Whenever the offseason commences and players feel comfortable signing with the collective bargaining situation, the New York Yankees will be spending. If there’s one guarantee we’ll make, it’s that.
They may not spend correctly, but they will spend.
And speaking of spending correctly, this organization has failed to do that with pitching over and over. Say what you want about Gerrit Cole, but it’s obvious he’s not worth $79 million more than the largest contract for a starting pitcher in history. He’s just not.
Then you look at this offseason when the front office thought giving Corey Kluber $11 million for one year after he had hardly pitched since the start of 2019 was a good idea. Yeah, he threw a no-hitter, but this acquisition was supposed to pay dividends in the postseason.
Not only did the Yankees get bounced in the AL Wild Card Game, but even if Kluber was logging meaningful innings in the ALDS, we can safely assume he would’ve gotten shelled because he owned a 5.06 ERA after coming off the injured list. The Rays would’ve abused him.
So can we not connect the Yankees to previously successful starting pitchers coming off major injuries who haven’t pitched in a really long time? Justin Verlander and Noah Syndergaard should not be of any interest this offseason.
Corey Kluber’s signing proves the Yankees need to avoid Justin Verlander and Noah Syndergaard.
All in all, Kluber, after throwing just 36.2 total innings in 2019 and 2020, finished with 80 innings and zero postseason starts in 2021.
Verlander led MLB in 2019 with 223 innings and has pitched six total innings since. Syndergaard, who’s been plagued by injury issues throughout his career, has thrown two total innings over that span after hitting a career-high mark of 197.2 in 2019.
If you had to pick one, Syndergaard entering his age-29 is a lot more encouraging than Verlander entering his age-39. But the focus should be on effective arms who have proven to be available, not flyers who you might think will perform well or those who may have higher ceilings “if this” than somebody else.
The Yankees would be better off with Max Scherzer, Kevin Gausman, Marcus Stroman, Alex Wood and/or Anthony DeSclafani than taking a chance on someone who probably won’t be able to give you a full season’s workload and will likely hit bumps in the road with their recovery.
These kinds of moves just hardly ever work out for New York, so there’s no sense in repeating moribund history.
And if you don’t like any of the other available free agent options, then maybe a trade is best. There are plenty of available position players the Yankees can spend on. Don’t force it with the pitching staff in a weak/questionable class.