Yankees expected to add a significant piece to their pitching staff

MLB: New York Yankees-Aaron Judge press conference
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are one of the most interesting teams on the market given their clear need for pitching, but there isn’t an immediate match that stands out. On one hand, the Yankees are one of the richest teams in baseball and could save valuable trade chips for the deadline by just spending money, but on another hand the two top starters remaining on the market are commanding deals beyond the team’s comfort zone. It’s a precarious spot for the team to be in, but according to Jon Heyman, owner Hal Steinbrenner is ‘on board’ with the Yankees making a splash for their rotation.

It’s unclear what that splash could be, as the team has engaged on various fronts but isn’t close on anything, but with Spring Training kicking off in roughly two months, time is of the essence.

Pitching Remains Priority for the Yankees

MLB: General Manager's Meetings
Nov 7, 2023; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaks to the media during the MLB
General Manager’s Meetings at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Pitching is the Yankees’ biggest need, specifically in their rotation where they don’t have a fifth starter. Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s decision to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers shocked the Yankees, and they’ve found themselves in pivot mode as they look for someone to fill out their rotation. We learned earlier this week that the team is interested in RHP Dylan Cease, who the White Sox will ask plenty for, and reading the tea leaves it doesn’t feel like the Yankees will have the best offer on the table.

The Baltimore Orioles have an array of elite-level prospects that could entice the White Sox a lot more, and their need for an impact starter is arguably greater than the Yankees’ need. Perhaps the Yankees are able to swing a deal with Chicago, but there are concerns regarding Dylan Cease after a down year that make him a target with some skepticism. It seems as is Miami and New York have also engaged on conversations, although it remains unclear whether those conversations will go beyond exploratory interest.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Tampa Bay Rays
Jul 25, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Miami Marlins pitcher Edward Cabrera (27) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

If the Yankees are going to add starting pitching they’ll have to get creative, and they’ll also have to make a move that makes them wince a bit. Whether that’s dealing a top prospect like Spencer Jones or handing out a nine figure deal, Brian Cashman is going to be tasked with making decisions that affect the franchise not just for 2024, but for the long-term, and baseball isn’t a sport where you can guarantee championships. That being said, if the Yankees add an impact pitcher and do end up with a title, it immediately validates the cost to acquire said title.

What the Yankees also need is a bounce back from Carlos Rodon, who will be critical to their World Series chances and can turn the tide of a playoff series if he’s like his 2022 self. Nestor Cortes, who was an All-Star back in 2022, is also looking to get back to form following a year where a 4.97 ERA across just 12 starts. The addition of Juan Soto has propelled the team into one of the best rosters in baseball on-paper, but the Yankees still need to improve.

It’s an uncertain and inflated market, and perhaps the Yankees find ways to get creative, but it’s looking like they’ll need to make a hefty investment to get a deal done for an impact starter, and Hal Steinbrenner has now made his support clear.