The Tuesday Discussion – One More Pitcher for 2021?
This week we asked our writers:
If the Yankees can get just one more pitcher, who should that be… and why?
Here are their thoughts:
Paul Semendinger – I want the Yankees to go for the home run, the big time… go all-in. They need a starting pitcher. If they can only get one more pitcher, I think they can figure out how to piece together the bullpen with all the young talent they have.
I’ll revisit an idea from earlier this off-season… a long-shot if there ever was one, but…
The Phillies have to realize that their window is closing – fast. It may have already closed. It might be time for them to build for the future. Aaron Nola is at the point where he’s about to get expensive. I figure out a way to convince them to trade Aaron Nola to the Yanks. That would be my guy to get. The big thing standing in the way is his contract, but the Yankees will just have to find a way around that. Give me one more young top starter.
This might force the Yankees to have to trade Aroldis Chapman to another team for some salary relief. I’m okay with that. Again, I think the bullpen can take care of itself.
Lincoln Mitchell – My sense is that the Yankees are much closer to the end of this current window than they think. The core of the team is either aging, injury prone or both, so, they kind of need to go all in this year. I don’t have a particularly pitcher in mind, but it is essential that they try to add somebody with a very high upside. That is why I like the Kluber signing. The Yankees don’t need a third or 4th starter who can throw 160 league average innings. They need somebody who they can count on for the second game of a post-season series. If they are not wiling to get a pitcher like that now, they should give some real thought to trading some of the veterans while they still have some value.
Ed Botti – First choice is to keep Tanaka, which they should. After that, with no top end starters available, and not in the category of a blockbuster trade, more of a backend starter, is Pittsburgh Pirate Steven Brault. A lefty only 28 years old, 5 pitches, fits the budget, and I think a great fit for the university of Matt Blake.
I believe his best is in front of him. He needs to work some command issues out, but has experience, and has shown good promise the last 2 seasons.
He has three years of arbitration control remaining, making him relatively inexpensive in terms of salary. He’s projected to make around $1.5-$2.5 million in arbitration for the 2021 season.
Michael Saffer – If the Yankees could get one more pitcher I’d like it to be the resigning of Tanaka. I feel a sense of calm knowing that he’s pitching in a big game situation.
Patrick Gunn – I think the obvious answer here is Masahiro Tanaka, and for good reason. He’s been an incredibly reliable pitcher for the Yankees over the 2010s. With the chances of Tanaka coming back decreasing daily, I’m going to make a little bit of a gamble and say that the Yankees should go out and get Taijuan Walker. Yes, they need bullpen help, but getting Walker would allow the Yankees to use Schmidt or King in the bullpen and Walker is another pitcher like Corey Kluber who could be a buy-low strong move to help their rotation. He’s only 28 years years old and he’s still averaging 93.2 mph on his fastball via Baseball Savant. His peripherals last year were far from great, but he can improve on his home run and strikeout rates in the right system. Like Kluber, I think that Walker is a good gamble for the Yankees.
Ethan Semendinger – Late in December I ran a series of articles looking at pitchers who may have been available on the trade market, including two who were shortly thereafter traded to the San Diego Padres in Yu Darvish and Blake Snell. I also had thoughts about a pitcher who the Yankees have been rumored to want but it seems that has fallen through in recent days with Luis Castillo of the Cincinnati Reds along with a pitching candidate who none other than us have really considered with the Philadelphia Phillies’ Aaron Nola.
Now, I’m super keen on bringing back Tanaka, but at his current desire of a 1/$15M or 1/$20M contract it seems unlikely the Yankees will go that high unless they trade away someone making money. Instead, I’ll point you all towards a different idea in going with a cheap veteran, of whom I highlighted three pitchers in a recent post from last week. My most favorable option would’ve been Jon Lester (before he became a National yesterday) before Adam Wainwright (who is likely to stay a Cardinal) or Cole Hamels (most likely option, and someone I would be okay with).
NOTE – The following pitchers were traded or signed contracts over the last few days:
Joe Murgrove – to the Padres
Jon Lester – to the Nationals
Tyler Chatwood – to the Blue Jays