Yankees Linked to 6-Time All Star Projected for $10 Million Deal

Brian Cashman

Getty New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman might be looking to bolster the pitching staff for the 2024 season.

The New York Yankees have gotten a concerning update on Gerrit Cole following his first start of Spring Training, as the ace felt some abnormal discomfort in his right elbow and was scheduled to undergo an MRI.

While it’s too early to push the panic button in New York, the Yankees were already tied to some additional pitching help this offseason, named by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale as the sole team to make a formal offer to reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. 

With Cole’s status uncertain, the Yankees might redouble those efforts. And if they do want to sign an immediate replacement for Cole, Christopher Kline of FanSided wrote that they should consider bringing in six-time All Star Zack Greinke.

“He’s not the No. 1 ace of yesteryear, to be sure,” Kline noted. “That said, as a one-year stopgap signing, maybe Greinke can still address a need for the Yankees.”

What Could Zack Greinke Bring to the New York Yankees in Gerrit Cole’s Absence?

In 20 big-league seasons, Greinke has a career 3.49 ERA, 2,979 strikeouts and more than 3,389 innings pitched. In addition to his numerous All-Star bids, he holds a Cy Young Award from 2009, six Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger Awards. 

Greinke is looking to pitch again in 2024 and is projected to earn a $10 million deal for 2024, per Spotrac

But, as Kline noted, his 5.06 ERA 2023 season with the Kansas City Royals suggested that the 40-year-old may not be all that he once was on the mound.

“On one hand, Greinke was still impressively durable for a pitcher of his age and with his injury history,” he added. “He managed 142.1 innings for a team in the MLB basement (last season). He still packs a robust four-pitch arsenal with impressive location control, landing in the 98th percentile for walk rate (3.9 percent).”

Depending on Cole’s prognosis, Greinke might still have enough in the tank to make sense for the Yankees.

“At worst, he’s in the bullpen by season’s end — hopefully with Cole back in the rotation in time for the playoffs,” Kline argued. “At best, Greinke musters enough juice for a fruitful farewell tour with baseball’s premier organization.

Where Else Could the New York Yankees Turn if Gerrit Cole Is Injured?

If Cole is expected to miss significant time in the upcoming season, the Yankees may opt to pull the trigger on a deal for Snell, replacing last year’s AL Cy Young winner with the NL version. 

Or, as Mike Axisa reported for CBS Sports, the Yankees might look to their farm system for a temporary replacement. He highlighted Will Warren and Clayton Beeter as potential options.

“Odds are the Yankees would put Beeter or Warren in the rotation with (Cody) Poteet and (Luke) Weaver serving as backup plans/innings sponges,” Axisa explained. “There is no replacing Cole. The question is whether the Yankees can weather the storm until Cole returns, or until a better option comes along via trade or free agency.”

Yankees fans will surely be waiting on pins and needles to see how those possibilities play out. For now, there is no concrete reason to think Cole won’t make his projected Opening Day start. But the Yankees could be taking a renewed look at available pitchers, including Greinke.

“I think Yankees fans can and should be concerned, mostly because Gerrit Cole has been an emblem of consistency and health during his time with the Yankees,” Jake Mintz said during a recent “Baseball Bar-B-Cast” recording. “His whole career, barely been injured. And so I think that is a reason to worry.”

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