Can Yankees poach free agent starter after Buster Posey retirement?
Perhaps the retirement of one of the game’s greatest catchers could be enough to make joining the New York Yankees more appealing than staying in San Francisco?
Though Matt Blake worked his magic with the Yankees’ rotation in 2021 and got the unit posting well-above-average numbers, that doesn’t mean the roster isn’t in need of reinforcements.
Luis Severino should be ready to be the No. 2 once more, but after a full season of counting on his return only to see him ultimately perform as a bullpen piece for about two weeks, that’s an impossible thing to pencil in at the moment. Jameson Taillon is also injured, and should be ready near Opening Day, but perhaps a bit later. Nestor Cortes Jr. is a fantastic piece, but an ideal rotation would have him near the back end/working as a swingman rather than as the group’s No. 2 starter.
In essence, pitching isn’t the Bombers’ biggest need, but wooing Kevin Gausman would help a lot.
Gausman picked up the qualifying offer last offseason to rejoin the Giants in 2021, and what do you know, they surged, picking up 107 wins and flipping everyone’s preseason projections on their head.
Now, he’s available once more, though he may be slightly less inclined to re-up with his old team despite their winning ways. After all, the reason he decided to hang on another season last year was obvious: he really wanted to get a chance to play with Buster Posey, who’d opted out of 2020.
Can the Yankees woo Kevin Gausman after Buster Posey’s retirement?
Certainly, there were other appealing things about playing a full season — with fans — by the Bay. Team ownership and the braintrust had a vision. The roster showed signs of gelling in 2020 — signs we mostly missed, but still. The season played out very well for all involved.
But Gausman professed, in this article published last offseason around the time the decision was made, that he really wanted to return and get a chance to see what it felt like to be caught/guided by Buster Posey.
Now, can the Yankees sell him on Gary Sánchez having the same kind of impact (or at least not being a hindrance)? That’s the difficult part. New York doesn’t exactly have a catching guru to replace the Hall of Famer with in the sales pitch.
Posey’s reign as the leader of the Giants’ pitching staff ended prematurely (we thought) on Wednesday when word leaked of his retirement, another reminder that catching at an elite level takes an extreme toll. Knowing his body of work was unimpeachable, Posey decided that he no longer wanted to battle his physical body, no doubt still feeling the effects of the critical hit that took out his knee in 2011 and forever changed the way plays at the plate are called.
Without Posey in place, will Gausman still find enough of a reason to stay put, or could he be led out of town by an offer he can’t refuse?