Yankees News: New York chasing Cuban pitcher, Jordan Montgomery's 'bad blood'?

New York's going to bolster their pitching staff, one way or another.
Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Five
Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Five / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

It's difficult to believe an entire week has passed since Yoshinobu Yamamoto fulfilled his lifelong dream and chose the Dodgers, and the Yankees' largest pitching addition in that time has been Cleveland reliever Cody Morris.

Luckily for the Yankees, it's not like they've missed on a whole bunch of movement. The market has stayed stagnant, with Scott Boras controlling free agency's top two chips in Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery.

Though it may not feel like it for several more days, there is a ticking clock here. Slightly lesser option Shōta Imanaga comes with a hard deadline related to his posting, and you certainly don't want to wait on a guy like Frankie Montas until the big names come off the board. Though risky, the price on his right arm will certainly increase.

While New York "waits," they appear to also be doing their due diligence on another import: Cuban right-hander Yariel Rodríguez. Is he a starter or a reliever? The Yankees, Reds and Padres appear to have checked in and prefer he work out of the bullpen, while the Red Sox (they would), Pirates and Blue Jays believe he can start.

Rodríguez appears to share that belief, but reportedly won't rule out any team on that basis. The Yankees are still (nebulously) "in" this thing -- whatever "this thing" actually is.

Yankees News: Yariel Rodríguez only being considered as a reliever?

While the team's Rodríguez pursuit bubbles beneath the surface, their interest in Montgomery appears to have risen to the top.

According to MLB insider Jon Heyman (and ex-GM Jim Bowden), the Yankees "hope" to bring Montgomery back this offseason. FanSided's Robert Murray doesn't necessarily see the fit, especially based on the way the relationship ended in 2022, when Montgomery was shipped out of town just as his fiancee (now wife) was arriving to start her medical residency.

Is that lingering bad blood a matter of perception or reality? Montgomery quibbled with New York's usage of his left arm publicly last season, but tried to put all lingering negativity to bed at the end of the year. Was that genuine, or a negotiating tactic?

MLB News: Yankees' pitching options dwindling? If not Montgomery, who?

As the rest of the free agent and trade markets clarify themselves, it seems like there isn't a great deal of "value" to be had -- unless the Yankees want to declare themselves "believers" and translate their Blake Snell leg work into a below-market deal. While Snell isn't quite at Cody Bellinger's level, it seems very few teams want to commit long-term to someone they believe is destined to be a five-and-fly. Based on the way they've operated thus far, it would be fair to consider the Yankees equally skeptical.

So, what'll it be? Corbin Burnes, who seems both expensive and possibly unavailable? Shane Bieber, after the Yankees already dealt with Cleveland last week and didn't add him? Dylan Cease, who's being valued like a 1A (no, not Jalen Brunson) based on what the White Sox reportedly asked of the Reds in recent talks? Lucas Giolito, who's in the Red Sox sights and is rumored to be destined for $20 million per year, despite a tough 2023?

It's all lining up for the Yankees and Montgomery to bury the hatchet, especially if the lefty does want to stay in the northeast. Hopefully, both parties realize that soon rather than when it's too late (and it's Cease Overpay Season).