The New York Yankees' Plan B, in the wake of missing out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto, is now clear: "If Yamamoto chooses LA, have an emergency scramble to determine a new plan."
According to Randy Miller of NJ.com's sources, the Yankees' front office, ownership and coaches huddled in Tampa at the start of this week, with plenty of high-priced No. 2 starters still on the market in some capacity. Each potential addition is imperfect. Each potential addition also represents an upgrade to the Yankees' current rotation, featuring uncertainty in spots two through four, followed by Will Warren and Clayton Beeter.
The big, breaking news here? The Yankees, in an effort to back up Hal Steinbrenner's desire for another impact pitcher, gathered to chart out a path toward strengthening the rotation. The non-breaking news? The hurdle standing in the way continues to be ... the acquisition cost.
According to Miller, the Yankees prefer a Dylan Cease trade to a Blake Snell signing, but have established those two pitchers as their top targets, and intend to come away with one of them. If only the cost would dip...
Yankees targeting Blake Snell signing or Dylan Cease trade, and intend to add one of them
Snell is, by far, the simpler addition; he costs money alone, has reportedly expressed interest in joining the Yankees, is AL East tested, and his acquisition has been reportedly approved by both long-time friend Aaron Judge and ace Gerrit Cole. This guy really won't take a short-term, high-AAV offer in this bizarre offseason?
Cease, on the other hand, is reportedly (in the famed parlance of a few years back) a "yes" on the Yankees' side. According to Miller, New York has come to terms with the high cost (Chase Hampton? Spencer Jones?), but the White Sox still believe they can acquire a stronger package from the Orioles, and are holding out. Cease's two years of control are enticing, but his league-leading walk total in his Cy Young runner-up season of 2022 evokes Snell's inconsistency. Again, why not just take the high-variance co-ace who costs only money?
While each signing, in its own way, would still stretch Cashman's comfort level, it's clear now why there was so much confidence in the baseball world to start the week that New York would find a way to walk away with one of these vaunted arms:
"Will Cashman make Jones and No. 1 pitching prospect Chase Hampton the centerpiece of a deal for Cease that would keep him from the Orioles, who then would be everyone’s favorites to win a second AL East title in a row?- Randy Miller
Look for the Yankees to strike soon. They want Cease, and they’d happily settle for Snell. The price is the holdup. Will Cashman pay what it takes in money or prospects to get one of them before both end up elsewhere?
These questions will be answered in the coming days after being discussed in Tampa on Monday."
Either acquisition could end up blowing up in Cashman's face, but with a singular year of Juan Soto all that's assured, he certainly needs to try. Our two cents? Snell should be more than just the Yankees' "settling" option in the wake of Cease talks collapsing.