Yankees could keep tabs on refined former All-Star pitcher ahead of trade deadline

Mar 24, 2024; Bradenton, Florida, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Martin Perez (54) throws a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankees at LECOM Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Pitching has been a major factor that has kept the New York Yankees from coming out of the American League East and reaching the World Series, but that already looks like it can change this season, especially if they trade for another star flamethrower by the 2024 MLB trade deadline.

The Yankees have five active pitchers all putting in work to begin the season, and reigning AL Cy Young award winner Gerrit Cole has yet to toss an inning. Albeit, Adam Weinrib of Yanks Go Yard proposed that the Yankees keep a close eye on Pittsburgh Pirates righty Martin Perez in the coming weeks (h/t Jon Conahan of Fan Nation’s Inside the Pinstripes).

Yankees should keep watch on Pirates’ Martin Perez in the midst of his strong 2024 outing

Mar 24, 2024; Bradenton, Florida, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Martin Perez (54) throws a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankees at LECOM Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 24, 2024; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Martin Perez (54) throws a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankees at LECOM Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Perez is 1-1 in six games played with a 2.86 ERA and 27 strikeouts this year. The 2022 All-Star has played at least 32 games in his last three seasons prior. Going off of that baseline, the 33-year-old is on pace for 143 strikeouts, which would be the second-highest of his career and would finish just a tick below all of the Yankees’ five core guys in the rotation. His 1.356 WHIP has not been brag-worthy, but he’s given the Pirates good production otherwise.

Perez is producing in line with the Yankees’ standout pitching core

Apr 27, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Martin Perez (54) throws a pitch against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 27, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Martin Perez (54) throws a pitch against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

New York’s pitching staff is doing a commendable job on the mound through 31 games. All five including Carlos Rodon (30 K), Nestor Cortes (37 K), Clarke Schmidt (34 K), Luis Gil (35 K), and Marcus Stroman (32K) all have at least 32 K’s.

The Yankees could strengthen their unit even further by adding a sixth arm in support of Cole once he returns, and Perez, like all other strong pitchers linked to the team, would get his biggest chances to shine while Cole remains out until at least the month of June, and be as good an end-of-the-rotation reinforcement as there is among names circulating in potential trade reports.

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