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New York Yankees: Backup Plan If Yamamoto Signs Elsewhere

Jordan Montgomery walks around before a game with the New York Yankees.

If the New York Yankees fail to land ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, it may be time to start forming a backup plan.

The New York Yankees recently acquired outfielder Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres, a top priority for them this offseason. The team traded Soto for SP Michael King, SP Drew Thorpe, C Kyle Higashioka, SP Jhony Brito, and SP Randy Vazquez. In addition, New York went all in for another move that no someone saw coming. They were able to acquire OF Alex Verdugo from their rivals, the Boston Red Sox. These moves were just the start to the offseason. GM Brian Cashman stated that his vision with these moves was to make the Yankees the “Mecca of baseball“.

With the acquisition of Soto and Verdugo, the Yankees turn to another top priority for them this offseason. Their next priority is to go land SP Yoshinobu Yamamoto. He is coming off a dominant pitching season in which he has earned himself another MVP award. Just recently, the Yankees were able to meet with him last week along with Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman. But the Yankees are not the sole competitors for Yamamoto. Other teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston all remain in the competition for the stellar ace.

The one question remains to be seen, if Yamamoto were to sign elsewhere, who should the Yankees turn to as their backup plan?

Reunite With Jordan Montgomery

The Yankees are no strangers when it comes to SP Jordan Montgomery.  Montgomery played with the Yankees from 2017 to 2022. He is coming off a solid season where recently he just won the World Series with the Texas Rangers. He was acquired by the Rangers in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals prior to this year’s trade deadline. Monty turned out to be a great acquisition for Texas once the postseason arrived. In just six appearances in the postseason, he posted a record of 3-1 with an ERA of 2.90 and striking out 17 batters.

Signing someone like Montgomery to a short-term extension shouldn’t hurt the Yankees. They need pitching considering how bad the starting rotation was thanks to injuries that had an effect on the entire staff. Luckily, they were able to stay in the top 10 of ERA. Overall, they have finished tied ninth with the Cleveland Guardians with an ERA of 3.97. Like the old saying goes, “you can’t have too much pitching”. That is the problem with the Yankees. They’re hesitant to add depth to a rotation that’s prone to injuries besides from SP Gerrit Cole.

There is some concern with signing Montgomery to be starter for the Yankees. He can be prone to injuries as well. During his run with the team back then, he suffered many major injuries on the upper body. Back in 2018, Montgomery was forced to sit out for an extended time thanks to Tommy John surgery on his elbow due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

The other concern is how well are the Yankees going to use Montgomery. In other words, are the Yankees going to let Montgomery pitch the way he did with Texas or are they going to run it back to what they had back in 2022?


Sign Left Hander Blake Snell

The Yankees also have the option of signing left-handed pitcher SP Blake Snell. Snell is coming off a phenomenal year where he earned himself a Cy Young award for the second time in his career. He also won back in 2018 with the Tampa Bay Rays. This season, Snell led the National League with an ERA of 2.25 while also finishing second behind SP Spencer Strider with a strikeout rate of 31.5 percentage. He won the NL’s Pitcher of the Month honors in both June and September.

Another thing to note, Snell is no stranger to Yankee Stadium. He has faced the Yankees various times back when he was with Tampa Bay. And of course, he did have some success back then. That is something the Yankees should look at when determining whether or not to signing him. Overall, he fits perfectly well at Yankee Stadium. His experience says it all.

Test the Trade Market

A third option the Yankees could be testing the trade market. There isn’t much available in the trade market for the Yanks but there are some decent pitchers who could be available. One pitcher that comes to mind to trade for is SP Shane Bieber. Now it is pretty clear that the Cleveland Guardians aren’t close to competing in ’24. After the hiring Stephen Vogt as the team’s new manager, it may seem that the team is in rebuild mode. The Yankees could consider trading for Bieber if the other plans fail. The good thing about trading for Bieber is that the Guardians won’t ask for much in return. While he is still a good pitcher, Bieber is far from his peak form that won a Cy Young award.

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