The Yankees, like all big league teams, are bound by rules set by Major League Baseball. Occasionally, however, teams find a way to circumvent or distort a rule to their advantage. With some creativity, there is a way the team can deal with having six starting pitchers.
The Yankees, by virtue of Brian Cashman’s maneuverings at the trade deadline, find themselves blessed with six quality starters in their rotation. The team has decided to use a six man rotation once, and they are in the middle of doing so now.
Cashman, however, has made it clear this is not his preferred method of operation, stating in an interview with WFAN:
"“I’d say it would be difficult to do that, especially with the one-inning relievers that we’ve got,” Cashman said. ” … I’d rather it not go that route. But again, I’ll rely more on (pitching coach) Larry (Rothschild) and Joe to map out what the best strategy is, and they’ll sell me on it.”"
So in other words, Cashman doesn’t have an answer, and he’s kicking the can to Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild, which is fine. But someone is going to have to make a decision, and the clock is ticking on making it.
But so far the discussion has been narrowed to which of their horses gets sent to the barn. If that happens, the name comes up most often is Jordan Montgomery. The reason given is he appears to have run into a wall lately, and his innings total is mounting.
Cashman’s unstated goal, though, and probably Girardi would agree, is that with six starters, that only leaves six spots open in the bullpen. And with the Yankees built as a team with a dominating bullpen, it’s not likely either would feel comfortable with that scenario.
But, here’s an idea that could work
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement reduced or added a ten-day disabled list clause as an option to the 15-day DL. For starting pitchers, this means (conceivably) a pitcher can go on the10-day DL and miss only one start with some manipulation of the retroactive date selected.
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Beforehand, with the old rule, a pitcher had to miss two starts before he could be reinstated. Take for example the move just made by the Cleveland Indians in moving Andrew Miller to the 10-day DL with what is described as a “sore knee.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I wake up with a sore knee nearly every day.
My point is that Miller was feeling uncomfortable and the Indians decided they would rather lose him for a few days (now), then in October when the Playoffs begin if the injury were to become exasperated. The ten-day DL affords the opportunity to do that.
There are limits, of course, and it is necessary to stay within the boundaries of protocol when reporting the reason why a player is going on the DL. But the reality is no one ever really checks on Miller or orders him to see an MLB doctor to verify the injury.
And by the way, this is not a Yankees invention if they were to adopt this strategy. The Dodgers have been utilizing the DL as their personal 26th man since day one of this season.
CC Sabathia can legitimately develop a balky knee based on previous injuries, Jordan Montgomery and Luis Severino can both develop a “tired arm” based on the innings they’ve thrown this year, and so on.
The strategy can work at least until September 1 when the rosters expand, and the Yankees can have all the pitchers they want or need in their bullpen.
It’s just a thought, and though I believe it’s something the Yankees should consider, I invite you to share your thoughts and comments about this story or anything Yankees on the Yanks Go Yard Facebook page.