On the date that Carsten Sabathia agreed to his new one-year, $10 million contract, the Yankees continued to say that they hoped to add one more starting pitcher. The veteran left-hander is still rooting for them to do so.
"You always need more," Sabathia told NJ Advance Media on Saturday. "It's a long season. You never know what's going to happen. The more arms we've got, the better."
Sabathia spoke at a ribbon cutting for the Boys & Girls Club at the Christ Episcopal Church in Teaneck, N.J. He has been a loyal supporter of the organization over the years, having used its services as a youngster in Vallejo, Calif.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman -- who was named to his current post 20 years ago on Saturday -- has been in touch with numerous starting pitchers this winter, most prominently right-hander Yu Darvish, widely regarded as the top available free-agent pitcher.
However, the Yankees' intention to keep payroll below $197 million has complicated their interest in adding the 31-year-old Darvish, who earned $11 million last season, when he was 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA in 31 regular-season starts for the Rangers and Dodgers.
MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi has reported that the Yankees have approximately $15 million left to spend this offseason, fulfilling managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner's directive to reset the luxury tax penalty rate for the offseason of 2018-19.
The Yankees engaged in discussions with the Pirates for right-hander Gerrit Cole, who was dealt instead to the Astros, and have also spoken with the representative for free agent right-hander Alex Cobb. Other trade targets have included Rays right-hander Chris Archer, D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin and Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer.
If no move is made, the Yankees project to open Spring Training with the same rotation that helped them advance to within one win of the World Series last year: Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery.
Cashman has mentioned the possibility of a "hangover" from Severino's 2017 workload, which consisted of a career-high 193 1/3 innings, plus 16 more in the postseason. Montgomery pitched 155 1/3 innings, plus eight more in the Minors, during his rookie campaign.
Despite those pitching concerns, Sabathia said that he has been excited by the Yankees' offseason, especially the December trade for reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton.
"You always want to see your team make moves, and we made some big ones this offseason," Sabathia said. "So it will be exciting to get down to Spring Training and get with everybody as a team."
Yankees pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. on Feb. 13.