Yankees still considering top free agent pitcher but they have competition

mlb: wildcard-texas rangers at tampa bay rays, jordan montgomery, yankees

Without Gerrit Cole, the Yankees‘ rotation is certainly a major concern, especially with two primary starters bouncing back from injury. Both Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes had difficult spring performances, and without Cole, they will look to Luis Gil and Clarke Schmidt to help round out the back end of the rotation — they will be forced to step up until the team’s ace returns from nerve inflammation in his elbow.

The Yankees could make a power move, especially since they have World Series aspirations this season after acquiring Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres over the winter. If owner House Steinbrenner can justify coughing up another $50 million to land a starter, they could put any concerns in the rotation to bed.

Could the Yankees Make a Push For Jordan Montgomery

Blake Snell recently signed with the San Francisco Giants on a two-year, $62 million, but Jordan Montgomery remains available coming off of a World Series win with the Texas Rangers.

Montgomery may be looking for a shorter-term deal with opt-outs at this point since the pitching market has dried up, and Scott Boras has overplayed his hand. Montgomery tossed a career-high 188.2 innings last season but has pitched a minimum of 157 innings over the past three consecutive years. He enjoyed a 3.20 ERA in 2023, including a 2.79 ERA with Texas and a 2.90 ERA during the postseason, where Yankee management previously thought he would be ineffective.

There may be some bad blood between the Yankees and Montgomery, and he certainly isn’t going to give them a hometown discount at this point. Not only has he walked away with a World Series because of their desire to trade him, but he’s looking to cash in, and the Bombers will have to pay double the price because of their luxury tax situation.

The Yankees are already over the $300 million luxury tax, which means they will have to pay 110% tax on any new contracts they sign.

While Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees have been in touch with Montgomery’s representatives, the Philadelphia Phillies have also engaged, per Bob Nightingale of USA Today, and there may be a few other teams contemplating making a push for the 31-year-old starter.

One thing is certain: General manager Brian Cashman isn’t going to spend big money on a player over 30 years old, especially if it’s a long-term deal. A shorter-term contract with an opt-out may be possible, but it all depends on his yearly salary, and the Yankees may not be willing to give him more than $25 million per season.

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