The New York Yankees significantly bolstered their batting firepower by acquiring National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton in a rather controversial trade last offseason. With another big batter in the fold, the Bronx Bombers have made themselves among the early favorites on paper. Yet, despite their vaunted lineup, there are still some who aren’t buying the hype surrounding this year’s Yankees.
Apart from their second baseman dilemma, the Yankees are saddled with a concerning issue in their starting rotation. The triumvirate of Masahiro Tanaka, C.C Sabathia, and Luis Severino is rock solid. In fact, there’s even an argument that the Yankees starting rotation has the upside to become elite given the overwhelming talent present in the lineup. However, one glaring weakness in the Yankees’ pitching corps has been the absence of a ‘safety net’ in the event an injury bug takes over during the season.
While New York has a bevy of promising young prospects to step up, team owner Hal Steinbrenner has never denied the team’s desire of adding more high-caliber starting pitchers, even though it contradicts the goal of empowering youth movement on the team, and more importantly, staying under the $197 million luxury tax threshold.
“I think you can never have enough starting pitching,” Steinbrenner said in an attempt to shed light on the Yankees’ pitching situation during Wednesday’s press conference via the New York Post. “We have a rotation. It’s just a question of it being a long season and can everybody stay healthy. If somebody does get injured, where do we go from there?
Fortunately for the Yankees, the free agency market still offers some quality talents with roughly three weeks to go before opening day. Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb remain available this late in the offseason and both present the AL East powerhouse the opportunity of adding more depth to their already formidable starting rotation.
Randy Miller and Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media also agreed that either Lynn or Cobb can provide that “safety net” for New York if one of their starters succumbs to injury. Although New York might still have some level of interest in both Lynn and Cobb, it’s unlikely they will meet the asking price of these players. Still, the Yankees beat reporters assured that Brian Cashman and his team will be paying close attention to these two impact hurlers with the hope that one of them can be signed at a much lower price.
Lynn, 30, is coming off a big 2017 season in which he ranked 2nd in National League in walks (78) and 7th in ERA (3.43). According to TwinCities.com, Lynn turned down a two-year, $20 million offer from the Minnesota Twins because it didn’t meet his asking price. The projected market value for the former St. Louis Cardinal is pegged at around $60M over four years.
On the other hand, Cobb has piqued interests of multiple teams but surprisingly can’t land a contract. Cobb, 30, went 12-10 last season with 128 strikeouts and 44 walks. The former Tampa Bay Ray had an ERA of 3.66 and WHIP of 1.22, which ranked 10th in the American League.