Yankees have a dark-horse candidate ready to compete for a rotation spot

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers
Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are already a man down with Gerrit Cole, who is expected to miss several months after discovering nerve inflammation in his elbow. The Yankees expected him to be the primary starter and ace after winning the AL Cy Young award in 2023.

Unfortunately, they will have to push that timetable back and lean on some of their other pitchers to pick up the slack.

General manager Brian Cashman has scoured the market for available additions, but he hasn’t been willing to spend big or trade cap in exchange for a quality arm. The San Diego Padres recently acquired Dylan Cease from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for a number of prospects, including former Yankee Drew Thorpe. Clearly, Cashman wasn’t willing to make a similar offer.

The Yankees Will Lean on Youth: Is Luis Gil an Option?

With that being said, The Yankees are expected to lean on 24-year-old Will Warren to open the year as a potential number five starter, but a new dark horse candidate has entered the fold.

On Saturday afternoon, Luis Gil earned the start against the Toronto Blue Jays, mowing down four batters over 3.1 innings and giving up just one hit. He lowered his ERA to 2.31 this spring after entering Saturday’s game with a 3.24 ERA over 8.1 innings, collecting 15.12 strikeouts per nine with a 95.2% left-on-base rate.

Gil has looked fantastic over a small sample. Still, the Yankees are excited about his upside, especially with his velocity recovering and coming off a year where he only tossed for innings in the minors due to Tommy John surgery.

At this point, the Yankees may consider Gil a long-inning relief option, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he played a similar role to that of Jhony Brito last year. Not only can he help as a relief arm, but he can fill in as a spot starter, potentially competing with Warren for playing time at the back end of the rotation.

The Yankees continue to produce quality pitching talent, but injury has taken hold at some points. Gil is shaking off the rust and starting to look like the exciting young prospect he showed back in 2021 when he made his MLB debut.

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