Top 5 starting pitcher options for the New York Yankees

Jul 16, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (30) stands on the mound before delivering a pitch during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 16, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (30) stands on the mound before delivering a pitch during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Yankees fans were hopeful in signing starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi once the 30-year-old opted for free agency fresh off the Mariners. Yet, now that the lefty has signed a three-year, 36 million dollar contract with the Blue Jays, the Bronx Bombers need to look into other options to fill their rotation.

Currently, the team’s starting five is composed of Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino, Nester Cortes Jr, and Domingo German. With Montgomery and German’s inconsistency and Severino’s injury, the Yankees could use some help.

With many of the best picks already off the market, let’s look at who would fit into the franchise’s predominantly right-handed starting pitching.

1. Danny Duffy –  2.51 ERA, 184 ERA+, 3.40 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 9.6 K/9, 2.1 WAR

Duffy had a very unexpected impressive season in 2021 posting multiple quality starts, nine of which with two runs or less. Duffy is one of the best options on the market in that he has one of the highest K/9 out of all of the available starting pitchers and has ten years under his belt while still pitching under a 3.00 ERA.

The main concern with the 33-year-old is a very high number of walks and consistent rough starts from 2018 to 2020. The lefty has the potential to add some much-needed depth to the Yankees’ rotation at a fraction of the price of Zack Grienke. However, he may not be back until June as he is battling an injury suffered last year.

2. Michael Pineda – 3.62 ERA, 117 ERA+, 4.21 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, 7.2K/9, 1.4 bWAR

The Yankees had Pineda as a part of their rotation from 2014-2017 with his time in New York resulting in an exponential digression of his pitching performance finishing the 2017 season with a 4.39 ERA.

Pineda did have an injury in 2021 which led him to only pitch 109 innings, yet he pitched well once healthy in September so that doesn’t seem to be a very big concern in terms of consistency.

While Pineda is not in the good graces of most Yankee fans the Dominican Republic-born pitcher has the potential to add an edge to the franchise’s rotation this upcoming season. Especially now that he has his mojo back showing dominance during his time with the twins.

3. Johnny Cueto – 4.08 ERA, 100 ERA+, 4.05 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, 0.8 bWAR

The probability that Johnny Cueto re-signs with the Giants is pretty high, but if he’s looking for a change of pace New York might be a good fit. The 36-year-old showed improved performance last season after struggling in 2019 and 2020.

Comparatively, Cueto would be pricey as the pitcher just got off of a 1 year 5 million dollar contract with the Giants. The Yankees would most likely get more bang for their buck with Danny Duffy as the franchise hasn’t been fond of spending money on their starting pitchers beyond Gerrit Cole.

4. Zack Grienke – 4.16 ERA, 103 ERA+, 4.17 FIP, 1.17 WHIP, 6.3 K/9,1.2 bWAR

Zack Grienke is the ninth oldest active pitcher in baseball, and all things considered, he’s not doing too bad. The 38-year-old spent the past 2 1/2 seasons in Houston and while he’s not in his prime, he’s predictable, pitching 171 innings with 120 strikeouts in 2021.

While he’d be a great addition, the Yankees need to stay away from washed-up veterans if they want to build a consistent solid rotation. As mentioned above, Grienke is going to be a lot of money for the franchise that is not going to want to spend it.

Grienke is there as an option but between the price tag and the ruthlessness of being an athlete in New York he’s probably not the best fit.

Next. Sanchez sent to Twins in blockbuster deal. dark

5. Tyler Anderson – 4.53 ERA, 93 ERA+, 4.37 FIP, 1.25 WHIP, 7.2 K/9, 1.6 bWAR

After splitting his time between Pittsburgh and Seattle in 2021 Tyler Anderson is now a free agent. Anderson isn’t the best option, but he’s not the worst either as he’d make a solid number four or five in the rotation. If the New York Yankees are interested in a predictable pitcher at a lower price point, Anderson is a tangible option.