Vincent Carchietta | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees started spring training on a sour note when it was announced starter Frankie Montas would have shoulder surgery and miss most of the season. Not even one preseason game in, and they are already down their fifth starter.

It’s another bad look for general manager Brian Cashman. He gambled on upside despite the risk and it blew up in his face. Remember, New York traded two top pitching prospects in JP Sears and Ken Waldichuk just to land Montas. And we don’t need to revisit just how badly the Yankees need to restock the farm with more young pitching.

Except this time, the Yankees don’t need to panic about losing Montas. At least not yet. Remember, he was the ace in Oakland but the No. 5 here. Losing him won’t be devastating.

It also helps that the Yankees are in a pretty good position to replace Montas without making any sudden trades. Again, this is the fifth starter who’s potentially out for the season, not a front-end arm like Gerrit Cole or Luis Severino. This is a problem that can be solved with in-house depth.

So who do the Yankees have ready to step up and fill Montas’ role? Manager Aaron Boone has already mentioned Clarke Schmidt and Domingo German as possibilities. German should have a slight edge, particularly after winning 18 games in 2019. Schmidt, in turn, was a starter throughout his time in the minors. As a former first-round pick, he should get just as much of a look as German.

So what happens if neither German nor Schmidt in particular shines in place of Montas? Well, the Yankees still have options, and maybe even in the minor league system.

Enter No. 22 overall prospect Jhony Brito, who turns 25 on Saturday and posted a 2.96 ERA in the minors last year. We’ve already discussed how he’s in a position to crack the MLB roster this year. If he out-pitches both German and Schmidt, it will be hard to justify sending him back to Triple-A Scranton.

Best of all is the Yankees don’t need to rush this decision. They won’t need a No. 5 starter until about mid-April and can take their time evaluating German, Schmidt, Brito, maybe more. And if none of them seem a good fit, Cashman is no stranger to making important trades right before Opening Day. Just ask Jose Trevino.

Spring training games begin on Feb. 25, against the Phillies in Clearwater.

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Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.