New York Yankees Analysis: Are the Yankees taking too big a risk with pitching?

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

After the 2020 shortened season, the New York Yankees decided not to give qualifying offers to start pitchers Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ. That left them with only one veteran pitcher, last year’s acquisition of their ace Gerrit Cole. Behind him, they had a bevy of inexperienced, untested, not ready for prime time pitchers that the front office originally said they were satisfied with.

The Yankees instead made their priority the signing of second baseman DJ LeMahieu to a new contract. Those negotiations dragged on for over two months while pitching upgrades went untouched. Early in the offseason, Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner issued a directive that he wanted to stay below the luxury tax threshold of $210 million. With that edict and LeMahieu still dangling out there, and how much it would cost to keep him in pinstripes, general manager Brian Cashman’s hands were tied, not knowing how much money he had to spend on the team’s other needs.

The New York Yankees did make some minor moves by signing Nestor Cortes Jr. and Adam Warren to minor league contracts. Both relievers had pitched for the Yankees before. Finally, last week the Yankees were able to resign LeMahieu last year’s batting champ. Cashman apparently got very creative. Originally it seemed that Yankees might have to pay as much as $25 million a year to keep DJ. The negotiations dragged on because DJ wanted more security than the three-year $75 million contract the Yankees reportedly offered. DJ demanded five years and the talks stalled.

One thing we know about Brian Cashman is that he can be secretive and creative. In the end, he got LeMahieu to sign a six-year deal, but at only $15 million annually, giving Cashman far more flexibility on additional improvements to the team. Before fans could digest the signing, another signing was made hours later. The Yankees signed a one year $11 million contract with Corey Kluber. Kluber is a two-time Cy Young award winner but comes to the team with injury baggage.

The Yankees already have questions with Jordan Montgomery, who is just a season off his Tommy John surgery. Last season he pitched in ten games with a 2-3 record and an elevated 5.11 ERA. This season they will have Domingo German coming back from the suspension; he didn’t pitch at all last season. Joining him midseason will be Luis Severino, returning to the Yankees after not pitching for a season and a half.

The New York Yankees’ next move was to trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates that sent starter Jameson Taillon to the Yankees for four lower-level Yankee prospects. That move was most likely influenced by Gerrit Cole, who was in the minor leagues with him, and they pitched together for the Pirates in 2016 and 2017. At first, this seemed like a huge upgrade for the Yankees, but he too did not pitch last season, coming back from his own Tommy John surgery.

In another surprise move yesterday, the Yankees signed a $2.5 million contract with the 38-year-old reliever Darren O’Day. This acquisition was made possible when the Yankees dumped Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox in their only second trade this century. O’Day is old in pitching terms but will give the bullpen a different look with his pitching submarine style. The Yankees are also familiar with O’Day from their years of facing him with the Baltimore Orioles. But O’Day has his own injury issues.

The New York Yankees have now set themselves up with some great pitchers that could have a high reward for the Yankees without spending a barrel of money, but coming with that is a significant risk. The question is, are the Yankees taking too big a risk? They are betting on all these returning pitchers regaining form and giving them a winning season. The Yankee’s injury history the past two years to otherwise healthy players makes one wonder how this will all pan out.

  1. Gerrit Cole, healthy coming off a 7-3 ERA 2.84 season in 12 games. In his previous two seasons with the Houston Astros, he won 35 games. Cole has been relatively healthy in his career, but in 2016 he was on the IL three times, one a season-ending elbow inflammation.
  2. Cory Kluber’s 2019 season was shortened by a fractured arm. Last season he pitched only one inning after developing a bad should in his first game with the Texas Rangers. In the previous three years, Kluber won 18 or more games. Since 2014 he has been in the Cy Young voting, winning the award twice.
  3. Jameson Taillon did not pitch last season for the Pirates. TJ surgery. Taillon has been in the majors for five years but pitched in only seven games in 2019. Taillon is one of the few pitchers that has had Tommy John surgery twice.
  4. Luis Severino, coming off Tommy John surgery, hasn’t pitched in almost two years. Severino was 19-8 in 2018 with an ERA of 3.39. Severino was an All-Star and Cy Young nominee in two years of his four years with the Yankees, but also had Tommy John surgery, then missed five months in 2019 due to an issue with an inflamed rotator cuff. He later dealt with a lat injury while rehabbing his rotator cuff.
  5. Domingo German did not pitch last season due to suspension. During 2019 he was the Yankees’ most winning pitcher going 18-4 before MLB shut his season down. German has pitched in 38 games over three years.
  6. Jordan Montgomery, a season off from surgery, 2-3 ERA 5.11 in 10 starts during 2020. “Monty” has pitched only 18 games during the last three years with the Yankees. There is a question on how he will hold up in a 162 game season.
  7. Darren O’Day, 38 years old, missed two months in 2018 with a hamstring injury, missed five months in 2019 with a strained forearm. Last season was 4-0 with a 1.10 ERA in 16⅓ innings over 19 games last year with Atlanta and remained healthy.

It’s hard to believe that all of these pitchers will complete the 2021 season without an injury with all these injuries and surgeries. If the Yankees can pull this off, they will be the team to contend with this season. If not, they may have overplayed their cards. Just as likely as one or more of these players miss some time, it is probable that the New York Yankees can still have a good season. This big upside is that if these players can come even close to their best years, we will see you in October.

Much of the Yankees’ 2021 success may lay in the hands of their up and coming pitching prospects. The Yankees will surely have to make adjustments as the season progresses as the pitchers have to have inning limits either from not pitching last season or adjusting to a 162 game season. Deivi Garcia and Clarke Shmidt will surely see innings, especially if the Yankees use a six-man rotation at some point in the season to give pitchers another day of rest.

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees Analysis: Yankees taking the dangerous route to 28

The New York Yankees won their 27th World Championship in 2009. The Yankees have more World Championships than any franchise in any sport, but they have had an eleven-year drought that has disappointed the boys in pinstripes and the fans as well. Now the Yankees, who have suffered multiple injuries in the past two seasons, embrace the injuries that have been plaguing them.

The Yankees are taking a creative but dangerous route to break that drought and win a 28th World Championship. In 2009 the Yankees had one of the best pitching rotations in baseball, led by newly acquired CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, AJ Burnett, Mike Mussina, and Joba Chamberlain. They also had a powerful lineup of Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, Xavier Nady, Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner. That combination of good pitching and good hitting won them their 27th World Championship, their first since 2000.

The New York Yankees 2021 team is set up similarity with what could be excellent pitching and a lineup as powerful as any in baseball. The Yankees could very well be on their way to that championship they have long sought. So, what’s the catch? Although there is a huge upside to the Yankees projected starting rotation, there is also a huge danger factor, failure by injury. The entire Yankee rotation is a huge question mark; if they perform to their potential, they will be unstoppable, but if just a few cogs fall out of wack, it could be a disastrous season.

I have said several times in the last month that this is the Yankees’ season of opportunity, a season when they have the best chance to win than they have in years and are likely not to have again for years. Plain and simple, the teams opposing the Yankees are not as strong as they have been. Last year’s East division winner, the Tampa Bay Rays, have gotten rid of two of their winningest pitchers without replacing them. The Red Sox, although not looking as bad as last year, are still an organizational mess. The Baltimore Orioles will be near the bottom with the Red Sox. The Toronto Blue Jays will likely be the most competitive, although they still are not where they want to be.

The Yankees, after losing Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ to free agency when they were not offered qualifying offers. They allowed all three to walk. This left the New York Yankees with 2019 acquired ace Gerrit Cole and three pitchers returning from Tommy John surgery or suspension. Knowing this, you would think the Yankees would go out and get some bulls. But general manager Brian Cashman has gone the opposite way, hiring two more pitchers returning from the same Tommy John surgery or injury.

In the strategy, Cashman is betting on the upside, hoping to avoid the downside; if he is successful, he will be praised as a genius; if he isn’t, he will hear calls for his firing. Here’s the rotation:

  • Gerrit Cole, healthy coming off a 7-3 ERA 2.84 season in 12 games.
  • Cory Kluber pitched only 1 inning last year for the Rangers. Fractured are 2019, Bad shoulder 2020.
  • Jameson Taillon did not pitch last season for the Pirates. TJ surgery.
  • Luis Severino, coming off Tommy John surgery, hasn’t pitched in almost two years.
  • Domingo German did not pitch last season due to suspension.
  • Jordan Montgomery, a season off from surgery, 2-3 ERA 5.81 in 10 starts during 2020.

We all can say this guy is going to get injured..blah blah blah, but the truth is nobody really knows what will happen. As of now, everyone looks to be healthy and ready for the 2021 season. Cashman is betting on the upside, and with two aces and a potential ace, the rotation could be frightening to the opposition. Cole in 2019 was 20-5 ERA 2.50, Kluber in 2018 was 20-7 with an ERA of 2.81, Taillon in 2018 was 14-10 ERA 3.20, Severino in 2018 was 19-8 ERA 3.39, and Domingo German in 2019 was 18-4 ERA 4.03. Looking at these stats, there are amazing possibilities.

Should any of these arms falter,, some talented backup is available, notable Deivi Garcia, who made his major league debut last season, going 3-2 ERA 4.92 in six starts. Behind him is the major league-ready Clarke Schmidt, who also made his debut last season. There is also Michael King, Luis Gil, and Luis Medina. Manager Aaron Boone also has the versatility of having Chad Green, Luis Cessa, and Jonathan Loaisiga to start games. To finish up the offseason, Cashman must add to the bullpen after Tommy Kahnle to the Dodgers and trading Adam Ottavion to the Red Sox. Stay tuned.

Manager Boone being aware of possible injury to these returning pitchers and adjusting to a much longer season; you will likely see all of these pitchers at some point in the season as Boone carefully manages inning limits to keep injuries at a minimum. He may also used a six-man rotation at times to give pitchers a rest.

Pitching is not the only challenge for Aaron Boone. Assuming the New York Yankees get to the postseason, Boone has to find a way to keep the bats from going silent for long periods. He also has to mix and match closers to prevent giving up the postseason winning run to whoever opponent the Yankees face.

 

 

 

Why the Yankees might have struck gold with Jameson Taillon

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman acted like a hibernating bear for the first half of the hot stove months, but he has awakened with a vengeance, hungry for pitchers. Recently, he struck a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates to add a starting pitcher to their rotation.

The Yankees traded pitchers Miguel Yajure, Roansy Contreras, infielder Maikol Escotto and OF Canaan Smith in exchange for SP Jameson Taillon.

Taillon, who is close friends with Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, was likely a product of Cole’s influence. Having spent their early years together in the Pirates’ farm system, there is no doubt that Garrett has great things to say about Taillon and what he’s capable of accomplishing. In fact, this duo can work off each other extremely well, as Jameson continues to improve and change some of his core fundamentals.

However, the former Pirate is ecstatic to make the move to the Bronx, where he is now preparing to feature on a contending team rather than a rebuilding one.

“Overnight, I went from a rebuilding organization to a team like the Yankees, where I’m stepping in and the only thing they care about is to win,” Taillon said, Per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “That has kind of lit a fire under me, so I’m extremely excited to throw, excited to build up for Spring Training.”

The Yankees will do everything in their power to help Jameson become the best starter possible, but he’s already shown flashes of quality in the past. While he is recovering from Tommy John surgery, having missed the entire 2020 season, his most recent large sample size came in 2018. He finished with a 3.20 ERA over 191 innings, and recorded a career-high 3.9 WAR.

Taillon has suffered through two Tommy John surgeries during his career, primarily due to his pitching fundamentals, utilizing too much arm and not enough leg.

“I’m focused on a hip-hinge movement, which gets your glutes involved,” Taillon said. “You hear as a kid, ‘Throw with your legs,’ so I had never been properly taught what that really meant. Now I’m activating my legs in a way that takes some pressure off my arm.”

By using more of his legs, he will likely take some pressure off his arm, mitigating concern for injury. It could also add a bit of velocity to his pitches, with his fastball averaging 95 mph.

“As far as health goes, I’m feeling great. I’m ready to roll,” Taillon said. “All my bullpens have gone extremely well. Everything’s on schedule for me. I think I can contribute. I’ve put a lot of work into my rehab to put myself in a position to contribute to a team like the Yankees, so I’m confident that I’ll be ready to go.”

One of the major reasons the Yankees took a chance on Taillon is because of his recent health updates. His bullpen sessions are going well, and he seems to be on track to make a return for Opening Day. He will likely slide in behind Corey Kluber in the rotation, and if the top three pitchers (Cole, Kluber, Taillon) can remain healthy, the Yankees will have a dominant starting rotation.

Yankees News/Rumors: Tanaka likely to the Rakuten Eagles, Taillon on fire and the big risks

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is likely going to the Rakuten Eagles, his old team in the Nippon Professional League in Japan. Tanaka during 2020 went 3-3 with an ERA of 3.56 but miserably failed in his two games in the postseason against the Indians and Rays. He posted an ERA of 12.375, giving up eleven runs in just eight innings.

Tanaka is coming off a seven-year $155 million contract with the Yankees. He was reliable in five of those seven years, but he was diminished as he basically lost his four-seam fastball in the last two seasons. Now a free agent, he hoped to return to the Yankees but saw the writing on the wall when the Yankees hired Corey Kluber and traded for Jameson Taillon, who will probably be the number three starter behind Kluber and his old teammate Gerrit Cole.

The free-agent market for the 32-year-old Tanaka never developed as he had hoped to add insult to injury. According to a translated report from Japan, Tanaka and the Rakuten Eagles are close to finalizing a deal that will see Tanaka finish his career in Japan. According to a report Monday from Sankei Sports out of Tokyo, a deal could be struck as early as this week, although any terms of the deal were not released.

A fire has been lit under Jameson Taillon

The New York Yankees traded a foursome of prospects headed by pitcher Miguel Yajure to the Pittsburgh Pirates for starter Jameson Taillon on Sunday. Taillon has mixed feelings about leaving a team that also has lost Joe Musgrove and Josh Bell. But at the same time, he is excited and looking forward to going to New York, meeting the fans, and playing for a team that can win.

“Ever since I got the news I was going to New York, I haven’t felt nervous (or) overwhelmed. Just extremely excited for the opportunity,’’ Taillon said a day after being dealt to the Yankees. “Overnight, I went from a rebuilding team to a team like the Yankees… where the only thing they care about is to win. That kind of lit a fire under me.’’

Taillon going to New York will be a reunion of sorts. New York Yankee ace Gerrit Cole and he played in the minors together and during the 2016 and 2017 seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates before Cole was traded to the Houston Astros. Taillon, like the other Yankee addition, Corey Kluber did not pitch last season. Halfway through the 2019 season, he required Tommy John surgery. Now recovered, he will be ready to start the 2021 season. In 2018 Taillon was 14-10 with an ERA of 3.20 in 32 starts for the Pirates.

New York Yankees assuming quite a bit of risk

The Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman are hoping for a high reward while accepting the risk of obtaining two starting pitchers coming off injuries and didn’t pitch last season. The Yankees are coming off a season that had seen Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ pitch poorly and reach free agency when the Yankees did not issue them qualifying offers.

With the loss of those pitchers, it basically left the Yankees with their 2019 acquisition of Gerrit Cole and another pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery, Jordan Montgomery, and a bevy of untested, inexperienced arms. Although the Yankees may not have exited the postseason early because of poor pitching, it did do them in the in the division that they lost to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Yankees waited to make any moves until they knew the DJ LeMahieu negotiation’s outcome to bring him back to the Yankees. When they re-signed LeMahieu, they immediately got to work rebuilding the starting rotation by signing two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber who hadn’t pitched in a year and a half. A few days after that, they sent four Yankee prospects to Pittsburgh in exchange for another pitcher returning from Tommy John surgery, Jameson Taillon.

The Yankees are betting their season on these two pitchers, along with the returning Domingo German and Luis Severino. These two did not pitch last season either, German from suspension, and Severino also returned from Tommy John surgery. If these four pitchers can all return to their former form, the Yankees could have one of the best starting rotations in baseball. If not, they will still contend but have accepted substantial risk while hoping for the best.

 

 

 

Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole played a role in recruiting Jameson Taillon

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees secured the services of right-handed pitcher Jameson Taillon in exchange for a four-prospect package headlined by Miguel Yajure and Roansy Contreras. Outfielder Canaan Smith and infielder Maikel Escoto will also go to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Taillon, 29, will be a significant upgrade for a Yankees’ rotation that had lost Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and James Paxton via free agency. He is a cancer survivor and a two-time Tommy John surgery patient, but he is healthy now and can be a solid mid-rotation stalwart for the Bombers as long as health is on his side.

A low-key contributor for Taillon’s arrival to the Bronx was the Yankees’ ace, and his friend, Gerrit Cole. The two talented hurlers were together in the Pirates organization for years and developed a friendship. Now, Cole and his wife Amy both celebrated via Instagram the fact that the Yankees will welcome Jameson Taillon for at least two seasons.

The Yankees’ got a positive recommendation from Cole

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman confirmed that Cole, indeed, played a role in Taillon going to the Yankees. “Hear Gerrit Cole gave a very positive recommendation to the Yankees regarding his former teammate Jameson Taillon,” he tweeted.

Reporter Adam Berry revealed some of the details about the conversation Cole and Taillon had. “I told Gerrit, ‘Dude, I want to run it back with you now. I’m at a different place in my life. You’re at a different place in your life. We never got that full chance to do it together.’ We now have that chance,” Berry wrote.

Taillon has a career ERA of 3.67, with a 3.55 FIP in 466 innings. He has been severely hit by injuries, but is now ready to help the Yankees by sliding in the middle of their rotation, one that now has Cole, Jordan Montgomery, Corey Kluber, Domingo German, Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, and Luis Severino once he is healthy.

New York Yankees Analysis: Looking at Yankee pitching, depth will be key

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The New York Yankees significantly improved their pitching rotation in the past week. Less than a week ago, the Yankees acquired two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and yesterday traded four low-level prospects for former Pittsburgh Pirate starter Jameson Taillon‘s services. Yankee fans now have something to be excited about, although there are risks involved with both of these pitchers who did not pitch last year. Taillon, after the trade yesterday, had this to say on his Twitter account:

“Bittersweet day for me over here! Trying to process everything- have SO much to say to the city of Pittsburgh and my teammates. Also have SO much to say about this incredible opportunity and to the city/fans in New York. Thanks to everyone that has reached out! More to come soon.”

Although there are tremendous upsides to both of these pitchers, there is risk involved, as I said. Taillon is coming back from his second Tommy John surgery, and Cory Kluber pitched only one inning last year after a shoulder tear. Both pitchers are said to be ready to start the season, but the Yankees will have to be careful with them. The addition of Taillon also puts best friends Cole and Taillon together again. They both pitched for team USA and were teammates in the minors and pitching together during 2016 and 2017 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The two developed a very close friendship.

As certainly as the 2020 season was bizarre with its 60 game schedule and other restrictions, the 2021 season, although not as bizarre, will be far from normal. We are not talking about the health protocols or if fans are in the stands, we are talking about the players and pitchers themselves. It is not out of the question that a pitcher can have 33 to even 35 starts in a normal year. This year it is doubtful that the Yankees will push any pitcher for more than 25 or so starts. You can’t expect a pitcher to go from 10 starts to over 30 starts in a year.

Unless other additions being doubtful, the New York Yankees starting rotation will look like this at the start of the season. 1. Gerrit Cole, 2. Corey Kluber, 3. Jameson Taillon, 4. most likely Jordan Montgomery, and 5. will be Domingo German. This could change with how these players pitch in spring training.  At this point, it is almost a surety that both Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt, who both made their Major League debuts last year, will start their year at Scranton Wilkes/Barre. If either German or Montgomery fails during the spring, that could change.

This season for all teams will be similar to rehabbing all their pitchers to a 162 game season. After several starts, the Yankees may move to a six-man rotation just to give all pitchers an extra day’s rest. This is where the Yankee’s depth comes into play. The Yankees will have fresh arms ready to step in. Even if they start in the minors, you will see Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, and Micheal King at some point. There is also the issue of injuries to anyone in the staff, causing these arms to be used earlier than wished for.

Sometime in late June, but most certainly before the All-Star break, the Yankees pitching rotation will get another boost with Luis Severino’s return. His return will certainly cause a realignment of the starting rotation. Severino will be in spring training, although it is unknown if he will pitch in any exhibition games. After not pitching for nearly two years, the New York Yankees will be cautious with him going forward.

The addition yesterday of Jameson Taillon to the rotation means the Yankee fan has probably seen the last of Masahiro Tanaka. It is not likely that Tanaka will want to end his career by bouncing around MLB. He has made it pretty clear that he wants to come back to the Yankees or return to finish out his career in Japan, where he can make more money. His contract demands for a few years at $10-15 million is another reason he will not likely be a Yankee. Although he has been a solid pitcher for the Yankees, he isn’t worth that amount of money, especially with them wanting to stay below the luxury tax threshold. However, with the Yankees, you can’t rule anything out.

As all these pitchers prepare for at 162 game season, the Yankee’s depth will be key to keeping the pitchers healthy and paving their way to success as they as always make a postseason push.

 

 

 

The New York Yankees are taking a significant pitching risk with latest acquisitions

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

“Optimistic” isn’t a word I would associate with the New York Yankees’ starting pitching rotation, especially after their latest acquisitions. Before general manager Brian Cashman signed Corey Kluber and traded for Jameson Taillon, the rotation was seemingly thin and strung out. Utilizing a bevy of unproven talent, the Yankees were preparing to rely on starters either coming off injury or with minimal MLB experience.

Whether you feel confident with the starting rotation or not, the group is severely lacking healthy players coming off quality seasons. With the addition of Luis Severino and Domingo German for the 2021 season, expecting them to play at a premium level would be overzealous.

Cashman has put a lot of his chips in on injured talent looking to make a comeback next season. If things pan out, they will be in great shape, but injuries always seem re-kindle at some point during a 162 game season.

Here’s what the New York Yankees are working within their latest acquisitions:

1.) Corey Kluber

Everybody knows that Kluber is one of the best pitchers in baseball when playing at the top of his game. Just two years ago, he earned a 2.89 ERA over 215 innings. He has open two Cy Young awards and is by far the most accomplished starter on the team currently.

However, he has suffered a number of injuries since 2019, having pitched just 36.2 innings over the past two years. Most would call that problematic, and he barely cracked 90 MPH with his fastball during his bullpen session several weeks ago. He’s never been a strong-armed pitcher, but two MPH adds up. Best case scenario, he ends up being exactly what the Yankees needed for their number two spot in the rotation, but having pitched so little over the past two years, we have to take everything with a grain of salt.

2.) Jameson Taillon

The Yankee struck a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates to acquire Taillon on Sunday morning, sending over a few prospects for the starting pitcher.

Taillon is another starter who is coming off an injury. He dealt with Tommy John surgery in 2020, the second time he’s undergone this specific surgery in his career. While teams don’t seem concerned with TJ surgery anymore, Taillon hasn’t pitched since 2019, when he logged just 37.1 innings. The Yankees really don’t know what they have in him just yet, but he’s capable of being a quality mid-rotation option. In addition, he’s extremely cheap at $2.25M for the 2021 season.

Existing pitchers on the Yankees’ roster:

3.) Luis Severino

Unless you’ve grown tired of the Yankees and stopped watching the past few years, you know that Luis Severino has suffered back to back arm injuries. He’s only pitched 12 innings over the past two years, with his last successful season coming in 2018, similar to Kluber and Taillon. The Yankees seem hopeful he can make a full return, but he is another major question mark heading into the 2021 season. He’s not even expected to make a return until July.

4.) Domingo German

German was caught up in a domestic abuse case in 2019, justifiably so. He was forced to serve a significant suspension, missing the entire 2020 season. The Yankees feel he is a changed man and has learned his lesson, so they are welcoming him back to the team for this upcoming campaign. Having missed an entire year of baseball, German will undoubtedly be rusty. It could take him several months to get back to where he was in 2019, but nothing is guaranteed.

New York Yankees: Yankees quietly build one of the best pitching rotations

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

After being so quiet for most of the offseason while waiting to see if they could resign, the 2020 batting champ, DJ LeMahieu, the New York Yankees have come to life. They are quietly building one of the best starting pitching rotations in all of baseball. Last season they signed one of the top two pitchers in baseball in Gerrit Cole. Unfortunately, the banged-up and tired pitchers behind him couldn’t get the deal done in the postseason after losing the East division to the Tampa Bay Rays.

After the season was over, the Yankees cleaned house. They let walk Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ. Although there was talk that the Yankees wanted Tanaka back in 2021, that is not likely to happen. The Yankees also have an up and coming group of baby bomber pitchers either Major League-ready or close to it.

The New York Yankees knew they needed pitching help. Still, with the owner, Hal Steinbrenner wanting to stay below the luxury tax threshold, general manager Brian Cashman had to wait to see what it would cost the club to sign LeMahieu so he would know what money he had to spend. Cashman worked his magic and gave DJ a six-year contract, more than what he was asking for, but for only $15 million a year, less than the one-year qualifying offer the DJ rejected.

Armed with some dollars, Cashman immediately signed two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to a one year deal at $11 million. The Yankees turned off the snooze button on January 15, 2020, and signed Kluber to bolster their starting pitching rotation. He will become a free agent again at the end of the year. After viewing a pitching demonstration for 25 teams at the Yankee’s director of player health and performance, Eric Cressey’s Florida facility, where Kluber has spent most of his offseason, the Yankees sealed the deal.

Kluber dazzled scouts with his Florida demonstration and appeared very healthy. He commanded his pitches well, according to scouts, and flashed typical velocity for this point in the offseason. That performance caused the New York Yankees to take a chance on the 34-year-old. They signed him just three days later. The Yankees didn’t sign Kluber blindly; they have been watching his rehab with Cressey very carefully.

New York Yankee fans will be delighted to watch Corey pitch. One of the reasons he is so successful is that he is a five-pitch pitcher that can complete games. Kluber throws five pitches: a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a cutter, a breaking ball, and a change. His strikeout pitch is his dominant two-seam sinker. He has been a workhorse and will be unfazed by playing in New York as he is stoic on the mound and doesn’t lose his cool. By all accounts, he is also a nice guy and a good teammate.

January 24th, the Yankees finalized a deal to bring Jameson Taillon to the Bronx from Pittsburgh, where he was a minor and Major League mate of the Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. Over the years, they developed a bond and became friends. Now they are reunited at Yankee Stadium.

Taillon is a solid mid-level rotation pitcher with a huge upside. Taillon is in the prime of his career after coming back from this second Tommy John surgery. He did not pitch during the 2020 season while rehabbing. The Yankees had to give up Miguel Yajure, Roansy Contreras, Miakel Escotto, and Caanan Smith to land Taillon in the Bronx. ESPN announced the deal.

The dual Canadian U.S. citizen born in Lakeland, Florida, signed a letter of intent to attend Rice University but instead accepted a $6.5 million signing bonus to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He worked his way through the minors, where he succumbed to his first Tommy John surgery. He made his Major League debut in 2016 and made the starting rotation for the Pirates in 2017. He has a career record of 29-24 with an ERA of 3.67 in 82 starts with 419 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.247.

With these new pitchers on board, it will be a fascinating spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field as the Yankees evaluate these new pitchers, the returning Domingo German, and all the young baby bombers. How these pitchers perform will give manager Aaron Boone insight into setting up the pitching rotation for the 2021 season.

The rotation will start with ace Gerrit Cole then most likely Corey Kluber. After that is becomes less clear. Third, in the rotation will be either Jameson Taillon or Domingo German. German was the Yankee’s best pitcher in 2019 when he went 18-4. The pitcher that does not get the third spot will most likely get the fourth spot in the rotation. To anchor, the rotation will be either Deivi Garcia, who made his pitching debut last season, or the Yankees’ other Tommy John veteran Jordan Montgomery. Whichever the case, the Yankees still have Clarke Schmidt and Michael King to filling for any injuries. Luis Gil and Luis Medina are close to ready in the minors.

Sometime in June or July, Luis Severino will be returning to the team after his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Both Domingo German and Luis Severino are coming back after not pitching for a year or two, respectively. If they can pitch to their previous form and both Kluber and Taillon can rise to their best numbers, the New York Yankees will have one of the most potent pitching rotations in all of baseball. But even if all don’t perform, the Yankees have enough other arms to let them compete at a high level.

Breaking New York Yankees: Yankees trade for 29 year-old Jemeson Taillon

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

Today “Jamo” is the newest member of the New York Yankee’s pitching staff. Sources say that the Yankees have traded with the Pittsburgh Pirates for starting pitcher Jameson Taillon. Taillon is a solid mid-level rotation pitcher with a huge upside. Taillon is in the prime of his career after coming back from this second Tommy John surgery. He did not pitch during the 2020 season while rehabbing. The Yankees had to give up Miguel Yajure, Roansy Contreras, Miakel Escotto, and Caanan Smith to land Taillon in the Bronx. The deal was announced by ESPN.

The dual Canadian U.S. citizen born in Lakeland, Florida, signed a letter of intent to attend Rice University but instead accepted a $6.5 million signing bonus to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He worked his way through the minors, where he succumbed to his first Tommy John surgery. He made his Major League debut in 2016 and made the starting rotation for the Pirates in 2017. He has a career record of 29-24 with an ERA of 3.67 in 82 starts with 419 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.247.

He pitched the entire 2018 season uninjured with a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts. His 2019 season was cut short when he required his second Tommy John surgery. His surgery went well. He did not pitch in 2020 while rehabbing.

At just 29 years old, Taillon is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound pitcher. He primarily utilizes a fastball that can top out at 98 mph, sinker, slider, and a circle curveball. He gets an impressive 50% ground ball rate, which plays well at Yankee Stadium. The acquisition of Taillon will likely conclude the search for starting pitching. He will add $2.25 million to the New York Yankee’s payroll and become a free agent after the 2021 season.

Yankee ace Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon were teammates during the 2016 and 2017 seasons when both were with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Yankees News: One interesting Jameson Taillon connection could be fueling trade with Yanks

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is moving heaven and earth to find another starting pitching option to add to the rotation. Currently, the Yankees have a group of players that have missed significant time due to injury or suspension, so feeling confident might be a bit optimistic. Nonetheless, the rotation was a significant weakness going into the off-season, especially after losing James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and JA Happ. However, Cashman has done a solid job adding as much talent as possible with cost efficiency in mind.

Ownership has made it clear that they want to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold, so Cashman is working with serious limitations. He landed Corey Kluber on a one-year, $11 million deal after he impressed scouts during a bullpen session a few days ago. In his prime, he is a Cy Young caliber pitcher but has only pitched 36.2 innings over the past two years. If he does return to form, the Yankees will be in great shape at the top of their rotation, but there are no guarantees.

Again, finding cheaper contracts attached to quality is how Cashman is operating, which brings up the latest rumored trade, Jameson Taillon of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

A Yankees/Taillon trade is imminent:

The Yankees are getting extremely close to trading for the Pittsburgh starter, and at 29 years old, he is another arm coming off Tommy John surgery. This is his second time undergoing the surgery, having missed the entire 2020 season. However, he should be ready for Opening Day, but it could take additional weeks for him to find his groove.

His most recent significant body of work came in 2018, similar to Kluber. They have pitched a very comparable number of innings over the past two years, so the Yankees are taking a massive risk with so many former injured players in their starting rotation. However, two years ago, Taillon posted a 3.20 ERA with a 46.2% ground ball rate, which is fitting for Yankee Stadium.

An outside factor playing a part in his courtship:

There could be one external factor that is playing a part in the Yankees’ courtship for Taillon. Way back in 2010, when he was selected number two overall, he developed a close relationship with current Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. They date back to the Pittsburgh minor-league system, so it is possible Cole is vouching for his talents.

Having a familiar face and a friend is always beneficial for morale, especially if Cole and Taillon can work off each other. While the Yankees and Cashman are taking an optimistic and risky approach with all of these injured pitchers, if it does pan out, they could have one of the best starting rotations in baseball. As always, though, it’s a big “IF.”