Do Yankees have enough starters to compete in 2021?
The Yankees rotation proved to be hit or miss for the 2020 season, but how close are they to filling out their rotation?
In December of 2019, the Yankees filled a void by signing one of the best pitchers in baseball. That would be Gerrit Cole. He was an upgrade, but was he enough?
The 2020 projected rotation was supposed to feature Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, J.A. Happ, and James Paxton. That reality didn’t materialize for the Yankees, as they were without Severino and Paxton, as well as the suspended Domingo German, for the majority of the campaign. Although they managed with what they had, they were without key pieces.
Now that the 2020 season is over, Paxton, Happ, and Tanaka have hit the free agent market. That leaves Brian Cashman to determine what the rotation will look like from here, missing plenty of familiar names. But how close are the Yankees to feeling comfortable with what they have? Maybe they have enough on their roster to compete for 2021, or maybe they just need one more component. It’s quite possible we’re underrating the stable of arms that are already in place.
In the 60-game season we just watched, Deivi Garcia started six games and was able to post a record of three wins and two losses. The Dominican Republic native finished with a 4.98 ERA with 33 strikeouts. Getting the pitching experience could assist Garcia in nabbing a spot in the rotation. With a full season, could he prove he belongs in the rotation for good?
In four years with the Yankees, Jordan Montgomery has provided the team with a record of 13 wins and 10 losses. Although his total ERA is 4.14, Montgomery has provided the Yankees with depth as the fifth pitcher.
Although German was suspended for the 2020 season, he was the breakout pitcher the Yankees needed in 2019 when he won 18 games and lost just four. The only way he could pitch in 2021 is with the approval of owner Hal Steinbrenner. If he is approved to come back, he would find himself in either the third or fourth spot.
Oh, and Luis Severino! He was the ace for the Bronx Bombers prior to Cole’s arrival. He underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the 2020 season, and will be out of play until the middle of the 2021 campaign. If he can come back and pitch to his 2018 form, the Yankees will be in good shape.
With Clarke Schmidt and Jonathan Loaisiga looked at as potential backup starters, one veteran pitcher would theoretically complete this rotation. Regardless of a trade or a free agent signing, there is the depth within the roster that can help the Yankees compete in 2021.