Monday, January 9, 2017


(Sept. 18, 2016 - Source: David Banks/Getty Images North America)
This has been a tough off season. The Yankees have an obvious strategy for the future, but in the meantime we still need to complete the 2017 Yankees. In a short five weeks pitchers and catchers will report for Spring Training and there is still one big incomplete page sitting in that binder that Joe Girardi has.

(June 1, 2016 - Source: Duane Burleson/Getty Images North America)    
That binder page for starting pitchers is pretty empty! That's no way to fill out a roster.  Brian Cashman said that the Yankees were going to look for pitching, pitching and even more pitching this winter. The Yankees made one big splash signing Aroldis Chapman back which made a lot of us happy, but after that was nothing. Okay, sorry....not nothing they snagged Joe Mantiply off of waivers and signed Jason Gurka to a minor league deal but the starting rotation has been untouched. We still need to build a starting team to get to Chapman!

(Sept. 12, 2016 - Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America)
The theme this winter has been that the free agent pitchers were terrible and trade pieces are just too insanely high, especially for the transitioning Yankees. We would all like to get Jose Quintana traded to the Yankees but he's too expensive and the White Sox are smart to expect a king's ransom in order to trade him. It's just not in the cards. However, Jason Hammel is still out there and he is the perfect low-risk high reward option for the Yankees.

(Sept. 12, 2016 - Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America)
Admittedly Hammel has some reason for concern but he is literally the best veteran starter available. He's not exciting by any means, but he has been reliable for most of his career which is why we first talked about the possibility back in November with CUBS CUT HAMMEL LOOSE & YANKEES POUNCE. Hammel is not a dominant pitcher. He will throw a lot of four-seemers, sinkers and sliders and hopefully continue to get some good ground ball outs but he will have to adapt to playing in a hitter friendly ballpark. When he gets tired, he is prone to giving up home runs but this is as low-risk of a signing as it gets.

Other teams are out there and interested in him but are scared to give him more than  a one-year deal, read that HERE. The elbow tightness, his diminishing pitch selection and the Cubs leaving him off of the postseason roster have hurt his stock more than it should, which is good for the Yankees. Hammel is by far a better first half pitcher than a second half, but he is also an innings eater which is something that the Yankees could use right now.

(Aug. 15, 2016 - Source: Jon Durr/Getty Images North America)
He has averaged 170 innings a year since 2009. If the elbow is a concern still give him some extra rest when needed, and that could help him stay consistent. The Yankees will have plenty of young kids to use if needed as a spot starter and can even skip him as needed. Adding Hammel to the team makes the rotation stronger. I can see a rotation of Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Jason Hammel and then let some of the kids fight it out for the fifth spot (Bryan Mitchell, Chad Green, Adam Warren, Luis Cessa and Luis Severino). No matter who doesn't get the fifth spot the Yankees will be able to give the kids even more time to develop. They will also have a lot more pitching depth and you can never have enough of that.

Adding Hammel not only gives the Yankees a much needed veteran starter but it would also allow them to add one cheaper, and with no commitment. If the market stays as is and no one wants to give him more than one year then a $10-12 million deal might be enough to sign him. Right now, the Yankees should consider that just as heavily as they do trading a package of young, talented kids for Quintana. That $10-12 million could end up being pocket change later.

(Aug. 15, 2016 - Source: Jon Durr/Getty Images North America)
Who knows if the market will change. Given the demand for pitching, someone may decide to give him a two year deal but the Yankees should be giving Hammel a serious look. He is the cheap veteran they are looking for. We need pitching, and he needs a new home. This is a risk that the Yankees should not lose any sleep over.

 --Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ

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