The New York Yankees are still in the market for a relief pitcher and starter to supplement the losses of Tommy Kahnle, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and JA Happ. Their pitching was essentially shredded by free agency, but it opened up plenty of money for them to allocate towards alternative players.
The free-agent market is expected to be slow developing this year, which will give general manager Brian Cashman more time to develop his plan.
Luckily, the Yankees have plenty of players to pick from, but here are two that have been projected to the Bronx based on potential and price.
MLB and SNY’s John Harper believes the Yankees could be in the running to sign relief pitcher Trevor Rosenthal:
Who Signs Him? Yankees. Their bullpen wasn’t as dominant as expected, so look for Brian Cashman to add a low-cost reliever or two this winter.
Trevor Rosenthal is a solid option for the Yankees, based on his 2020 performance. Over 23.2 innings, he posted a 1.90 ERA with a 39.5% ground ball rate and 14.45 strikeouts per nine. However, his sample size over the last two seasons is a minuscule 38.3 innings. His 2017 season was the last time he pitched over 24 innings, finishing with a 3.40 ERA, 40.8% ground ball rate, and 14.35 strikeouts per nine.
I don’t believe any team will be committing long-term to Rosenthal, so the Yankees signing him to a short term deal would be beneficial and shore up their bullpen.
Harper also believes the Yankees will land starting pitcher Garrett Richards:
Somewhat like Paxton, Richards always had high-end stuff that wowed scouts but has repeatedly been derailed by injuries. The right-hander made only 31 starts over four seasons from 2016-’19 but managed to stay healthy for the Padres through the abbreviated 2020 season, pitching to a 4.03 ERA over 51 1/3 innings.
Who Signs Him? Yankees. They love their analytics, so perhaps they’ll buy in on those spin rates and take a shot that Richards can stay healthy.
Richard is another player who has struggled with injuries the past few seasons, but he did manage to pitch 51.1 innings in 2020. He finished with a 4.03 ERA, 40.1% ground ball rate, and 8.06 strikeouts per nine. He’s not a primary strikeout pitcher but has decent ground ball percentages and has a career 10.8% home run to fly ball ratio.
He would likely be a cost-efficient supplement to their losses in the starting rotation, but I wouldn’t expect him to be a top three-arm on the team. He would likely fit a back end role spot well, as a predominant fastball and slider pitcher.