Why the Yankees will settle for Madison Bumgarner over Gerrit Cole

New York Yankees looking into Madison Bumgarner?
Jul 28, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Spending money hasn’t been a problem in the past for New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman, it’s just where they spent it that has posed challenges.

Unloading two monster contracts, one offered, and the other consumed in a trade, both landed in the outfield. Neither player featured in a full-time role last season, chewing up $47 million in salary space. Of course, these two Major Leaguer’s are Giancarlo Stanton and Jacoby Ellsbury. The latter is entering a battle with the Yankees, who are trying to recoup $26 million in cap space for the 2020 season after cutting the former Bostonian.

The allocation of money towards the outfield has been consistent, but the starting pitching rotation hasn’t seen much in terms of investment. This could be the offseason the Yankees break the bank and push beyond the luxury tax to acquire a top arm, but then again, history has shown us they probably won’t.

The Yankees could settle for a lesser pitcher:

Cashman could easily decide to pursue a starter like Madison Bumgarner over Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg. MadBum would be exponentially cheaper and wouldn’t require an excessive-year deal. He can still pitch quality baseball and is dominant in the postseason, a feature the Yankees are looking to add.

Madison earned just $12 million last season, finishing the year with a 3.90 ERA, the highest in his career. Considering James Paxton had the best ERA for the Yankees this season at 3.82, adding another reliable starter like the former San Francisco Giant would be a good move, for the right price.

The Yanks would likely have to unload around $16-18 million for his services, but if they’re not worried about the price, they can quickly pursue Cole, who will land in the $30+ million range in free agency. It all boils down to how much Steinbrenner is willing to approve, and comments earlier this offseason suggested he’s more keen on prioritizing scoring production than pitching.