Yankees facing extremely difficult starting rotation question

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As the New York Yankees anticipate the return of ace Gerrit Cole from injury, manager Aaron Boone faces a complex decision regarding the starting rotation. During a recent conversation, Boone was asked about the possibility of employing a six-man rotation. Jack Curry of the YES Network clarified that the team plans to maintain a five-man rotation, which necessitates a tough decision about which starter will transition to the bullpen.

Evaluating Options for Yankees’ Rotation Adjustment

The decision on who to move is particularly challenging given the strong performances across the board. Carlos Rodon, 31, has made a strong comeback this season, boasting a 3.27 ERA over 55 innings after overcoming injuries that affected him in 2023. With his strikeouts increasing and overall efficiency improving, removing him from the rotation does not seem prudent.

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Nestor Cortes, although experiencing some volatility, has also been impressive, recording a 3.29 ERA over 65.2 innings with commendable on-base and ground-ball rates. His recent form, including giving up just one unearned run over his last 12 innings, solidifies his case to remain in the starting lineup.

Luis Gil, the 25-year-old rising star, has been particularly compelling, delivering an elite performance against the Seattle Mariners recently with 6.1 innings pitched, only one hit allowed, and eight strikeouts. With an ERA now at 2.11, removing Gil would be counterproductive as he is also on track for an All-Star appearance.

Clarke Schmidt, 28, is another pitcher who has shown considerable improvement, recording a 2.59 ERA with high strikeout rates over 55.2 innings. His ability to efficiently pitch into the later innings, a significant improvement from his earlier seasons, makes him a critical asset to the rotation.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees, clarke schmidt
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This leaves Marcus Stroman, who, despite signing a recent two-year, $37 million deal and having the third-best ERA on the team at 3.05 over 56 innings, might be considered for a different role given his experience and versatility. However, his veteran presence and leadership make him an unlikely candidate for removal from the rotation.

Strategic Flexibility and Depth as Key Advantages

The Yankees might explore rotating some pitchers to the bullpen to manage workload and ensure everyone stays fresh throughout the season. This strategy could prevent the disruption of their pitchers’ routines, allowing them to focus on specific roles rather than moving between starting and relief positions.

The abundance of talent in the Yankees’ rotation presents both a challenge and a luxury, providing the team with high-quality options and a strong backup plan in case of injuries. As Boone contemplates the best approach, Cortes appears to be the most likely candidate to transition based on the team’s current dynamics, despite his strong performances and recent improvements. This scenario underscores the depth and quality of the Yankees’ pitching staff, a true luxury in the long and grueling MLB season.

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