New York Yankees: Three options to upgrade the rotation

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 16: Starting pitcher Robbie Ray #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks walks to the dugout before the MLB game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on August 16, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 16: Starting pitcher Robbie Ray #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks walks to the dugout before the MLB game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on August 16, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The New York Yankees desperately need help in their starting rotation. Let’s look at some possible options.

As the New York Yankees look to cruise into the postseason, they have major issues with their starting rotation. Gerrit Cole has been as advertised, and Masahiro Tanaka has been solid as he builds back to a full workload, but the rest of the rotation has been in shambles. James Paxton and J.A. Happ have been a disaster. Jordan Montgomery has been fine as a fifth starter, but at this point, he might need to slot into the third place in the rotation in a playoff series.

Fortunately for the Yankees, there may be some options available at the trade deadline. Let’s take a look at some pitchers they may be able to trade for.

Johnny Cueto

Just two months ago, Johnny Cueto would have seemed untradable. He was coming back from Tommy John surgery, is due over just under $22 million for 2021, and has a $5 million buyout on his $22 million team option for 2022. No one was going to trade for that contract.

But that was then. Cueto has been solid this season for the Giants, posting a 4.62 ERA and a 1.184 WHiP in his 25.1 innings, striking out 19 batters with 11 walks. He may not be the pitcher he was before his injury, but Cueto has been solid as he makes his return.

His performance this season also gives hope moving forward. Cueto has done a masterful job of limiting hits and hard contact this season. As he continues to get healthy, it is entirely possible that he will keep improving as the season goes on.

Chances are, it would not cost much to acquire Cueto. The Giants are in the midst of a rebuild, and would be looking to move on from his salary. With the Yankees having gone over a decade without a championship, there is some urgency to win the World Series once again. Cueto has already been there with the Royals, and could help bring another title back to New York.

Johnny Cueto is not the pitcher he once was, but he would still be an upgrade to the New York Yankees rotation.