New York Yankees News/Rumors: Middle rotation: Jordan Montgomery or Marcus Stroman?

William Parlee
yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman
Aug 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman (7) reacts after a strikeout to end the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

For the New York Yankees, they are licking their wounds while watching the Tampa Bay Rays play in the 2020 World Series. The Rays beat the Yankees in the division and then beat them in the ALCS. The Yankees come away from the season as a failure. There are probably twenty or so teams in the MLB that would consider their season a moderate success. But not the New York Yankees. If the Yankees don’t advance to the World Series and win it, they consider the season a failure.

After the World Series, the Yankees will find themselves with only two pitchers in their rotation; the 2019 postseason acquired pitching ace Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery. Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ will all become free agents. During the postseason, the Yankees may re-sign Tanaka, but at a discounted rate and shorter contact. It is doubtful the Yankees will negotiate with Happ or Paxton. That leaves them with short two pitchers.

Luis Severino, who should be returning from Tommy John surgery, will undoubtedly slot in as the number two starter, but not until June or July. The rest of the rotation is a question that must be resolved before the start of the 2021 baseball season. Marcus Stroman of the Mets feels he is the Yankee’s answer. Stroman took to his Twitter account Wednesday to explain why he would fit into the Yankees’ rotation. It’s no secret that Stroman would like to pitch for the Yankees; he said as much before the Toronto Blue Jays traded him to the New York Mets.

“Besides [Gerrit] Cole, there’s no current yankee pitcher who will be anywhere in my league over the next 5-7 years,’’ Stroman wrote. “Their pitching always folds in the end. That lineup and payroll should be winning World Series’ left and right … yet they’re in a drought! Lol.”

I have always been in Stroman’s corner and believed they should have worked out a deal with the Jay’s last postseason. Stroman is not a great pitcher but an excellent middle of the rotation pitcher. This season before he opted-out due to the coronavirus he pitched well in spring training and summer camp. In 2019 he was 4-2 with an ERA of 3.77 with 60 strikeouts in 11 starts.

Stroman’s comments about Yankee pitching, may not have been his best move if he truly does want to pitch in the Bronx. Back in 2019, Brian Cashman said he didn’t go after Stroman, stating that he wasn’t a difference-maker. However, there is no way of knowing if Cashman stills feels the same way after most believe the Yankee rotation lost the season for them.

Jordan Montgomery, this season was 2-3 with an elevated 5.11 ERA. Many scouts believe that Montgomery is a much better pitcher than the stats would suggest. The fact is he was the second-best fWAR pitcher for the Yankees. His elevated ERA is due to two poor starts. In his losses, he had some bad luck getting little run support.  Montgomery is young and has the tools to be a really good pitcher. Many think he will break out in 2021.

Depending on what the Yankees do in procuring a premium pitcher in the offseason, “Monty” will likely be moved up in the rotation, at least until Severino returns. With the lack of revenue this past season and with all the players reaching arbitration, it seems unlikely that the Yankees will spend big on the likes of Trevor Bauer. Marcus Stroman could be a fit and a steal for the Yankees this offseason.

Another part of the pitching puzzle is Domingo German, who sat out last season and post-season while being suspended for slapping his wife in public. German was the New York Yankee’s winningness pitcher in 2019. It would seem obvious that the Yankees would want that performance back in the lineup. But that may not happen. Yankee’s General Operating Partner Hal Steinbrenner cast doubts that he would be willing to take German back.  He stated that he would have to show he is a changed man. However, if history counts for anything, they did trade for Aroldis Chapman who had a worse domestic violence case.

Whatever happens, it will be a very busy offseason for General Manager Brian Cashman and company. They have decisions to make on what to do with their free agents, who to acquire, and how to put together a pitching rotation that won’t let them down. The Yankees want desperately to win a 28th World Championship, and sooner than later.