New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman continues to scour the market for pitching support, despite signing Corey Kluber to a one year, $11 million deal. It is becoming clear that Cashman doesn’t feel necessarily optimistic about his starting rotation, considering three players haven’t played in a combined five years.
Those players are Kluber, Luis Severino, and Domingo German. While they hold plenty of talent, it has been quite some time that any of the three have taken the mound in a competitive way. Kluber and Severino have both dealt with injuries the past two years, and German has spent the last season serving a domestic abuse suspension.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees make another move relatively soon, whether it be a free agent signing or trade. I’m leaning more toward a trade, considering the Yankees have plenty of assets they can part ways with for a cheaper option to fit under their salary.
Here are two starters the Yankees could consider in a trade:
1.) Chris Bassitt
One stellar option is Oakland Athletics Chris Bassitt. He’s scheduled to make just $4.9 million in 2021. As a round 16 pick back in 2011, Bassitt has gradually made strides at the MLB level. This past year with Oakland, he landed a 2.29 ERA over 63 innings. He’s not a high strikeout pitcher, but he forces weak contact and utilizes a diverse array of pitches. They include a fastball, slider, curveball, changeup, and cutter.
With this many pitches, he’s able to keep batters guessing with his off-speed balls. He hovers in the 92.9 mph range with his fastball, meaning he’s not a strong arm thrower, which is something the Yankees have been attracted to in the past. However, at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, he is an intimidating figure on the mound and could represent a massive upgrade in the rotation.
It would undoubtedly take a few assets to land him in a trade, but he is a player that can make an impact immediately and still has two years left of control on his contract.
2.) Kyle Hendriks
Another name that has bubbled to the surface is Kyle Hendricks, who is 31 years old and is currently on a four year, $55.5 million deal that expires in 2023. He is expected to earn $14 million in 2021, so the Yankees would have to find a bit more money to fit him into their payroll. However, he is another player that had a stellar 2020 season. With the Chicago Cubs, he landed a 2.88 ERA over 81.1 innings.
He’s another starter it doesn’t strike out a significant number of batters, but rather forces poor contact and often times leaves batters on base. This past season, his left on-base percentage was 82.4%, with a 47.1% ground ball rate. Considering Yankee Stadium and the short porches, it’s always beneficial to see a high ground ball rate for pitchers of interest. I believe he would fit nicely into the rotation, and with several years still left on his deal at a favorable cost, Cashman should at least inquire.