The Yankees’ off-season has already been filled with rumors and transactions that could be setting the tone for the 2020 season and beyond. The Yankees began their off-season by not giving Didi Gregorius the Qualifying Offer, which did not come as a surprise to many fans. With the free agency period now open, more news is starting to come alive. The biggest area of need for the Yankees is the pitching, and C.C. Sabathia and Giancarlo Stanton have already started with recruiting and requests.
Sabathia was the first Yankee player to discuss bringing top free agent Gerrit Cole to the Bronx. On his podcast R2C2 is UNINTERRUPTED with co-host Ryan Ruocco, Sabathia said that he had talked with Cole several times about pitching for the Yankees as a “West Coast Guy.”
“This is crazy, this is shaping out… like the same off-season I had,” the 39-year-old southpaw said on the podcast.
Joining Sabathia in the talks on pitching, former teammate Stanton has also made it known that he wants the Yankees to sign Cole… and Stephen Strasburg. In a video released by TMZ, Stanton said that the Yanks can never go wrong with both Cole and Strasburg.
“I’m pretty sure Gerrit grew up a Yankees fan, so he’d always like to do that,” he said. “And, Stras, we debuted together, so he’d like that.”
The pair of former teammates have made themselves clear that the Yankees need to invest in pitching this off-season. The pondering question is whether or not Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner take this into consideration, along with Cole and Strasburg.
The Yankees have not been signed a marque free agent starting pitcher since they signed Masahiro Tanaka during the 2013-14 off-season. The last off-season in which they signed two pitchers to long-term deals was when they signed both A.J. Burnett and Sabathia during the 2008-09 off-season, which was still under the control of George Steinbrenner.
Taking this into consideration, the odds are highly stacked against the Yankees of signing both Cole and Strasburg. With a payroll that is already nearing the threshold, it seems unlikely that Steinbrenner would want to pay a high tax for going over the threshold. This likely takes away getting both of these starters.
Whereas Stanton just stated that he would like to have both of these pitchers to a reporter in Los Angeles, Sabathia has actually been doing the recruiting. This gives the higher probability of Cole landing in the Bronx, given that Sabathia’s Hall of Fame career and legacy gives him an upper hand in recruitment. The front office is probably more likely to listen to Sabathia’s request, as he has been a respected member of the organization for ten years.
There is no doubt that Yankees fans would love to see both of these elite pitchers in pinstripes, but for now fans will just have to be patient and wait out the process. After all, it is going to be another long off-season for big free agent signings.