Spin forward: Market set, now what?
Yanks grab two prize pitchers, may have unfinished business
The seemingly inevitable has happened. Both CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett are bringing their initials to the Bronx, just like everyone said they would.Perhaps, just perhaps, some other teams can get a deal in edgewise for a starter now. One problem: The Yankees still have a rotation spot to fill, with the two golden newbies joining Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain and starter TBD. So, in a sense, the baseball world still waits for the inevitable next move. Will it be Andy Pettitte and we'll all be free of this siege on the starters market? Or will the Yankees really make a multiyear run at Derek Lowe? Or a one-year run at Ben Sheets? Whatever they do next, these two signings change the market for starters by lopping it off at the top. And they change the AL East drastically -- at least until it is changed drastically again. Do the Red Sox counter with power, closing the deal on switch-hitting slugger Mark Teixeira? He could take on CC one day from the right side, A.J. the next from the left and be a superstar the other 160, too. Or do the Orioles pull that one off themselves with the hometown boy and make a bold move in the most competitive division in the Majors? The Blue Jays get the double whammy and will have to watch A.J. take off from here while they backfill behind Roy Halladay. The Rays, well, they're used to not being involved in all this anyhow and they should be pretty happy with their club. They all have a more formidable Yankees rotation to face, that much is clear. At least there should be more of an open season for starters going forward and other teams can get in on the action.
For one thing, Pettitte would seem to make the most sense for the Yankees, so that question should be answered soon -- the last time Brian Cashman flew to see a guy about a contract, it worked out, at least. Some reports out of the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas indicated the Yankees wouldn't take both Burnett and Lowe, and Sheets has other suitors more inclined to go more years -- most prominently, the Rangers.There remain a lot of starters on the market, including younger guys with long resumes like Brad Penny, Jon Garland and Oliver Perez, and older ones with much longer resumes like Randy Johnson and John Smoltz. You can get a Randy Wolf or a Carl Pavano, too. Lowe is kind of the wild card right now. Being third in line among free-agent starters, he can't be unhappy with the numbers being posted so far. But if it's not the Yankees and it's not the Dodgers, and the Phillies really aren't as interested as people first thought this week ... who?
The Brewers are looking at losing not only Sabathia but also Sheets, though a Lowe pursuit didn't sound promising in Las Vegas. How about the Braves? Probably not. They still need a starter, with Tim Hudson out until at least August, but with Javier Vazquez in and the big prize out, they're probably aiming lower now.But perhaps now the Braves can be re-engaged in talks regarding Padres ace Jake Peavy, who hails from Alabama and at one point about a month ago was reported to be headed there. But the Braves are said to have taken shortstop Yunel Escobar off the table, so it will have to be a different conversation if the Padres call again. Even if the Braves don't go after Peavy, there's a sense the market might expand on him after the drama surrounding the Cubs trade talks, so keep another ace on the list. Just look at him as a 27-year-old Cy Young Award winner who can be had for $63 million over four years, along with a few players to be sent to the Padres. The Angels seem to be looking at that. And, you know, the Yankees inquired about Peavy again as recently as this week ...
John Schlegel is an executive editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.