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New York Yankees End Starting Pitcher Interest, Pivot to Bullpen Help Following Snell’s Snub and Stroman Addition

Published 01/14/2024, 9:25 AM EST

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The aroma of hot dogs and freshly cut grass still lingers in the Bronx air, yet Yankee Stadium feels eerily quiet. With pitchers’ and catchers’ reports looming just weeks away, the once-roaring offseason has hit a peculiar standstill. Big-ticket starters like Shohei Ohtani and Aaron Nola have been locked in long-term deals, but marquee names like Blake Snell and the New York Yankees’ former starter Jordan Montgomery still roam the free-agent market. Is the ‘Starting Pitching Capital of the World’ finally letting go of its crown?

Signs point towards a paradigm shift in the Bombers’ strategy. While a robust rotation remains ideal, whispers arise of an alternative path, bolstering the already-elite bullpen. New York’s 2023 relief corps boasted the MLB’s best ERA, but depth concerns loomed with Michael King’s imminent departure. As YanksGoYard’s Colin Loughran puts it, “A great rotation can close the door, but a stellar bullpen can ensure it stays locked.” Can the looming free agency and trade moves fill the gap?

Cashman’s Shift: New York Yankees prioritize bullpen arms as starting pitcher hunt fizzles

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The market offers both opportunities and limitations. After locking down Marcus Stroman in an unprecedented $37 million move, Josh Hader, the flame-throwing lefty, beckons the New York Yankees. But his costly dreams of eclipsing Edwin Diaz’s $102 million/5-year offer might exceed the Bombers’ comfort zones. Just like it did with Snell’s apparent disappointment in their $150 million proposal for 5 years.

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Jordan Hicks, initially a prime target, vanished overnight into the San Francisco Giants rotation, leaving a void in the high-leverage relief mix. Yet, names like Hector Neris, Wandy Peralta, Ryne Stanek, and Robert Stephenson—and even veterans like David Robertson and Liam Hendriks—still dance on the free agency stage, each offering varying degrees of experience and firepower. (As confirmed by insider Jon Heyman and several North Jersey and FanSided reports.)

The trade market hums with whispers too. Cleveland’s Emmanuel Clase, a flamethrower of his own, can alleviate pressure on Clay Holmes’ inconsistent closer role, while Yariel Rodriguez, a Cuban fireballer with impressive Japanese League and World Baseball Classic credentials, tantalizes with his versatility.

Read More: Desperate Gamble or Perfect Move? Yankees’ Marcus Stroman Deal Causes Doubt Despite Dire Need for Pitchers

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The gears are turning, with the “double down” option gaining traction—a potential bullpen bonanza in response to the New York Yankees’ stagnant rotation situation. Have the Bronx Bombers traded pinstripes for strikeout artists? Have their championship dreams shifted from five-inning gems to ninth-inning fireworks? Only time will tell if Brian Cashman’s gamble will pay off, leaving Yankee fans with one final burning question: will the Bronx become Bullpen Boulevard in 2024?

Watch This Story: The New York Yankees’ Extended Pitchers’ List According To The MLB Rumor

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Written by:

Shrabana Sengupta

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One take at a time

"Those who gaze outward dream, but those who turn inward awaken." A pro-writer for MLB EssentiallySports, I’ve been a fan of the New York Yankees since my school days. In my adolescent years, I was introduced to the iconic franchise through one of my beloved Friends characters, Joey.
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Edited by:

Sampurna Pal