While we spend a lot of attention debating the merits of retreads like Garcias and Colon the real issue is the inability of Brain Cashman to build a complete starting 5. I know there was some excitement last year over adding Vasquez to an already good rotation but we know how that turned out. The Vasquez move was widely applauded but a GM must be scored on his results NOT how a move appeared to the public and MSM at the time.
Take a look at some of the staffs the Yankees have had since 2005. I have put any player with an ERA+ of over 100 in bold and listed all starters with 10 or more starts;
2005 Yankees - Johnson, Mussina, Wang, Pavano, Brown, Wright, Chacon, Leiter, Small (9 starts)
Post the series we never speak of the Yankees "loaded up" by signing Pavano and Wright. This works out so well they needed a player off the trash heap(Chacon) and a player from the independent league(Small) to catch fire for them to make the playoffs.
2006 Yankees - Wang, Johnson, Mussina, Wright, Chacon, Lidle (9 Starts)
Jaret Wright actually proved useful this year but unfortunately the 42 year old Johnson was less then useful. Who could have seen that coming? Chacon and Small both had era's north of 7 and picked up Lidle at the deadline in an attempt to have someone useful at the tail end of the rotation.
2007 Yankees - Pettitte, Wang, Mussina, Clemens, Hughes, Igawa
This year was two bad decisions maybe three. Clemens was brought back (OH MY GOD HE IS IN GEORGE'S BOX!), the great Igawa was signed and Hughes was rushed into the rotation at age 21.
2008 Yankees - Mussina, Pettitte, Rasner, Wang, Ponson, Joba
The Yankees took a chance with some youth and it didn't work out in the short term. Joba got hurt after pitching well, Kennedy was horrible and Hughes was horrible and injured.
2009 Yankees - Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Joba
Three deep with a decent number 4. The 5th starter spot was split between Mitre, Wang, Hughes and Gaudin. The real difference in 2009 was the top three were legit.
2010 Yankees - Sabathia, Burnett, Hughes, Vasquez, Pettitte
Three good starters and two bad starters. This was enough to get the Yankees to the ALCS.
So since 2009 the rotation has produced a good staff once, in 2009. We had aging stars who could no longer get it done(Clemens, Brown, Johnson), some bad signings(Pavano, Igawa, Wright), a player who had nothing on any of his pitches (Vasquez), and a lot of mediocre veterans(Rasner, Ponson, Small, Chacon, Leiter, Lidle). These results are simply not good enough for a championship caliber team. Cashman can excuse away one or two years of mistakes but the fact of the matter is the rotation has been and remains an issue.
The Yankees inability to build a rotation has been an issue since 2005 and with the likes of Colon, Garcia and Millwood lining up for significant starts in 2011 it appears it will continue to be an issue.