Last winter, the priority for the New York Yankees was bringing an ace, and they did that by signing Gerrit Cole to a record nine-year deal. This time around, they don’t need a frontline starter per se, but instead, they need a reliable, successful arm to follow Cole in the rotation and perhaps another depth piece. In addition to that, resigning one of their own free agents could be a good idea (Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton are hitting the market.)
The Yankees don’t seem to be in a hurry even though they already saw Charlie Morton and Mike Minor ink deals with other teams. They should be exploring all avenues to improve the rotation, including external free agents and the trade market.
Speaking of the latter, a piece of news came up from Philadelphia that may interest the New York Yankees. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Phillies “are open to offers” for right-handed starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, one of the best and most talented free agents of last year’s market.
Olney wrote that the Phils have told other clubs they are “facing a financial crunch” and are looking to move large contracts. Bryce Harper would be their largest deal, but so far, “there is no indication yet” that they are thinking about trading the star outfielder, who can exercise no-trade rights anyway.
The Yankees could use an arm like Wheeler
However, they could be motivated to get rid of their second largest deal, which is Wheeler. The Yankees, as a rotation-needy club (to be fair, who isn’t these days?) could try to send a package of prospects and players to the Phillies in exchange for a very good hurler that knows what it is like to pitch in New York (he played five seasons with the Mets prior to signing with Philadelphia.)
Wheeler put pen to paper on a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies, but they are already having second thoughts about that. The Yankees, therefore, should be at least kicking the tires on a 30-year-old pitcher with a career 3.70 ERA and 3.67 FIP in 820.1 innings.
Will the Yankees call the Phillies about making a deal for Zack Wheeler? Do they have the assets to make a serious run at him?