With reports that the Yankees are “not getting” Japanese starting pitcher Yu Darvish it is probably a good time to take a look at what’s left on the starting pitching market and discuss if any of those starters fit in with the Yankees plans. Here are to best 10 starters still available:
Gio Gonzalez(traded to the Nationals), LHP, Athletics (free agent after 2015): Gonzalez is definitely still on the market even after the A’s traded Trevor Cahill. However, he is going to cost a ton.
- Jair Jurrjens, Braves (free agent after 2013): The Braves are willing to deal Jurrjens as they have so much young pitching coming up through their system. The Braves like Eduardo Nunez, but the Yankees are worried about Jurrjen’s injury history.
- Matt Garza, Cubs (free agent after 2013): The Yankees like Garza, but there have been no talks between them and the Cubs as of yet. The latest is that the Cubs are considering the Padres’ Anthony Rizzo in a deal for Garza.
John Danks(signed to a 5-year extension), LHP, White Sox (free agent after 2012): The Yankees like Danks, but again, the asking price is sky high. Of the pitchers mentioned so far, he seems like the best fit though as the Sox are in full on rebuilding mode and Danks becomes a free agent in just one year.
- James Shields or Wade Davis, Rays (Shields after ’14, David after ’17): Shields is available, but it doesn’t seem like he is going anywhere. But with six starters going into next season, it seems likely that the Rays could move Davis instead. They have had no interest in trading with the Yankees in the past and that probably hasn’t changed.
- Jonathon Niese, LHP, Mets (free agent after 2015): The Yankees called the Mets about Niese when they heard he was on the trade market, but lately it seems like the Mets are less inclined to deal him, saying that they would have to be “knocked out” to deal him.
- Hiroki Kuroda, free agent (earned $12M last year): Of the free agents, Kuroda seems to make the most sense for the Yankees because he is looking for a one-year deal. Still, he wants $12-13 million which is scaring off the Yankees who are looking to trim payroll. In the past Kuroda has been resistant to moving to the East Coast, but that seems to have changed.
- Edwin Jackson, free agent (earned $8.35M last year): One of my favorite websites, NoMaas.org, has been stumping for Jackson pretty hard, but after holding initial talks with Jackson the Yankees think his price tag is too high.
- Joe Saunders, free agent (earned $5.5M last year): Saunders was recently non-tendered by the Diamondbacks. He is not up to the caliber of the rest of the pitchers on this list, but he is serviceable and will probably accept a much smaller contract than the rest of the pitchers on this list. I doubt the Yankees will go after him, but it makes much more sense than somebody like Scott Kazmir, whom everyone always asks about.
- Roy Oswalt, free agent (earned $16M last year): the Yankees have reached out to Oswalt’s agent, but talks didn’t go far as they are concerned about his back injury that had him talking about retirement during this past season. Despite that talk, he is looking for a three-year deal.
All of these pitchers are available, but realistically it seems like they will continue to keep tabs on Danks while focusing on Kuroda. If they don’t land either of those two pitchers it is very likely that the Yankees don’t acquire another pitcher this offseason. As much as they don’t want that, one look at the Mat Latos trade (the Reds gave up a MLB pitcher and three of their best five prospects) and its easy to see why they are holding on to their pieces.
If no deal is worked out then the Yankees will start to dip into the minor leagues for rotation pieces as needed. Hector Noesi will be the first option with David Phelps, Adam Warren and D.J. Mitchell right behind him. Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos also won’t be far behind as they will start the year in Triple-A, but they are more long-term options than pitchers who would be called up early next season.