We understand how difficult it is not to get angry about reports that don’t peg the Yankees for a “2009 offseason” this year, but there’s at least … one parallel universe where avoiding a top shortstop makes some sense.
This team theoretically could use a bonafide co-ace for Gerrit Cole come October, considering Luis Severino can’t exactly be counted on to give you length or be available all year. That’s why the frightfully expensive Justin Verlander rumors started to grow on all of us after about a week or so.
Matt Blake is as good as they come at creating effective starters via increased changeup usage, but then again … wouldn’t it be nice to have someone scary up top instead of another Jordan Montgomery clone?
Brian Cashman and Co. apparently agree, even in the post-Verlander world.
According to Bob Klapisch, the Yankees apparently are at least considering diverting some of their shortstop money towards paying a “No. 2 starter”.
The only problem? We’re not sure who on the free agent market even fits that bill. If we’re not talking about dropping a boatload of money at Robbie Ray’s door or paying Kevin Gausman, then who are we talking about?
And, for what it’s worth, both of those ideas sound pretty scary.
Is there really a “No. 2” starter for the Yankees to sign?
If it’s Ray, the Yankees will be paying a $100-million premium for someone coming off the textbook definition of a career year — and, for what it’s worth, someone who also came up small when the lights were shining brightest. If Ray doesn’t collapse against the Bombers’ bats during the season’s final week, the Jays would’ve made the Wild Card Game.
If it’s Gausman? He seems like a solid starter (who’ll command at least $65 million), but he wilted in the second half in 2021 and ended up as a five-and-fly arm by the time the Giants reached the NLDS. Far from a sure thing.
Come to think of it, Verlander is the only obvious No. 2 who was on the market at any point this offseason. Did someone leak this to Nightengale before he returned to the Astros, and it was left in Thursday’s article undetected?
If not, either the Yankees are stretching their definition of a No. 2 to include Jon Gray and Carlos Rodon, they’re about to spend shortstop money on Max Scherzer, or they’re ready to make a mistake. You know what might go down smoother? Simply paying a shortstop.