2 starting pitching the Yankees could sign to replace Jameson Taillon

Andres Chavez
New York Yankees, Jameson Taillon

The New York Yankees have nine players hitting free agency, which turned to ten when Anthony Rizzo declined his player option worth $16 million for 2023. That’s a sizable number, so there is a lot of work to be done in the roster construction department.

One of those players free to sign with any team is pitcher Jameson Taillon. The right-hander was very good in 2022: in 32 starts and 177.1 innings, he had a 14-5 record and a 3.91 ERA; with 151 strikeouts and a solid 1.13 WHIP.

Taillon, however, didn’t have a particularly good showing in the postseason, and may go to another team if the Yankees don’t meet his demands. Since he is not considered a priority, that may very well end up being the case.

How can the Yankees replace Taillon?

The Yankees have several free agent arms to replace Taillon, though. Here are two of them:

Noah Syndergaard

‘Thor’ has not recovered his pre-Tommy John surgery velocity. Before the procedure (performed in the spring of 2020), he sat in the 97-98 mph range and could touch 100 with ease. Now, he averages around 94-95 mph and touches the high-90s on occasion.

The velo loss hasn’t taken away his effectiveness (3.94 ERA, 3.83 FIP) but does put a ceiling on his strikeout potential: he had a career-low 16.8% strikeout rate in 2022.

The Yankees are famous for unlocking more velocity with minor (or major) mechanical tweaks. Perhaps they can bring in Syndergaard and find out whether he can return to his old self, or at least 80% of that version.

Nathan Eovaldi

A former Yankees pitcher himself, Eovaldi is now a Red Sox stalwart, having won the 2018 World Series and found much success with the archrivals. He is now free to sign with any team, though, so anything can happen.

In an injury-arred 2022, he pitched only 109.1 frames with a 3.87 ERA. In 2021, however, Eovaldi had 5.7 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), a product of his excellent 2.79 FIP in 182.1 innings.

He could be a fine middle-of-the-rotation arm for the Yankees, one that has a 3.14 ERA in 43 postseason innings over the course of his career.