After a season that exposed its pitching shortcomings, the New York Yankees are keen to reverse the narrative in the 2024 season. In a first off-season move, the Bronx Bombers prioritized acquisitions of outfielders. Now that the outfield quota is filled with Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo’s addition, the focus shifts to bolstering pitching depth.
One of the Yankees’ prime targets remains Japanese ace pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. However, as per current dynamics, it is highly plausible that Yamamoto slips off Yank’s grip. Under these circumstances, a veteran right-handed pitcher could be an ideal alternative, as he recently entered the free-agent market after his fallout with the San Diego Padres.
Yankees Should Approach Michael Wacha If Market For Pitcher Shrinks Further!
The New York Yankees remain at a crossroads with Yoshinobu Yamamoto. While the ace held a positive discussion earlier this week, his intentions to join forces remain unclear. As of this writing, the pitcher is still meeting with rival teams to hear as many offers as he can. Thus, early signs indicate that Bronx Bombers will fall short in the Yamamoto sweepstakes. If so happens, the front office must move swiftly as the market for pitchers is shrinking. Besides Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell, the Bombers can approach ex-Padres starter Michael Wacha. The right-hander signed a four-year $26 million contract with San Diego Padres earlier this year. However, both parties declined their respective options, which made Wacha a free agent.
Michael Wacha, a seasoned pitcher with both starting and relieving experience, brings a wealth of MLB to the table. Having spent the majority of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals before stints with the Rays, Mets, Red Sox, and Padres, Wacha has showcased versatility in various pitching roles. One notable aspect of Wacha’s resume is his success in postseason play. He burst onto the national stage during the 2013 playoffs, earning NLCS MVP honors as he played a pivotal role in the Cardinals’ run to the World Series. His ability to perform under pressure in October could be an asset for the Yankees. Having said that, durability is an issue. The pitcher hasn’t surpassed 150 innings pitched since 2017. Even in 2023, he posted a 3.22 ERA across 22 starts and 134.1 IP. Regardless, after exhausting all options, the Bombers can eventually turn to Wacha.
Where Do Yanks Stand In Yoshinobu Yamamoto Sweepstakes?
Before looking for any alternative, the New York Yankees would exhaust every trick to land Japanese ace pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. As of this writing, MLB insider Bob Nightingale still ranked the Yankees’ favorites to land Yamamoto. The ace met with the front office earlier this week and showed significant interest. However, the rest of the rivals are putting in equal effort.
LA Dodgers hosted Yoshinobu Yamamoto at Dodgers stadium and asked Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, and Freddie Freeman to attend the meet. Besides, the New York Mets made a special trip to Japan last week to meet Yamamoto in person. Thus, the competition is extremely fierce as the ace pitcher continues to contemplate the best fit. By this weekend, the fans must have a clearer picture.