Yankees GM Brian Cashman sought rotation help in advance of the July 31 trade deadline, and explained after the deadline passed without the Yanks swinging a trade that exorbitant prices were to blame.
When it comes to Marcus Stroman -- one of the pitchers Cashman had interest in acquiring -- the GM recently explained to Wallace Matthews of Yahoo why the team wasn't that high on him -- especially with the Blue Jays reportedly asking for Clint Frazier in return.
Instead of landing with the Yankees, Stroman wound up with the Mets, who traded pitching prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson to get him.
"We were interested in Stroman but we didn't think he would be a difference-maker," Cashman said. "We felt he would be in our bullpen in the postseason."
A lot of the above jives with what SNY's Andy Martino reported in early-July -- that the Yankees had some interest in Stroman (along with interest in Trevor Bauer, Zack Wheeler, and others), but were unlikely to trade five years of Frazier for a pitcher who will be a free agent after the 2020 season.
However, Cashman's statement that the team felt before July 31 that Stroman would be in their bullpen in the postseason is a bit eyebrow-raising.
At that point, both James Paxton (who had a 4.72 ERA to that point) and Masahiro Tanaka (whose ERA was 4.79) were struggling badly but still viewed as near-locks for the postseason starting rotation. Luis Severino -- who has since returned -- was injured and his return was not yet guaranteed. Domingo German (who is now likely to be ineligible for the playoffs due to a pending suspension for violating the league's domestic violence policy) was pitching well but facing a potential innings limit.
Now, the Yanks have Paxton and Tanaka firing on all cylinders, and Severino has returned and looked fantastic. That gives them three likely starting pitchers for the postseason -- with J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia having been recently moved to the bullpen. As far as a potential Game 4 starter, the Yankees' latest moves suggest they are leaning toward using an opener.
Stroman has posted a 3.86 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 53.2 IP (10 starts) with the Mets since the deal. Before being traded, he had a 2.96 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 124.2 IP (21 starts) for Toronto.