Free-Agent Right-Hander Would Not Come Cheap, But Bombers Finding Asking Prices On Trade Front Very High

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees’ quest for a sixth starting pitcher has been the topic of discussion ever since they stunned the sports world by trading for Giancarlo Stanton a month ago.

Whether it be general manager Brian Cashman or new manager Aaron Boone, the Yankees have repeatedly stated they’d like to add another arm to their rotation, but they really only want to do it on their terms. The Bombers don’t want to trade away top prospects or fork over significant cash to a free agent unless they can see serious upside in doing so.

So what about veteran Yu Darvish?

The Japanese right-hander confirmed on Wednesday the Yankees are one of five or six teams he’d like to play for in 2018, and, presumably, beyond.

The Yankees reportedly have had interest in the 31-year-old ace, but have seemed more inclined to try to trade for a controllable young pitcher than invest big dollars in an older one. They seem to still be in the hunt for Pittsburgh right-hander Gerrit Cole, though it appears the Pirates have made significant progress in talks with the Houston Astros and that a deal between the two could happen at any time.

New York has reportedly also shown interest in Michael Fulmer of the Detroit Tigers and Patrick Corbin of the Arizona Diamondbacks, though it has clearly favored Cole more.

Assuming asking prices in trades continue to be very high — Cashman has made it known he will not move prized prospect Gleyber Torres under any circumstances — the Yankees could become involved in the free agent market. Due to Cashman’s deft touch, the Bombers can still add more impact players and keep their payroll below the $197 million luxury tax threshold for 2018.

With the market for starting pitchers still not set, it’s hard to say what Darvish could command in dollars. But he’d almost certainly get more per season than the $11 million he took home in 2017.

Despite his 10-12 record last season, which was spent with the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers, Darvish is considered one of the better power pitchers in baseball. Since coming over from Japan in 2012, he is 56-42 with a 3.42 ERA and 1,021 strikeouts in 832 1/3 innings. He missed the entire 2015 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

The addition of a pitcher like Darvish would give the Yankees needed depth, given Masahiro Tanaka’s well-documented elbow issue and all the mileage on 37-year-old CC Sabathia’s body.

Ace Luis Severino, veteran Sonny Gray and young left-hander Jordan Montgomery currently make up the rest of the Bombers’ projected rotation.