The New York Yankees have been active this offseason, though they haven’t made any splashes in free agency. After executing two important trades, the team will have to fill out their roster with players that are on the open market.
New York bolstered their bullpen by acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds. The Yankees traded pitcher Adam Warren for Chicago Cubs’ second baseman Starlin Castro, who will solidify the team’s weakest position last year. Now, the Yankees must focus on improving their starting rotation.
The Yankees’ rotation is filled with question marks. Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda have battled injuries in each of the last two seasons. Nathan Eovaldi and Luis Severino are young starters that New York is hoping to build around, but CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova might not even be good enough to start for the club next season.
There are a few big-name free agents available, but the Yankees aren’t in contention to sign hitters like Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton or Chris Davis. The team could sign a starting pitcher, though it would have to be at the right price.
What free agents might make sense for the Yankees?
Chen is the best starting pitcher available, and the Yankees can’t afford him at his desired contract. It was reported last month that the left-hander was looking to sign a five-year contract worth $100 million, but it’s looking like he might have to settle for a lot less. With no team seemingly willing to pay Chen what he’s seeking, New York could potentially afford the pitcher.
The 30-year-old was the top starter for the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. He went 11-8 with a 3.34 ERA, posting a WHIP of 1.22. The Yankees are without a reliable left-hander in the rotation, and Chen fits the bill. Mike Leake was given $16 million a year for five seasons, and it might make sense for New York to be in play for Chen if he is willing to take a four-year contract at a similar yearly rate.
Gallardo is similar to Chen. He’ll be 30 years old at the start of the season, and he’s looking to land the one big contract of his MLB career. Gallardo pitched well for the Texas Rangers last season and helped them reach the playoffs, but he might not get as much money as a free agent as he once thought.
Gallardo went 13-11 with a 3.42 ERA in 2015, and he’s been consistent for most of his career. He’s posted an ERA between 3.42 and 3.84 in every year but one since 2009, always throwing between 180 and 207.1 innings. If the Yankees do choose to pursue Gallardo, they could get some competition from the Kansas City Royals.
Fister is more in line with what the Yankees are trying to do this offseason. Not looking to give out any lucrative contracts, the team might take a chance on a pitcher that is coming off a bad year and won’t demand a lot of money. After posting a 4.19 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP for the Washington Nationals in 103 innings, it won’t cost too much to sign the right-hander.
At times throughout his career, Fister has performed like one of the best pitchers in baseball. He went 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA in 2014, and he has a career ERA of 3.42. If the Yankees can sign him to a short-term deal, it might be worth it.