The New York Yankees bolstered their batting corps with the addition of the Giancarlo Stanton last offseason. However, many baseball pundits are a bit concerned with the team’s talented but relatively thin rotation. In an article written by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, general manager Brian Cashman said that he had targeted several free agents to address their pitching depth, one of which was Japanese ace pitcher Yu Darvish.
Darvish, arguably the top hurler available in free agency, drew the attention of several major league clubs before he ultimately decided to sign with the Chicago Cubs on a six-year, $126 million deal. The Yankees, although not considered a top suitor, closely monitored the activities around Darvish from the outside with the hope of snatching him at a much lower price.
Cashman confirmed his interest in Darvish, though he wasn’t high on offering the pitcher a long-term deal. In fact, the Yankees GM indeed hoped Darvish’s market value to crash down, which would have given Cashman the opportunity to strike a short and team-friendly deal with the All-Star pitcher. That scenario never came to fruition, as Darvish eventually landed a deal that pays him an average of $21 million per year.
“We talked about Darvish with [his agent] Joel Wolfe, but it never got off the ground. We kept seeing if his market collapsed and it didn’t,” Cashman explained. “Darvish was never a choice for us, in terms of length [of contract request] with a pitcher.”
As Sherman noted, the Yankees should have prioritized the need for more capable arms to their pitching rotation since they don’t have a safety net outside the starting trio of Masahiro Tanaka, C.C Sabathia, and Luis Severino. Still, the baseball pundit believed it’s hard to put all the blame on the Yankees for pulling the trigger on the Stanton deal, saying last winter’s blockbuster trade presented a unique opportunity to improve their batting rotation.
The Yankees are very much aware of their pitching need. According to Sherman, New York has been zeroing in on Cleveland Indians righty Danny Salazar, who has emerged as a potential trade target in the final weeks of the offseason. Salazar has established a reputation as a talented strikeout artist, but recurring shoulder and elbow problems have significantly slowed him down the past two seasons.
Sherman disclosed that the Yankees had interest in Salazar in the offseason, and it would be interesting if the pitcher’s availability in the trade market would prompt the ballclub to make a move before opening day.