James Paxton, the southpaw of the New York Yankees, will be out three to four months due to a surgery to remove a periodical cyst in his back (BleacherReport). Now with the German suspension of eighty games and Paxton’s injury, the Yankees are down to four starters to begin the 2020 season.
The Yankees, as of now, have Cole, Severino, Tanaka, and Happ as potential starters for their rotation. Cole and Severino will likely be one and two, Tanaka three, and Happ as the fourth starter. The Yankees also have the option of using an opener, such as Chad Green or Luis Cessa, to replace the injured Paxton.
A Few Options for Boone to Use in the Rotation
After a very limited season in 2019, Jordan Montgomery will now have a bigger role in the Yankees rotation this season. With the Paxton injury, he will need to round out the rotation and give at least five innings a start. Hopefully, the Yankees offense will put up around five runs a game to help the banged-up rotation gain confidence.
The 20-year-old Yankees’ top pitching prospect may now see some time in the big leagues this year. With Triple-AAA Wilkes-Barre, Garcia went 1-3 and posted a 5.40 ERA in 40 innings (Baseball-Reference). The Yankees will monitor his progress in spring training, but will most likely be optioned to Double-AA Trenton to start the year.
Chad Green/Luis Cessa
The Yankees have two possible candidates in Chad Green and Luis Cessa to open games until German comes off suspension or Paxton fully heals from his injury. The Tampa Bay Rays have been very successful in using young arms to open games against the Yankees. Luckily, the Yankees have caught on to the openers trend in baseball and have two quality pitchers to fill that role.
Paxton’s potential success this season is now a little unclear, after going through this surgery. He was a tale of two different pitchers last season. In the first half of the year, he looked lost and a back of the rotation starter at best. In the second half of the year, he became the Yankees ace and placed second for team most valuable player behind LeMahieu.
This surgery has its pros and cons for Paxton’s outlook on this season. The pros are: he misses out on having a repeat of his performance in the first half of last year. The cons are: he leaves a hole in the rotation, he may not be the same pitcher when he comes back and is a free agent in the 2020-2021 offseason.