David Cone is not sure whether the Yankees have finally closed the gap on the Astros. He has lauded general manager Brian Cashman’s offseason moves, but he thinks there is probably still more work to do.
“Maybe a trade or two, even by the trade deadline, will change the roster a little bit here or there,” Cone, the YES Network broadcaster, said Saturday. “I don’t think Cash is done yet.”
Cone, a standout starter for both the Yankees and Mets during a 17-season MLB career, said getting Aaron Judge back “was huge.” The Yankees also re-signed Anthony Rizzo, and landed free agents Carlos Rodon and Tommy Kahnle.
Rodon, an All-Star the past two seasons, could be the pitcher who puts the Yankees over the top after their dream ended again last season at Houston’s hands.
“He is a power left-hander, and they’re few and far between,” Cone said at a “Pinstripe Pride” event at American Dream in East Rutherford, N.J., at which many around the club signed autographs. “[It’s rare] you find those types of pitchers with that kind of stuff. When he’s on, he can literally dominate a game. Take the ball out of play, get a lot of strikeouts, almost win the game by himself when he’s on.”
Rodon, who pitched to a 2.88 ERA with the Giants last season, has blown away hitters predominantly by repeatedly throwing a nasty fastball and slider, rarely mixing in a curveball and changeup.
Is such a limited repertoire sustainable?
“Over the long haul, probably not,” Cone said. “Right now it’s good. … He can throw some other pitches, too, and that’s where [pitching coach] Matt Blake comes in.”
As Cone looked around the Yankees’ roster, he said he is particularly interested in how the shortstop position will shake up. A couple of top prospects will be competing with incumbent Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
“When does Anthony Volpe show up? Is Oswald Peraza ready?” Cone said. “I think it’s time to find out about the young guys and whether they’re ready or not.”
The Yankees’ pitchers and catchers will report for spring training in Tampa on Feb. 15.