Yankees lose 3 starting pitchers to free agency/outright

domingo german, yankees
May 6, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German (0) looks down during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are gearing up for a dynamic offseason, anticipating a bustling free agency period filled with numerous trade possibilities. The front office is in the final stages of refining their strategy and philosophies. With superstar slugger Aaron Judge hinting at “bigger moves,” fans are left in eager anticipation.

Pursuit of Juan Soto

The team’s interest in Juan Soto is undeniable, and making a play for his skills should be a priority. As a left-handed hitter of his caliber, he would be a valuable addition to a lineup that experienced difficulties during Judge’s absences in 2023.

Reinforcing the Starting Pitching

In light of the team’s offensive requirements, there’s also a need to bolster the starting pitching roster, particularly after the departure of three key pitchers at season’s end.

Evaluating Yankees’ Starting Pitchers

1. Frankie Montas

There’s speculation that the Yankees might retain Frankie Montas with a one-year contract worth around $10 million.

At 30 years old, Montas pitched a mere 1.1 innings this past season due to shoulder surgery. Yet, he recorded 144.1 innings in 2022 and 187 innings in 2021. His performance in 2022 depicted a player whose potential was hindered by injuries after joining the Yankees midseason.

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
Sep 30, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Frankie Montas (47) during the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

With the Oakland Athletics, he maintained a 3.18 ERA, a 3.35 FIP, and 9.37 strikeouts per nine over 104.2 innings. He also had a 73.6% left-on-base rate and a 46.1% ground ball rate. Should Montas provide reliable No. 5 starter output for the Yankees, a $10 million investment would be judicious. His potential to exceed that role gives ample reason to consider him a valuable asset.

Given Montas’s solid performance in two of the last three seasons, a short-term investment seems prudent. Indications are that the Yankees will proceed with this move, suggesting that Luis Severino might depart unopposed.

2. Luis Severino

The Yankees exercised Severino’s $15 million option last season, which accounted for $12.2 million against the luxury tax. Unfortunately, Severino’s performance declined drastically from his 2022 form, marred by injuries. He threw 89.1 innings, recording his career-lowest strikeout rate, an increase in walks, and a career-high of 2.32 home runs per nine. He ended the season with a 6.65 ERA, a 65.9% left-on-base rate, and a 42.2% ground ball rate. For the first time, Severino logged a negative WAR, rendering him a liability.

The Yankees have allowed Severino considerable time to reclaim his form, but consistency has eluded him. It may be in both parties’ best interest for Severino to pursue a fresh start elsewhere.

3. Domingo German

Domingo German’s tenure with the Yankees came to a close as he was removed from the roster on Thursday afternoon.

At 31, German had a momentous game against the Oakland Athletics this season but faced setbacks, including being placed on the restricted list for alcohol-related issues. He completed the season with a 4.56 ERA, 9.44 strikeouts per nine, a 65.3% left-on-base rate, and a 39.4% ground ball rate over 108.2 innings. While German played a substantial role in the bullpen, the Yankees are optimistic about Clarke Schmidt’s potential and Michael King’s transition to the rotation.

The hope is that German will make strides in his personal life and continue his recovery after a distressing incident that led to an early end to his season.

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