Projecting the Yankees’ 2021-22 starting pitching rotation after free agency

yankees, gerrit cole

One way or another, the Yankees will need to upgrade their starting pitching rotation this upcoming season. The multitude of injuries they sustain on a yearly basis has been problematic, and GM Brian Cashman’s strategy has only made that issue more prevalent.

Trading or signing oft-injured players normally have a clear-cut consequence: More injuries!

Ranging from Corey Kluber to Jameson Taillon, the Yankees have tried to cut corners in hopes of an injury-prone player breaking an unlikely habit of landing on the injured list. Cashman had a one-year, $25 million deal on the table for Justin Verlander, who’s coming off Tommy John surgery, but he declined and returned to Houston. The Yankees would’ve loved to have Verlander, but they also might’ve dodged a bullet coming off a big surgery.

Nonetheless, with most of the top free-agent starters off the table, the Yankees will be dabbling in the clearance section for more help. There might be a few gems hidden between the torn-up clothing, and one of them could be Carlos Rodon.

Projected Yankees’ starting pitching rotation:

1.) Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole had another successful season in 2021 but failed to come up big in the most important game during a Wild Card face-off against the Boston Red Sox. Cole finished with a 3.23 ERA, his highest since 2017 but still representative of a legitimate ace. Cole has had performances where teams batted around him, launching homers at will. If he can eliminate some of these anomalies and adjust to life without spider tack, he should be dominant come the postseason once again in 2022.

2.) Carlos Rodon

One of the top free agents left on the market is Carlos Rodon, who had his best campaign in 2021 with the Chicago White Sox. Rodon posted a 2.37 ERA with 12.55 strikeouts per 9. He also hosted an 82.2% left on-base percentage, a career-best. Given his small sample size of dominant play, the Yankees might look to give him a low-year contract with big money AAV. If they can acquire his services and perform similarly, the team will be in good shape behind Cole.

3.) Jameson Taillon

When the Yankees traded for Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates, they took a big risk after his second Tommy John surgery. Taillon had a bumpy first season wearing pinstripes, recording a 4.30 ERA. He will look to bounce back with a more consistent performance in 2022, and the Yankees need him to be a reliable option in the middle of the rotation.

4.) Jordan Montgomery

Jordan Montgomery has been rather consistent for the Yankees and is safely nestled in the middle of the rotation. Having a bit of diversity with a lefty arm is necessary, so his presence is a positive. Last year, he recorded a 3.83 ERA, his best since 2018 but represented a far larger sample size — 157.1 innings compared to 27.1 in 2018.

5.) Luis Severino

The Yankees have been waiting for Luis Severino to become one of their star pitchers for quite some time. After dominating in 2017 and 2018, Severino suffered back-to-back Tommy John surgeries, pitching just six innings this past year at 27-years-old. He is still incredibly young and can be an impact starter at the top of his game. At this point in time, though, he is best suited for a back-end role until we can prove himself once again.

6.) Domingo German

The Yankees signed Domingo German to a one-year extension this off-season after spending most of 2021 injured. He pitched just 98.1 innings and recorded a 4.58 ERA.

German’s velocity has dipped from 96.1 mph with his fastball to 93.5 mph in just four years, which isn’t exactly what you want to see with an up-and-coming starter. Hopefully, he can rebound after a difficult season and showcase why many were expecting him to be one of the Yankees’ top options for the future.