Yankees Rumors: Agents believes Yankees will come out swinging after lockout, starting pitcher to target

New York Yankees, Brian Cashman
Feb 18, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA;New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There is a reason to believe the New York Yankees will be big players once the lockout ends between the owners and Players Union. After remaining quiet in the early stages of free agency, allowing teams like the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers to scoop up the majority of quality shortstops, the Yankees do have a few options left at their disposal.

The obvious names revolve around Carlos Correa and Corey Seager, who represent either a long-term solution or short-term stopgap depending on the strategy general manager Brian Cashman institutes.

However, for those worried the Yankees won’t be active when things return to normal, several player agents believe they are gearing up for an exciting second half of free agency.

“There are player agents who continue to believe that once baseball business is reopened, Hal Steinbrenner’s team will be among the more aggressive teams—and in particular, might revisit conversations with the representatives of [Carlos] Correa and [Trevor] Story,” ESPN’s Buster Olney reported.

It seems that Steinbrenner wanted to see how the luxury tax threshold was affected by union negotiations, and if things change, it could benefit the Yankees in a long-term way.

Clearly, he had a financial motive for Cashman sitting still while talented players were plucked off the market without much resistance. The Yankees’ GM did convince Steinbrenner to make an offer of $25 million over one season for Justin Verlander, but that was about as aggressive as they got.

At this point in time, the Yankees have several weaknesses on the roster, and starting pitching remains one of them.

After the majority of talented starters were scooped up off the market, one option they could consider is Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

It is entirely possible that Kershaw sticks with LA next season, but if he considers an alternative club, the Bombers could make sense on a short-term contract worth big money year-over-year.

Kershaw is coming off a 3.55 ERA season over 121.2 innings, including a 10.65 strikeout per nine rate and 48.5% ground ball rate. Kershaw has pitched over 100 innings every season in his career, aside from the Covid abbreviated campaign. He has dealt with injury in the past, but he can serve as a reliable second option behind Gerrit Cole.

The veteran pitcher has seen a decrease in velocity with his fastball over the last three years or so, settling in at 90.7 mph during the 2021 season. His fastball usage has decreased exponentially to 36.8% but has seen an increase in the usage of his slider at 47.5%, maintaining solid velocity.

If the Yankees are willing to spend, Kershaw should be a target at the very least, but I wouldn’t rule out Carlos Rodon as a potential fit as well.