Yankees demote young pitcher despite starting rotation falling apart

jhony brito, yankees
Apr 13, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jhony Brito (76) pitches in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have encountered a series of unfortunate events with their starting rotation. From Domingo German’s placement on the restricted list due to alcohol abuse to Carlos Rodon’s exit after just 2.2 innings with left hamstring tightness, the situation appears grim.

Carlos Rodon’s Performance and Injury Concerns

Despite the pending MRI that could sideline him for weeks, Rodon has been struggling ever since returning from a chronic back injury diagnosed during spring training. His performance in the current season has been less than satisfactory, with a 7.33 ERA, 8.33 strikeouts per nine, a 64.9% left-on-base rate, a 35.1% ground ball rate, and a 19.5% HR/FB ratio across 27 innings.

Rodon’s performance during his first year with the Yankees has been a far cry from his previous achievements, notably a six-year, $162 million deal with a career-high 178 innings pitched for the San Francisco Giants.

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A Costly Investment and Management’s Discontent

Considering the huge investment made in Rodon, especially in light of his injury-prone nature, the situation has put the Yankees in a difficult spot. Owner Hal Steinbrenner must be understandably upset with general manager Brian Cashman’s decision-making, and the team isn’t getting the expected return on their investment.

Alternatives and Younger Options for the Yankees

With Rodon’s struggles and potential absence, the Yankees might have to turn to younger talents to bridge the gap. However, Luis Severino’s lackluster performance this season, featuring a 7.74 ERA, 7.88 strikeouts per nine, and concerning ratios in other categories, adds to the challenge. Talks about moving Severino to the bullpen have been prevalent, but Rodon’s situation may limit those options.

The Future of Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez

The Yankees may be forced to rely on youth and offer opportunities to promising players like Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez. Brito, though having a 5.02 ERA with the Yankees, has shown potential in limited appearances. Vasquez, on the other hand, has been a bright spot, posting a 1.17 ERA across three starts, demonstrating an ability to work out of trouble.

The Return of Nestor Cortés

In the midst of these challenges, the Yankees were boosted by the return of Nestor Cortés over the weekend. After spending two months on the injured list for a shoulder issue, he looked excellent, offering a glimmer of hope for the rotation.

The New York Yankees’ starting rotation has been hit hard by injuries, underperformance, and off-field issues. The management faces significant decisions on how to address these problems without compromising the team’s competitive edge.

Investing in injury-prone talent has put the team in a precarious position, and the reliance on younger options seems inevitable. However, with emerging talents like Vasquez and the return of Cortés, there may still be opportunities to stabilize the rotation and drive forward. How the Yankees navigate these challenges will be crucial in shaping their season.