One of the biggest issues the New York Yankees have had over the past 4 years has been starting pitcher. 2017, 2018 our ace Luis Severino and that’s about it, not a complete starting rotation. Tanaka was a good consistent staple who the Yanks could rely on for a solid start in the regular season or playoffs. 2019 the Yankees didn’t have Severino due to an injury so they had to rely on guys like James Paxton, Domingo German, Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and C.C Sabathia. They finished that season with a 4.31 ERA with a 4.27 FIP which finished 14th in the league. The natural consumption in the offseason was that the Yankees would go out and get their ace in which they did in the form of Gerrit Cole. Cole has done wonders for this rotation beyond his bump days, he’s helped develop guys like Jordan Montgomary, and helped unlock Jonathan Loaisgia with pitching coach Matt Blake. Debatably the Yankees wouldn’t have made the playoffs the past 2 seasons if Cole wasn’t there and that’s why the Yankees need to go out and get another SP. Now these names won’t blow you away but with a little touching up they can be stars along with Cole and Sevy.
1. Sean Manaea / Chris Bassitt / Frankie Montas (Oakland Athletics)
If the Yankees do indeed trade for Matt Olson they probably want one of these guys packaged with him. All 3 of these guys are solid number #2’s on the Yankees and could complement well with Cole and Sevy. Let’s start with Sean Manaea, the 29 year old left hander is a solid all around starter that has shown flashes at times of being dominant but has been mostly mediocre. In 2021, Manaea posted a 3.91 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, nearly 200 K’s and had a 3.3 WAR which are solid numbers for a guy who you’re looking for in the middle of the rotation. Manaea has a 3 pitch mix that consists of a mid-90’s sinker, a changeup, and a curveball. Another guy I’d really like is Chris Bassitt who just had a career year, 3.15 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 1.06 WHIP, 9.10 K/9, with a 3.3 fWAR. He’s a finesse pitcher who’s in the top 88th percentile in limiting hard contact and doesn’t walk a lot. The main concern for trading for Bassitt is his age, Bassitt will be turning 33 in February so you’ll be trading for a guy who’s gonna start regressing very soon and could very much be this year. Last but certainly not least Frankie Montas, Montas after years of hype finally lived up to it and actually got playing time. Montas always had the tools to be a fantastic pitcher in this league and everything finally clicked for a full season. Montas posted a 3.37 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 10 K/9, 1.18 WHIP, with a 4.1 WAR with a Wild Card contending team. He showed he can be a top flight starter with anyone and could definitely contend for the 2nd spot in the Yankees rotation with Severino. The pitch arsenal is what you wanna see, Montas displays a high-90’s sinker, high-90’s 4-seam, split finger, and slider. It’s gonna take a lot more to acquire Montas along with Olson but I think it’s worth it to trade for a top 2 1st baseman and a number #2 guy in the rotation.
2. Luis Castillo (Cincinnati Reds)
The Yankees were in talks with the Reds for Castillo right before Spring Training started last season but the asking price at that time was very high. They were asking were at that time an All Star caliber player in Gleyber Torres and we thought the world of that kid before he fell off the face of the earth. Now Torres still has time to develop into the player we’ve seen before but it’s looking less likely as time goes on. Castillo had a down year looking like a clueless clown on the mound. In April, Castillo statically had one of the worst months for qualified pitchers posting a 6.29 ERA then proceeded to have a worse month the following month with a 8.04 ERA. But then after that he looked very solid but still not at the level we’re used to seeing from him. But by the end of the year Castillo posted a 3.98 ERA, 3.75 FIP, and a 9.21 K/9 solid #2 numbers but definitely can top most rotations. Really good at making people miss the barrel of the bat but does give up a lot hard hit balls when he doesn’t, if you’ve seen him pitch you know he’s one of the most nasty starting pitchers with his insane looking changeup that looks like a turbo sinker while having a turbo sinker and an insane 4-Seam. The value for Castillo could have gone down with the recent reports from Jon Heyman stating that the Reds are interested in trading him so I think the Yankees should jump on him because he is an All Star caliber SP and having him along with Cole and Severino would be filthy.
3. Tyler Mahle (Cincinnati Reds)
Mahle is another case of a young pitcher who just hit stride this season. The 27 year old right hander from Newport Beach CA can really spin the ball and has really taken that next step to become a top pitcher in a rotation. Before the 2021 season Mahle was at best an average to below average pitcher giving you ok innings with ok starts. But in 2021 he killed it with a moneyline of a 3.75 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 11 K/9, and a 3.8 fWAR. When you trade for Mahle you’ll be getting 2 years of control over a young up and coming pitcher who still has room to grow. Mahle has one of the grossest split fingers you’ll see, according to BaseballSavant Mahle’s split finger nearly has 5 inches of vertical movement and 3 inches of horizontal movement. Along with the split finger he displays a mid 90’s fastball and a nasty slider with around 2500 RPM which is hovering around deGrom’s spin rate. Trading for Mahle would definitely come at a cheaper cost then his fellow teammate but you get more control and he has really good upside that Matt Blake can unlock, let’s take a chance on this kid.
4. Tyler Glasnow ( Tampa Bay Rays )
Exploring this trade could be difficult because it’s a league rival but the Rays will definitely listen if it’s the right package. There’s been reports of the Rays wanting to move on from some of their key players like Kevin Kiermaier, Austin Meadows, and the center of this topic Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow before getting hurt was on pace to be in the CY Young race, in 90 innings of work Glasnow had a 2.66 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 12 K/9, 0.93 WHIP, and a 2.5 WAR. Among pitchers with a minimum of 80 innings Glasnow ranked 7th in FIP, 9th in ERA, 3rd in K/9, and I’d say he was on pace to be around a 5-6 WAR type of player. You’d still have 2 years of control on this kid so the package would have to be gigantic for the Rays to accept a trade in the division. And why should the Yankees give the Rays prospects that’ll most likely turn out good? Personally I think the number #2 spot in the rotation is one of the biggest question going into the season, we still don’t know how good Severino is, Monty played good all season but he’s not a number #2 guy, Taillon showed flashes of the player we traded for but he’s still not there. So how do we fill that void of assurance? Trading for one of the best pitchers in all of baseball and handling the consequences later down the line.
5. Cal Quantrill ( Cleveland Guardians )
Since coming over in the Mike Clevenger trade, Cal Quantrill has made a name for himself in Cleveland. Drafted 8th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres, Cal had a lot of hype coming in as a prospect. He went from being ranked 38th in the Pipeline in 2017 to being unranked in 2018 and 2019. In 2021, Quantrill showed off his potential with a 2.89 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 7.28 K/9, and nearly 2.0 WAR. Not flashy stats but you need to look at his age and look at how much room he has to grow into an ELITE pitcher. The reason for the high xFIP and FIP is the lack of a strikeout pitch, in over 149 Inning thrown Quantrill struck-out only 121 batters. But confidently with Matt Blake Quan CAN develop that strikeout pitch and he’ll be deadly once he does that. Quan has good spin rate on his off-speed and has good run values with a -13 Slider, -3 Sinker, -1 Curveball, 0 Changeup. But his fastball gets rocked and he’ll need some help with that. I’m very excited to see what the Yankees could do with this kid but it won’t come a cheap cost, definitely worth the price though.