It’s never too early to start thinking about pitchers the New York Yankees should trade for this season.
The signing of Gerrit Cole almost immediately made the Yankees World Series favorites, if they weren’t already. But with Luis Severino out for the year, the rotation seems incomplete.
Gerrit Cole signed a nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yankees in December to be their ace. The Yankees rotation has been an inconsistency of theirs for several years, but now, they have an undoubtedly top pitcher in the sport.
However, with Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton set to hit the free agent marker after this season, and Luis Severino out until at least the start of 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, after Cole, the rest of the rotation is a question mark.
Here are a handful of pitchers the Yankees should (realistically) target for depth and a rotation beyond this season.
P Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are in limbo.
After finally winning the World Series in 2016, the Cubs have fallen off, and they missed the postseason last year for the first time since 2014.
Hendricks signed a four-year extension last year, but if the Cubs struggles continue, and Kris Bryant trade rumors keep heating up, the Yankees might be able to take advantage and get the righty.
In that World Series year, Hendricks led all of baseball with a 2.13 ERA and finished in third place in that season’s National League Cy Young Award voting. Since then, he has been very reliable for the Cubbies, pitching to a 3.33 ERA in 87 starts.
It’s a more-than-affordable deal for the Yankees, too, as Hendricks will be making no more than $14 million a year for the duration of the contract – outside of a possible $16 million hit in 2024, an option year.
To put that into perspective, Masahiro Tanaka, who is older than Hendricks, is making $23 million this year, while his lowest ERA over the last three seasons is 3.75. Hendricks’ highest in that span is 3.46
So not only are the Yankees saving money in the long run, but one could argue they’d be getting a better pitcher, too.
Jacob de Grom
P New York Mets
Okay. So I shied away from that whole “realistic” thing. But every Yankees trade discussion needs at least one unrealistic option otherwise are we even really having a Yankees trade discussion?
Look at it this way: If the Mets are not in contention this season, they should definitely consider going into a full rebuild. That includes shopping deGrom.
The only convincing that needs to be done is who to get rid of.
If the main piece is Estevan Florial, stop yourself. The Mets are going to want major league-ready players under long control at minimum.
DeGrom is the best pitcher on the planet. Honestly, a package would probably have to start with Aaron Hicks (free agent after 2027), Clint Frazier (2024), Jordan Montgomery (after 2023), and minor leaguers Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt (both TBD). And they’d still probably have to throw in Florial.
This might be my Yankee fan bias here, but here I go.
Conforto is set to be a free agent after 2021, and Cespedes will be gone after this year. Hicks, Frazier, and Brandon Nimmo or J.D. Davis is your outfield for years to come, with Florial on the rise within the next two years.
Marcus Stroman is gone after this year, and Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard are free agents after next year. Montgomery, Garcia, and Schmidt can be a solid top three.
I should probably stop talking, right?
P New York Mets
Okay. Back to earth.
This would have been Noah Syndergaard, but he underwent Tommy John surgery on what was supposed to be Opening Day.
We saw that the Yankees and Mets had discussions about the lefty earlier this year. The Mets, of course, were right to hold onto Matz, especially after Syndergaard’s injury.
But Matz is set to be a free agent after the 2021 season and is the best he’s been in his career.
He has finally been healthy the last two seasons after several Disabled List stints in 2016 and 2017. In the last two seasons, Matz owns a 4.09 ERA with an 8.7 K/9. The Mets have never asked Matz to be an ace, nor would the Yankees. But he seems to be a better, cheaper option than J.A. Happ. If baseball is played, Happ, who had the second-worst ERA of his career last year (4.91) is making $16 million this season, while Matz will be making $5 million.
If the Yankees decide to move on from the lefty Paxton this offseason, Matz can slide right into the rotation, along with fellow lefty Jordan Montgomery, who, like Matz, was a sixth-place finisher in Rookie of the Year voting.
P Detroit Tigers
Boyd pitched to a 4.59 ERA last season. He started off hot – he owned a 2.85 ERA in his first 12 starts against his 5.67 ERA in his last 20. But his K/9 of 11.99 in those starts was the ninth-best mark in all of baseball.
Keep in mind Boyd also pitched against the division winning Minnesota Twins and 93-win Cleveland Indians six times. In those starts last year, he allowed 26 earned runs in 37.0 innings (6.32 ERA). That means against all other opponents, he owned a 4.27 ERA.
Boyd is similar to Matz where his performance could be better, but where he differs is that he is one of the best strikeout pitchers in all of baseball.
The most important aspect of this, however, is that Boyd still has three years of control left. If the Yankees were able to pull this off, they’d have four starters under control through at least the 2022 season. Cole, Severino, Montgomery, and Boyd is a nice front four, while Deivi Garcia is up and coming.