NEW YORK — New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi believes the franchise’s biggest need this offseason is starting pitching.
With CC Sabathia potentially opting out of his contract, Girardi doesn’t know exactly what he will have when the Yankees go to spring training in February. Besides Sabathia, free agents Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon may not return.
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“The one need we are going to have to address again is our rotation,” Girardi said. “There is no doubt about it. We have two guys who are free agents. We have another guy who can opt out. It is similar to what we had to do for this year. It all starts with CC and then you go from there.”
If Sabathia remains a Yankee, Girardi said he thinks his rotation right now would be rounded out by Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett.
Girardi said that aside from making a deal, the Yankees’ young pitchers, led by Hector Noesi, also could compete for a spot.
“I think the kids could start to challenge,” Girardi said. “I think Noesi is a guy who could start to challenge.”
Noesi was 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA this year for the Yankees. Girardi also mentioned prospects David Phelps, Adam Warren and D.J. Mitchell. The Yankees’ two minor league pitchers with the most potential, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, likely will begin next season in Triple-A.
The Yankees also could go hard after Texas Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson, who is a free agent.