Yankees Rumors: NY Has Higher Priority on SP Than Bryce Harper, Manny Machado

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28:  Manny Machado #8 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his first inning strike out against the Boston Red Sox in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Starting pitching is reportedly a bigger concern for the New York Yankees than pursuing free-agent sluggers Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

After the Bronx Bombers announced Monday they acquired left-handed pitcher James Paxton in a trade with the Seattle Mariners, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported the team is still interested in free agents Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ.

Morosi also noted the Yankees "are placing a higher priority on adding one more starting pitcher than signing" either Harper or Machado despite the potent bat they each bring to the table.

Offense wasn't exactly an issue for New York considering it drilled a single-season record 267 home runs during the 2018 campaign.

Still, Harper and Machado are generational talents, and the latter in particular would be a fit for the Yankees as a four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glover. Shortstop Didi Gregorius underwent Tommy John surgery in October and will be sidelined until at least June.

It is no surprise starting pitching depth is a priority, though, as New York attempts to close its gap in the American League East to the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox. It finished a middling 14th in starting pitchers' ERA (4.05) in 2018, and CC Sabathia will turn 39 years old in July.

What's more, Sonny Gray posted a lackluster 4.90 ERA last season and has been featured in trade discussions.

Corbin is coming off a career year with the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he posted a 3.15 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 246 strikeouts in 200 innings and made his second All-Star team. New York is more familiar with Happ after having acquired him from the Toronto Blue Jays via trade last season. He finished with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts in pinstripes.

While Paxton was a noteworthy addition, the Yankees are apparently still on the lookout for more starters.