Yankees: Projecting 2021 rotation as pressure mounts in wake of Dodgers signing Trevor Bauer


The additions of Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon have no doubt made the New York Yankees a more threatening World Series contender, but some would argue it’s either not enough or not as definitive as many would prefer.

The problems with the Yankees’ starting rotation over the last few years have been depth and injuries. There is depth at the moment, but so many of the options available present the injury/unknown risk/factor.

Kluber and Taillon have made just 15 combined starts since the beginning of 2019. Domingo German has been suspended and hasn’t pitched since Sept. of 2019. Jordan Montgomery, though he looked better last year, has appeared in just 18 games since the start of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery. Luis Severino isn’t expected to be back until the middle of the summer as he recovers from the same procedure, and he’s made just five starts since the beginning of 2019.

So that leaves us with Gerrit Cole as the only steady option. Some may be high on prospects Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt, but that just adds another uncertainty layer. And after the Los Angeles Dodgers added Trevor Bauer to their rotation that already had Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Julio Urias, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin, many are looking at New York wondering what general manager Brian Cashman is going to do next.

Truth be told, they might not do anything. Hell, they probably won’t do anything before Opening Day, though we can’t rule out the ~$8 million in payroll flexibility they have for any mid-season additions. As of now, here’s the rotation we can safely say we’re looking at come April 1:

  • Gerrit Cole
  • Corey Kluber
  • Jameson Taillon
  • Jordan Montgomery
  • Domingo German

Then there’s Garcia and Schmidt as potential options in the event the Yankees need to dip into their depth, in addition to Jhoulys Chacin and Asher Wojciechowski, both of whom were signed to minor-league deals. As for Severino, we don’t know how he will be deployed. Cashman said he’ll be utilized as the Yankees “see fit” once the right-hander is ready to take the bump.

Do we absolutely love the upside of this rotation? Without question. Can we rely on upside to pan out any longer? Probably not. We’d venture to guess two of Kluber, Taillon, Montgomery and German will settle in nicely and give the Yankees what they need, but to think all four of those will hit, plus Severino, just feels like pure delusion at this point.

The good news? The Yankees shouldn’t have much trouble with the weakened American League, so this rotation and the overall pitching depth is likely enough to make a World Series run. But once they get there? If they’re planning on facing the Dodgers, there better be one more move ready to be made if the rotation isn’t fully panning out by the trade deadline.