The New York Yankees have made their main focus re-signing Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera early in this off-season. The free agent market is pretty thin this year in regards to pitching so if Kuroda signs elsewhere, the Yankees won’t have a lot to choose from.
You can forget about Zack Greinke, that isn’t happening and probably wouldn’t even if the Yankees could afford him given his mental makeup questions. The other options aren’t the appealing either, especially when you take into account how much the Yankees might be willing to spend and the length of the contract they might be willing to offer.
The options after Kuroda all have their warts but the Yankees are not going to get a pitcher without his problems if they can’t bring Kuroda back.
Shaun Marcum would be a nice fit but he is injury prone and likely to cash in as one of the top pitchers in the tier after Greinke.
The Yankees showed a late interest in Ryan Dempster at the trade deadline before he was traded to the Texas Rangers where he struggled. Dempster is 35 and the fact that he struggled last season for the Dodgers might have scared the Yankees away.
Francisco Liriano is another pitcher who has captured Brian Cashman’s eye in the past but he is wildly inconsistent and comes with a lengthy injury history. He might also look for a longer contract than the Yankees are willing to offer.
Dan Haren would be a great option but he might be another pitcher who still gets a big, long-term deal despite his struggles this past season. If he doesn’t garner much interest, the Yankees and Haren could hook up on a one-year, make good contract where Haren would be able to test the free agent waters again next year. But those chances are slim and the Yankees couldn’t count on Haren still being around late in the free agent signing period.
If the Yankees are left without Kuroda their options are few and far between and Cashman might have to look to reclamation projects like he did a couple of years ago with Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. That might leave guys like Chien-Ming Wang, Roy Oswalt, Daisuke Matsuzaka, or, dare I say it, Carl Pavano.
Bottom line is the Yankees need to re-sign Kuroda or they could be left holding the bag.