The New York Yankees have a priority of re-signing star second baseman DJ LeMahieu. Still, along with that priority, they also have to fix a starting rotation that lacks pitchers, quality or otherwise. after the World Series, the Yankees lost Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton J.A. Happ, leaving only Cole and Jordan Montgomery as experienced pitchers. They do have Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, and Michael King, but that trio, although they made their MLB debuts are for the most part untried for any large sample.
There is no question that the Yankees need at least one number two type pitcher to add to the rotation. That task becomes more difficult with each passing day. Why?, because available pitchers from free agents and trades are becoming fewer and fever as other teams take action and the Yankees remain silent.
Mike Minor, Charlie Morton, Marcus Stroman, Drew Smyly, Robie Ray, Sam McWilliams, Joe Gato, and Kevin Gausman are now all off the market as they have re-signed or signed onto their new teams. Most are irrelevant, but the New York Yankees were interested in Charlie Morton and Kevin Gausman. The next big name the Yankees were kicking the tires on was the one time Yankee and Texas Ranger Lance Lynn, but the Yankees learned very late last night the Lynn has been traded to the Chicago White Sox, as they assume his bargain $8 million contract.
With every day, the Yankees’ pitching options are becoming fewer and fewer. Today at 8 am, Tomoyuki Sugano becomes available to the New York Yankees and other major league teams. Teams will have until January 7th to sign him. His Japanese team has posted him. Sugano is the best Japanese pitcher, according to all industry experts. The Yankees have a history of being interested in Japanese pitchers. A good example of that is Masahiro Tanaka, who was never the ace they thought he would be but became a good durable solid pitcher for the Yankees over the last seven years.
There may be some relief for the Yankees as Luis Severino is expected back before the All-Star break, returning from Tommy John surgery. If the Yankees decide to take back their 2019 most winningest pitcher Domingo German who was suspended for the 2020 season, They will have Cole, Montgomery, German, and at some point Luis Severino. But that still leaves a position or two to fill. One of those may be filled by Deivi Garcia.
Should they decide to take Masahiro Tanaka back as some think they will, it will not be for an amount anywhere near the $23 million he made last season. The New York Yankees will want a contract for one or two years closer to $10-12 million. The Yankees may not be successful as SpotTrack has Tanaka’s market value at about $16 million.
This being the Winter Meetings week, which is held virtually this year, the Yankees need to act while there are any pitchers worthwhile available. Owner Hal Steinbrenner has surely told general manager Brian Cashman not to spend big after a year of losses that are said to be the most in all of baseball. Steinbrenner has also said that he wants to stay below the luxury tax threshold. Such a big name like Trevor Bauer is probably out of the question, even though he would nearly assure the Yankees a trip to the postseason. Two, three, three punch of Cole, Bauer, and either Severino or German would be devasting to opposing teams.
If the Yankees cant’ come to a deal with Tanaka, Sugano could be the answer. Now that the Japanese season is complete, his record is 14-2 with an ERA of 1.97. For his career, he is 104-52 with an ERA of 2.34. The 31-year-old righty is 6′ 1″ and weighs 210 pounds. He a three-quarters delivery, Sugano throws two fastballs (four-seam and sinker sitting at 90-93 mph, a solid slider, a curveball, and a forkball. He is known for his excellent command, posting a BB/9 of 1.8 in his Japanese career.
Acquiring Sugano also wouldn’t break the Yankees’ bank. ESPN suggests that he would need a two-year contract at about $24 million. If the Yankees move on him, they would also have to pay a $4.4 million posting fee. The Yankees need to start to take action and sooner than later.