Yankees could feature 2 new elite pitchers in starting rotation next season

olympics: baseball-men semifinal - jpn-kor, yoshinobu yamamoto, yankees
Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees‘ upcoming off-season seems to be honing in on bolstering their starting pitcher lineup. The imminent loss of key players like Luis Severino and Frankie Montas in free agency looms large.

Speculation also suggests the Yankees might bid adieu to Domingo German. With Severino and Montas possibly moving on unless they accept budget-friendly deals, the Yankees may channel their attention to more resilient alternatives.

Montas, though having showcased some talent in a late-season game against the Kansas City Royals, hasn’t provided enough evidence to draw decisive conclusions. Severino’s year was marred by a series of injuries, culminating in a high-grade left oblique strain, leaving him with a concerning 6.65 ERA over 89.1 innings. His season’s performance can be aptly described as underwhelming.

Given the luxury tax salary commitments—$12.2 million for Severino and $7.5 million for Montas—the Yankees might consider pooling resources to chase a top-tier international pitcher.

Yamamoto on the Yankees’ Radar

General manager Brian Cashman has expressed admiration for Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the 25-year-old sensation from Japan. Playing for the Orix Buffaloes this season, Yamamoto boasted a phenomenal record: 16 wins, 164 innings pitched, a stingy 1.21 ERA, and an impressive 169 strikeouts.

The Yankees’ strategy leans towards durable and young talent, and Yamamoto, still in his mid-20s, presents an intriguing prospect. While MLB transitions can be challenging for international players, Yamamoto’s representation, shared with Kodai Senga (who successfully transitioned to the New York Mets), bodes well for a smooth move.

Pairing Gerrit Cole with a fit Carlos Rodon and potentially adding Yamamoto to the mix can be a tantalizing prospect for the Yankees’ starting rotation.

Roster Additions and Transitions

The Yanks aren’t solely banking on new acquisitions. They’re eyeing internal transitions, too. Michael King, transitioning from the bullpen, showcased potential as a starter, ending the year with impressive stats: a 2.75 ERA and striking out nearly 11 batters per nine innings over a 104.2-inning span. His ability to deliver around five innings per appearance offers the team flexibility.

In addition, the team remains optimistic about Clarke Schmidt despite his inconsistent debut year as a starter.

The Yankees are no strangers to signing international pitchers. Masahiro Tanaka’s acquisition previously proved fruitful. With the young and talented Yamamoto emerging as a hot prospect, the Yankees might just be preparing to make a significant splash in the international pool again.