While the New York Yankees have been trying to shop around and find a trade partner for Ivan Nova, they haven’t had much success. Nova, who is listed as the sixth starter on the depth chart, will start in the bullpen if he remains in pinstripes after this offseason. Unfortunately, the Yankees can’t rely on Nova to be their fill-in option of someone gets hurt or is not performing well. While many big names have been signed already, there are still some solid pitchers out there that the Yankees can sign to help their staff.
The Yankees starting rotation consists of Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, C.C. Sabathia, and Luis Severino. None of these guys were able to pitch a full season in the big leagues in 2015, with Tanaka, Pineda, Eovaldi and Sabathia spending time on the disabled list and Severino being in AAA until August. These signs indicate that starting pitching has been a problem for the Yankees, and should be something that they should focus on for 2016. The only move that they have made involving a starting pitcher was trading away Adam Warren to the Cubs to acquire Starlin Castro. The Yankees can pick up a fourth or fifth starter to help their rotation, and there are some more than qualified candidates left on the free-agent market.
The Yankees need a guy who will go out every fifth day and give them a solid outing. They need a reliable guy who will not miss starts, and can solidify the back end of their rotation. Of the 2016 free-agent class, Yovani Gallardo seems to be the best fit. Gallardo has made at least 30 starts every season since 2009, making his Major League Debut in mid-2007 and tearing his ACL in the beginning of 2008. Boosting a 102-75 record over the course of his nine-year career, Gallardo has proved that he can win and is a reliable arm. He also has a 3.66 career ERA, with his 3.42 in 2015 being a career low.
Adding Gallardo would be beneficial to the Yankees both for their pitching staff, and their wallets. Gallardo has been a top-of-the-rotation guy during his time in Milwaukee and Texas, and dropping to the third or fourth spot for the Yankees wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for him. This signing would improve their rotation substantially, but also raises the question of who will drop out of the rotation to make room for him? If the Yankees get Gallardo or another arm, them Severino will stay in AAA until someone gets hurt or is struggling, and based on recent scenarios, Severino will likely be on the team by mid-May. A three- or four-year contract would be best, and it will probably cost the Yankees $40-50 million tops. Gallardo’s highest payday was $14 million in 2015 and that was on the tail end of his contract signed back in 2008. That is an affordable deal for the Yankees, even as they try and cut below the luxury tax threshold. There is too much uncertainty in the rotation going forward, what with the continued worries about Tanaka’s ability to stay healthy, Sabathia’s personal issues, and the inconsistent performance of Pineda and Eovaldi.
The New York Yankees are still trying to build a team that can bring a World Series trophy back to the Bronx. They have made some moves this offseason that point in the right direction, they’re still missing the last piece of the puzzle. Adding one more arm to really solidify that rotation might just give them that edge they need.