The Yankees like many other teams are in an interesting position as we enter baseball’s first offseason amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. With no fans in the stands, this past season every team lost considerable amounts of money. This lost revenue is most likely going to result in a dull free agency this winter. The Yankees, in particular, are in an interesting position. They are losing three starting pitchers, one reliever, and an elite infielder. It will be difficult for all teams to sign big-name players to large deals but it still can be done. With all of that said here are five pitchers the Yankees should at least attempt to sign this offseason.
Trevor Bauer Starting Pitcher Cincinnati Reds
Bauer without question was the game’s best pitcher in 2020. He went 5-4 with a 1.73 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP in 11 starts. Bauer was elite all season and he ended his tenure with the Reds throwing 7.2 shutout innings while striking out 12 in game one of the NL Wild Card Series which Cincinnati lost 1-0 in 13 innings. Bauer has rejected the Reds qualifying offer and will be hitting the open market this winter.
In order for the Yankees to acquire his services, they must be willing to either part with a significant amount of money over a long term contract or be willing to take a risk on a short term one-year pact with the right-hander. Either way, they must be willing to part with their first-round pick in 2021 in order to sign him. Bauer would give the Yankees a three-headed monster at the top of their rotation with Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino. Those three backed by Domingo German and young stud Deivi Garcia would give the Yankees one if not the best rotations in all of baseball.
Liam Hendricks Relief Pitcher Oakland A’s
Hendricks has been the closer in Oakland since the fall and departure of Blake Treinen that began two seasons ago. Since stepping into that role he has been absolutely lights out. The Australian-born right-hander has a 1.79 ERA over the past two seasons with 161 strikeouts in 110.1 innings. While he wouldn’t be the closer in New York he would take over the role of the 7th innings “Set up man” left by the injury and sudden departure of Tommy Kahle. While Hendricks would cost a pretty penny the value he would add out of the back end of the bullpen would be priceless. Not only would it give the Yankees a better 7th inning option but it would also take pressure off of Chad Green and Adam Ottavino. Hendricks would be an amazing addition to the Yankees already loaded bullpen.
Brad Hand Relief Pitcher Cleveland Indians
Hand was one of the first players to fall victim to the lost revenue of 2020. The Indians terminated Hand’s contract in order to avoid paying him 10 million dollars for the 2021 season. Like Liam Hendricks, Hand has been an elite closer over the past few seasons. He often flies under the radar and isn’t talked about as one of the game’s best pitchers because of guys like Aroldis Chapman and Josh Hader. Hand has been the one consistent piece in what otherwise has been an awful bullpen in Cleveland the last couple of seasons. Hand would add desperately needed power lefty to a bullpen that is righty dominated. He would also probably come cheaper than Hendricks should the Yankees want to go that route.
Corey Kluber Starting Pitcher Texas Rangers
Last offseason Kluber was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Texas Rangers in exchange for outfielder Delino DeShields and a few prospects. He had trouble staying healthy all season as he only pitched one inning in 2020. However, anyone who has paid attention to the sport over the last few seasons knows that Kluber is an elite pitcher when healthy. With the free-agent market uncertain with every player it should make a player with injury concerns like Kluber fairly cheap.
Charlie Morton Starting Pitcher Tampa Bay Rays
Like Kluber, Charlie Morton is an older starter that struggled with injuries in 2020. However, this is the first time he’s missed significant time in a season. Over the last three seasons, Morton holds a record of 33-11 with a 3.24 ERA and a 133 ERA+. He has made 72 starts in that time period. In those three seasons, he has developed into one of the best strikeout pitchers as well. He has bunched out 483 batters in that span. Like Kluber, Morton should come cheaper than the top names on the market but he will pitch like one of those guys.
All of the above options would be people from outside the organization to come in but the Yankees have been in contact with Masahiro Tanaka and according to the source, a singing of one of the above pitchers wouldn’t necessarily bring an end to the Tanaka era. This will be the most interesting Yankee offseason in recent memory, let’s see how it pans out.