Many think the New York Yankees will be just fine when Luis Severino returns to the team mid-season. That outlook may be too optimistic. Severino needed Tommy John and had that surgery in February. Players with that surgery usually can return to playing in 12 to as many as 18 months, although most return by the 15th month. The snag is there are no hard facts to support when and if a pitcher can return and how he will hold up or perform. It seems to be different for each individual pitcher.
Jordan Montgomery didn’t play the entire 2019 season after his surgery. It turned out that he was away from the pitching mound for 17 months after he realized he needed the surgery. Not only is the timetable a question regarding the surgery, but after being off the mound for so long, you really have no idea if the pitcher will return to form quickly or not. There is also the concern of arm strength and their durability in the first season back from rehabbing. Montgomery was inconsistent in his return this year.
Knowing this, the Yankees have to treat Severino’s return as a bonus rather than thinking he will be the Yankee’s savior. That would be fool hearty, and general manager Brian Cashman should not neglect to get a solid at least mid-level replacement for James Paxton and J.A. Happ. The Yankees are said to be considering re-hiring Masahiro Tanaka at a much less expensive contract. The “Tank” earned $23 million last season; he is not worth anywhere near that figure. The guess is he will be offered possibly a two-year contract at less than his salary for the 2020 season.
If the New York Yankees don’t bit the bullet and pick up a premium pitcher, relying on Severino will be risky if not foolhardy. The Yankees may get Domingo German back in the rotation if Hal Steinbrenner believes he is a “changed man.” So that return at this point is also questionable. The Yankees do have Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt in the wings.
Despite the welcomed debut of Deivi Garcia, his small frame does not bode well for being durable during a 162 game season facing major league hitters. Deivi had only pitched in 63 games over a five year period. Although Schmidt looks good, he is still mostly untried as far as pitching consistently during a full season.
So, what we have now is ace Gerrit Cole and for sure Jordan Montgomery. Tanaka is not a number two pitcher, although he is usually mostly reliable. If the Yankees can get a non-ace premium type pitcher to start behind Cole, they can then insert Tanaka, Montgomery, and more than likely Deivi Garcia, with Clarke Schmidt, a fill-in for injuries. Of course, if Domingo German, 2019’s best pitcher, is allowed to return, it will be a Godsend for the Yankees. Right now, he is pitching well in the Winter Dominican League.
The bottom line is that the New York Yankees should not pass on getting another premium pitcher than depending on Luis Severino that hasn’t pitched in nearly two years. He pitched in only three games at the beginning of 2019.