The Yankees (Ironically) Have A Problem: There’s Too Many Arms

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees, if not now, will, in 2018, find themselves with a huge problem of having too much starting pitching to meet their rotation needs.  And while it’s a nice problem to have, it’s a cause for concern because as we know, too much of anything is not good.

The Yankees presently have a starting rotation that for the most part has out-performed themselves so far this season. That’s all fine, but a problem is starting to develop for them in the push from beneath that rotation at the minor league level that could become a cause of concern.

By next season, the Yankees rotation will be one that starts out with two question marks. First, what is the fate of Masahiro Tanaka as to whether or not he opts out of his contract at the end of this season to enter free agency?

When does five equal eleven when you have that many arms ready and able to pitch at the major league level?

Typically, the Yankees do not negotiate contracts during a season, but that does not negate the possibility that talks between the team and Tanaka’s agent can’t take place and serve as a vehicle to extend his contract at a later date. And in those same talks, if the Yankees get a feel that Tanaka intends to look for greener pastures, that could, as well, determine the focus of the team in 2018.

More from Yanks Go Yard

Secondly, you have CC Sabathia whose contract expires at the end of this season. Sabathia has made no bones about his intention to pitch beyond this season. And if the season were to end today, it’s almost a given that the Yankees would sign him to a one-year deal with a salary comparable to what Sabathia might make in the marketplace, if he were to go there.

Thirdly, you have the case of Michael Pineda who is also in the final year of his contract and, depending on the outcome of his season this year, together with how the Yankees see their future at that point, may or may not be in the team’s plan to pursue him as a free agent.

Oh, But It’s Not Only That

So, there are plenty of questions for the Yankees to deal with even without taking the necessary step beyond all of that.

Because what if the organization ends up having all three on board next season, which is not beyond the realm of possibility, what do they do about the talent that is brewing almost to the boiling point in their farm system?

A quick read on what I’m talking about appeared yesterday on Yanks Go Yard describing the onslaught of pitching prowess that is coming from the team’s farm system at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels.

In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Chad Green and Luis Cessa, and Dietrich Enns are incessant in their every day starts to prove their value to the big club, while Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, and Nestor Cortes continue to pitch lights out for the Trenton Thunder.

Yankees Need To Tackle When Five Equals Eleven

What can you do with all these arms? When does five equal eleven when you have that many weapons ready and able to pitch at the major league level?

And yes, Brian Cashman does need to factor in the possibility that one, or maybe more, of these prized prospects will go the way James Kaprielian has gone with season-ending surgery and a question mark on his future.

But even in that case, is Kaprielian not someone who Cashman needs to factor into the equation about the Yankees future pitching needs? And isn’t it possible that at this time next year, Kaprielian will be back on the mound and ready to pick up where he left off as the first choice of the Yankees to be their fifth starter over Jordan Montgomery?

It’s early; I get that. The Yankees are battling the Red Sox, and I’m in tune with that too. But it’s never premature to be thinking about what happens down the road.

And for Brian Cashman and, eventually, Joe Girardi, or whoever is skippering the Yankees next season, this is a “problem” that needs the team’s attention now, with a plan in place that finds a common denominator for next year’s pitching rotation.