Yankees News/Rumors: Nolan Arenado to the Yankees? Did Pettitte make it happen? And what to the Yankees do with an abundance of pitchers?

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Nolan Arenado
Aug 26, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) reacts after lining out in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A Daily look at a summary of News and Rumors of interest for New York Yankees fans!

Nolan Arenado:  There is not much going on in the New York Yankees rumor mills, so idle minds have come up with Nolan Arenado’s displeasure with the Colorado Rockies and how the Yankees need the third baseman, and that the Yankees should come up with a trade package that would send Arenado to the Yankees.  Those that suggest this must be unaware that the Yankees already have a logjam at the hot corner.  Would Nolan be an upgrade, yes, of course, he is one of the best players in the game.  The question is, do we need him, and is it worthwhile and responsible to add a $35MM a year player that would skyrocket the Yankee payroll far beyond the highest luxury tax threshold?  The simple answer is no. The trade would most likely send Yankee star Miguel Andujar to the Rockies and reduce break out player Gio Urshela to a utility backup role.

Another reason to forgo the thought of an Arenado trade is that his contract extension last year will allow him to opt-out of his massive contract at the end of 2021 when he is 31.  As a free agent, he will undoubtedly look for an even bigger payday with a deal similar to Manny Machado.  Where would that leave the Yankees?  It would leave them without a 3rd baseman that they had paid so much to get, and they would have lost a future superstar in Miguel Andujar that they traded away to the Rockies.  The whole trade discussion doesn’t make sense for the Yankees.

Andy Pettitte:  On December 3rd  of last year, the Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, Manager Aaron Boone, and new pitching coach Matt Blake made the trip to California to try to convince the best pitcher in baseball to become a Yankee.  Cashman also had in tow special advisor Andy Pettitte who was a childhood idol of Gerrit Cole.  Yes, they gave him and his wife gifts, and Cole the largest in baseball contract for a pitcher in the amount of $324MM over nine years.  But was Andy Pettitte the real tipping point bringing Cole to the Bronx?  According to reports, Cole had a gaggle of questions for Pettitte as to what it was like to pitch at Yankee Stadium.  The two had a private 20-minute conversation when the formal talks were over. Pettitte told him that if he wanted one or more World Championship rings, New York was the place to be.   Cole was signed, and when he was introduced to the New York media a few days later, he made it clear that Pettitte had a lot to do with his decision.

Andy speaking to the YES Network’s Hot Stove, said “It’s crazy for me to realize that I had that kind of impact, I’m glad that I could help him. I’m glad that I was able to be there, and the Yankees wanted me to be there to have, kind of a player’s perspective on it.” Pettitte told him, “If you want to win championships now, I feel like this is the spot for you.” Pettitte also revealed that “he had a lot of good questions. I was glad to be able to be there and answer the questions that he had about New York, playing there as a player, also raising a family there. There was a lot of stuff that he fired at us … every question you could imagine.”  Andy also when talking about Cole said,  “he’s a guy that doesn’t look like he’s fazed by October, which is a very important thing, especially playing in New York. And what we’re planning on and wanting to do over the next decade … hopefully, he gets us a few championships by then.”

Gerrit Cole, when speaking about Andy, said: “When Andy pitches anything, whether it be coming to the Yankees (for a meeting with a free agent) or a game in the postseason, he usually gets the W, and he did again this time.”

Yankees abundance of pitchers:  The Yankees certainly has no shortage of starting pitchers.  Last year the Yankees had the opposite problem with Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery on the IL.  This year both of them are back and healthy.  Add to that, the Yankees went out and got arguably the best starter in baseball with the acquisition of Gerrit Cole to lead the rotation.  Having an abundance of pitchers is most certainly a good problem to have.  But it also creates a logistical challenge.  As it stands now, Cole will lead off, followed by Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and as reported by General Manager Brian Cashman J.A. Happ at the bottom of the rotation.  That leaves Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loaisiga, and a returning Domingo German in June out in the cold.

Some are suggesting that the Yankees go to a six-man rotation.  That has pros and cons.  It would give all pitchers more rest and allow them to go into the postseason fresher.  It would be particularly helpful to a tiring Tanaka that pitched once a week for much of his career.  Some pitchers would like that, and some not.  One massive con to the equation is that the six-man would minimize the Cole effect, giving him fewer starts for the season.  The five-man rotation leaves Jordan Montgomery available should Happ not perform well.  Once German returns, after his 18-4 season, the Yankees will surely want to insert him in place of any pitcher that is struggling or possibly go to a six-man rotation after the All-Star break.  Whatever the case, if the extra starters are sent to the pen, the roster will surely be bulging, which will result in the availability of bench players due to the 26 man roster.  Some players we expect to be at the Stadium will find themselves at Scranton Wilkes/Barre.