Yankees emerge as ‘top candidate’ for free agent pitcher

marcus stroman, yankees
May 29, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) reacts as after forcing Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe (not pictured) to hit into a double play during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have been scouring the market to acquire a starting pitcher over the past few months, but their quest hit a wall after missing out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The circulating names have mainly included free agents Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell, with a few trade opportunities mixed in.

However, this past weekend, Marcus Stroman started to gain a little bit of steam regarding a potential signing with the Yankees. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that Stroman had told the Yankees he would like to pitch for them, but general manager Brian Cashman declined to give him an offer. Mutual interest has been boiling, and Jon Morosi of the MLB Network stated on Wednesday morning that Stroman has emerged as the “top candidate” with the Yankees.

The Yankees Have Legit Intrest in Stroman

Aside from his controversial personality, the 32-year-old right-handed pitcher remains a solid arm with plenty of value.

Over his last seven seasons played, he’s pitched a minimum of 100 innings, including 136.2 this past season with the Chicago Cubs. His velocity dipped by 0.7 mph on his fastball, which seems to be a consistent trend over the past few years. He earned a 3.95 ERA, a 65.9% left-on base rate, and a 57.1% ground ball rate.

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Fortunately, his home runs per nine settled at 0.59, and he gave up 3.42 walks per nine. Given he’s a heavy ground ball pitcher and doesn’t give up many homers, he seems to be a decent fit for Yankee Stadium. That is why Cashman avoided Shota Imanaga, given his inability to limit homers, which could’ve been problematic as a lefty pitcher in the Bronx.

However, the Yankees would have to be content with Stroman’s personality, especially if he rubs up people the wrong way. Yankee fans are hostile, and he may be inclined to react on social media and put the brand in a negative light. Of course, if the Yankees are winning and things are looking up, Stroman could become a hero, but that’s just the nature of wearing the pinstripes.

It is important to note that Stroman has been getting worse over the past few seasons, but he hasn’t featured an ERA below 4.00 since 2018. There’s still some juice left in his arm and he would be in extremely affordable comparably to the alternatives. A one-year deal may be all it takes for Cashman to land Stroman and utilize his qualities to help support their World Series aspirations in 2024.

Nonetheless, Cashman shouldn’t see Stroman as the only piece needed; the Yankees should still be trying to acquire a player via trade or spend a bit of money on a free agent. He would be, in addition, and certainly not the marquee move the team needs.