The New York Yankees finally upgraded their rotation last night after signing right-hander Marcus Stroman to a two-year deal at $37 million. The deal includes a vesting option for a third year which could bring the total deal to three-years at $55.5 million. The vesting player option would come into play if Stroman pitches 140+ innings in 2025.
If you just look at the dollars and the performance on the field, the Marcus Stroman signing is a great value signing for the Yankees. In an offseason where Frankie Montas got $16 million after only pitching an inning in 2023 and being terrible in 2022, the Yanks signed Marcus Stroman for just $2.5 million more.
Stroman is a ground ball pitcher and he was an All Star last season. He missed most of the second half with rib injury and was not the same guy after returning. You could tell he wasn’t 100% but even with the massive struggles, he still pitched to a 10-9 record with a 3.95 ERA and a 3.58 FIP.
Obviously, there are off the field items that come with Marcus Stroman and that’s what gave so many Yankees fans pause when the team’s interest started to leak out. However, I’ll say this about Marcus Stroman, he wants this. He’s always wanted to wear pinstripes and I think he was jaded by not being traded here to begin with and by some of the comments Brian Cashman made about him not being a difference maker.
However, Cashman and Stroman broke bread this week in Tampa and seemed to smooth things over. Now, the Yankees have upgraded their rotation. That said, in a year where they traded for Juan Soto to go “All In”, they can’t stop with Stroman. The Stroman signing has to be a piece, it can’t be the move for New York.
Yankees need another starter
Bob Nightengale reported last night that the Yankees were scared away from NL Cy Young award winner Blake Snell after hearing his asking price following their initial offer. It was too rich for their blood and that’s when they pivoted to Stroman. It feels like they didn’t want to play the Scott Boras game and ultimately wanted to secure a solid arm before being left with no one.
I’ll say it again, Marcus Stroman is a good signing. It’s also a signing that gives the Yankees a little leverage in potential trade talks. New York has serious interest in Dylan Cease and Corbin Burnes. While Burnes would certainly be the first choice, it doesn’t appear as of now that the Brewers are going to move him.
The Yankees have continued dialogue with the White Sox but they haven’t been interested in meeting the asking price which is incredibly high. Teams could really exploit the Yankees desperate need for pitching in talks prior to the Stroman deal because everyone knew that they needed another arm. Now, they have that arm in Stroman.
Brian Cashman can come to the table with a good offer but now he also has a full rotation in his back pocket if teams try to take advantage. He’s not in a desperate position anymore which could help his case. All that being said, I think the Yankees need to be aggressive here.
IF all goes well, you have Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, Marcus Stroman, and Nestor Cortes as your top four. If they all are clicking that could be one of the best first four in all of baseball. However, what I see when I look at that is Gerrit Cole and three question marks. The Yankees cannot be comfortable with that heading into a win-now season.
I can see the next move being a bullpen piece like a Jordan Hicks, but I don’t think they’re done adding to the rotation. They can’t be. If they don’t make another move to improve the rotation, it’ll be another massive blunder similar to the left-field blunder that Cashman made last year.