Since the Yankees rotation has been lacking depth and consistency to begin 2019, they could use some extra arms added before the deadline, but how many?
Knowing how important maintaining a first-place lead is something this current team is not familiar with. It is on the players to perform, but it is also up to Brian Cashman to piece together a championship caliber ball club. Well, so far so good. The starting pitching was addressed in the offseason, but with still a long way to go, starting pitching is still the number one priority.
At some point, almost every starter has struggled in consecutive starts and because of that, the bullpen has worked double in order to compensate for the lack of the production. That is not to say there haven’t been dominant starts from the rotation, it just so happens that the bullpen arms when used have been excellent. The Yankees cannot afford to tax this bullpen and make them grind out appearances in the dog days of summer. They are going to eventually require starters to start eating innings and adding two reliable starters should be under heavy consideration before the deadline.
While the rumors have been swirling since draft day, Dallas Kuechel seems like a perfect fit for this ball club. Besides the crazy beard (which has been reported he would shave if signed) and the sheer dominance he has had against the Yankees, it is a no brainer to bring in the former Cy Young winner to an already stacked roster. Having Kuechel with no innings pitched in 2019 means you can push him a little further when he is up to playing speed.
Boone and the analytics department shouldn’t be worried about pitch counts earlier on. Missing over two months from not signing with a team could be a blessing in disguise because for him because he could automatically be on a contender, and he has the chance to be at peak level come playoff time. If the contract is only for this year, it is a no brainer to pay him whatever he wants but still at a decent price. I would go as high as $18.5 million for Kuechel. Hoping this comes to fruition, we could expect a lethal lineup especially when Severino comes back.
If adding Kuechel seems like enough well, you’re wrong. Adding a controllable arm via trade this year might be in play moving forward. Looking at this list of starting pitching seeming to be available, I cannot imagine that it might just be a rental year if they do not go after some big fish. With the injury history, the Yankees starters have sustained, there is never too many starters on the roster. There have been rumblings about Max Scherzer and how the Nationals might blow up their roster and build around Soto and Robles.
While it is only June and only six games back from the division, it seems as if they’ll wait and be sellers closer to the deadline if they do not make a comeback. Marcus Stroman is another name that has surfaced over the offseason and now for the Yanks. The familiarity with the AL East is certainly a plus (J.A. Happ was a similar situation) and one more controllable year after this might be enticing, I do not see the Yankees giving up a decent haul for someone they might not want to keep down the line. The New York native would be well respected here, and while he is having a great year, no one knows what to expect from Stroman. He has been hit or miss the past couple of years.
The one arm I think could help us out the most, however, is Mike Minor. He has been the rock for the Texas Rangers and is only making $9.8 million the next two seasons. Having a career resurgence with the Kansas City Royals and landing a multi-year deal with the Rangers, he almost reminds me of Rich Hill. He has been so valuable to the Dodgers, and I think the Yankees might not have to give up a ton for a guy like Minor.
Not only could he “eat” innings, but giving quality starts with our run support would be a ton of fun. I say go for it, even though all three are viable options, Minor seems like the safe choice to me.