Yankees face big starting pitching problem with 2022 on the horizon

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, jameson taillon
Apr 7, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone, left, takes the ball from starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (50) during the top of the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees may come out of the lockout aggressively looking to scoop up free agents after remaining quiet early in the off-season. However, the holes they need to fill may supersede their spending flexibility. Brian Cashman made Justin Verlander a one-year, $25 million offer before the MLB shut down, suggesting they may be looking into more starting pitching options down the line.

Several targets could fit the bill for the Yankees and their starting rotation, notably Clayton Kershaw or Carlos Rodon. In a nutshell, the Bombers have an inconsistent and untrustworthy rotation composed of injury-prone players who have dealt with problems in recent years. Cashman has been forced to take shortcuts with the starters, signing Corey Kluber to a one-year, $11 million deal and trading for Jameson Taillon despite a lack of efficiency during his first four seasons in the league. As Gerrit Cole’s best friend from Pittsburgh, the Yankees were inclined to acquire him, even though he may not fit their bill as a big-arm pitcher with elite velocity.

Taking a look at the Yankees’ rotation, it’s hard to have faith heading into the 2022 season:

1.) Gerrit Cole

2.) Jameson Taillon

3.) Jordan Montgomery 

4.) Luis Severino

5.) Domingo German

It’s clear as day the Bombers need another arm, and it must be a No. 2 starter behind Cole. Jameson pitched in 29 games this past season, hosting a 4.30 ERA over 144.1 innings. Struggling with shoulder and ankle injuries, Taillon wouldn’t have made an impact during the post-season anyway, leaving the Yanks with reserves to supplement the loss.

Severino is coming off two consecutive Tommy John surgeries, meaning he can’t be relied upon either. Severino has pitched just 18.0 innings in three years, making four appearances in 2021, totaling 6.0 innings. It would be a classic Yankees strategy to rely on Seve once against o pick up where he left off in 2018 when he earned an All-Star nod.

German is a whole different story, given his injury this past season and legal issues. Domingo was headed in the right direction when he posted a 4.03 ERA in 2018, recording 18 wins, but after his suspension, he never returned the same. Relying on German to solidify a spot at the back-end of the rotation is optimistic, so the Yankees may need two starting pitchers to help build the efficiency of the unit.