Yankees’ bullpen arm believes new pitching addition can handle ‘these fans’

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Atlanta Braves
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With the Yankees gearing up for a highly-anticipated 2024 season, there’s a lot of buzz about the additions they made on the trade and free agent markets. Tommy Kahnle seconds the excitement, hopping on Foul Territory to discuss the addition of Marcus Stroman in the offseason. He raved about his competitive nature, talking about the fearlessness that the 32-year-old has on the mound, and that could be the secret to surviving the pressure of New York.

“I’m excited to see Stroman pitch…he’s been a great pitcher his entire career…I think New York is going to fall in love with him”

– Tommy Kahnle on Marcus Stroman

Some can argue that Marcus Stroman’s reputation as a brash personality precedes him, and we’ve seen it help him when he pitched in New York with the Mets.

Marcus Stroman Could Be a Bargain For the Yankees

marcus stroman, yankees
May 29, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) reacts as after forcing Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe (not pictured) to hit into a double play during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees signed Marcus Stroman to a two-year $37 million deal in a market where pitchers have either signed deals much larger than they were expected to get or have remained unsigned. It’s possible that the decision to pivot to Stroman could prove to be a bargain, and his profile is exactly what the Yankees love in a pitcher. While the bullpen has always been groundball-centric, the starting rotation struggled with contact management and is more flyball-centric.

Last season the Yankees had the sixth-worst HR/9 rate (1.49) and fourth-lowest groundball rate (38.7%) from their starting rotation, and Stroman’s ability to keep the ball on the ground due to his excellent sinker will certainly boost those numbers. The ability to suppress damage contact is important, and we could see him pitch more to his first-half numbers in 2024 if he’s able to remain healthy and consistent.

A big advantage he’ll have is the services of Platinium Glove winner Jose Trevino, who is one of the best framers in all of baseball and will certainly steal strikes for Marcus Stroman. He lives in the bottom half of the strike zone and Trevino is a maestro at taking pitches below the zone and deceiving umpires into thinking they’re strikes. Furthermore, as the personal catcher for Gerrit Cole, he’ll know exactly how to mesh with a pitcher who is extremely detail-oriented and competitive on the mound.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees
Apr 16, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) celebrates with catcher Jose Trevino (39) after pitching a complete game shutout to beat the Minnesota Twins 2-0 at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Pitchers have raved about what pitching to Jose Trevino is like, and I would imagine that we see a lot of Stroman-Trevino games as the season carries on. The Yankees also sport a strong defensive infield including Gold Glover Anthony Volpe, who has truly emerged as a defensive wizard at shortstop. Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu are brilliant defenders on opposite ends of the corner infield as well and have continued to look excellent defensively as they’ve gotten older.

While the fit makes sense from a statistical standpoint, Tommy Kahnle alluded to the aspect of being a ‘gamer’ on the mound, and that’s a factor that is under-discussed for the team. Could Marcus Stroman get himself into some trouble with the media due to his brash personality? Sure, but the Yankees need that kind of edge in their locker room, and he could be the perfect personality fit for a team that’s looking to prove to the world that they haven’t lost their luster.

Brian Cashman has shown some more edge in press conferences, delivering an impassioned defense of the organization in November that was laced with profanity. Multiple high-ranking members of the organization have assured the media that they have the right people in place to win a title, and the only way to prove themselves right is to finally get over the hump this year. Nobody knows what’s in store for the Yankees as they begin heading to Tampa for Spring Training, but there’s a lot of buzz about what this team could accomplish if they’re able to stay healthy and gel this season.