For the New York Yankees, this whole offseason has been about re-signing DJ LeMahieu. And to answer the statement, it’s the pitching stupid; the Yankees have also, once they signed LeMahieu, addressed the pitching situation big time. The Yankees have big-time pitching depth, but they want the best possible rotation to win them the division and carry them through the postseason. Last season they did not have that, which is why they cleaned the house.
The Yankees first signed two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. Then shortly after that, they traded with the Pittsburgh Pirates for starter Jameson Taillon. They also added a big arm to the bullpen with Darren O’Day’s hiring, one of the best relievers out there, one that was 4-1 last season with a tiny 1.01 ERA.
Getting back to the depth, they have Domingo German coming back for a year’s suspension. In 2019 before he was forced to leave the team, he was 18-4, being the best New York Yankee starter. Later in the season, they will also have the returning Luis Severino, who is coming back from Tommy John Surgery. Beyond that, they have Jordan Montgomery, and of course, the Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. In the wings are Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Michael King.
As it stands now, the starting rotation on April 1 will be Gerrit Cole, then Corey Kluber, following him will be Jameson Taillon. The fourth and fifth spots on the rotation are less clear. It will probably be Domingo German and Jordan Montgomery or the other way around. What could change this is how each of these pitchers pitches in spring training. If Domingo German is dominating, you will see him move up the latter.
Kluber: Has barely pitched since 2018 due to various injuries. Soft-tissue injuries are concerning, but heâ€™s ready for the season and impressed scouts at his showcase. Taillon: Says he completely changed his mechanics, and his arm feels better after his second Tommy John surgery. He will probably have some workload adjustments, but theoretically would be geared toward having him ready for October. The New York Yankees, in general, will have to be careful with all the starters as they gear up for a 162 game season and still be fresh enough for a postseason run.
GermÃ¡n: Healthy (as far as weâ€™re aware, and heâ€™s been posting workout videos on Instagram) but hasnâ€™t pitched in an MLB game since September 2019. He pitched well that season, but still somewhat unclear what his overall ceiling is as a starter. Severino: Expected back late summer. That can give him time to settle into the MLB flow again, but I think he might have the most challenging path to the postseason, if for no other reason than having the time to gear up and get his pitching strength back.
As far as a rotation for the postseason, guessing that is a fool’s game. It will all amount to who pitches best during the regular season and who is hot at the end of the season. For instance, if Cole ends September 18-5 and Kluber ends up 20-4 and is more desirable at the end of the season. The Yankees will have some big questions to answer for that game 1 starter. That may seem unthinkable now, but the Yankees will go with their best pitcher in the end.