Yankees: Q&A with Bryan Hoch, Yankees Beat Writer for MLB.com

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BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – MAY 21: Starting pitcher Domingo German #55 of the New York Yankees throws to a Baltimore Orioles batter in the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 21, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

A surprisingly strong aspect of the Yankees team this year has been their starting pitching and this is with Severino and Paxton both on the IL; and, of course, Jordan Montgomery, who has been out for a while now. Obviously, Domingo German is having an amazing season and leads the American League in Wins. But when they all come back, how do you see the rotation settling in? Could they go with a six-man rotation? If not, who gets bumped?

They haven’t really liked the idea of a six-man rotation. We’ve brought that up to Larry Rothschild a few times, and he shot it down. I think they’ll continue to work in guys here and there. You’ll see a sixth starter come in. But as far as having a six-man rotation continuing over and over and over, I don’t see that happening.

These are nice problems to have when you have a healthy Luis Severino coming back to help you in the second half and if you get Jordan Montgomery back in August, those are two pretty big pickups, especially Severino. A lot of people ask, “Will the Yankees trade for an arm? Will they acquire a Madison Bumgarner or Dallas Keuchel?

My answer is, I think they are banking on the fact they are going to have Luis Severino as their big trade deadline pickup, at least as far as starting rotation goes. And if he’s healthy and he’s right, he’s probably better than anybody they can get on the open trade market.

Will Montgomery be a part of their rotation? Where does he stand?

I think he could fill in a lot of roles. I think you might see him as that sixth starter I was just talking about, kind of in the Luis Cessa role. Maybe he’s the swing man between the bullpen and rotation. He’s going to have to get some innings under his belt, and, obviously, he’s going to have to go through a whole Minor League rehab.

We’ll have a better idea of where he is after he goes and pitches for Tampa and, then, obviously works his way up the chain. Actually, I think they’ll base a lot of that on need and how he looks at Triple-A.

As mentioned before, Domingo German is having a shockingly good season and while he has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball, he actually started off as a long reliever. Should he be the guy that goes to the bullpen, in case they need a long reliever when Severino comes back?

Yeah, I think that’s definitely possible, especially because there are innings limit considerations with German. They haven’t given us the exact number, but my best guess is, it’s somewhere around the 160 range. If you look back at his Minor League track record, what he did last year, you will see he hadn’t thrown that many innings. They don’t want to see him make a huge, huge jump. So, German’s not going to throw 180, 200, innings this year.

As good as he looks right now, they’re going to have to ease off the gas pedal with him a little bit and start counting those innings. They don’t tell us these things anymore after the way the Joba Chamberlain thing took on a life of its own. But, just looking at his numbers, it’s clear that, at some point, they’re going to have to ease off the gas pedal with German. And maybe that is the way they do it. Maybe that’s the way you can fit five into six or six into five (rotation wise), or what have you.