Alex Verdugo

During this baseball offseason, the New York Yankees have been busy making lots of trades, changing their team by getting Alex Verdugo, Trent Grisham, and Juan Soto. Fans are excited about these new players, but it’s surprising that the Yankees haven’t signed any big-league free agents. MLB Trade Rumors pointed this out on January 1. They mentioned that they were one of four teams, along with the Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins, and Colorado Rockies, that didn’t sign any big-league free agents at the start of 2024.

The Search for Pitching: A GM’s Challenge

As people talk about the Yankees’ different approach to free agents, the team’s manager, Brian Cashman, is in the spotlight. Fans wonder if the Yankees will keep this unexpected strategy until spring training starts. However, Cashman is not sitting still. He is actively looking for another starting pitcher through trades to strengthen the team’s rotation. Bob Nightengale, a baseball expert from USA Today, made bold predictions on January 7. One of them was about the Yankees making their pitching better.

Yankees/Brian Cashman

Nightengale shared ongoing talks with the Chicago White Sox for Dylan Cease. Additionally, there were negotiations with the Miami Marlins about Jesus Luzardo and discussions with the Cleveland Guardians about Shane Bieber. Ken Rosenthal, a trusted source in baseball, added to the rumors on January 5. He reported the Yankees’ “sincere” interest in Cease. The idea of going after Luzardo first came up in a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan on January 3. Nightengale’s revelation about the Yankees talking to Bieber is the first public connection between them nd the Guardians ace.

Yankees: Recent Misses and Current Hopes in Free Agency

Cashman’s attempt to get Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto didn’t work out. Yamamoto chose a massive 12-year, $325 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers instead. The Yankees also wanted to bring back Jordan Montgomery, a player they selected in the 2014 MLB Draft. However, it now seems less likely as Montgomery seems to prefer re-signing with the Texas Rangers.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto 4
Yankees/Yoshinobu Yamamoto

While the Yankees are not interested in Shōta Imanaga, a surprising update came from SNY’s Andy Martino on January 4. Martino revealed that Blake Snell, the current best pitcher in the National League, has privately said he wants to join the Yankees.

New York’s Urgency to Improve the Pitching Staff

As they go through the complicated offseason, there’s a pressing need to strengthen their pitching rotation. The possibility of Juan Soto leaving in the next free agency cycle adds urgency to the Yankees’ goal of winning in 2024. Cashman, understanding the importance, is actively looking for opportunities in free agency and the trade market.

Juan Soto 10
Yankees/Juan Soto

However, there’s a dilemma – should the Yankees spend money on a free agent like Shane Bieber, who will become a free agent next winter, or should they make trades for Dylan Cease and Jesus Luzardo, who still have many years left with their current teams? The cost of these moves has already been felt in the minor leagues. The Yankees gave away promising young players in trades with the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres.

The departure of top pitching prospect Drew Thorpe in the Padres deal shows that the Yankees are willing to give up young players for immediate help in their rotation. In this ever-changing offseason, they find themselves at a crossroads, trying to balance the present and the future as they look for better pitching. Fans eagerly wait for the next chapter in the Yankees’ journey to reclaim their dominance on the mound.