Yankees: Blue Jays signing Marcus Semien proves NYY pitching staff has to pan out


The Yankees pitching staff better be up for the challenge in 2021.

Though the American League is far weaker than it’s been in recent years, the New York Yankees can’t be sitting around and hoping to cruise to the World Series. They need to write their own narrative and force the issue on everyone else.

General manager Brian Cashman has come around and done an adequate job of that with the additions of Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon (with likely a couple more FAs/trades to come) and the re-signing of DJ LeMahieu. However, as the Yankees look to re-tool their rotation, their rivals north of the border continue to make additions to counteract it.

The Toronto Blue Jays signing Marcus Semien is the latest evidence of that. They gave the Bombers enough trouble in 2020, and now Semien and George Springer will be facing them 19 times per year, too.

This gives Toronto an infield of Semien, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio as well as an outfield of Springer, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Randal Grichuk. That’s a pretty potent offense, which doesn’t exactly bode well for the Yankees questionable pitching staff.

Do fans like the moves Cashman has made? Absolutely. He’s retooling, changing things up, and looking to better prepare the team for Octoboer. However, Cole is the only concrete answer right now. Kluber, Taillon and Severino have made a combined 18 starts since the beginning of 2019. German hasn’t pitched since September of 2019. Garcia and Schmidt still have ways to go in their development, it would seem. And while we’re banking on a big year for Montgomery, we still need to see it.

The chatter surrounding the uncertainty, admittedly, has been excessive, but when your division rival is loading up on offense, the concerns will inevitably become more magnified.

Now, the Jays still lack pitching, so it’s obvious the Yankees have the better team. But that doesn’t change the fact the Bombers’ biggest question mark (the starting rotation) will be tested early and often by one of the best offenses in Major League Baseball. Though we’ve seen contenders (and former contenders) get worse this offseason, like the Indians, Astros, Twins, Rays and others in the AL, at least most of those teams were outside of the division.

The Jays have spent the most money of any team in free agency and it’s clear they want to make splash by any means necessary. They’ve been involved in all of the high-profile free agency/trade talks, and despite finishing second a majority of the time, the additions they’ve made still propel them higher than most would’ve expected.

We’re not saying the Yankees need to get their hands on another top starter, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. If they can’t, fans will be nervously monitoring the progress of what seems to be a boom-or-bust rotation.