Yankees need another quality starter to contend for World Series

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 08: Luis Severino #40 of the New York Yankees pitches in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on May 8, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 08: Luis Severino #40 of the New York Yankees pitches in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on May 8, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

In an interview with FanSided editor Mike Calendrillo, ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian gives his analysis of what the Yankees will need to do to contend and win the World Series this season.

The Yankees are so stacked with talent with their “Death Valley” lineup, top-two pitching staff in the AL and packed bench, it’s hard to imagine them losing to anyone at the moment, or even in the immediate future. So what could be missing from this near perfect team?

Mike Calendrillo, site expert/editor here at Yanks Go Yard recently conducted an interview with ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian — and asked that very question:

"MC: Is there one area the Yankees still need to shore up as they head into the summer months?TK: I don’t see a problem at the moment because this team is doing everything right, and has for close to three weeks. However, I think they are going to need another starting pitcher if they’re going to win the World Series. They are in a perfect position with the money, and being below the luxury tax — and with all the resources and minor leaguers they have to go get whatever they need — and now is the time."

The big question is, who and what it will cost. My list of realistic and possible impact pitching targets is a short one.

More from Yankees News

  • Texas Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels, 34 — free agent in 2019
  • Seattle Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez, 32 — free agent in 2020
  • Seattle Mariners: LHP James Paxton, 29 — arbitration eligible in 2019
  • Tampa Bay Rays: RHP Chris Archer, 29 — free agent in 2020
  • Detroit Tigers: RHP Michael Fulmer, 25 — arbitration eligible 2019

I listed both Hernandez and Paxton because I don’t think the Mariners are going to make the playoffs with the two wild-card spots going to the Angels and the Red Sox. King Felix could be the Yankees’ version of Justin Verlander this time around.

The Yanks will most likely look for a pending free agent pitching rental or something low-cost, in the realm of arbitration eligibility. Still fighting the luxury tax and heading into a star-studded free agent class, the organization will not want to take on any long-term high contract, no matter what the name.

Paxton and Hamels, with their left arms, should be on top of the list, considering the unknown fate of Jordan Montgomery and CC Sabathia’s arthritic knee. As the year progresses, we will find out how important the addition of a southpaw might become.

In any case, Yankees GM Brian Cashman has certainly put his club in an excellent position to scoop up a quality starter at the trade deadline and still keep the Bombers under the luxury tax.

As Kurkjian tells Calendrillo:

"Brian Cashman and the front office have been so patient over recent years, for not giving up the best young kids in a trade for a veteran player. But if that veteran pitcher, let’s say, become’s available, they’ll be in a better position than anyone to go make a move. That’s another reason to be very encouraged if you’re a Yankees fan at this point."

That leaves, only the question of which players, prospects and/or rookies that Cashman and the Yanks are ready to part with? The team is laden with talented prospects and rookies like Tyler Wade and Tyler Austin might be enticing to another team.

I do believe the Yankees will also need a boost in the bullpen. I am not convinced that either Tommy Kahnle or Adam Warren will be able to really help the club this year as they did in 2017. Jonathan Holder should no longer be on the 25-man roster and A.J. Cole is still an unknown.

Domingo German, who Kurkjian said “might really help the Yankees,” has left the ‘pen to become the No. 5 starter, and as of now, there is no one there to take his place as long man.

I wrote at the beginning of the year, that it will inevitably be the Yankees’ bullpen that is “the final nail in the coffin” that decides the AL East race and their future success this season. Despite having what seems to be the most prolific lineup since 1927, I stand by the premise, that the bullpen is the key.

Next: Interview with MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand

I focused on only one aspect of the Calendrillo/Kurkjian interview. There were several other insightful questions and answers including an analysis of Domingo German. You may read the entire Q&A it by clicking this link.