Cole and Strasburg, two starters who excelled in the postseason, are the premier pitchers on the market. Cole has been arguably the best pitcher in baseball since joining the Houston Astros. Strasburg enjoyed his best season in 2019 and capped it off with a championship and World Series MVP.
The Yankees missed out on the opportunity to add a starting pitcher at the trade deadline. Their rotation wasn’t at the standard of the Houston Astros’ (ironically featuring Cole), and it has been their major weak point over the past couple of seasons.
These three pitchers could be smart additions for Brian Cashman…
Heading into his age-36 campaign, Cole Hamels isn’t the option to anchor the rotation long-term. He will be considerably cheaper than Strasburg and Cole in 2020, however, and will be available without committing to a seven or eight-year deal. Hamels is still an effective pitcher, and finished 2019 with a 117 ERA+.
The left-hander pitched well for the Chicago Cubs since being traded from the Texas Rangers in the 2018 season. There’s already interest aplenty in Hamels, but the Yankees obviously have the financial power to compete if they so desire. It’s not impossible that Cashman signs one of Cole/Strasburg and adds Hamels too.
The rumours of a Yankees trade for Bumgarner ran for much of the 2018 and 2019 MLB seasons. With Bruce Bochy retiring, the Giants opted to hold onto their franchise ace. Bumgarner hits the free agent market with a qualifying offer attached and will be an interesting player to keep an eye on. The decline is obvious, but his postseason pedigree, durability and experience shouldn’t be overlooked.
Freak injuries distract from the fact Bumgarner eats innings as well as any pitcher in the game. His stuff isn’t quite what it once was, but there’s still a top level pitcher in there. His postseason record is up there with the greatest to play the game, and that’s something Cashman should consider. Bumgarner could prove to be a good value option despite his reputation.
Having posted a 3.5 bWAR season, there will be a few franchises showing trade interest in Detroit Tigers starter Matthew Boyd. Boyd had a difficult second half of the year, but the ability to pitch 185 innings has value and his first 10 or 15 starts showed there’s upside. The price may well have dropped from July – if the Yankees think they can take him to a new level, this would be a good time to make a move.
New York still have the prospects to deal to make a trade work and the Tigers are a long way from being competitive. There’s a potential fit there, though it’s not the sort of big-name move that many of the Yankees faithful will be wanting.