Yankees’ Marcus Stroman reportedly took smaller deal to join the team in free agency

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When Marcus Stroman signed a two-year $37 million deal with the Yankees, some in the media suggested that it was a bargain, especially given where the pitching market was headed. FanGraphs projected Stroman for a three-year $66 million deal, and even if Stroman’s vesting option for 2026 kicks in, he’ll still come short of that number. Bob Klapisch of NJ.com reports that the right-hander ‘took less money’ to sign with the Yankees, specifically passing on various West Coast teams interested in his services.

The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels were known suitors for Marcus Stroman, but after the team met with him, they believed his maturity reached a point where they were willing to make an offer.

Yankees Path to an Unlikely Union with Marcus Stroman

MLB: Game One-New York Mets at New York Yankees
Jul 4, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

As the Yankees searched for starting pitching on the market, they were unable to find a starter that matched the price that they were willing to pay, as they even made an offer to NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell. While a bigger move was expected, there wasn’t one that fit the bill of a move the team felt comfortable making, especially given some of their already-existing commitments and potential future ones in the coming years.

$18.5 million a year for two years is more than manageable for the Yankees, who are getting a pitcher in Stroman who has consistently remained above average. If he doesn’t work out things could get ugly, but at the same time, it’s not a massive commitment that the team cannot work around if it flops. Furthermore, they feel confident about the strides the right-hander has made in terms of his maturity, as Brian Cashman and Marcus Stroman met face-to-face with the sinkerballer.

MLB: General Manager's Meetings
Nov 7, 2023; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaks to the media during the MLB General Manager’s Meetings at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Nightengale had reported that before the meeting, the team had no interest in bringing in Marcus Stroman and given the extensive history of beef over the past couple of seasons between the two sides, it isn’t shocking. Not only has the 32-year-old gone after fans of the team on social media, but he also clapped back at long-time GM Brian Cashman following comments he made in 2019 when he said that Stroman wasn’t a ‘difference-maker’.

It’s not unreasonable that Marcus Stroman felt slighted by the comments, but it seems that it’s water under the bridge now, and the Yankees will have to hope that they can keep him from having outbursts on the internet. He’ll inevitably have a stretch where he isn’t performing well, even the best players in their best seasons have slumps, but Aaron Judge will have to help keep this clubhouse together as the team continues to add brash personalities.

Whether it backfires or not, one thing is for certain, and it’s that this team will have a different energy and personality in comparison to its previous iterations. Perhaps this kind of team is the one Aaron Boone meshes well with, as Alex Verdugo cited the support Boone provides his players as something that appeals greatly to him, but we also know the fiery personality that the Yankee skipper has as well.

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Aug 7, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Home plate umpire Laz Diaz (63) argues with New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) during the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

How the Yankees choose to manage some of the new personalities in their clubhouse remains to be seen, but they do have a clearer direction in terms of what their next move may be. They’ll have to clear up two spots on their 40-man roster to officially add both Marcus Stroman and Luke Weaver, and it seems that they aren’t done adding to their pitching staff.

Interest in both Hector Neris and Wandy Peralta indicates a desire to tune up a bullpen that was first in baseball in ERA (3.34), as the team continues its pursuit of impact pitching.