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Ten of the Top Free Agent Starting Pitchers – Who Should The Yankees Target?

We used three main articles

to get a quick read on the consensus Top 10 Starting Pitchers available through Free Agency this year and decided to make a quick assessment on the ones the Yankees should target.

Here they are:

Trevor Bauer

The reigning Cy Young Award winner. He pitched to a 1.73 ERA in 2020. That as over 11 starts. But, be forewarned, in 10 starts for Cincinnati in 2019, he had a 6.39 ERA.

Except for one season (2017), he has never won more than 12 games in a season.

Bauer might be one of those pitchers who peaked just right, just before a market that might over pay to get him.

Quick Take – A thinking man’s pitcher, he might have found the keys to his success, but, then again, maybe not. He’s going to command top dollar that could impact on the Yankees’ ability to get other pitchers. Hard pass.

2. Masahiro Tanaka

Throughout his Yankees career, he has averaged about 12 wins per season. He’s been solid, if not spectacular. Until last year, he was also, always a sure thing in the post season. Now 32-years-old and probably on the downside…

Still, there is value in knowing the team, knowing the philosophies, and in being a solid and important member of an organization.

Quick Take – If the market depresses salaries and Tanaka can be signed for two years at about $10M annually, he’s worth bringing back. I wouldn’t go much over 2/$25M though.

3. Mike Minor

A lefty. He will be 33-years-old next year. He has won 14 or more games only once in his career (2019). IN 2020, he was 1-6, 5.56.

He’s probably not as good as he was in 2019 nor as bad as he was in 2020.

Quick Take – Will Mike Minor be better than Jordan Montgomery? I doubt it. Pass.

4. Jose Quintana

He only pitched in four games in 2020 so we’d have to look to 2018 and 2019, two consecutive years where he won 13 games with an ERA in the 4.00’s.

He might be better than he’s performed.

He was once a member of the Yankees’ organization.

Quick Take – I think he’ll be better than Mike Minor in 2021. For a back-of-the-rotation starter, he might make sense. I would over a similar deal to what I’d offer Masahiro Tanaka. They will probably put up similar numbers in 2021, but Quintana is a left-handed pitcher which is valuable in Yankee Stadium.

5. Jake Odorizzi

Here is another guy who put it together for one season (2019) amid a career of otherwise mixed results. He won 15 games in 2019. Over the rest of his career, he never even won 12 games in and season.

He makes 30+ starts a year, which has value, and has a lifetime ERA of 3.92, which is good (enough). But he does not pitch deep into games and, at 31-years-old, probably is what he is.

Quick Take – A nice enough pitcher, but no thanks.

6. James Paxton

The Yankees had high hopes for Paxton when they traded for him. He’s shown flashes of quality. He’s also shown that he has difficulty staying healthy.

Current rumors have him possibly signing for as low as one year $10M.

Quick Take – For one year, $10M bring back Paxton. It would hurt too much to see him pitch to his capabilities for another team.

7. Garrett Richards

In 2014, he went 13-4. In 2015, he went 15-12. He hasn’t been close to that good since.

There is no reason to give innings to Garrett Richards over the Yankees’ young arms.

Quick Take – Pass.

8. J.A. Happ

Been there, done that.

He was better than Yankees fans remember, but his time in NY is over.

Quick Take – Pass

9. Taijuan Walker

Still only 28-years-old… He hasn’t been great. In 2015, he went 11-8. In 2017, he threw 157.1 innings. He has not come close to that since.

Quick Take – If the Yankees have to gamble on a long-shot, it would be best to go with a younger pitcher. If he is still available in late January and the Yankees still need a starter, they could do worse than giving Walker a try.

10. Adam Wainwright

This is an intriguing possibility. The old veteran. The former ace and yearly Cy Young contender.

Would he even leave St. Louis where he’s spent his whole career?

By old veteran, we mean old. He’ll turn 40-years-old next year.

He would be a great veteran presence…

Quick Take – It’s fun to think about, but this isn’t happening. Adam Wainwright will not be pitching in the Bronx in 2021. Pass.

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(Please note that we are not affiliated with the Yankees and that the news, perspectives, and ideas are entirely our own.)


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