1. Noah Syndergaard
As the Winter Meetings approach, the Yankees’ rotation search all seems to come back to Syndergaard.
He’s got a five-pitch mix, and is over-reliant on sinkers, sliders and changeups, rarely pitching off his four-seamer. That screams Matt Blake. He works out with Eric Cressey, who’s funneled pitchers to the Yankees before via his strength program (Corey Kluber, though it didn’t work so well with Justin Verlander). He’s one more year removed from Tommy John surgery, and though he struggled occasionally last season with the Phillies and Angels, he ended the year with excellent hard-hit numbers, great command, and a 3.94 ERA that approximated Taillon’s work.
The only question remaining is how much it might cost the Yankees to obtain Syndergaard’s next phase.
Last offseason, Thor signed a one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels that felt wild at the time and still feels wild now. Only the Angels apparently didn’t know they were getting a former flamethrower still finding his sea legs.
Who knows whether those extra few miles per hour will ever return to Syndergaard’s fastball? Teams, including the Yankees, likely saw enough to give him three years’ worth of security, but at a price point decidedly below $21 million annually. Try three years and $40 million total, somewhere just above Quintana’s range, considering he might eventually return to power pitching.
Last time around, it was no wonder the Angels won the bidding. They were the only ones who showed up in that particular stratosphere. This time, the Yankees’ Cressey connection seems poised to deliver another back-end, bounce back option.