Yankees News: 5th starter in pitching rotation might surprise you

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia
USA Today

The New York Yankees took a risky approach toward solving their starting pitching problem this off-season, as three starters hit free agency and were not retained. Losing James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and JA Happ left a major hole in the rotation, one that general manager Brian Cashman did his best to fix without spending too much money.

In fact, he was able to cut his costs significantly, saving about $52 million from the three departed starters. In exchange, he signed Corey Kluber to a one year, $11 million deal and traded for Jameson Taillon, who is only sent to earn about $2.1 million for the 2021 season.

The starting rotation is composed of several wildcards, but the Yankees feel confident they will be 100% healthy for the start of the regular season. With spring training just four days away, we will get a look at how far along some of these options are. However, one major question is who will fill the fifth starter spot, especially with Domingo German returning from suspension and a bevy of youth pitchers vying for starting time?

Projected starting rotation:

1.) Gerrit Cole

2.) Corey Kluber

3.) Jameson Taillon

4.) Jordan Montgomery

5.) Deivi García, Domingo Germán, Michael King, Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Medina, Clarke Schmidt

According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, the Yankees could roll with 21-year-old Deivi Garcia as their 5th starter in the rotation:

That sets up a fifth starter competition that would include Deivi García, Domingo Germán, Michael King, Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Medina and Clarke Schmidt.

Given that group and based upon their performances last season, I would have to imagine that García enters camp as the favorite, but he’s by no means a lock. García’s big league service was accelerated last year. Even though he largely succeeded in that trial by fire, it wouldn’t be a shock if the Yankees believe that more development time is necessary.

Garcia was thrown into the fire during the 2020 season to supplement injuries. After spending only two seasons in the minor-league system, García posted a 4.98 ERA at the top level. Over 34.1 innings, he recorded a 33.3% ground ball percentage and 8.65 strikeouts per nine.

While he did have a few tumultuous performances, others were not nearly as liable. He was fantastic against the New York Mets last August, lasting six innings and allowing four hits and zero runs. He has the capability of being a quality starter, and I believe he’s earned the right to the fifth spot in the rotation.

While it is certainly possible players like Domingo German make a big comeback and take over the fifth spot, Garcia will likely enter spring training as the favorite given his most recent performance. German hasn’t pitched in over a year in the MLB, so it will take him some time to shake off the rust.