The New York Yankees will be major players for almost any legitimate pitching talent available on either the trade or free-agent markets. It’s a big reason why they are not believed to be more active in the Manny Machado or Bryce Harper sweepstakes.
It’s understandable why. The starting rotation was the Achilles Heel of a 100-win team that saw World Series aspirations go up in smoke in the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox.
Luis Severino’s second-half struggles have many second-guessing if he can be an ace, Masahiro Tanaka was inconsistent and Jordan Montgomery was out for most of the season due to injury. Sonny Gray is expected to be traded away while the future of CC Sabathia remains unknown.
With left-handed pitchers in mind, it became known last month that free-agent lefty Patrick Corbin, formerly of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is near the top of the Yankees’ wish list. Jon Heyman of Fancred reported on Sunday that veteran southpaw J.A. Happ, who is a free agent after a productive half season in the Bronx after being acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays, is among general manager Brian Cashman’s priorities this winter as well.
There is expected to be a number of other lefties that the Yankees will likely kick the tires on, including Dallas Keuchel, listed by Heyman as a possible target and most recently of the Houston Astros.
The 30-year-old experienced a down 2018 after dealing with injuries as he went 11-12 with a 3.74 ERA. It was the latest in an inconsistent four years experienced by the southpaw.
Following a 2015 AL Cy Young Award-winning campaign where he became a household name behind a 20-8 record and 2.48 ERA, Keuchel went 9-12 with a 4.55 ERA in 2016. He rebounded well in 2017 with a 14-5 mark and 2.90 ERA.
When healthy, Keuchel is one of the best pitchers in the game behind a devastating slider. While it remains to be seen if he would be able to rebound, especially in a big market like New York, Keuchel brings a proven left-handed arm that could still be serviceable for the next five years, at least.
Keuchel has performed well at Yankee Stadium despite it being a pitcher’s ballpark. In five career starts, he’s 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 33 innings of work.