New York Yankees: Nationals make huge pitching change ahead of Saturday’s game

Stephen Strasbrug to miss game against New York Yankees.

The New York Yankees enjoyed a bout of good luck on Thursday evening against the Washington Nationals when the game was rained out at the start of the sixth inning. At that point, the Yankees were leading 4-1, and the MLB called it an official game, giving the Yankees the win without much resistance from Washington.

Not only did the game end in victory on Opening Day, but Gerrit Cole earned his first “W” in pinstripes. To go along with his performance, Giancarlo Stanton started off the game with a two-run home run, and Tyler Wade dominated the base paths.

However, the good luck hasn’t ended for the Yankees just yet, as Stephen Strasburg was scratched from Saturday’s game. While it is always enjoyable to see dominant pitchers perform, the New York Yankees now have a much higher probability of walking away with a win.

Davey Martinez said, “hopefully this is a day-to-day thing.”

In Strasburg’s absence, Erick Fedde will start Saturday night’s game against New York. He lost the fifth starter competition to Austin Voth this summer camp and being that it is an emergency start from the sixth choice pitcher, Washington is in some trouble.

Strasburg felt irritation in a nerve on his hand and simply couldn’t manage a full start. The pitcher felt his hand come down with an injury against Baltimore last Monday. The irritation did not subside leading up to Saturday’s game, and despite Washington’s best attempts to calm the nerve, Strasburg is still unable to go. Against the Orioles on Monday, he threw 81 pitches over five innings, and the pain supposedly runs from Strasburg’s wrist to his right thumb.

The Yankees will walk out James Paxton as their No. 2 pitcher against the Nationals, coming off a solid second half of 2019. He’s also rehabilitating from a surgery several months ago that removed a cyst from his lower back.

New York Yankees Previews: Paxton vs. Strasburg in tonight’s Nationals game

Tonight at 7:15, the New York Yankees (1-0) will have their second game of the shortened 60 game season.  The game will be at Nationals Park home of the World Champion Washington Nationals (0-1).  The Yankees won the rain-shortened first game in baseball on Thursday night 4-1 against the World Champs.  The Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was the winning pitcher, and the Nats ace Max Scherzer took the loss.

The game tonight will be played under more favorable weather conditions, so we should see a full nine-inning game.  The game-time temperature will be in the mid-’80s with partly cloudy skies.

The matchup will see the New York Yankees James Paxton face the Nationals co-ace Stephen Strasburg.  What is interesting with the matchup is that neither pitcher has faced each other before.  Paxton was 15-6 with an ERA of 3.82.  Last season Paxton broke the all-time Yankee record for strikeouts per 9 innings with 11.11Ks per nine.  This surpassed the previous record-holder Luis Severino in 2017.  The 32-year-old Strasburg was 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA last season.

James Paxton, nicknamed the “Big Maple” is 31 years old and hails from Canada.  Previously with the Seattle Mariners, Paxton gained national media attention when a bald eagle, which had been participating in a patriotic pre-game ceremony, flew around and landed on Paxton in 2018. Also, in 2018 Paxton struck out a career-high 16 hitters. On November 19, 2018, Paxton was traded to the Yankees. In April, he became the second only to David Cone to strike out 12 batters in two consecutive starts.

Tonight the New York Yankees will look for Paxton to go five or six innings. Almost a year to the day in 2019 Paxton went eight innings of no-run ball with twelve strikeouts against the Boston Red Sox. Last season the Yankees won six of eight of his first starts. Paxton’s claim to fame last year was that the Yankees won all eleven of this starts as the season came to an end.  Last postseason the Yankees won his start against the Twins in the ALDS.  Paxton pitched only one game in the ALCS against the Astros, and it was a gem. Paxton went 8 1/3 innings allowing only one run in the Yankee win.

Stephen Strasburg has never pitched against the Yankees as a team.  Strasburg is starting his tenth year with the Nationals and has a marvelous career record of 112-58 and an ERA of 3.15.  Strasburg is coming off a historic postseason that saw him win all five of his starts.  He was named the 2019 postseason MVP.

In summer camp, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (92mph) and Curve (80mph), also mixing in a Change (88mph) and Sinker using a Two-seam Fastball grip (92mph). His fastball velocity has reduced from his 2012 high of 96.5 that lead the league since his Tommy John surgery.  He has a similar strikeout rate as Paxton.

Neither team has released their lineup for tonight, but it is assumed that both lineups will be similar to Thursday nights game.  The Yankees will look to get out early with a lead taking the pressure off Paxton while he settles in.  Sunday in a 1 pm start, the Yankees will complete the three games series and then move on to face the Philadelphia Phillies.  Yankees Opening Day at Yankee Stadium will be Wednesday against the same Phillies.

 

New York Yankees to offer way more than initially expected for Gerrit Cole

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The initial offer from the New York Yankees to acquire star pitcher Gerrit Cole this off-season was seven-years, $245 million. It was expected that making him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball at $35 million per year would be enough to lure his services to the Bronx. However, the Washington Nationals blindsided everyone and signed Stephen Strasburg to the same deal that was initially offered to Cole.

Strasburg’s new contract completely revitalizes the pitching market, and Cole will ultimately benefit from this record-breaking deal. It is not often you see two record-breaking agreements in the same off-season, but considering Cole is two years younger than Strasburg and has a clean bill of health, it is fair to say he will earn upwards of $300 million on a multi-year deal.

The New York Yankees must hate Scott Boras right now:

The real hero for Gerrit Cole and his family is super-agent Scott Boras, who waited until Strasburg received his contract details to obliterate the Yankees’ expected offerings. With owner Hal Steinbrenner giving general manager Brian Cashman the green light to acquire a Cole at any cost, the Nationals allowance likely has the next generation of Steinbrenner’s trembling in his skin.

To put some perspective on how much money Cole is about to earn, he could theoretically buy 4.6 G6 private jets with the amount of money he will haul in throughout his anticipated deal. That is an astronomical amount of cash that will set him and his family up for the next ten generations.

However, it is well earned. At 29 years old, the former Houston Astro‘s ace logged a 2.50 ERA, with 326 strikeouts, and a 0.895 WHIP in 2019. He is considered the best pitcher in Major League Baseball, and if the Yankees manage to sign him, their probability of making it to the World Series in 2020 skyrockets. This is an achievement the Yankees have evaded for the last decade with Hal at the helm.

Predicted offering:

Yankees — eight years, $320 million (out after five years)

New York Yankees: Focus Is Fully On Gerrit Cole

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees entered the offseason with the goal of signing either Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg. However, those two options have now gotten cut down to just one as Strasburg has been resigned by the Washington Nationals.

Strasburg, 31, resigns with his day one, the team that drafted him 1st overall in 2009. He was dominant in 2019 and led the team to a championship, also winning the World Series MVP. He was 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA in the regular season.

The Nationals deal with Strasburg will be for seven years and $245 million.

Focus Is Solely Cole

With Strasburg now off the free agent market, the Yankees are now shifting their focus to solely Gerrit Cole. With high interest and now Strasburg signed, it appears that offers for Cole will be closer to eight or nine years for around $300 or more. They were originally expected to be about the same as Strasburg’s deal.

There were rumors about a potential offer that the Yankees submitted yesterday, but It was found that the Yankees didn’t submit it. The plan is for them to submit their first and likely only offer to Cole on Monday night. The growing expectation is that Cole will sign with a team by the end of the week.

The Yankees need to give Cole an offer that he can’t pass up. He was born and raised a Yankee fan, and was drafted by the team in 2008 before returning to school.

But, that likely won’t matter as he will probably take the highest offer outright. It’s expected that the Angels and the Dodgers will each give him highly competitive offers.

The Yankees need to lock in on getting this deal done with Cole as soon as possible before another team can submit a higher offer.

The New York Yankees should walk away from Stephen Strasburg

Could the New York Yankees pursue Stephen Strasburg this offseason?

The New York Yankees are preparing to unload a massive contract for a premium-level starting pitcher. Whether it be Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg that ends up being lured the Bronx, there’s a favorite out of the two, in fact, there should only be one option for GM Brian Cashman.

With both meetings between the two top free agent arms going well, Cole needs to be prioritized at all costs, despite his price-tag, which doesn’t seem to be a problem for Cashman. Owner Hal Steinbrenner stated that all deals coming across his desk would be considered. He even mentioned the starting pitching rotation as a focus this offseason, making the likelihood of adding a bonafide ace much more probable.

However, they should avoid Strasburg’s services for one primary reason. He’s an injury risk. Over the last three seasons, Cole has played in far more games that Strasburg, which is where the investment begins to earn its value. From 2017-19, the former National pitched in 83 games, while Cole has played in 98 games. Over that same span of seasons, Strasburg has a stellar 3.19 ERA, easily making him one of the best in baseball, but the smaller sample size than Cole only attests to how dominant he is. Comparably, Cole has a 3.22 ERA with 15 more games pitched. Factoring in fatigue and late-season outings, the consistency from Cole is impressive.

It’s also important to consider his final season with the Pirates was his worst with a 4.26 ERA. Once he made a move to a better team in the Astros, he averaged a 2.69 ERA over two seasons.

So, we can see the differences between Cole and Strasburg, especially regarding the health factor. The Yankees have been pursuing Cole for the better part of a decade, and after losing him to UCLA in 2008 and the Astors three years ago, they’re not prepared to lose him for a third team. You know what they say, “third time is a charm!”

Nonetheless, if the Bombers are willing to unload an investment significant enough to bring in Strasburg, they should go for the home run and do everything necessary to convince Cole that the Bronx should be his new home.

EXTRA:

MLB.com stated regarding Strasburg’s meeting with the Yankees:

The meeting with Strasburg is said to have gone well, too, per a source. They talked the New York market, the team and its philosophy as the Yankees gave the pitcher an extensive view of the organization. Exact dollars weren’t discussed, but the pitching market was certainly referenced.

New York Yankees: Do the Yankees have a true ace in their pitching rotation?

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

Lacking consistent quality starting pitching was a real burden for the New York Yankees last season. Even though the offense was the reason why the Yankees went down in the postseason, having dominant starting pitching would have helped tremendously.

Last season I think there was no clear ace. There were two guys, James Paxton and Domingo German, who had their streaks of several strong outings, and were the studs of the staff. But there was really no clear cut starter like a Gerrit Cole or Justin Verlander, that every time they went out you knew the team had a very good shot at winning.

Luis Severino is the ace of the Yankee starting pitching. He has been ever since the 2017 season and if it wasn’t for several injuries that hindered him last season, he would’ve been considered the ace again. I expect Severino to make a full comeback next season and put up great numbers like he’s used to doing.

There’s also an argument that James Paxton could be an ace next year. After having a rough start to the beginning of last season, he really turned it around and finished with a 15-6 record with a 3.82 ERA during the regular season.

Another possibility could be Domingo German, given that he avoids suspension from his domestic violence case that prevented him from playing in the playoffs last season. German was having a fantastic season with the Yankees before his removal from the roster, holding a 18-4 record with a 4.03 ERA. If he returns for next season there’s a case that he could lead the rotation.

I would love to add Masahiro Tanaka due to his absolute dominance in the postseason, but he’s just too inconsistent during the regular season. You never really know when he’s going to have a great outing or last 2.1 innings.

Of course, New York Yankee fans would love to see a Gerrit Cole or Stephan Strasburg signing during the offseason to immediately know they are getting an ace. However, if this doesn’t happen, I have full confidence in Luis Severino coming back and returning to his ace role.

The Yankees are falling out of favor with Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg

Could the New York Yankees pursue Gerrit Cole this offseason?

When the golden gates of free agency began to crack this offseason, the New York Yankees planted their foot in the dirt, preparing for the ensuing battle that would determine the future of the starting pitching rotation.

Will Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg end up wearing Pinstripes in 2020? Some believed the Yankees were front-runners, but that reality is quickly coming to a close as the Astros star prefers the West Coast, and the World Series-winning arm is intrigued by a return to the Washington Nations.

Despite their preferences, the Athletic reports that the Yankees met/will meet with both aces in California, who are represented by super-agent Scott Boras.

The Yankees must consider investing heavily into their starting pitching rotation:

Starting pitching must be a significant focus for the Bombers this offseason, they must find a quality arm to supplement the loss of CC Sabathia and suspension to Domingo German. Cole and Strasburg remain options, but the Yankees will have to part way with major bucks to land either of the two.

Alternatively, they could target former Met, Zack Wheeler, who fits the Yankees bill well as a hard-throwing pitcher. He consistently throws in the 97MPH range with his fastball, and while his sinker (secondary pitch) isn’t elite, it’s still sufficient to a degree.

Nonetheless, if general manager Brian Cashman is willing to surpass the luxury tax without caution, offering Cole a substantial deal should be a priority. He will likely earn $200+ million on a multi-year deal worth over $30+ million per season. Strasburg will land a bit lower, but his injury concerns make him a less productive choice. If the price isn’t a deterrent for Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner, Cole is the easy decision to make.

“Let me just say all options are open as far as I am concerned,” Hal Steinbrenner told the YES Network last month in an interview that was released on Monday. “Anything that rolls across my desk I am going to be looking at real seriously. We are going to be active in the free-agent market.”

New York Yankees are all in on Gerrit Cole after meeting in SoCal

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees are reportedly all in on star pitcher Gerrit Cole this offseason, especially after meeting with him in Southern California on Tuesday afternoon. The former Houston Astros ace presents the best pitching option this offseason and will earn upwards of $30+ million per season in free agency.

With general manager Brian Cashman’s willingness to push past the luxury tax threshold, Cole has become a legitimate option for the Bombers. Considering their early pursuance, it’s likely the Yankees are willing to offer him a huge deal, which would give the team one of the best starting pitching rotations int he MLB as soon as ink touches paper.

The New York Yankees rotation would look like this:

  1. Gerrit Cole
  2. Luis Severino
  3. James Paxton
  4. Masahiro Tanaka
  5. Jordan Montgomery
  6. Domingo German
  7. J.A. Happ
  8. Michael King/Deivi Garcia

This would give the team one established ace and a player in Severino that has the quality to reach that level. Paxton and Tanaka are both reliable arms who pitched exceptionally well during the postseason. Beyond the first four, Montgomery and German are still developing but have shown No. 2 potential in their young careers.

Who met with Gerrit Cole?

The NY Post reported that Cashman, Aaron Boone, and new pitching coach Matt Blake were among the people participating in the meeting, which also included Cole and his wife, Amy. The Yankees are expected to meet with Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday, and it doesn’t seem as if owner Hal Steinbrenner is holding back from leaving a blank check in front of Cole.

The Yankees have been on the hunt for Cole for the better side of a decade. After picking him 28th overall in 2008, the former Astro elected to take his talents to UCLA. The Yanks attempted to lure Cole in after the 2017 season, but Houston’s offer enticed the Pittsburg Pirates. The current scenario presents the best chance for the Bombers to lure Cole to the Bronx.

The Yankees enter the Zack Wheeler sweepstakes, but there’s competition

Will the New York Yankees land Zack Wheeler in free agency?

The Yankees made it apparent that all free agent players are being considered this offseason, even after owner Hal Steinbrenner stated that the starting pitching rotation looked good in 2019 and that he would feel comfortable if the regular season started today.

Here’s the exact quote:

“If the 2020 season was to start tomorrow, I would feel considerably more confident than I did a year ago at this time,’’ Steinbrenner said. “We will have both Severino and Montgomery back. We now know that [Domingo] German can pitch effectively at this level. And we know [James] Paxton can be the guy that we were hoping for when we made that trade. We have [Masahiro] Tanaka, [J.A.] Happ, [Jonathan] Loaisiga, and perhaps [Deivi] Garcia at some point. A very good rotation.’’

A few weeks later, he advocated for the pursuance of all free agents, ensuring his staff would be discussing all potential deals and the value of the player. Starters Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, two of the best pitchers in baseball, dominate the headlines and rumors in regards to a pairing with the Bombers.

Steinbrenner stated in an interview with YES Network that “all options are open,” a bit different than his previous approach earlier on this offseason. However, interest is enough to get excited about, the reality of the Yankees signing Cole or Strasburg, not so much.

Steinbrenner has been willing to open up his checkbook for the outfield. Still, the starting rotation hasn’t seen many resources allocated towards it, so expecting the Yankees to drop over $25 million per season on a long-term deal for a top arm might be far-fetched. Alternatively, they could settle for a second-tier option like Zack Wheeler.

Wheeler, who featured on the New York Mets in 2019, has recorded an 8.9 fWAR over the last two seasons, which ranks as the ninth-best in all of baseball over that period. His career ERA of 3.77 isn’t in the ‘dominant’ range, but it’s better than any Yankee pitched last season.

The free-agent arm utilized his fastball frequently, consistently hitting in the upper-90s, which is precisely the type of pitcher the Yankees prefer. His secondary pitch is his sinker, which he throws nearly equally to his fastball. The sinker doesn’t have the same production as his fastball, but it hasn’t been detrimental to his performances.

There will be plenty of competition for Wheeler, as reports have indicated the Twins, White Sox, and Reds have all begun bidding on his services, with the Sox currently leading the pack with the highest offer, Ken Rosenthal stated with The Athletic.

Wheeler set career-highs in 2019 with 195.1 innings pitched and 195 strikeouts. He will cost far less than both Cole and Strasburg, but the Yankees would still have to pay a pretty penny for his services. Since Luis Severino will be returning in full-capacity, the Bombers anticipate him slotting into the ace position. Having numerous No. 2 options behind him would give them solid depth, especially in the case of injuries.

New York Yankees: Latest Gerrit Cole rumors – west coast teams in the mix

Will the New York Yankees pursue Gerrit Cole this offseason?

It was no surprise that star free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole would end up on one of the coasts, considering he grew up in California but was a massive New York Yankees fan. A team on the coast would give him everything he needs — access to the best of everything, but more importantly, the feeling of home.

Cole was quick to leave the Houston Astros after dominating for years at the top level, and he will now take his talents elsewhere in an aggressive market. The Yankees are in the race, said MLB Insider Jon Heyman, who also noted the Los Angeles Angels’ interest.

“I think Cole will probably end up on one of the coasts,” Heyman said on MLB Tonight.

“The Yankees believe that he’s probably going to go to the Angels, but either of them would not shock me.”

The Yankees are seeking asylum employing a cost-efficient route, and owner Hal Steinbrenner’s comments were clear that he believes the starting pitching rotation is pieced together.

With Luis Severino healthy and Jordan Montgomery, who has pitched two seasons of sub 4.00 ERA baseball over three campaigns, will also return in a full-capacity role. Realistically, Steinbrenner has a point. Domingo German won’t miss a majority of the 2020 season, giving the Yankees plenty of fire-power in the rotation.

The New York Yankees could enter the campaign with a staring rotation looking like this:

  1. Luis Severino
  2. James Paxton
  3. Masahiro Tanaka
  4. Jordan Montgomery
  5. Domingo German
  6. J.A. Happ
  7. Michael King/Deivi Garcia

Upgrading the bullpen might be more of a pressing goal for Brian Cashman, who saw Dellin Betances work his way back from numerous injuries just to tear his Achilles Tendon in his September 15 debut. If the Bombers don’t re-sign Betances on a one-year deal, they could allocate more funds towards the bullpen, which wouldn’t be a bad idea.

However, signing a player like Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg would immediately give the Yankees one of the best starting rotations in baseball. While Cole did state he didn’t favor any team going into free agency, rumors have bubbled to the surface that the Angels or Dodgers could be in the lead for his services.