5 low-cost starters that make sense for the Yankees

Andres Chavez
New York Yankees, Chris Archer
Mar 6, 2020; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Chris Archer (24) pitching against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees need to bring one or two additional pitchers to the roster, as their depth was diminished by the departure of Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ, plus Luis Severino’s Tommy John surgery.

Here are some cheap alternatives still floating around in the free agent market:

Adam Wainwright

Adam Wainwright was a top-notch starter from 2007 to 2015, after a fantastic season as a reliever for the World-Series winning Cardinals in 2006. He then started to decline in 2016 and was a 4.00+ ERA pitcher until 2019.

However, in the shortened version of the 2020 campaign, the man with the beautiful curveball finished with a 3.15 ERA (4.11 FIP) in 65.2 frames. The sample is small, but he was very impressive and is now a free agent after earning a $2 million salary.

He is now 39, but the Yankees can consider a one-year deal if he doesn’t return to St. Louis. Chances are that he will, but you never know.

Homer Bailey

Homer Bailey has seemingly been around forever, but he isn’t that old, at 34 years old. He boasts a fantastic splitter that had a 38.4 whiff rate and a .208 xwOBA in 2019, his last significant sample.

Bailey battled a biceps injury in 2020 that limited him to only two starts with the Minnesota Twins. However, when he’s healthy, he can be a decent back-end starter for a contending team, which is what he did in Oakland in 2019. Even in his two 2020 starts with the Twins, he was good, with a 3.38 ERA.

He started that season with the Kansas City Royals but was traded near the deadline. With the A’s, Bailey had a 4.30 ERA in 73.1 frames. The Yankees could give Bailey a try as cheap pitching depth to have around.

Carlos Rodon

Rodon has battled lots of injuries during his career, especially to his pitching shoulder. However, he is healthy now, and could be an option for the Yankees after the Chicago White Sox decided not to tender him a contract.

Rodon, after all, is only 28 years old and has a 4.14 ERA in over 500 career innings. He may not reach the otherwordly potential he had when he was drafted, but he can be effective and shouldn’t cost much.

Chris Archer

Another non-tendered pitcher, Archer and the Yankees might be a worthwhile experiment. He has always lacked a reliable third pitch, and Sam Briend and Matt Blake can work with him to help him gain some consistency and try to give him that missing weapon.

Injuries and ineffectiveness have lowered his price. Maybe the Yankees should kick the tires. After all, we are talking about a pitcher that had three consecutive 200+ strikeout seasons between 2015 and 2017.

Garrett Richards

The man with the wicked curve and the never-ending string of injuries, Garrett Richards can be one of those pitchers that are supremely effective in a per-inning basis but fails to cover more than five frames each start. And that’s OK!

The Yankees should have some room for a pitcher of Richards’ talent. He had a 4.03 ERA in 51.1 frames with the San Diego Padres, and has a 3.62 career ERA with lots of strikeouts.