The New York Yankees are going to have to try to fill three open spots in their rotation with only C.C. Sabathia and Ivan Nova under contract and virtually guaranteed a rotation spot. The Yankees do have a small stable of arms in Michael Pineda, Brett Marshall, David Phelps, Vidal Nuno and Adam Warren to try and fill a spot but GM Brian Cashman will need to add a starter or two through free agency this winter.
Early reports have come out that the Yankees are preparing to blow other teams away with their offer for Masuhiro Tanaka. The Yankees have also been linked to Dan Haren, Ubaldo Jimenez and Bronson Arroyo and now there are a few other names to add to the mix with Scott Feldman being one of the more interesting one.
Feldman, who will turn 31 before next season starts, posted a 12-12 record, 3.86 ERA and 1.18 WHIP last year between the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles. Feldman’s strikeout numbers were pretty much in line with what he has posted as a starter and sat at 6.5 K/9.
After coming over to the Orioles and the AL East Feldman struggled a little bit, posting a 4.27 ERA and seeing his walk rate jump from 2.5 BB/9 with the Cubs to 3.1 BB/9 with the Orioles. It isn’t unusual for a starter to see a rise in ERA when switching leagues but his walk rate going up like that is a little disconcerting. It isn’t terrible though. Some adjustment period is to be expected and the AL East is still a tough division.
Feldman is not even close to being one of the elite pitchers on the market. He is a solid back-end guy who can give some quality innings from the fourth or fifth spot of a rotation. Compared to the Ervin Santana’s, Matt Garza’s and even the Dan Haren types, Feldman should be a relative bargain. This is where he makes some sense for the Yankees.
With their goal of getting under the $189 million luxury tax threshold still planned, the Yankees will need to spend money to fill gaping holes and round out a bench. Feldman’s cheaper price tag and decent production could be very nice to have at the back-end of the rotation. Of course, the Yankees aren’t the only team interested in Feldman for those reasons and the New York Mets, Orioles, Texas Rangers and several other teams are already showing interest in Feldman as an affordable addition to a rotation.
The Yankees can’t, and won’t, get involved in a bidding war for the right-hander. It shouldn’t get too crazy and Feldman, and the team he signs with, should be happy with the contract. Whether the Yankees get seriously interested or are just doing their due diligence is another matter. There are a lot worse options on the market, some of whom will get a much bigger contract than Feldman. However, if the price stays reasonable it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Yankees land him.
The Yankees will focus on other arms first but Feldman will probably wait the market out and maximize his earnings. If the price stay within reason and the Yankees miss out on other free agent pitchers Feldman could be a nice consolation prize.