SG at the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog uses the CAIRO projection system to compare Tampa's, Boston's and New York's current starting rotations for 2009. The Bombers come out on top:
Assuming health out of Burnett, Chamberlain, Wang and Hughes, this
rotation projects to blow away Boston and Tampa, to the tune of 6 wins
above replacement. Part of that is in a better rate performance (ERA
of 3.72 vs. 4.19 and 4.24), but there’s also an important factor here
that could have a cascade effect. The Yankee rotation projects to have
four separate pitchers who would average 6.2 to 6.9 innings per start.
None of the other teams have more than one such pitcher. That means
fewer bullpen innings, which helps a) rest the pen b) keep the ball
away from the worse pitchers in the back of the pen.
Of course as SG points out, this does not make the Yanks the favorite to win the AL East. There are other facets of the game, including offense, defense, and relief pitching. Currently, the Sox (sans Teixeira) are better than the Yanks in all those categories, except maybe for relief. In any case, it turns out that Cashman and company might have spent a lot of money to some positive effect. When was the last time the Yanks had the best rotation in the AL East or baseball?