When speaking about the potential of signing a big-name free agent pitcher, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman favored the word “culture.” The idea of culture is always the Yankees’ way of lowballing free agent prospects, attempting to sell them on the perennial success of the organization and not the zero’s at the end of the contract.
However, there will be plenty of competition, which will drive up the price for Cole and Strasburg. Cashman will have to be comfortable pushing past the luxury tax if he wishes to grab a top arm to bolster the starting pitching rotation, something he’s been cautious about in recent years.
The Yankees are making early moves:
“It’s so early in the process in my conversations with the personnel,’’ Cashman said. “Clearly, the bigger the name — and they’ve earned the right — the bigger the contract, the bigger the expectation, the bigger the money. There’s gonna be opportunities for some people to take advantage of great performances in this marketplace. They’ve earned that right.”
The Yankees have already talked with Cole and Strasburg’s agent, Scott Boras, in an attempt to gauge their price-tags. It’s expected that Cole will land over $200 million in a multi-year deal while Strasburg lands a bit lower.
“We’re just gonna put our best foot forward, making sure we can share who we are and what we represent,’’ Cashman said Thursday. “Not just with the contract and the offer. We’ll try to make sure they understand what our culture is — along with a winning contract offer to make sure to try to win the day. Even that doesn’t guarantee anything.”
Investing that much money into a starter requires guaranteed success. High-end outings, multiple innings, the ability to bounce back, rack up strikeouts, and perform during the postseason are all traits the Yankees need to add to their rotation. The return of Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery should assist in this facet, but Cashman is reportedly interested in strengthening the bullpen, which could be a deterrent to helping the starters.
The Yankees already have Severino, Montgomery, Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Domingo Geman, and other youth options to utilize in 2020, but adding a top gun would undoubtedly make a difference. It all boils down to how much Cashman is willing to spend.