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How Should Yankees Pivot After Missing Out On Yamamoto

Bronx, NY — Last Friday, the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto on a 12-year contract paying upwards of $325M. The contract includes $50M signing bonus in addition to the $50.6 posting fee. Yesterday the deal was made official.

The New York Yankees, whom were rumored to be the favorites to land Yamamoto fell short. The Yankees offer was $300M with an opt-out after five years, but they did not offer the $50M signing bonus. Jon Heyman reported on December 23 that Yankees did not believe anyone should have a bigger deal than Gerrit Cole, but it didn't matter.

Yoshinobu revealed that he would choose the Dodgers even if Ohtani signed with a different team. The Yankees will face the new Dodgers rotation June 7-9 in a three-game series. 

With Yamamoto off the table, where can the Yankees turn to add to their pitching staff?

Trade for pitching

A link between Yankees and Brewers in a potential trade for Corbin Burnes was reporter on Wednesday. Bleacher Report suggested, "Yankees are the best landing spot for Corbin Burnes".

Although he would be the best option as a No. 2 behind Gerrit Cole, the truth is the Yankees farm system has been depleted with the trade for Soto and New York may have to give up one or two of: Will Warren, Clayton Beeter or Chase Hampton. Manager Aaron Boone mentioned earlier this offseason that the Yankees are looking forward to seeing what the prospects will do this season, so that's likely not happening, especially since one of the three could possibly slot in the fifth starter role. 

Corbin Burnes 2023 stats: 10-8, 3.39 ERA, 193.2 IP, 200 SO, 1.07 WHIP | Career: 45-27, 3.26 ERA, 709.1 IP, 870 SO, 1.05 WHIP


The Yankees are showing interest in a reunion with Jordan Montgomery, per Jack Curry on YES Network. It seems like a reunion would be the path of least resistance for the Yanks. As per Greg Joyce, “The Yankees are mulling Montas as a potential piece for their rotation, sources told The Post's Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman.”

Frankie Montas who signed with the Yankees last season but was out all year due to shoulder surgery, only pitched one inning last season for Yankees.

Montgomery's 2023: 10-11, 3.20 ERA, 188.2 IP, 166 SO, 1.19 WHIP | Career: 38-34, 3.68 ERA, 755 IP, 705 SO, 1.21 WHIP

Montas' Career: 37-35, 3.90 ERA, 593.2 IP, 612 SO, 1.29 WHIP

Other free agents

Shota Imanaga - A Japanese left-handed pitcher who pitched in the NPB and the WBC for Japan. Imanga started in the Championship win over USA in the WBC where he gave up two runs in six innings and struck out seven batters. He pitched for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars last season and spent eight years in the NPB. Imanga is expected to start meeting with MLB teams after the New Year.

2023: 7-4, 159 IP, 2.66 ERA, 188 SO, 1.05 WHIP | Career: 74-55, 1129 IP, 2.96 ERA, 1183 SO, 1.076 WHIP

Yariel Rodriguez - Cuban right-handed pitcher, played for Cuba in the World Baseball Classic.  He pitched 7.1 innings with 10 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.45 in the WBC. In 2022, Rodriguez pitched for the Chunichi Dragons in the NPB in Japan. He posted a 1.15 ERA in 54.2 innings, giving up just 32 hits while striking out 60. He did not pitch the 2023 season, using the time to train and prepare for an MLB opportunity.

Career stats: 48-38, 3.06 ERA, 731.1 IP, 645 SO, 1.307 WHIP

Lucas Giolito - right-handed pitcher, pitched on three teams last season and started the season with the Chicago White Sox. Giolito was traded to the Angels and claimed on waivers by the Cleveland Guardians. The eight-year veteran has had an up and down career. From 2019-2021 he was an elite pitcher with his best season coming in 2019. He struck out a career high 228 batters and had an ERA of 3.41 that season. The last two season have been a struggle with 65 home runs allowed and an ERA of 4.88.

2023: 8-15, 4.90 ERA, 184.1 IP, 204 SO, 1.31 WHIP | Career: 61-62, 4.43 ERA, 1013.2 IP, 1077 SO, 1.23 WHIP

Other trade targets

Dylan Cease - Chicago White Sox right-handed pitcher would be a costly trade option. He has two years left of control and he could cost even more than Burnes. Cease has spent his entire four-year career with the White Sox. Cease finished second in the Cy Young voting in 2022 where he had 227 strikeouts in 184 innings with a 2.20 ERA that season. 

2023: 7-9, 4.58 ERA, 177 IP, 214 SO, 1.42 WHIP | Career: 43-35, 3.83 ERA, 658 IP, 792 SO, 1.31 WHIP

Shane Bieber - Cleveland Guardians right-handed pitcher would likely be the least expensive trade option. Bieber missed 60 days last season due to right elbow inflammation. Bieber won the Cy Young in the shortened 2020 season. He spent four years with Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake in the organization from 2016-2019. 

2023: 6-6, 3.80 ERA, 128 IP, 107 SO, 1.23 WHIP | Career: 60-32, 3.27 ERA, 831 IP, 938 SO, 1.12 WHIP