You want Rockies former ace Kyle Freeland at a bargain, Yankees fans? Why wouldn’t you?!
The New York Yankees have a rotation after finalizing their deal with Corey Kluber, but do they have the rotation?
We say no. You should say no, too.
While the Tampa Bay Rays have taken as large a step back as a pitching-focused team can take this offseason after losing Blake Snell and Charlie Morton from their three-headed rotation, the Toronto/Buffalo Blue Jays are charging hard. The only thing their roster currently lacks is reliable starting pitching, though most in the game expect them to continue heartily after that pursuit.
If and when they do, the Yankees had better be right behind them in adding reinforcements.
Castillo seems like a no for the Yanks — so long as Gleyber Torres remains front and center in the discussion — but the rest of these targets (non-Sonny Gray division) are worth exploring.
And, as we’ve discussed before, change-of-scenery candidates with an Eric Cressey connection (the Yankees’ strength and conditioning coach) are more likely to get a tip of the cap.
In ’18, Freeland was the local boy made good from Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, the eighth overall pick of the 2014 draft dominating for his hometown team. He went 17-7 with a 2.85 ERA as a 25-year-old who called the league’s toughest ballpark to pitch in “home.” He finished fourth in Cy Young voting, whiffing 173 in 202.1 innings pitched, capping the year with 6.2 shutout innings at Wrigley Field in winning the Wild Card Game.
2019 was a disaster zone, however. 6.73 ERA on the year. 9.25 mark at home. Forgettable in every sense of the word, though it’s unlikely he’ll ever forget it.
In the shortened season we just witnessed, Freeland arrived with a remade motion and it paid a modicum of dividends; the most recent data we have on the lefty shows a marked improvement (2-3, 4.33, just 46 Ks in 70.2 innings pitched).
So, what’ll it take to nab the intriguing lefty with the 3.98 career road ERA? Someone who honestly might find Yankee Stadium preferable to his previous home ballpark, which is certainly a rarity these days?
Brian Cashman rarely deals even 3-for-1, and this doesn’t feel like a great opportunity to drop Adam Ottavino in someone’s lap; though the Rockies know him well, they have little to no interest in taking on salary these days. This would likely take two 40-man players (after all, space still must be cleared for Kluber and DJ LeMahieu, crazily enough).
Alexander Vizcaino and Yoendrys Gomez and call it a day? Two young starters, Nos. 8 and 9 on the MLB Pipeline Top 30 Yankees prospects.
We’d do it, well aware of the risk.