There’s no need for anonymous sources or particularly difficult analysis to know this isn’t a particularly good pitching market. Just look at the deals that have been signed already, and look at the players who are still out there, and look at what Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said just this weekend.
“It was never a good market going into it.”
That market has grown even worse — or potentially worse — with all of the uncertainty surrounding Masahiro Tanaka, and prices have been set sky high with deals for Jason Vargas, Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. It’s not a great time to be in the market for a 200-inning starter, and the Yankees are looking for exactly that type of player.
Today brought an early rumor of interest in Justin Masterson, but that rumor seemed unlikely pretty quickly (hard to pull off with the Indians trying to contend and the Yankees low on trade chips). We all know Cashman will at least kick the tires on every remote free agent possibility, but the free agent market is developing slowly for a reason: Prices are high and talent is suspect. Andrew Marchand reported this morning that the Yankees are one of several teams showing interest in Johan Santana, but that’s more likely as a non-roster tryout candidate, not as an answer to the Yankees current needs.
Getting Hiroki Kuroda back has helped, but even now the Yankees are looking at a top three of CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Kuroda. They also have Michael Pineda, David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno to compete for at least one spot and provide depth. But the Yankees would still like to supplement. They’ve been aggressive in a position-player market that had several players who fit their needs (might have been awfully expensive, but at least Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran should provide some necessary offense). Finding pitching is going to be the tricky part.
“I feel good about the top three that we have,” Joe Girardi said. “But I think our club will look to see how we can improve. It doesn’t mean there is a deal out there to be had, but I think Brian and his staff will continue to look to improve and we’ll just see. We’ll see how some of these young kids emerge. You had Phelps who pitched pretty well last year. We felt Warren took some big steps. Pineda (is in the mix), and you got Nuno, and some guys that are going to compete. But I think we’ll look to see what we can have.”
Associated Press photo