There are many reasons that Brian Cashman should acquire a front-line starter this winter. Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are the crown jewels of this class, and both would be excellent fits in the Bronx.
As the winter moves forward, executives, analysts and fans will make various arguments to sign one of them. They are both dominant starters that throw hard and certainly make any team better. In addition to all of the positive traits that these two possess, there is also a very weak free agent class looming next year.
Simply put, there really isn’t a sure-fire number one starter in the 2020 class of starting pitchers. The biggest reason the Yankees need to strike now is because they won’t have the same opportunity next year. Let’s take a look at five of the top starters in next year’s class.
Trevor Bauer – Bauer is clearly the best pitcher in next year’s class, but his volatile personality probably wouldn’t play well in the Bronx. The Yankees are all about conformity, tradition, and unison, and Bauer is all about being outspoken and non-conforming. Yes, he has a relationship with new pitching coach Matt Blake, but I just can’t see Brian Cashman splurging on a guy with such a checkered personality. It’s not how he does business.
Masahiro Tanaka – Tanaka is already a Yankee, so this wouldn’t be an addition. At the very best, we would simply be keeping a known commodity. In fact, Tanaka’s possible departure is even more reason to acquire an ace now. With that being said, Tanaka seems to love it here and I would be surprised if he left.
James Paxton – Paxton is already a Yankee. Same situation as above, although I don’t know enough about Paxton to make a judgment on weather he will stay or go. As with any pending free agent, there is no guarantee he will stay.
Marcus Stroman – Stroman is a solid arm, but isn’t close to being a number one starter. He is small in stature, doesn’t get many strikeouts, and doesn’t throw very hard. Cashman recently said he didn’t think Stroman was good enough to make the Yankees post season rotation. You can forget about Cash paying big bucks for this guy.
Robbie Ray – The Yankees had discussions about Ray this past trade deadline, and they obviously didn’t like him enough to trade for him. Ray is an average pitcher. I am not big on judging a pitcher by his win-loss record, however Ray’s 47-46 career record is very indicative of who he is. He has a career ERA over four in the N.L. West, which is a pitcher’s paradise. This wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for either side.
Out of the top five pitchers to hit the market next year, there are some obvious red flags.
None of them are a true number one starter.
None of them are even close to the level of a Cole or a Strasburg.
Two of them are already Yankees.
Need another reason to sign an ace this offseason? Look no further than next year’s free agent class.