Yankees' World Series Hopes Skyrocket with Potential Pitcher Trade

Offseason Challenges for Yankees' Pitching Rotation

by Zain ul Abedin
Yankees' World Series Hopes Skyrocket with Potential Pitcher Trade
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New York Yankees' General Manager Brian Cashman is relentless in his pursuit of roster improvements, and this offseason is no exception. As January unfolds, the Yankees find themselves with four starters locked in for their five-man rotation.

Gerrit Cole, the reigning Cy Young winner, stands as the unquestionable ace, while the second and third slots belong to left-handers Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes, former All-Stars who faced injuries and struggles in the previous season.

Clarke Schmidt also holds a spot in the rotation. However, the fifth rotation spot remains vacant at this juncture, temporarily filled by 25-year-old right-hander Luis Gil. While Gil displayed flashes of promise during his 2022 debut, he also faced inconsistencies and injury setbacks, raising concerns about his readiness for a full-time role.

Entering the offseason, the Yankees seemed well-equipped in the pitching department, even after parting ways with Domingo German due to off-field issues. However, their ambitions took a dramatic turn when they acquired outfielder Juan Soto, aiming to bolster their lineup with a powerful left-handed bat.

To secure Soto's services, they traded away Michael King, a valuable multi-inning relief asset who had transitioned successfully into the starting rotation. This trade was a bittersweet move for the Yankees as it provided them with an offensive superstar while depleting their rotation depth.

The emergence of Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez, rookie Dominican right-handers who held their own in King's absence, provided some consolation but did not fully offset the loss.

Yankees' Miss on Yamamoto

A major blow occurred when the Yankees failed to secure Japanese sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the most sought-after free-agent pitcher.

Despite their generous offer of $300 million for 10 years, Yamamoto chose the Los Angeles Dodgers, signing a historic $325 million, 12-year deal. The decision not to outbid the Dodgers for Yamamoto added pressure on Cashman to find quality starting pitching and depth via alternative routes, as the offseason progresses with several other teams also seeking pitching upgrades.

As of now, the Yankees have not made any significant additions to their rotation. While free agents like Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell are available, they come with price tags that the Yankees find less appealing. Montgomery, who had a strong postseason showing, appears inclined to re-sign with the Texas Rangers, asking for a deal potentially exceeding what the Yankees offered Carlos Rodon last winter.

Exploring Pitching Alternatives

The Yankees also have reservations about the cost of acquiring Snell, who, despite his Cy Young accolades, can be inconsistent and led the NL in walks last season. More economically viable options for the Yankees include right-handers Mike Clevinger, Seth Lugo, and Michael Lorenzen, along with lefty Sean Manaea.

However, the Yankees have reportedly shown little interest in right-hander Marcus Stroman or lefty Shota Imanaga, a Japanese import. To bolster their rotation and elevate their World Series prospects, Cashman now faces a critical decision.

Three ace-caliber right-handed pitchers are reportedly available in trades. The Cleveland Guardians are open to trading Shane Bieber, though his recent struggles and injury concerns make him a risky choice. Another option is White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease, who had an impressive 2022 season but also comes with inconsistency issues and is reportedly being pursued by the Baltimore Orioles.

Hopes Pinned on Corbin Burnes

The most appealing trade target for the Yankees appears to be Brewers righty Corbin Burnes. Often compared to Gerrit Cole, Burnes is a former Cy Young winner and a consistent All-Star. His impressive track record, durability, and ability to log significant innings make him a coveted asset.

The Brewers have indicated they will only part with Burnes for a compelling offer, and there are specific young players that they are unwilling to trade, including shortstop Anthony Volpe, outfielder Jasson Dominguez, and top prospect Spencer Jones.

Nevertheless, Cashman should explore all possibilities and engage in negotiations with the Brewers to secure Burnes, a move that could transform the Yankees into formidable World Series contenders. The Yankees made a bold statement by acquiring Juan Soto, and they should continue their aggressive pursuit of success by trading for Corbin Burnes.

With Soto in left field and Burnes anchoring the rotation, the Yankees have the potential to become favorites in the race to the World Series in 2024. As the offseason progresses, Cashman's efforts to bolster the roster will be closely monitored by fans and analysts alike, as the team's aspirations remain sky-high.