Thursday, January 1, 2015

Would a Max Scherzer-led rotation get the Yankees into the playoffs?

Max Scherzer might not be the cheapest option left on the market, but in nobody's mind is he not the most desirable. Because let's be honest with ourselves: signing Scherzer would make the Yankees' rotation elite.
Scherzer would bring a second ace to New York along with Masahiro Tanaka, and turn the high-quality Michael Pineda into a no.3. He'd take some weight off the recovering Ivan Nova, and help cancel out some of CC Sabathia's possible struggles.
So really, why are the Yankees not doing everything they can to acquire him? Sure, he'd cost a lot, but isn't that tolerable when a playoff spot's part of the package?
I'll prove it to you. Signing or not signing Scherzer will decide whether the Yankees are playing in October next season, no matter how much the club's front office says otherwise. Here's why:
1. The WARs of Each Potential Starter: I've always seen WAR as the best way to judge a pitcher, so that's what I'm going to be doing in this post. Scherzer had one of 6.0 last year, Tanaka 3.3, Pineda 2.7, and Nathan Eovaldi 0.2. As for Nova, Sabathia and Chris Capuano, theirs respectively read 3.6, 0.3, and -0.6 in 2013, since none of them started much last season. That being said, let's assume Capuano gets sent to the bullpen if Scherzer's signed, and Eovaldi does when Nova comes back from Tommy John surgery.
That leaves the rotation with Scherzer, Tanaka, Pineda, Sabathia and Nova. Now let's again assume something, that each of those five have the same WARs next year. Nova's is 3.4 wins better than Eovaldi's, and Scherzer's is 6.6 wins better than Capuano's. That's 10 wins more, nicely giving the Yankees approximately 94 (they went 84-78 in 2014) in 2015. And keep in mind, that number being a little lower still wouldn't hurt anything.
2. The Offense Will Likely Be Worse Next Season: I know Jacoby EllsburyCarlos BeltranBrian McCann and others might do better next year, but they also might do worse. Basically, the Yankees can't expect them to improve, convenient as them doing so would be.
So where am I getting the title to this point? Well, Didi Gregorius hit just .226 to Derek Jeter's .256 last season, Rob Refsnyder/Jose Pirela probably won't match Martin Prado's .282, and Alex Rodriguez is no Ichiro. I guess there could be some surprises here, but you obviously can't count on that to carry the team.
What are your thoughts? Is Scherzer the answer, or just a big check?

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)