Going into the offseason, pitching was the most glaring need for the Yankees. Brian Cashman took one step towards shoring up the starting rotation when he traded top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield and two other prospects to the Seattle Mariners for James Paxton.
Despite the addition of Paxton, there was still room to add another frontline starter through free agency. Patrick Corbin was on top of most fans wishlist, but those dreams were dashed when he sign a 6 year 140 million dollar deal with the Washington Nationals. Former Yankee and 2018 postseason hero Nathan Eovaldi was another option until he decided to re-sign with the Boston Red Sox for four years and 67.7 million.
With those options off of the board, the pitching market isn’t quite as impressive. J.A Happ is seen as the most likely option left and given that he went 7-0 in the regular season with a 2.69 ERA after he was traded to the Yankees, there’s a chance that the Yankees go all out to try and sign Happ. The only transgression with that would be do you want to get into a bidding war for a starter pitcher that’s going to turn 36 next year. Dallas Keuchel is another viable option who is very similar to Happ. Though he has declined since he won the Cy Young in 2015, his postseason pedigree and age (30) could make him a more attractive option.
There are still some viable options through the trade market as well. The San Francisco Giants are sending mixed signals when it comes to Madison Bumgarner and whether or not they’re going to start a full rebuild or not with Farhan Zaidi now taking over as the President of Baseball Operations. Should the Giants choose to sell, the Yankees should be one of the first teams to call and see what it would take to trade for one of the best big game pitchers of this generation.
The Arizona Diamondbacks also seem to be reubuilding as well and will likely try to trade two of their stop starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray. Greinke seems very unlikely, as most believe the New York market would be too much for him—plus he has the Yankees as one of the teams on his no trade clause list. Ray seems like a much more viable option, and his overpowering stuff when healthy would make for a great addition in the Yankees rotation.
The Cleveland Indians have three starting pitchers that would definitely bolster the Yankees starting pitching in Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, and Corey Kluber. Kluber would definitely be the biggest addition, as he has worked his way to becoming a cy young candidate almost every year and he’s won the award in 2014 and 2017. He would undoubtedly require the most upper echelon prospects as well plus a proven MLB talent. Bauer is the youngest of the group and may have the most upside as well. He’s also coming off of the best year of his career, as he went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA. Carrasco has quietly had two of the best years of his career in 2017 and 2018—as he went 18-6 with a 3.29 ERA in 2017 and 17-10 in 2018 with a 3.38 ERA. He also struck out over 200 batters each year and averaged over 10 K’s per nine innings in each year.