Yankees fans need to stop screaming for more starting pitching
Despite trading for Mariners ace, James Paxton; re-signing both J.A. Happ and C.C. Sabathia, many Yankees fans still want the club to acquire another starting pitcher rather than sign Manny Machado.
Although the Yankees came to a one-year, $555k agreement with five-time All-Star, Troy Tulowitzki on Wednesday, they remain heavily linked to free agent superstar, Manny Machado.
While Machado would be an immediate defensive upgrade at third base (New York has already said Tulo would man shortstop until Didi Gregorius returns), it does create a bit of an issue as to what to do with 2018 AL Rookie of the Year runner-up, Miguel Andujar.
For me, Andujar, 23, is young and athletic enough to learn a new position such as left field or first base. His innate ability to hit the way he did last season is the reason I’d be hesitant to trade him so soon — even if Machado does bring his talents to the Bronx.
However, the rhetoric often heard this offseason is that the Yankees should avoid signing Machado to a longterm, highly expensive contract, and instead, target more starting pitchers.
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But have you looked at the starters that are still available on the open market?
Names that remain, although are in no way better than what the Yanks currently have (including Jordan Montgomery, who could return from Tommy John surgery as early as June) include Gio Gonzalez, Derek Holland, Wade Miley, Brett Anderson, Francisco Liriano and Yovani Gallardo, and others.
After failing to offer contracts to top options such as Patrick Corbin, Nathan Eovaldi and Yusei Kikuchi, the best available arm that remains is Dallas Keuchel.
Reports state that Keuchel and his super-agent, Scott Boras, are still seeking a five-year, $80M-plus contract. And while that may suit teams like the Angels, Brewers or Rangers — one’s that desperately desire better than average pitching, Keuchel and his price tag no longer fit the needs of the Yankees.
Keuchel, who was 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA and 1.314 WHIP in 2018, is no better, and obviously, less proven in the AL East than J.A. Happ, whom the Yanks brought back for two-years, $34M (with a vesting option for a third year).
An argument can even be made that 38-year-old C.C. Sabathia (8-7, 3.65 and 1.314 WHIP last season) will put up equal to if not better numbers in 2019, as opposed to the 31-year-old Keuchel.
For the faction of Yankee fans that feel the club could trade a package of players comprised of Andujar, Clint Frazier, top prospect Estevan Florial, Jonathan Loaisiga or Albert Abreu for a frontline starter — does it make sense to do so for Madison Bumgarner, who only has one remaining year on his contract? Especially when Mad Bum could be had at the trade deadline for far less.
The same can be said for Zack Greinke and his no-trade clause, Marcus Stroman’s inconsistent production and Danny Duffy, who is coming off a terrible campaign.
As for Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, all are expected to remain with their current clubs. So tell me, where should the Yankees turn to upgrade their starters and therefore go to a six-man rotation?
The answer is nowhere. General manager Brian Cashman has already strengthened the rotation by trading for James Paxton and re-signing Happ and Sabathia. With Tulowitzki in the bag and Machado waiting in the wings, further solidifying the bullpen is the only remaining piece to the puzzle.