The New York Yankees are expected to prioritize adding controllable young starting pitchers this offseason. Here are five of the best (possibly) available options.
In his October “State of the Yankees” address, general manager Brian Cashman declared that upgrading the pitching staff would be the front office’s main focus this season.
"The pitching is an area of need: starting pitching, middle relief, setup … We re going to certainly have to look at opportunities that present themselves on the pitching market."
We saw in the first half that having an incredible bullpen is only an advantage if they have a lead to protect, and too many Yankees games were basically over by the second or third inning in April. The rotation’s terrible performance in the first month was the primary reason for the 8-14 start that put the Yankees in a whole they were never really able to climb out of.
If anything, New York’s starting pitching looks even shakier than last year. The loss of Nathan Eovaldi removes one of the guys with the best chance to fill the number two starter void behind Masahiro Tanaka. Michael Pineda and Luis Severino both still have the potential to become that pitcher, but neither is more than a lottery ticket at this point.
Promising youngsters like Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa, and Chad Green all had their moments in the last two months of the season, but it is hard to imagine any of them becoming anything more than a back-of-the-rotation guy in even the best case scenario.
Beyond the team’s short-term needs, the Yankees also do not have a proven major league starter controlled beyond next year, with Tanaka, Pineda, and CC Sabathia all able to depart as free agents.
New York has an exciting nucleus of position players beginning to coalesce at the major league level, but they haven’t had as much success graduating their top pitching prospects. Because of that, it seems likely that the organization could go after a stud, MLB-ready building block for their rotation this winter. If they do go that route, here are the top five names they could realistically pursue.