Yankees’ still performing tests on ace, will likely miss Opening Day

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Boone spoke to reporters today and mentioned that there’s no update yet on Gerrit Cole’s MRI, as the Yankees what could be a season-defining prognosis regarding their ace. The right-hander underwent imaging on his right elbow, and further tests are being done to make sure that they have an exact idea of what’s going on. Boone further added that because of where Cole is at in his buildup, it’s unlikely that he’ll be ready for Opening Day, which isn’t surprising given how close the news of his MRI is to Opening Day.

Given that a shutdown in throwing is inevitable, it’s not shocking that the Yankees are considering other options to start on Opening Day as they await the news of Gerrit Cole’s MRI.

Gerrit Cole Will Likely Not Be the Yankees’ Opening Day Starter

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
Jul 28, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) takes a moment before the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are in a pretty dire situation with Gerrit Cole, who is undergoing testing on his pitching elbow, and the team didn’t have further updates on his situation. How severe the situation is remains to be seen, but the right-hander will likely not get the Opening Day nod. This will break his four-year streak of being the Yankees’ Opening Day starter, and it’s a huge blow to the team considering the question marks outside of him. We have yet to find out about a potential prognosis, but reports have surfaced about cautious optimism regarding the situation.

Even then, the optimism has been conflicting, as Pat Ragazzo of Sports Illustrated mentioned that the initial sense he’s getting is that the news will not be good. Andy Martino suggested more of a precautionary situation, but the fluidity of it all coupled with the severity of any damage to the elbow is alarming. What we do know is that the Yankees have re-engaged with the White Sox in regards to making an offer for Dylan Cease, although they’ve yet to include Spencer Jones in the deal.

READ MORE: Yankees make new proposal to White Sox for ace pitcher without top outfield prospect

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox
Sep 23, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84) pitches during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Dylan Cease would certainly fit the bill of being a top-of-the-rotation starter, but there’s no certainty that the White Sox will move him or that they’d take an offer without Spencer Jones. There are certainly exciting players in the Yankees’ organization, and this would be a hit to their farm depth, but they’ve shown an excellent ability to trade and replenish guys with relative ease. Still, there are some questions about Dylan Cease following a 4.58 ERA in 2023, as his velocity took a slight hit.

The Yankees are bracing themselves for a rotation without Gerrit Cole, which is something they didn’t imagine they’d ever have to do, and this could be season-defining for them. As we await updates and news, more information will come out regarding the injury to Cole and the trade talks with the Chicago White Sox, but neither of the two are expected to be resolved today. Whether the Yankees end up with good news with Gerrit Cole or not, it seems that they’re aware that he’ll miss time, and there’s a sense of urgency to find a capable starter.

One thing should be made clear however; there is no replacing Gerrit Cole, there’s simply searching for someone who can keep the team in the playoff mix in the scenario where he can return this season.

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