NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees struck big on Monday night and are now looking to strike big again.
According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, the Bombers are looking to follow up the trade for James Paxton by acquiring at least one top-tier starting pitcher. What remains to be seen is if they’ll spend significant money in free agency or make another trade to get one.
Right now, New York has four starting pitchers. Luis Severino and Paxton figure to slot in at the top of the rotation, followed by Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia. The Yankees are expected to go all-in for another arm to help in their pursuit of the World Series champion Red Sox in the AL East.
And though rumors are running rampant about the Yankees’ interest in both superstar infielder Manny Machado and generational talent outfielder Bryce Harper, Morosi reported general manager Brian Cashman’s only focus right now is getting another ace.
Patrick Corbin has long been linked to the Yankees, and J.A. Happ, who went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts after coming to the Bronx in a trade deadline deal with Toronto, remains another option. Both are free agents, but Corbin, 29, is looking for a long-term deal, while the Bombers likely wouldn’t want to give Happ, 36, more than a year or two.
Corbin, like Paxton and the other current members of the Yankees’ rotation, is a strikeout pitcher, having fanned 246 in 200 innings, to go along with his 11-7 record and 3.15 ERA line for Arizona in 2018. Happ also pounds the strike zone. He issued just 16 walks in his 11 starts with New York and finished with a combined mark of 17-6 with a 3.65 ERA.
There have also been rumblings that the Yankees could try to pull off another trade, possibly for Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, a two-time AL Cy Young Award winner, or San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner, one of the best postseason pitchers of his generation, but both would command a package a lot bigger than what Cashman gave Seattle for Paxton — top prospect Justus Sheffield and two lower-level players.
However, in each case the Yankees would be taking on significant money, so the compensation sent back could be less. Kluber, 32, has three years and $46 million remaining on his deal, while 29-year-old Bumgarner is due $12 million and will be a free agent at season’s end.