Ranking Yankees' trade deadline pitching options after Jesus Luzardo injury

Minnesota Twins v Miami Marlins
Minnesota Twins v Miami Marlins / Eric Espada/GettyImages

Real quick, can a one-man list count as a "ranking"? Holy cow, the Yankees' potential trade deadline options all grew warts (or disappeared) in a hurry.

New York's rotation has been a surprising strength to kick off 2024, even without Gerrit Cole. In fact, adding swing-and-miss to the bullpen (Tanner Scott?) suddenly feels like a bigger priority than adding a starting pitcher, but ... you're kidding yourself if you don't think an extra viable rotation arm would help, especially when the current group gets a bit more run down.

Ideally, Cole returns and sends someone (Luis Gil?) to the bullpen. Even in that ideal scenario, the Yankees will still need some insurance. Spencer Turnbull would've been a nice signing for pennies/peanuts/peanut pennies. Alas.

Jesus Luzardo of the Miami Marlins might've been the offseason's shiniest undealt gem, along with a few of his other rotation mates like Braxton Garrett and Edward Cabrera. The Marlins have been even worse than predicted, and yet ... they might not be able to capitalize on their own dysfunction. Luzardo will head to the IL with elbow discomfort and undergo further testing. He'll join Garrett and Eury Perez there, while Cabrera has only recently recovered from injury to make two (admittedly solid) starts.

If Luzardo's 6.58 ERA and bleak Yankee Stadium showcase weren't reason enough not to overpay for him, his balky elbow surely will rule him out of New York's plans. So who's next?

Yankees Trade Deadline Pitching Options: How do you rank a mess?

1. Paul Blackburn, Oakland A's: Blackburn and his devastating changeup will likely represent the most desired trade deadline package, and deservedly so. A 2022 All-Star on an underwhelming A's team, Blackburn will likely run that honor back this summer, too. His 2.03 ERA will normalize over time, but Blackburn is a sturdy starter, and could be the exact type of mid-ceiling option the Yankees will need to provide length this summer. They watched it first-hand this week, too, when they touched him up for four runs in the first inning, then watched him proceed to throw five more shutout frames. There'll be a bidding war here, but Oswald Peraza might enjoy Sacramento. Blackburn is under team control for a year and a half.

2. Framber Valdez, Houston Astros: Just kidding! Haha. Ha ha ... unless? Hey, the Astros are 7-19. That's bad.

3. Edward Cabrera, Miami Marlins: The Marlins' most tantalizing untapped arm should be available this deadline, and would represent the Yankees' highest-ceiling option. The only issue is cost. With so much market scarcity, the Marlins will probably raise their already heightened ask. Is it worth getting into a bidding war over someone who isn't exactly known for providing stability anyway? Cabrera is only ranked this high because of his upside and because of the class' overall weakness.

4. Martín Pérez, Pittsburgh Pirates: The 33-year-old left-hander found his way out of the Rangers' playoff rotation last year, but seems to be an expert at shrugging off baserunners and tough starts to post lines that look ultimately satisfactory. He'd fit in perfectly with the Yankees' current rotation, in that regard. Think Jaime Garcia in 2018.

5. Erick Fedde, Chicago White Sox: Through five starts, Fedde has returned from the KBO with style on a 3-22 team, posting a 2.73 ERA with 30 Ks in 26.1 innings pitched. The White Sox signing him to a two-year, $15 million deal could net them a surprising haul this summer, especially in a depressed market.

6. Kyle Gibson, St. Louis Cardinals: Gibson would be a potential innings-eater, too, though he's often either dastardly for seven innings or completely hittable for one. He's also a Missouri native. Would the Cardinals dare deal him for a minor upgrade at best a half-year into his deal?

7. Patrick Sandoval, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: That feeling when you want to rank Reid Detmers on this list, who's under team control through 2027 and shouldn't be dealt, so you take the coward's way out and remind fans of his existence while ranking Patrick Sandoval and his 6.75 ERA at the bottom of the list instead. Trade for Reid Detmers.

8. Blake Snell, San Francisco Giants: 1/3 of $31 million taxed at 110% is more appealing than the whole $31 million!