Yankees should look at these 3 excellent starters to fill rotation needs

MLB: San Diego Padres at Texas Rangers
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While the rotation performed at a very high level for most of the season, the Yankees have had a difficult time getting quality outings from their starters as of late. The months of June and July have been abysmal for the Bronx Bombers, who have been on a horrid cold spell and need to turn things around soon. Upgrading the rotation went from out of question to an absolute must in the last month, but this deadline has some quality arms that teams could look at to improve their pitching staff.

From established top-of-the-rotation arms to breakout stars, these three starters could bolster the Yankees’ rotation and give them the push they need to contend in the postseason.

Erick Fedde Could Help Stabilize the Yankees’ Rotation

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians
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While not a flashy name, Erick Fedde has been one of the best pitchers in the American League this season, sporting a 3.13 ERA and 3.58 FIP across 18 starts. He doesn’t have the typical swing-and-miss stuff that most aces have, but he does sport a strong four-pitch mix with various movement profiles to keep batters off balance. He throws a cutter-sinker-sweeper-changeup mix and knows how to locate everything extremely well, preventing damage contact as a result.

The Stuff+ numbers (92) aren’t overly impressive, but depth of arsenal and command are two key ways to perform above your pitch arsenal grades. Nothing he throws has a higher wOBA allowed against than .312, and he has three pitches that generate at least a 21% Whiff Rate. Don’t scoff at the White Sox in terms of pitching development, they’ve done a great job revamping that part of their organization with Brian Bannister at the helm.

Erick Fedde isn’t a reclamation product the Yankees need to fix, he’s a strong starter who already has the stuff and process on the mound to get outs reliably. In a postseason setting, strikeouts are definitely important, but so is preventing damage contact and keeping the ball in the ballpark.

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xwOBACON stands for Expected Weighted On-Base Average on Contact, which measures the “damage” of a batted ball based on things such as exit velocity and launch angle. While Erick Fedde’s sinker gets hit harder than the average sinker, the rest of his arsenal is hit much softer than the MLB average, and he does this while keeping the ball on the ground at a 47.3% clip.

Owed just $7.5 million for next season, Erick Fedde could be an option for their rotation in 2025 at a low price as well, and the Yankees could have a strong foundation in their rotation with Cole-Gil-Schmidt alongside the veterans who are returning next year. You can never have enough pitching, and while Erick Fedde lacks the track record of some other guys on this list, his profile and on-field success thus far are certainly appealing.

A Familiar Face Could Return to the Bronx

MLB: New York Yankees at Texas Rangers
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Nathan Eovaldi spent two seasons with the Yankees before tearing his UCL and promptly being waived by the team ahead of the 2017 campaign. He washed up with the Tampa Bay Rays where he found his footing, and he hasn’t looked back since that point in time. Eovaldi was a postseason hero in both 2018 and 2023, leading the Red Sox and Rangers to World Series titles as one of their most dependable pitchers.

Thus far Eovaldi has a 3.15 ERA and 24.8% strikeout rate through 14 starts, looking like one of the best starters in the game and being a bright spot on a disappointing Rangers team. The right-hander has the postseason pedigree, strikeout stuff, and damage suppression to anchor the top of any rotation, being even scarier as a Game 2 starter behind Gerrit Cole.

We’re seeing a slight uptick in velocity, and while he’s lost two inches of vertical ride on the pitch, it’s somehow performing much better than it did last season.

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Nathan Eovaldi doesn’t throw his fastball the way that Gerrit Cole does, as it serves more as a set-up pitch for his nasty splitter and curveball to finish the job and generate strikeouts. That doesn’t make improved results and command of it any less important though, as hitters can’t just gear up for it as they try to also account for two very different and very nasty secondary offerings.

He could have a 2025 option vest if he reaches 156 innings on the season and is currently at 80 right now, but as long as Eovaldi continues to pitch well it’s unlikely the Yankees would be on the hook for that. Sure, he’ll be 35 next season, but this is still a quality starter who has a devastating arsenal, and we could see a team with rotational needs offer a multi-year deal.

Nasty Nate is one of the better right-handed pitchers in baseball and is as dependable as they come in big games, there’s plenty of value in adding him to your roster as a playoff contender.

Surging Right-Hander Could Bring Plenty Of Strikeouts to the Yankees

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Los Angeles Angels
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Jack Flaherty misses bats at a high clip, doesn’t walk a ton of batters, and could be due for some regression in the home run department as well. The right-hander has dealt with some back problems that are a concern to me, but the Tigers continue to test and find nothing serious, so take that as you will. In his age-28 season, Flaherty has struck out 115 batters across 89 innings while sporting an excellent 3.24 ERA, and he could electrify the top of any rotation.

What he’s done extremely well this season is locate the breaking ball, as his slider and curveball are carving through lineups like butter when spotted properly. Don’t rule out his fastball either, as while it’s sitting between 93-94 MPH on most days, it’s coming from a funky arm slot and generates a 25.4% Whiff Rate. He has the stuff to overpower a lineup, but the questions with him tie to his back and home run rates.

He boasts a 1.31 HR/9 right now, and while he isn’t an extreme flyball pitcher nor does he allow barrels at an abnormally high rate, teams seem to find ways to get the ball out of the park. Surprisingly enough, Flaherty would have allowed two fewer home runs at Yankee Stadium than his season total (13), so it’s not a situation where Detroit is masking what could be a real problem in a different ballpark.

All of those concerns aside, the numbers for Flaherty match the likes of a season that will go down as arguably the best of Justin Verlander’s career.

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Jack Flaherty looks dominant, and he could be due for an absolute tear if he can continue to miss bats at this high of a clip. There’s some real ace potential here, and the Yankees should jump all over the opportunity to add someone who gets whiffs at the rate he does (assuming the back holds up). Come October, this is the exact kind of profile that can carve through a lineup for six or seven innings and completely change the tide of a series.

It sounds hyperbolic, but of all the names on this list, Flaherty possesses the highest upside. Every year there’s a pitcher or hitter who gets dealt and changes the pennant race, and I think Jack Flaherty can have that kind of effect on the Yankees (or any contender for that matter.)

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