Yankees likely bowing out of race to sign NL Cy Young award-winning pitcher

mlb: colorado rockies at san diego padres, blake snell, yankees
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The mantra for the New York Yankees this off-season was to get younger and more durable. They achieved that in the outfield, landing Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo as primary starters. Both players have played a minimum of 140 games over the past three consecutive seasons, with Soto playing all 162 games this past campaign.

General manager Brian Cashman was trying to find a pitcher that fit that mold as well, targeting Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who had pitched a minimum of 170 innings over the past three years with the Orix Buffaloes. As we now know, Yamamoto signed a 12-year, $325 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, ending the Yankees’ pursuit.

The team is trying to pick up the pieces and add more talent to the rotation, a desperate need after trading Michael King and losing Frankie Montas, Luis Severino, and Domingo German this off-season. Montas signed a one-year, $16 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, taking one primary free-agent option off the market.

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The Yankees Have Two Options Left, But They’re Older and Expensive

The top two remaining alternatives are Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell, but the Yankees are likely out of the race for the NL Cy Young award winner, according to MLB insider.

“I don’t think the top free agent options left fit what the Yankees need: Blake Snell has way too much [Carlos] Rodon-type risk to him, Jordan Montgomery will cost about what Rodon did last offseason and offer less upside while also not being the type of pitcher the Yankees have targeted (i.e., younger or with better raw stuff),” Kiley McDaniel of ESPN wrote. “After those two, the remaining free agent starters are mid-rotation types and New York needs more impact than that.”

Given the state of the market, the Yankees will have to pay top dollar for either starter, which doesn’t necessarily fit the bill for what Cashman is trying to accomplish. Both Montgomery and Snell are 31 years old, meaning a long-term deal would bring them into the latter end of their prime, which could experience massive regression. The Yankees already signed Carlos Rodan to a six-year, $162 million the last off-season, making it unlikely they will spend that type of money again on a player above 30.

With that being said, Snell is a far bigger risk than Montgomery, given his inconsistencies and injuries over the years. Snell pitched 180 innings this past season with the San Diego Padres, which is an anomaly after pitching fewer than 130 innings for the past four consecutive years. Of course, they would be betting on his upside and running back an elite season, but that is a significant risk and one Cashman is likely unwilling to take.

The Yankees’ offense will have to get creative with the rotation, potentially trading for a player on an expiring deal or waiting until the trade deadline next summer to make a move. One thing is for sure: The team needs several youngsters to step up, not notably Clarke Schmidt, Will Warren, And potentially Hampton.