In an ideal scenario, the New York Yankees would bolster their rotation this off-season with a star pitcher. General manager Brian Cashman’s interest in Japanese sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto is no secret.
However, with teams like the New York Mets, backed by Steve Cohen’s deep pockets, the competition for Yamamoto is expected to be fierce. The 25-year-old’s impressive stats this season, with his durability across 171 innings, make him an attractive prospect. Given that the Yankees currently have three starting pitchers set to earn less than $10 million in total for 2024, there’s ample budget to chase high-caliber talent.
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Value Starters for the Yankees
Starting the list is Clarke Schmidt, who had a mixed year with the Yankees. In his debut as a starting pitcher, the 27-year-old posted a 4.64 ERA, 4.42 FIP, and 8.43 strikeouts per nine over 159 innings. Despite the inconsistencies, the Yankees see him as a potential back-end starter for 2024. With a modest salary of $2.6 million, he offers decent value for the rotation.
Left-handed pitcher and fan-favorite Nestor Cortés had a challenging 2023 season marred by injuries. At 28, Cortés managed only 63.1 innings, a significant drop from his 158.1 innings in 2022. With a 4.97 ERA and 69.1% left-on-base rate, his shoulder injury clearly affected his performance. However, the Yankees are optimistic about a strong comeback next season. Earning approximately $3.9 million, a return to his 2022 form would make Cortés a pivotal asset to the rotation.
Michael King proved his worth after moving from the bullpen to the starting rotation. This 28-year-old dynamo concluded the season with impressive stats: a 2.75 ERA and 3.13 FIP over 104.2 innings. Focusing on his starts, spanning 35.2 innings, he boasted a 2.02 ERA, striking out 45 batters with an 11.36 strikeouts per nine rate. Projected to earn $2.6 million via arbitration, King offers phenomenal value.
Financial Flexibility for Big Moves
While the Yankees have significant investments in Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodon, they still have a sizable budget—over $50 million—for the upcoming off-season. This financial flexibility positions them well to make a compelling pitch for the much-coveted Yoshinobu Yamamoto.