This offseason has been one of the strangest in our collective lifetime, starting with the injury bug striking the New York Yankees before Grapefruit League play even began and ended with the MLB halting operations due to the coronavirus.
Players have been holes up in Tampa for the time being, recovering from injuries, and participating in socially distanced informal workouts. However, this time has been essential for some of the Yankees injured starters (this is not meant to degrade the situation going on around the world, we are aware and sending positivity to everyone affected), especially lefty pitcher, James Paxton.
When Luis Severino was initially ruled out for the entire 2020 season, Paxton followed close behind with a cyst in his lower back that required surgery. His expected return date was in early-May, and he seems to be on track to return to baseball form.
The loss of both starters for what seemed to be an extended period of time was projected to hurt the rotation, especially at the back end, with unproven players set to fill in in the meantime. However, options like Jonathan Loaisiga played well this spring, showing they could take over the spot with ease.
The Yankees will dodge a bullet with the extension of the regular season, as their starting rotation will likely be cemented with adequate talent.
- Gerrit Cole
- James Paxton
- Masahiro Tanaka
- JA Happ
- Jordan Montgomery
Happ remains the most significant question mark in 2020 after posting an abysmal 4.91 ERA with a career-high 34 homers allows last season. As one of the Yankees’ better arms in 2018, Happ backed his solid year up with a massive dud, being entirely ignored in the postseason and playing just a few innings as a relief option.
The Yanks desperately need him to return to his previous form, as he logged a 3.65 ERA in 2018, which would have been the best number on the team last season. Now, it’s fair to mention that he started just 11 games for New York while starting 20 with Toronto. It can often be problematic for pitchers to adapt to the Bronx on short notice.