The rash of injuries to the New York Yankees during spring training is concerning, but this isn’t the time to sound the alarm.
This is not the time to smash the panic button. The New York Yankees should not freak out despite setbacks in their pitching rotation to Luis Severino and James Paxton.
And if the Yankees score those tons of runs, as expected, they will overcome these setbacks. Though, Wednesday, Giancarlo Stanton was diagnosed with a grade one calf strain that will keep him off the field for the next four weeks.
Another setback for Stanton with Opening Day rapidly approaching doesn’t sound good. But again, this is not the time to panic. There’s reason to be concerned after the Yankees spent all last season sending players to the injured list.
Stanton will be re-evaluated. Aaron Judge? We’re still waiting for the slugger to take the field. As for Severino, Tommy John surgery awaits.
Dr. David Altchek will perform the surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery. The Yankees will find a way to replace their investment in the rotation as they did last year.
Severino’s four-year, $40 million contract extension kicks in this year and that deal already looks like a poor investment for general manager Brian Cashman. However, Tommy John has a way of rejuvenating pitchers. The Yankees are certainly hoping for the best.
“It’s the way the game has changed,” said a baseball insider to ESNY.
In regards to Severino, the arm is not made to throw 100 mph fastballs with violent breaking balls mixed in.
“Sandy Koufax threw a fastball and a curveball. It doesn’t work,” he said. “Severino complained in September. He didn’t go for the MRI. If they had put that dye in him for testing in September, you would see him on the mound.”
Instead, Severino is out for the year. Depending on his recovery, the Yankees will not see the righty hurler until midseason of 2021. Even a change with medical personnel did not make a difference and the Yankees are perplexed.
As for filling the void, the Yankees always seem to find a way. Cashman is not going to find a replacement from the outside, at least not at this point in spring training.
“This time of year, you always look from within and see if you can give opportunities for what you have,” Cashman said.
They will wait for Paxton. And waiting is Domingo German, returning in June from a suspension for violating the MLB domestic abuse policy.
Regardless, pitching is a commodity, valued, and you never have enough. Sources say the Yankees are not leaning towards signing veteran free agents.
Jason Vargas, Andrew Cashner, Clay Buchholz are on the market.
So with the highest payroll in the game, and with the same old issue of keeping players healthy, where do the Yankees go to fill the void? Also, outfielder Aaron Hicks, with an extended and lucrative contract, continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery.
Recovery and filling the void are the theme of this Yankees spring training camp.
“They can always go with an opener as they did so well last year with Chad Green,” said the insider. And after talking to personnel, around the Yankees brass, an opener is an option for that fifth spot around the rotation.
But there is always that concern about taxing the bullpen early in the season when the Yankees will need that group fresh for October.
So the rotation now revolves around Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, and J.A. Happ. Cole, assuming he picks up where he left off with Houston, is a good start. Tanaka, assuming there are no recurring injuries to his elbow, is a good second.
Happ, who was trade bait during the offseason, is suddenly thrust into the three spot. The Yankees are hoping the lefty veteran can provide innings.
The task is assembling a rotation that will work—even if that includes an opener. All indications are Luis Cessa, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Cessa, or Jonathan Loaisiga can fill the voids as the fourth starter.
Montgomery, another pitcher of that Tommy John surgery story, was throwing 94 mph Monday in a spring game against the Pirates.
“But Cessa would be my guy,” said the insider. “He can throw strikes.”
But this all comes down to the Yankees, all 26 of them, to stay healthy and on the field. They survived the rash amount of injuries last year with 103 wins and an American League East title.
They start the season with three of their best starters on the injured list, but they have enough to survive the early games. That being said, how many days till the trading deadline? Because if that void still exists, you know, Brian Cashman always has the depth to make a move.
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