During their quest to acquire starting pitching in recent months, the Yankees have been connected to a litany of potential trade and free agent targets. The list includes right-handers Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, who rank as two of the best free agents remaining in this year’s class. It doesn’t appear either will end up with the Yankees, though, if we’re to believe manager Aaron Boone.
“At this point I don’t see those guys as realistic options,” Boone said Sunday (via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com). “It’s my understanding that those guys aren’t really in play for us.”
With the Yankees poised to stay under the $197MM luxury tax threshold and having anywhere from $10MM to $15MM left to spend, Lynn or Cobb would likely be a tight fit for the club’s budget (MLBTR predicted $14MM per annum for Lynn and $12MM a year for Cobb at the outset of the offseason). Although things haven’t gone according to plan for either pitcher since the market opened, they still seem likely to reel in contracts worth somewhere in the $10MM to 15MM-per-year vicinity. Further, because Lynn and Cobb rejected qualifying offers at the start of the offseason, signing either would cost the Yankees two 2018 draft picks (their second- and fifth-highest selections) and $1MM in international bonus pool space.
Even if they’re truly not in the mix for Lynn or Cobb, the Yankees still have the financial wiggle room to make some sort of move(s) – particularly after addressing third base this week with the acquisition of the inexpensive Brandon Drury. However, general manager Brian Cashman may not feel any urgency to upgrade over the Yankees’ current starting five.
New York’s on track to begin the year with Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery, the same rotation that helped the club to 91 regular-season wins and a berth in the ALCS in 2017. There are some question marks with each – arguably more in terms of workload and/or durability than performance – but if the quintet doesn’t deliver as hoped during the season, the Yankees could bolster their rotation via trade. That’s exactly what they did last year when they picked up Gray from Oakland in July.