The Yankees made one move to reinforce their starting ration on Thursday, signing Marcus Stroman to a two-year, $37 million deal. Of course, Stroman has had his run-ins with Yankee fans in the past and made some hostile comments toward the organization, but general manager Brian Cashman is willing to take the risk on a short-term deal that reinforces a unit that desperately needed help.
Stroman has plenty of experience, putting together some successful seasons, and has pitched over 100 innings in his last seven active seasons. That is something to be valued, but the Yankees now simply hope he doesn’t get himself into too much trouble with the media, especially coming off a season where Domingo German threw a TV in the clubhouse in an alcohol-induced rage and Josh Donaldson got into a spat with Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox (2022).
The Yankees should try to avoid these negative situations, but it seems as if they can’t shy away and Stroman makes too much sense for them as a pitcher to get in the way of their lucrative brand. Not even Stroman can do enough damage to the Yankees to dismantle their spot as a world icon. However, the team is still looking for pitching support and has their eyes on two arms, one another rotation option and the other a bullpen piece.
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The Yankees Are in the Mix For Blake Snell
Right off the bat, Lefty NL Cy Young award winner from 2023, Blake Snell, has been exchanging numbers with the Yankees on a potential contract.
At 31 years old, Snell wants more money than the Yankees gave Carlos Rodon last year at $162 million. He already rejected the Yankees’ initial offer, but there may not be many other suitors, so Cashman can wait patiently for that number to come down and become more realistic.
Snell would undoubtedly support their World Series aspirations in 2024, but a long-term contract for a 31-year-old pitcher spells trouble. He did pitch 180 innings this past season, hosting a 2.25 ERA, and 11.70 strikeouts per nine, including an 86.7% left-on-base rate and 44.4% ground ball rate.
There are issues with his longevity and ability to push deep into games, which is a bit problematic. Snell averaged 5.2 innings per start, which isn’t bad but also suggests the team will need to lean heavily on their bullpen. If they want to go in this direction, they should also consider bringing in a top relief pitcher, such as Jordan Hicks.
According to Jon Morosi of the MLB Network, the Yankees have checked in on Hicks, a pitcher who throws over 100 mph on average with his fastball. This past season, he enjoyed 65.2 innings, posting a 3.29 ERA, 11.10 strikeouts per nine, a 72.1% left-on-base rate, and a 58.3% ground ball rate.
Giving pitching coach Matt Blake an arm like Hicks would be tremendous since he has a nasty fastball and slider combination.
The Yankees have a chance to build something truly special on the pitching front, but it ultimately comes down to risk and if Cashman is willing to pay up for players over 30 years old who will undoubtedly experience regression over the next few seasons. If he feels as though this team is ready to win a championship now, making the moves may be worthwhile, but if it blows up in his face, his job is likely on the line.