Yankees must walk away with a top-flight starting pitcher this offseason
By Jack O'Hara
The 2019 MLB Winter Meetings are just under four weeks away from taking place in San Diego, CA. Yet it’s unclear if Yankees GM Brian Cashman is going to be diving in headfirst for any big names this offseason, despite his team looking for a much-needed boost in the starting rotation.
Throughout the 2019 season, the Yankees were met with adversity, both offensively and defensively; however, no more so than their starting rotation, that nearly shot themselves in the foot multiple times throughout the campaign.
Luckily for Brian Cashman, the rotation was able to hold it’s own heading into October — being the focal point of the Yanks’ 2019 postseason run, that ended at the hands of Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros on October 19.
Despite the Yankees offense being the ones to blame for the early exit, it is safe to say that the starting rotation that the Bombers have on paper at the moment, won’t secure them a world championship anytime soon — given what other teams have been able to staple together.
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Not having their ace, Luis Severino, throughout most of 2019 was a significant loss; however, Cashman did not make matters any better when the Yankees announced that they were going to stand pat at the trade deadline on July 31.
With multiple elite arms available this offseason, it would be safe to say that Cashman and the Yankees front office will at the very least entertain the idea of going after the two big fish on the market — potential American League CY Young Award Winner, Gerrit Cole — and 2019 World Series MVP, Stephen Strasburg.
Rumors have surfaced within the past few days that C.C. Sabathia has recently been in contact with the former Astros’ star about pitching in New York, and can relate as both are originally from the west coast.
Sabathia, who retired following the 2019 season, is from Vallejo, California and has been playing in The Bronx for nearly 11 years. The big left-hander recently said:
"“If you give that mother****** enough money, he’s going to want to sign here.”"
Cole, a native of Newport Beach, California, has made it known that he’d love to return home to Southern California, with the Angels and Dodgers being top suitors for his services.
On the other hand, coming off a historic postseason performance, in which he went 5-0 to secure the World Series MVP, Stephen Strasburg is four days removed from opting out of the remaining four years on his deal with the Washington Nationals, leaving $100 million on the table.
Strasburg is a San Diego native and played at San Diego State University, making him an undeniable fit for one of MLB’s rising organizations in the Padres, who have made it clear that they will be in the running for the right-hander.
Despite things looking bleak for Cashman and the Yankees front office at the moment, when it comes to these two superstar pitchers, the Bombers may have the equalizer that no other team in Major League Baseball has — and that’s money.
Since acquiring Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins in December 2017, Brian Cashman and company have stayed away from the giant free agent signings, letting both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper walk last offseason, thereby making alternative moves that turned out to be the focal point of 2019’s campaign.
Both D.J. LeMahieu and Gio Urshela arguably had more productive seasons than Machado or Harper for a whole lot less money.
However, given the importance of finding an elite, top of the rotation guy, Cashman may want to consult Hal Steinbrenner about dolling out the big bucks to solidify a championship contender.
Landing either Cole or Strasburg this winter would give New York the clear advantage in the American League East, as they look to battle a surging Tampa Bay Rays club, while also expecting a resurgence from the 2018 World Champion Boston Red Sox.
This would also give the Bronx Bombers a clear edge over the 2019 American League Champion Houston Astros, as they would be losing their most coveted player that helped them clinch the Astros’ second AL Pennant in three years.
The Winter Meetings will take place in San Diego in just a matter of weeks, and it will be interesting to see what type of game Steinbrenner and Cashman play when it comes to two of baseball’s most elite starting pitchers, Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.