As September approaches, the Yankees are taking an unfamiliar approach for the remainder of the 2023 regular season. They’re trying things out and giving young players some time on the field, all with the aim of preparing for 2024. That includes giving reliever Michael King an opportunity in the rotation.
In an ideal world, he’d like this experiment to end up being more permanent.
King is scheduled to take the hill on Tuesday night at Comerica Park against the Tigers. It will be his third start of the year, all of which have come this month. Below is how he’s performed in his first two starts:
- August 12th vs. Marlins: 2 runs on 4 hits with 3 strikeouts in 2 innings (41 pitches)
- August 24th vs. Nationals: 1 unearned run on 1 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts in 2.2 innings (50 pitches)
Here’s what the right-hander said about his current situation (quote via New York Post):
I also look at it like roster flexibility. If it gets to the point where we’re in spring training and we need a fifth starter, they know what they have in me, and they know, ‘Hey, King was great for the last five weeks of the season. We can give him an opportunity.’ Or, ‘We got five starters, and King was great in the bullpen, so we’re going to put him in the bullpen.’
I would love to obviously succeed and give them that flexibility but also, in the back of their minds, have it be pushing for me to be one of those starters next year.
The majority of the Yankees’ rotation is spoken for heading into 2024. It should include the likes of Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, and Nestor Cortes. Thanks to finding his stride after a rocky start, Clark Schmidt should also have a spot in the backend of New York’s starting staff.
Who knows what pending free-agent Luis Severino’s outlook is? The same can be said about Domingo German as he finishes 2023 on the restricted list. And then there’s Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez in Triple-A.
It appears the Bombers won’t be without options. However, that doesn’t mean King can’t shove his way into the conversation. He’s racked up 98 appearances since the start of 2021 for the Yankees. Most of them have come out of the bullpen (eight starts). The right-hander has produced a 3.04 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with 210 strikeouts in 183.1 innings during that time.
King spent the majority of his minor-league career in the rotation (59 of 80 appearances were starts). Across parts of five seasons, he produced a 28-20 record with a 2.96 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 333 strikeouts in 392.2 innings.