New York Yankees pursuing rotation help after lockout

Jun 13, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) pitches in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 13, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) pitches in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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It is clear that the New York Yankees need help in their starting rotation. Gerrit Cole may be an ace and one of the best pitchers in the game, but he cannot pitch every day. While there is talent in the rest of the rotation, there are also plenty of question marks moving forward.

Given those questions, it is understandable that the Yankees would be looking for options to upgrade their rotation. That appears to be a priority coming out of the lockout as they have requested the medicals for Carlos Rodon and Yusei Kikuchi.

New York Yankees prioritizing rotation

Rodon is arguably the best pitcher available in free agency. A year after being left on the scrap heap, he had an amazing transformation with the White Sox, posting a career best 2.37 ERA and a 0.957 WHiP in his 132.2 innings, striking out 185 batters with 36 walks. Despite missing time due to injury, Rodon made his first All Star Game and finished fifth in the Cy Young vote last year.

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Kikuchi was also a first time All Star last season but did not have the same level of production. He faltered down the stretch, allowing 27 runs – 25 earned – in his last 31.2 innings in 2021. His overall performance, a 4.41 ERA and a 1.318 WHiP in 157 innings with 163 strikeouts and 62 walks, was solid, but not something one would look for from a top of the rotation arm.

That is the problem. The more guaranteed arms flew off the market while the Yankees essentially did nothing prior to the lockout. What is left comes with a great deal of risk, either due to a career year that may not be replicated, injury, or inconsistency.

But that is the problem. The Yankees need to address their rotation, and while they waited for clarity involving the luxury tax thresholds, other teams acted. Now they are left picking over the scraps while hoping that they can add a quality arm to their pitching staff.

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The New York Yankees are eyeing Carlos Rodon and Yusei Kikuchi. Both pitchers have plenty of upside, but there is a lot of risk as well.