Seems like you can group the team's pitchers into 4 groups, at the #1 starter, it's fairly close. Let's pretend the Yankees resign Pettitte & then get Millwood. Lester is better on a rate stat basis for sure but Sabathia will give you more innings so maybe that's a push (being generous to MFY fans here). Beckett & Pettitte seem fairly comparable. Buchholz is the best of the next group, but you probably have to expect his HR rate to normalize. Millwood, Burnett, and Dice-K go in the next group, although I'd argue that Millwood has no real ceiling compared to the others. Ultimately, this is all pretty great...if the Yankees lose Pettitte they have a huge hole at the #2 spot in the rotation. They can replace Vazquez; but they are unlikely to have a pitcher with the upside of Dice-K.
I liked your idea here, but I am a big fan of keeping in mind the potential for year-to-year variability among pitchers, both in terms of not overly considering this past year's results, and thinking about potential future performance. Towards that end, I did a 3-2-1 weighted average of this group's xFIPs from 2010, 2009, and 2008. It breaks down into a similar 4-tiered setting this way.
Millwood doesn't help as much here as I thought he would. Perhaps going with the prospects is preferable in this situation. Relative to their 3-year performances, I think it would be safe to assume some potential regression from Beckett, improvement from Hughes, and roughly status quo performances from Lester, Sabathia, Pettitte (maybe fewer IP due to prep time), Lackey, Buchholz, Burnett, and Matsuzaka. As far as upside goes, it was only 2008 when Burnett managed an xFIP of 3.55, just like Hughes and his 3.56 in 2009. I think the Yankees need another Burnett-level performer, but that doesn't look to be Millwood. I still think that counting on both prospects to do that is ill-advised, but it may not be totally unreasonable if they have strong internal evaluations of those particular pitchers.
Edited by JMDurron, 13 January 2011 - 03:31 PM.