Yankees News/Rumors: Trevor Bauer’s contract desires, Josh Hader back in the mix?

New York Yankees, Josha Hader
Aug 31, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Josh Hader (71) delivers the ball in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2020 circus of an off-season continues, the New York Yankees are left in limbo, trying to figure out a DJ LeMahieu contract extension but also solve multiple positions of weakness. Starting pitching remains a big question, and considering they let three starters walk in free agency, the Yankees cannot feel confident in their current group of players. Will they really stick with Luis Severino and Domingo German as their top options behind Gerrit Cole? That could be a serious mistake.

However, if the Yankees do end up losing DJ to another team, they could look to the top of the pitching market to solve their issues at the position. Of course, Trevor Bauer remains the number one option, and his vocal ways on social media might turn some teams off. He would undoubtedly be a sensation in New York with his outgoing personality and ability to create content. In fact, he might even draw more fans to the Yankees, allowing them to see a return on their investment.

Trevor Bauer news:

Bob Nightengale of USA Today believes that Bauer will fall below the expected market price.

“There has not been much action on him,” Nightengale said on High Heat. “I talked to several GMs. He could fall in the Angels’ laps. I don’t think the Giants are going to pay that kind of money. They’re too far away now from (division rivals) the Dodgers and the Padres. The Yankees aren’t in on him. Toronto? Perhaps. It’ll be very interesting.” MLB Trade Rumors predicted in November that Bauer would sign with the Dodgers for four years and $128M. “Hearing very little on Bauer is almost like having a Beverly Hills mansion with that price tag,” Nightengale added. “Who’s going to pay that?”

If Bauer is asking for $36 million per season, the Yankees won’t even consider a potential deal with him. Cole, who is objectively a better pitcher over a larger sample size, is earning the same amount per year. Nonetheless, reports indicate that he could fall below the market price, which could allow the Yankees to strike if DJ takes his talents elsewhere.

Josh Hader, a trade option for the Yankees?

In 2019, the Yankees were heavily connected to Milwaukee Brewers star reliever Josh Hader. This past season, he did struggle a bit at times, finishing with a 3.79 ERA, 14.68 strikeouts per nine, and three homers allowed. He only pitched in 19 total innings, so I wouldn’t hold much stock in his 2020 performance. Looking back at 2019, he earned a 2.62 ERA, showing off his impressive pitching ability.

Hader primarily utilizes a fastball and slider as his primary pitches. He hovers in the upper 90s with his fastball and 80s with a slider, which would fit well with the Yankees, as they like strong-armed pitchers. However, landing him would not be easy, as the Brewers would expect a hefty return. The Yankees seem to rely on their bullpen to supplement the weaknesses, and they’re starting rotation, which only gets them so far when players like Adam Ottavino have bad seasons.

Sending two quality prospects and a fringe-starter like Miguel Andujar could get the deal done, and it would significantly bolster their bullpen for players who are not guaranteed to be stars in the future. The Yankees would have control over him until 2024, meaning they would gain three seasons of quality bullpen pitching to go along with their existing options.