Yankees likely bowing out of market to secure top pitcher

mlb: colorado rockies at san diego padres, blake snell, yankees
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The New York Yankees made their starting pitching move this past week, signing veteran right-hander Marcus Stroman to a two-year, $37 million deal. Stroman’s contract includes a 2026 vesting option and a 2025 player option, triggered by pitching a minimum of 140 innings.

Stroman will have extra motivation to stay healthy and keep playing, having pitched just short of 140 innings over the past two seasons, maxing out at 138.2.

With that being said, the Yankees now have five starters in their rotation, meaning if they were to go out and acquire another arm like Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery, they would have to decide on Clarke Schmidt or Nestor Cortes moving out.

At this moment, Cortes is more than capable of featuring as a prominent arm in the unit and Schmidt enjoyed his first season as a starter last year, mounting some momentum and building optimism he can improve.

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The Yankees are Likely Done in Starting Pitching Market

The Yankees will likely hold out on the market for now, unless Snell’s price comes way down, and wait until the trade deadline next summer to make any additional moves if required. They can always try to make a late push for Corbin Burnes, who’s heading into free agency next off-season, or look to trade for another expiring player at a cheaper price point.

However, with their rotation solidified and the expectation that prospect Will Warren will make an impact this upcoming season either out of the bullpen or as a starter, the Yankees would have to do some maneuvering to fit into the equation.

Next season is a different story, especially since the Yankees could spend on Burnes over a long-term contract or consider Zack Wheeler, a veteran who still maintains quality stuff and is a postseason monster.

The team has options, but they aren’t rushing into any big decisions. General manager Brian Cashman wants to refrain from big expenditures on players over 30 years old. The team is already locked into several contracts that are aging poorly, and Snell on a five or six-year deal would undoubtedly strap the Yankees to a diminishing player coming off his best season — regression to the mean should always be expected.

Stroman is a good fit for Yankee Stadium given his low home run rates and high ground ball rates. His upside is certainly tangible and the Yankees are banking on it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they ran into some issues and looked to the trade market to reinforce the rotation over the summer.