Hopefully, for New York Yankees fans, this will not be an offseason of discontent. Many Yankee fans believe that the Yankees won’t do what is necessary to put together a team that can win a World Series. Some believe this because general manager Brian Cashman did nothing with the club’s needs before the trade deadline. But fear not, this is a different situation with all the free agents.
Last year the Yankees went out and spent for the best pitcher in baseball for $324 million over nine years, at which point Cole will be 38 years old and near the end of his career. But that is then, and this is now. Cole needs a lot of help in a pitching rotation that now basically only includes him. After the World Series, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ all became free agents. Leaving only he and Jordan Montgomery to pitch during the 2021 season.
The most logical help could come in Trevor Bauer, his college mate that is the best starting pitcher on the free-agent market. Other than his supposed feud with Cole, the only other problem is how much it would cost the New York Yankees to acquire him. Cole realizes a one-two punch with him, and Trevor would be a game-changer; the two are likely to put any disagreements they have on the back burner as they both have a quest for a World Series ring.
There is little hope that the Yankees will spend for Bauer, who will require a salary that the Yankees are sure not to want to pay. But as the offseason progresses the options are becoming fewer. Kevin Gausman and Marcus Stroman have already accepted qualifying offers from their home teams, taking them out of the free-agent pool.
Still, the Yankees do have options. Probably the easiest is to resign Mashiro Tanaka, but they won’t do that at the $23 million he earned in 2020. He just isn’t that pitcher anymore but would be a simple fix for fifth in the rotation if they can get him to sign a deeply discounted one-year contract. Midseason next year they should be getting back Luis Severino. If Hal Steinbrenner is willing to take Domingo German back after his domestic violence suspension, that still leaves a hole in the rotation.
The Yankees could move up Tanaka and insert Montgomery in the fifth slot, but Montgomery was inconsistent last season just like Tanaka was. The New York Yankees really need a mid-rotation pitcher to bolster the rotation. The obvious choices out there are Charlie Morton, Lance Lynn, and Jake Odorizzi. Morton would be for a short contract, Lynn would require a trade, Odorizzi’s is the economical choice.
There is always a chance that the New York Yankees will retain Tanaka and go with what they have. That rotation at the start of the season could look like Gerret Cole, Domingo German, Masahiro Tanaka, Deivi Garcia ,and Jordan Montgomery. Upon the return of Luis Severino, mid-season German would move down and be replaced with Severino, leaving Garcia and Montgomery to fight it out for that fifth spot.
However, if Steinbrenner and the Yankees really want to win a world series after an eleven year draught they will bite the bullet and get Trevor Bauer, a game changer that will make all these other moves unnecessary.