Yankees reportedly kicking tires on two great free agent rotation fits
By Adam Weinrib
The Yankees are going medium-budget, but they’re “kicking the tires” on a few great free agent fits for the rotation.
Does the Yankees “kicking the tires” on a few mid-range free agent options qualify as good budgetary news these days? You can bet it does!
With Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton’s potential departure ahead of us, the Yanks have some soul-searching to do while they wait for Luis Severino’s likely midseason arrival.
So, how are they going to feel these rotational vacancies? JA Happ’s not walking through that door, after all. The options on the table are Clarke Schmidt/Deivi Garcia/(gulp) Domingo German in a patchwork attempt at filling the slots, or a slight expenditure to bring in some veteran options to energize the back end.
According to Yankees sources, the team is eyeing a few free agent options, and yes, the mid-range name you want has been mentioned.
Charlie Morton is exactly what we’re talking about.
Before we dive back into the well-trod Morton conversation, let’s briefly touch on Garrett Richards, who re-established himself as basically an ideal fourth starter in 2020 with the Padres, following years of injury troubles with the Angels. A one-year flyer on Richards would be money well spent, too; the fire-baller went 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA in limited duty in San Diego this year, striking out 46 in 51.1 innings pitched.
Morton is the oft-discussed prize of the lower-tier free agents (in dollar value only, of course), and he’s the one we’ve got the lion’s share of our eyes on. Though the Yankees have missed the boat on the best years of Morton’s career, the almost-37-year-old is as nails as any playoff pitcher this decade.
I maintain that, if the Yankees can coax Morton out of South Florida for a year, they’ll be awakened about what is possible in a mid-rotation postseason start. Remember what it was like when DJ LeMahieu showed up and we realized contact hitters still existed? This is the same basic situation.
Morton will be well-pursued by many eastern contenders, including the Red Sox and Rays (and Mets? Blue Jays?).
If the Yankees kick the tires for a few hours longer, they’ll probably determine that he’s where their money is most well-spent.