1. Alex Wood
Alright, let’s say Nestor Cortes Jr … isn’t quite himself in 2022. Perhaps his Bronxie-inspired magic only takes him so far.
Even in the optimistic world where he’s equally nasty next season, those innings are going to catch up with him quickly. It wasn’t until late summer when Cortes Jr. was allowed to consistently eclipse five innings pitched per start, and even as his role expanded, he only ended up tossing 93 innings — and was worth 2.8 WAR! Insanity.
At the very least, it’d be nice for the Yankees to supplement Nestor’s contributions with another swingman, and it’d also feel good to kick Domingo German to the curb as the bullpen’s designated semi-blowout innings eater/occasional fourth starter. Have fun in Texas or Oakland, Mingo! We’d rather sign Alex Wood for something that approximates a doubling of his 2021 salary, which was literally $3 million.
At that price tag, out of both the rotation during the season and the ‘pen come playoff time, you can get plenty of value out of Wood. He’s an ideal fifth or sixth starter for any contender, and is fresh off a bounce back season (10-4, 3.83, 152 whiffs in 138.2 innings).
Most importantly, no matter where he goes, he always seems to show up in a postseason race. Much like Rich Hill, the playoffs simply make more sense with Wood in them. It’d be tough to find both a more stable temporary replacement for Taillon, and someone who’s more comfortable with keeping his ego in check when the time comes to change roles. Sign us up.