Analyst gives the Yankees ideas to manage star pitcher’s workload

MLB: New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels, luis gil
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New York Yankees right-hander Luis Gil had another dominant outing on Tuesday, and his innings total for the year reached 69.1. With him in particular, the organization has to think about the future and not just right now: he is coming off elbow surgery, his career-high is 108.2 frames back in 2021, and you don’t want to burn him out in August.

Gil represents a challenge for the Yankees when it comes to managing his workload. He can’t keep pitching at this rate until the end of the postseason and approach 200 innings when his career-high isn’t even 110 frames. That’s why former New York Mets catcher and current analyst Anthony Recker has some ideas for the Bombers.

“When you have all of those (pitching) options, to me, you try to make a six-man rotation or some where you can pull Gil back. I don’t like putting him in the bullpen because maybe he loses whatever he’s got going right now — and come September, October when they want him back, maybe he’s not quite the same starting pitcher. That’s why I kind of like the idea of making it more of a six-man or skipping a start here or there. You’re going to have enough arms to do it. … It’s a great problem that the Yankees have.”

What should the Yankees do to limit Gil’s innings?

Indeed, sending Gil to the bullpen eventually just to have him stretch back out to cover a starter’s workload after a few weeks (he is definitely one of the Yankees’ five best starters and you want him on that role come October) would be asking too much from his arm just a year removed from Tommy John surgery rehab. It wouldn’t be ideal.

May 18, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Gil (81) reacts after the final out in the top of the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
May 18, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Gil (81) reacts after the final out in the top of the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees could eventually follow Recker’s advice and implement a six-man rotation. At the moment, their five men are Carlos Rodón, Gil, Marcus Stroman, Nestor Cortes and Cody Poteet; with Gerrit Cole already starting his rehab assignment after a spring elbow injury and Clarke Schmidt currently out with a lat strain.

Many pitchers don’t like six-man rotations, as their lifelong routines could be affected. In case the Yankees don’t want to disrupt their pitcher’s routines, they could also have Gil skip some starts here or there, using that pitching depth to their advantage. They have the means to apply this particular strategy, and it might be their best option, especially when everyone is healthy.

There are other strategies, too. They could “piggyback” him with another starter or long reliever and have him pitch shorter outings, for example. Other teams would also entertain the possibility of a short, “phantom” injured list stint, but obviously, that isn’t ideal.

In any case, the Yankees need to eventually monitor this situation and that won’t be easy since Gil, who has a brilliant 1.82 ERA with an 8-1 record, is now a key cog on the rotation.

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