Before James Paxton went down with a cyst in his lower back, the New York Yankees were looking healthy and ready to go in 2020. Of course, back luck had to strike at some point, even after the strength and conditioning program was overhauled this offseason. Paxton’s injury was a fluke and shouldn’t be considered any more than that, as it wasn’t baseball-related and had been haunting him for quite some time. Surgery was ultimately the right move for the future of his career and the upcoming season.
With the Bombers starting spring training this week, it’s important to note that GM Brian Cashman locked down Gerrit Cole on a $324 million deal for two reasons. One, to ensure the Yankees had one of the best starting rotations in baseball, and two, because of his impeccable health history. Adapting to Yankee Stadium isn’t easy for most pitchers, but Cole is in a different realm of talent.
Pairing him with Luis Severino, who posted ace-like numbers in the first half of 2018, could prove to be one of the best tandems in baseball. Factor in a healthy Paxton and their top three options represent absolute dominance.
According to SNY, manager Aaron Boone is excited about the possibilities of this group:
“In Gerrit, we’re seeing a guy in the prime of his career, arguably the best pitcher in the sport right now,” Boone explained. “Getting to know him a little bit now this winter, and obviously going through the free-agent process, looking forward to continue to get to know the person a little bit more…
“Sevy’s now been through a lot in this game. He’s been a Cy Young candidate, he’s gotten to the big leagues fast, he’s gone through some tough times, he’s gone through some failures, he’s gone through massive successes, he’s gone through an injury-plagued season now, but his talent and determination, coupled with those experiences that he’s had already as a young man, I think will only benefit him going forward, and looking forward to what he’s gonna be able to do for us this year.”
Those are kind and advocational words from the Yankees’ skipper. I expect both Cole and Severino to be dominant in 2020, especially with the latter of the two returning from an injury-plagued 2019. Managing his activity this pre-season will be essential, as preparation is everything when it comes to baseball.