Yankees: Free Agent Pitchers They Could Sign To Minor League Deals

Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees starting pitching is best described as suspect entering the 2017 season. That much is well known. What is not known though is that there is still a (potential) wealth of pitching talent out there that the Yankees could sign to minor league deals at a relatively small cost. Here’s a look at some of them.

The Yankees may not have seen what the Royals are doing. Chris Wilmoth, writing for MLB Trade Rumors, reports that the Kansas City Royals have signed five veteran pitchers to minor league deals:

"“The Royals have signed veteran righties Chris Withrow, Al Alburquerque and Brandon League to minor league deals with Spring Training invites, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com writes. Flanagan also notes the minor league signings of pitchers Bobby Parnell and Jonathan Sanchez, which had been previously reported; those two will combine with Withrow, Albuquerque and League to form a long list of formerly effective veterans who could compete for spots on the Royals’ pitching staff.”"

Hey, why not, what can you lose? The Yankees should take the cue from the Royals and consider signing some of the others who are still out there to minor league deals. After all, who knows – there could be lightning in a bottle in one or two of them. Here’s a few they could take a look at from a considerably long list that ESPN is tracking.

Tim Lincecum, Age 32

Tim Lincecum

had one of the worst seasons a pitcher could ever imagine last year with the Angels, who eventually released him. He went 2-6 with an ERA of 9.16, a WHIP off the charts at 2.374, and gave up almost two hits for every inning he pitched.

Tim-Lincecum-John-Smoltz /

And yet, he is, after all, still Tim Lincecum. And it’s hard to believe that, at the age of only 32, he’s washed up. Yes, it’s true that the version of Lincecum everyone has seen since 2012 is a far cry from his heyday, in which he was a dominant member of the Giants’ rotation from 2008-11 and took home a pair of National League Cy Young Awards.

But the man knows how to pitch, and he was never a thrower. Who’s to say that he can’t make himself into a Greg Maddox, who made a living getting batters out with an 86-88 mph fastball. He’s also come back from adversity and injury before.

Jonathan Niese, Age 30

Jonathan Niese may indeed have worn out his welcome in New York when he mouthed off to reporters after the Mets traded him to the Pirate. And he didn’t help himself by going 8-7 with a 5.50 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP last season, which included an inexplicable but thankfully short-lived return to the Mets.

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But again, Niese has had moderate success in the big leagues and could be motivated by the fact that he does not have a summer job. He suffered from home runitis last year and had a tendency to give up a lot of hits. But he’s also demonstrated the ability to work out of jams when he does that by inducing a ground ball double play.

A potential head case, he would need to be monitored and immediately released if he can’t show something after 9 or 10 starts.

Mat Latos, Age 29

After a brilliant start to his 2016 campaign, Mat Latos fell into a prolonged slump, thus prompting the White Sox to DFA him in July. Over his first four starts to the season, Latos worked to a pristine 0.74 ERA in 24 1/3 innings. That production, though, was propped up by a clearly unsustainable .167 BABIP and 97 percent strand rate.

But once again, this is a guy with a career record of 71-58, who has had success before and at least could give the Yankees something better than Michael Pineda is bound to provide.

Scott Feldman, Age 33

According to MLB Rumors, the Marlins have already expressed an interest in Scott Feldman, but have not moved on signing him.

As with the others, he did not have an impressive 2016 season with the Blue Jays, going 7-4, 3.97 ERA, and 1.38 WHIP. But his strikeout to walk ratio was excellent at 3-1. He’s bounced around quite a bit playing for five teams in his career, mostly with Texas. But he has shown the ability to give you innings and does not appear to be injury prone. It could be just a matter of recovering his confidence.


All of this, of course, would be contingent on the Yankees ability to convince them that it would be in their best interests to sign a minor league deal with them. They have to make the argument that there is a good chance they could pitch for the team given the current makeup of the starting rotation at the big league level.

Next: The Yankees Have Unfinished Business Before Opening Day

Yankees scouts could do a much better job than I have in cherry picking from the list of available free agents. But the front office would need to sign on to the idea first. As I said in the beginning, why not?