The Yankees need rotation depth, and the time is fast approaching when they'll have to make a decision as to the route they'll take to secure it.
The Yankees lost another rotation member Tuesday, when the club placed CC Sabathia on the 10-day injured list due to pain in his surgically repaired right knee. The Yankees are already down staff ace Luis Severino. And while James Paxton is close to returning from an injury of his own, he's not exactly the poster child for health.
Not unlike other seasons, the Yankees are being linked to some of the names expected to be on the trade market. This season, the likes of Madison Bumgarner, Andrew Cashner, Tyler Skaggs, Marcus Stroman and even Max Scherzer are being thrown around in the Twittersphere as potential Yankees targets. Yet, if the Yankees decide to add to the rotation, their best option might very well cost them nothing but cash.
Enter, Dallas Keuchel.
After pricing himself out of the free-agent market this offseason, Keuchel is currently pitching in controlled settings and not with a club. While Keuchel will continue to be choosy about his next team, the clubs that will be interested are simply waiting for the MLB draft to pass before making a move to avoid forfeiting a draft pick for signing a player that was tendered a qualifying offer.
Keuchel will minimally search for a pro-rated salary at the qualifying offer level (it was $17.9 million this season), and the Yankees, despite pushing up against the next level of the luxury tax threshold, might be more interested in using straight cash to upgrade the rotation. In some senses, it could come down to the team's only option. Here's why.
Inflated rental cost
Let's face it: The names that will be available on the trade market might in some cases be bringing more reputation than production, with Scherzer (a huge long shot to obtain) the lone exception. Despite the actual expected performance, teams will offer top-tier prospects in order to lure the starting pitchers away because there are not a lot of hurlers out there, each club feels like it can make the pitcher better and the bidding will necessitate it.