The Yankees have been linked to many pitchers this off-season; they just haven’t managed to acquire most of them. Aside from signing Marcus Stroman to a two-year, $37 million deal, the Yankees struck out trying to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto and have danced around the idea of a Blake Snell acquisition.
Snell wants $270 million over nine years, averaging $30 million per season. Unfortunately, the Yankees have no interest in giving away that type of money to a player with longevity issues and already passed 30.
Yankees Facing New Challenges: Orioles’ Acquisition of Burnes
However, if his price tag comes down enough, there’s a possibility that general manager Brian Cashman will make a surprise move, but they now have to contend with the Baltimore Orioles, who didn’t have to give up too much to acquire Corbin Burnes from the Milwaukee Brewers.
In fact, even manager Aaron Boone is a bit concerned about Burnes joining an already strong Baltimore team.
“That could be a bit of a problem,” Boone told reports on Saturday.
Burnes is 29 years old and headed into the final year of arbitration before becoming a free agent in 2025. He’s pitched three consecutive years with a minimum of 167 innings, including 193.2 last season. He featured a 3.39 ERA, including a 74.9% left-on-base rate and 44.1% ground ball rate.
Burnes limits walks and home runs, regularly putting together quality as an ace. In addition, he has 19 innings of postseason experience, logging a 2.84 ERA and 4.03 FIP.
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Strategic Patience and Potential Moves
While Boone did reinforce the idea that the rotation can match up with anyone in the division, they are taking a significant gamble with several players needing to bounce back from injury.
Carlos Rodon had his worst season as a professional in 2023, hosting a 6.85 ERA over 64.1 innings. The law of averages would suggest he witnesses a major improvement this upcoming season, having dropped a lot of weight to quell any further concerns about durability.
Nestor Cortes is another pitcher who suffered a rotator cuff strain to his pitching arm last season. Nestor was shut down prematurely and was a non-factor during the second half of the year for the Bombers, but they know he’s capable of All-Star performances like the one he put together in 2022.
If the Yankees do get the best version of several players working their way back from injury, the rotation should be more than fine, but it is a major risk.
It is possible that Cashman looks to the Chicago White Sox in hopes of acquiring Dylan Cease, but they want a significant haul in return since he has two years left of control. Ultimately, the Yankees may be better off waiting until the summer and looking to the trade deadline in hopes of reinforcing the rotation with a healthy arm that will cost less.