cash but may be more likely to not be on the team at all next year than to be in the rotation at any point. After those guys you drop down into the Double-A rotation for more depth, and that group is even more unproven than the 6-10 group ahead of them.
Any way you cut it, the Yankees need to add another starting pitcher or 2 before the start of next season. It doesn't have to be Max Scherzer, and I would be firmly in the group that prefer it not be, but it needs to be somebody(ies). There's a lot of hoping that has to pan out right for the projected rotation to stay together next year and not a lot of solid backup plans to plug in if/when it falls apart.