New York Yankees: Three free agent starting pitchers who could fill the gap

Matt Harvey, New York Mets. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Matt Harvey, New York Mets. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The 2020 season hasn’t even begun and once again injuries are taking a toll on the New York Yankees. Here are three free agent starting pitchers who could fill the void until the regulars come back.

Spring training is two weeks old and already the New York Yankees are down three starting pitchers. They expected to be without Domingo German for at least 81 games due to his suspension for domestic violence. What they didn’t expect was losing James Paxton due to back surgery, until late-June at the earliest. Adding insult to injury, the Bombers announced Tuesday that Luis Severino is out for the season with a forearm injury requiring Tommy John surgery.

The Yankees already had a few rookies competing to replace Paxton’s spot in the rotation. Jordan Montgomery looks to be the early favorite. Behind him is Jonathan Loaisiga, as well as highly regarded prospects Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia.

Maybe one rookie in the rotation was okay, but expecting two of them to help carry the team to the All-Star break is unrealistic. There are a few free agents still out there who could help.

Matt Harvey

What a story it would be if Matt Harvey could resurrect his career with the New York Yankees. Imagine a headline such as “Dark Knight of Gothan reborn with Evil Empire.” What was once a promising career with the crosstown Mets has bottomed out the past few seasons due to injuries and ineffectiveness. In 2019, Harvey lasted until mid-July with the Angels. He finished with a 3-5 record and 7.04 ERA in 59.2 innings.

If Harvey has anything left in the tank, he could work. The Dark Knight has pitched and succeeded in New York before including pressure situations. Last year despite their injuries, the Bronx Bombers averaged 5.77 runs per game. All they would need from the former phenom is to keep them in the game for five-to-six innings.

Clay Buchholz

The 35-year-old is a two-time All-Star. Last season, he certainly didn’t look like the man who was part of Boston’s dominating pitching staff that led them to the 2013 World Championship. Clay Buchholz was awful for Toronto in an injury-riddled 2019, with a 6.56 ERA in 59 innings over a dozen starts.

The year prior, however, Buchholz pitched outstandingly for Arizona. He made 16 starts and went 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA, striking out 81 batters in 98.1 innings. He’d be a great addition for the New York Yankees if he can pitch as he did in 2018.

Andrew Cashner

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Anyone who could have a sub-4.00 ERA in 17 starts with the awful O’s last season should catch Bombers GM Brian Cashman’s attention. Andrew Cashner can eat innings which is something the New York Yankees could use. Unfortunately, he bombed after a mid-July trade to Boston posing a 6.54 ERA.

The 33-year-old Texan has been with five teams since 2016 and none of them were better than third place. He has made stops in Miami, San Diego, Texas, Baltimore, and Boston. Even playing for such poor teams, he still had a 4.68 ERA in 601 innings. Cashner might thrive with a team that could give him some run support.

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This isn’t like last year when top-of-the-rotation starter Dallas Kuechel held out for a big contract and didn’t sign until June. None of the above free agents are going to win a Cy Young award this year. All the Yankees need is for someone to be mediocre and not burn out the bullpen. The cavalry arrives at the half-way point of the season. It costs very little to offer any or all of the three an invite to spring training.