So let's say you're the New York Yankees. You've got to be feeling pretty good right now. The Yankees have the best record in baseball, a 6.5 game lead over the Boston Red Sox, and all but have a ticket punched to the postseason.
But what to make of the 2010 outlook in the starting rotation? There's a lot of uncertainty there.
The top is set in stone, of course, with C.C. Sabathia signed for another six years of his seven-year, $161MM deal. And, like it or not, the mercurial A.J. Burnett has another four seasons left on his five-year, $82MM deal.
Who's next? Well, assuming he returns to longer outings without any problem, Joba Chamberlain should be good to pitch a full season, finally, in 2010. No Joba rules, no pitch counts, just full-out Joba.
That's only three of five pitchers, however.
So what's to be done for slots four and five? Andy Pettitte has been solid this season, with a typical Pettitte season, 178 1/3 innings of a 4.14 ERA. He'll be a free agent in a winter with very little frontline starting pitching. Will the Yankees want to give Pettitte a multi-year deal if necessary? He'll be 38 next June.
For the fifth spot, Sergio Mitre is the answer, but only if the question is, "How do we improve the American League batting average next season?"
Phil Hughes is the most talented option, but he's thrown only 79 1/3 innings this season (98 2/3 including the minor leagues), and no more than 146 in a season (and that was in 2006).
So how should they fill out the rotation in The Bronx?