As the Yankees continue to look for starting pitching options on the market, Bob Nightengale of USA Today is reporting some notable engagement from their FO. The Miami Marlins have a surplus of excellent starting pitching and continue to develop top arms even after the news that 2022 NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara underwent Tommy John Surgery that will cause him to miss the 2024 season. Nightengale reports that the Yankees have had ‘serious conversations’ with the Miami Marlins about their pitching crop headlined by young ace Jesus Luzardo.
While it’s unclear whether the two sides will come together on a deal, the Yankees seem highly motivated to land an impact starter.
Yankees Engaged In Multiple Trade Talks
Jesus Luzardo would be a splash move, as the left-hander finally broke out by posting a 3.58 ERA across 32 starts, setting a new career high in strikeouts (208) and innings pitched (178.2). The 26-year-old left-hander is one of the most electric starters on the market, and has a fastball that averaged 96.7 MPH this past season. His four-seamer isn’t a high whiff pitch, but he had a +16 Run Value on the pitch as it allowed just a .298 wOBA, and from a lower slot it can be deceptive for hitters even if the vertical ride on the pitch isn’t anything to write home about.
His slider is filthy, sporting a 51.8% Whiff Rate and .292 wOBA against, and while it was a net negative in Run Value (-4), it was his best pitch in terms of Stuff+ at 110. The price for a pitcher like Luzardo who has a variety of weapons to go to in any matchup and is entering his age-26 season will be sky-high, and it’s unclear whether the Yankees would have the ammo to pull of a deal like that. It’s easy to see why the Yankees would covet him given the upside and electric stuff, and he could be a pitcher that takes off in 2024 and improves upon a season where he held a K-BB% of 20.6%.
Edward Cabrera could be a lower-cost option for the Yankees on the trade market as the 25-year-old has plenty of talent but struggles it control and durability. He put up a 4.24 ERA across 22 outings last season, but with his 15.2% BB%, the right-hander would need to make tweaks in New York, which could prove unsuccessful and leave the Yankees with another underperforming rotation. On the other hand, if the team was able to unlock that ceiling, they could get a middle-of-the-rotation or even frontline starter under multiple years of control.
Bob Nightengale also reports that the Yankees have engaged the Cleveland Guardians on Shane Bieber, the 2020 AL Cy Young winner coming off of a down year in 2023. The velocity decline is concerning, but it occured in 2022 where he finished with a sub-3 ERA and finished 7th in the Cy Young vote. In 2023, he put up a 3.80 ERA across 21 starts for a 2.1 fWAR, still remaining an above-average starter but struggling to generate swings and misses and suffering from elbow inflammation during the summer.
The 28-year-old is currently training at Driveline, which could be an indicator that he’s looking to regain some of the velocity he’s lost since 2020, but this could be the goldilocks option for New York. He won’t be giftwrapped to the Yankees, but they wouldn’t have to part ways with the premium package that it would take for Dylan Cease or the aforementioned Jesus Luzardo. With just one year left on his deal, he isn’t a massive financial burden either, counting as just $12 million towards the Luxury Tax based on arbitration estimations.
One concern is that the Guardians could hold onto him in an attempt to compete for the weak AL Central, but the Yankees might have enough to at least keep them engaged in trade talks. Everson Pereira is a natural fit for the Guardians as a power-hitting outfielder, but his stock seems to have taken a hit since the deadline following a troublesome debut in the Major Leagues. Upper-level MiLB depth on the pitching side could also entice the Guardians who have a track record of developing young pitching as well.
It’s clear that the Yankees need pitching, and with Hal Steinbrenner reportedly ‘on board’ with a splash, they could pull the trigger on a deal that gets them the reinforcements they’re looking for.