It's Still Hard to Believe Who Makes Up the Yankee Rotation

The Yankees handling of their rotation is no less baffling on the eve of spring training

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    In his scathing review of the new Spider-Man Broadway musical/demolition derby, Ben Brantley of the Times poses this question about what unfolds on the stage in front of you.

    "How can $65 million look so cheap?"

    There are rarely parallels between life on the Great White Way and life on the baseball diamond, but there's something about Brantley's question that calls to mind the 2011 New York Yankees. We're now just days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Tampa and a perusal of the team's depth chart finds Sergio Mitre, he of the 13-29 career record and 5.27 ERA, slated to start once every five days.

    "How can $200 million-plus look so cheap?"

    That's overstating things a bit, obviously. The Yankees have a very strong lineup and a gold-plated bullpen to give them confidence about their chances this season, but that confidence wavers every time your eyes come back to Mitre's name.

    It's like staying at a house with the finest materials using the most expensive fixtures and appliances, then going to the bathroom and finding thin, sandpapery toilet paper. It doesn't ruin the overall appeal of the house, but it does make you realize the things that take real significance.

    What's the point of having a perfectly made espresso when your next trip to the commode will end with pain?

    In Yankee terms, that would be having Rafael Soriano around to protect leads that Mitre (or Ivan Nova or Bartolo Colon) doesn't send his way. There's no denying that it was a tough market for buyers of starting pitching, but it seems hard to believe that the Yankees won't wind up overpaying for pitching at some point this season. By waiiting, though, the Yankees run the risk of being in a position where that won't help them.

    It was just 2008 when the Yankees tried a similar approach and rode it all the way out of the playoffs. The 2007 run wasn't much better and wouldn't have ended with a playoff berth without Roger Clemens and Joba Chamberlain materializing out of the ether. The Yankee offense should be very good, so should the bullpen but they're still pinning a lot of their hopes on some pretty modest players.

    That's a strange place for the Yankees to be, although there's still a pretty good chance they'll be playing long after Spider-Man goes dark for the final time.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.