New York Yankees

3 free agents to target and 2 trades the Yankees can make for a starter

PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 17: Zack Wheeler #45 of the New York Mets throws a pitch in the bottom of the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 17, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The signing of J.A. Happ gives the Yankees a reliable five-man rotation heading into next season, but Brian Cashman insists he may not be done shopping.

Most teams are satisfied to head into the regular season with five quality starters to fill their rotation. It’s safe to say the Yankees aren’t most teams.

Even after agreeing to a three-year deal with J.A. Happ, Brian Cashman is making it clear he’s not done shopping for starting pitching.

Naturally, that causes fans in the Bronx to start dreaming about big name guys like Corey Kluber and Noah Syndergaard. The chances of the Yankees making a huge deal like that are pretty remote. Part of the reason Happ is back in pinstripes is that Cashman didn’t like the high price required to deal for an ace.

Instead, Yankees fans should be thinking about what sort of clever move Cashman might make to add depth to his pitching staff. If the team does add a sixth potential starter, it’s likely going to be a player overlooked by other teams.

In this piece, we’ll highlight five guys who fit that description. Each has some fans around baseball, but they aren’t universally admired. Don’t be surprised to see rumors linking the Yankees with these guys start to pop up in the coming days.

5. Trade for Zack Wheeler

Syndergaard is the Mets pitcher who was on the lips of every Yankee fan during the Winter Meetings, but it’s hard to see him moving from Queens to the Bronx. Wheeler is a much more realistic target for the Yankees’ brass.

He doesn’t have the star quality that Thor exudes, but he enjoyed a terrific 2018 campaign. Wheeler gave the Mets over 182 innings in 29 starts. More importantly, he posted a stellar ERA of 4.2.

The question on Wheeler is whether or not last season was a freak occurrence or the sign of him really figuring things out. That question should keep the Mets’ asking price down. The combination of a fringe major-leaguer and a high-quality prospect not named Estevan Florial might be enough to get Wheeler to change Boroughs.

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