The Yankees are said to be looking for a young starter with 0-3 years of time in the big leagues. Good luck to them, that is probably the most valuable commodity in the game.
While the recent contract signings of Greinke and Price grab the headlines. Look at some of the lesser deals that have been signed. Mike Pelfrey just got a two-year/$16-million deal from the Tigers. This is a guy coming off of a 6-11 season with an ERA of 4.26. Advanced metrics give him an ERA of 4, but that isn’t much better.
Or consider Darren O’Day, a nice middle reliever. He’s 32, and has 14 saves in his career, yet he is getting a four-year deal worth just under $8-million a year.
Or Ryan Madson, who missed three years, but pitched well in KC this year and just got three years at $7-million each from the A’s. The A’s!
Pitching prices are out of control and that is a reflection of the money flooding the game.
So while the Yankees should absolutely chase young, cost-controllable pitching, they also need to think about their own backyard and some of the pitchers they already control. How about giving them extensions before they hit arbitration/free agency? Three guys come to mind, Betances, Eovladi, and Pineda.
Betances is not even arbitration eligible yet, but after next season he will be and the way he is pitching he will cost a lot very quickly. Could the Yankees buy some cost certainty with him now? Considering he is going to make “only” $507,000 next year, I bet they could, why not try?
Eovaldi and Pineda are tougher cases because they are two years away from free agency and both had injuries in 2015. But, could the Yankees buy out a couple of years of free agency from them right now? It’s certainly worth a shot.
I will be absolutely ok with the Yankees forgoing the free agent market this offseason and keeping their best prospects. But, they need to plan for future costs as well. Locking some of these guys up now can help them do that.