Yankees could pursue future Hall of Fame pitcher to reinforce starting rotation

MLB: Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles, yankees
Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

As the trade deadline approaches in late July, New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman faces significant challenges. With evident gaps in the roster, prioritizing infield support and strengthening the bullpen are atop the team’s agenda. Recent weeks have seen considerable turnover in the bullpen, underscoring the need for a reliable arm to bolster the lineup.

Yankees Exploring Options: Potential Acquisition of Max Scherzer

In their quest to enhance the pitching staff, the Yankees might consider an unconventional approach by shifting one of their starters to the bullpen and adding a seasoned veteran. A potential solution could emerge from the Texas Rangers, where 39-year-old Max Scherzer is expected to be available. As a rental whose contract expires in 2025, Scherzer could be an affordable option, especially with the Rangers likely to cover the majority of his salary.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Texas Rangers
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According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Rangers could be looking to firesale a number of key pitchers.

“Barring a dramatic turnaround, rival GMs expect the Rangers to make starters Max Scherzer, Michael Lorenzen, and Andrew Heaney available, along with relievers David Robertson and Kirby Yates,” Bob Nightengale said.

Assessing Scherzer’s Current Form and Potential Impact

Despite his age, Scherzer has a commendable track record, including a stellar 2022 season with the New York Mets where he posted a 2.29 ERA over 145.1 innings. Although his performance has dipped this season—with a 2.70 ERA in just 16.2 innings and a noticeable decline in strikeouts—his extensive playoff experience, totaling 143 innings with a 3.78 ERA, could be invaluable for the Yankees in the postseason.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles
Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Scherzer’s Regression and Adaptation Strategy

Scherzer’s declining fastball velocity, now at 92.6 mph down from 93.7 mph last season, alongside reduced pitch movement, suggests he may be nearing the end of his prime. However, the Yankees could creatively utilize him in various roles. Given his effectiveness in the early innings, Scherzer could serve as a strategic relief option or an emergency starter, adapting to multiple roles as needed throughout the season.

Balancing Priorities: Infield and Bullpen Enhancements

While the Yankees’ primary focus remains on boosting their offensive capabilities in the infield, exploring creative solutions like Scherzer for the bullpen could provide them with a versatile asset for the remainder of the season. This dual approach might just be what the team needs to navigate through the playoffs and beyond.

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