Yankees lose yet another free-agent pitching option

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees‘ quest to reinforce their starting rotation took another hit on Saturday afternoon, with free agent pitcher Frankie Montas signing a one-year, $16 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

The Yankees had discussed bringing back Montas on a one-year deal, but the Reds were clearly willing to overpay for a player coming off a down season due to injury. Montas spent all of 2023 recovering from shoulder surgery, pitching just 1.1 innings in the final game of the 2023 season.

However, he’s coming off two consecutive years before that with a minimum of 144 innings pitched. In fact, he hosted a 3.37 ERA over 187 innings in 2021 and enjoyed a 3.18 ERA across 104.2 innings with Oakland before being traded to the Yankees in 2022.

[su_posts template=”templates/list-loop.php” posts_per_page=”3″ tax_term=”1622326″ offset=”1″ order=”desc”]

The Yankees Now Have to Expand Their Search

Montas would’ve been a good candidate for the Bombers to sign to a prove-it deal, hoping he would come back fully healthy and ready to contribute. For now, the team only has Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes, and Clarke Schmidt as their primary starters.

Both Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell remain available on the free agent market, but general manager Brian Cashman may be looking to force a trade. He may look to Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Guardians as an option, who likely won’t be too expensive to acquire, given he’s coming off of down here and is in a contract year.

Of course, Cashman could go more expensive, looking to land Dylan Cease or Corbin Burnes, but picking up apart his farm system even further may not be advisable. At this point, the Yankees are running out of options, and they desperately need to add more pitching if they want to make a serious World Series run in 2024. Losing out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto was a worst-case scenario after securing Juan Soto, and now the organization needs to get creative to solve their issues.