If the Yankees don't sign Cliff Lee, their rotation will seem shallow, especially if Andy Pettitte retires. C.C. Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett are viable starters, but it's hard to see the Bronx Bombers opening the season with Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre in the rotation. You can make the argument that the Yankees need Lee, especially since the next-best free agent starter, Carl Pavano, is not the solution to the Yankees' problems after what happened in his first stint in pinstripes.
Zack Greinke may or may not be a fit for the Yankees, but other elite arms are potentially available in trades. The Yankees inquired on Francisco Liriano and Ricky Nolasco is known to be available. If the Yankees were to pair one of those starters up with Pettitte, their rotation would look strong and they could spend the money they would have committed to Lee on other needs.