2014 Statistics: 192.2 IP, 31 GS, 3.04 ERA, 4.15 FIP, 6.5 K/9, 3,3 BB/9, 0.7 fWAR
2015 Age: Turns 32 on July 3, 2015
Position: Right-handed starting pitcher
The New York Yankees are in the market for one, maybe two starters. At the moment, it appears as though the front office has made Brandon McCarthy the primary target, and might also be interested in re-signing Hiroki Kuroda. It's not clear what the fallback plans might be should the Yankees not bring back either, assuming the current leaks suggesting front office isn't interested in Max Scherzer, Jon Lester or James Shields are indeed accurate.
One option the Yankees might consider for the back of the rotation is Edinson Volquez. Coming off a solid season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, his best since 2008 with the Cincinnati Reds, Volquez has likely reclaimed some of the value that has slipped over the last few years. The former ace is yet to turn 32, and has lost none of his velocity with his fastball and sinker still averaging over 93 miles-per-hour. With no draft-pick compensation attached Volquez will likely earn a significantly larger commitment than the 1 year, $5 million dollar tryout the Pirates gave him last offseason; though on the face of things even at 2 years and around $16-$18 million he could represent a tidy bargain.
Dig a little deeper though, and red flags start to emerge. The gleaming 3.04 ERA masking a less spectacular 4.15 FIP, the improved walk rate coming with a corresponding decline in strikeouts, and a BABIP of 0.263 which was 30 points below his career average. The peripherals suggest that Volquez is the same pitcher he has been for the last few seasons, and perhaps his rebound in Pittsburgh had more to do with the Pirates defense as opposed to any improved mechanics.
Courtesy of Fangraphs
Still, this is not to suggest that Volquez is not a fit with the Yankees. For one, as is perhaps natural with sinkerballers he is a ground ball pitcher who allows fewer than one home run per nine innings pitched, which might limit the damage one might expect for a National League pitcher transitioning to Yankee Stadium. Secondly, even with his statline suggesting he might be a candidate for overpay, the improved analytical models used around the league makes it more likely that his market will account more for his peripherals than his 13-7 record and strong ERA.
Edinson Volquez isn't in the same class of free agent pitchers as Brandon McCarthy or even Hiroki Kuroda; though of course he will be cheaper than the former and he is significantly younger than the latter. Although, as a fallback option and potential veteran stopgap, he might be a solid candidate to fill a spot in the 2015 rotation.