Instead, the Bombers went with German and Jordan Montgomery in the back end after adding Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon this offseason, leaving Garcia to out-perform his peers at the alternate site.
But on Monday he finally made his season debut in the bigs. The Yankees called up the right-hander on Sunday after optioning Nick Nelson. Manager Aaron Boone had mentioned Garcia would likely get the call to pitch on Monday against the Baltimore Orioles earlier in the weekend.
Now, this raises a bigger question.
Is it time for the Yankees to officially begin using a six-man rotation after entertaining the idea during spring training?
We’re just 21 games into the 2021 season and Boone has already used Nick Nelson as an opener to “give the rotation a rest” and now Garcia is being called upon to help out while the team endures a stretch of 13 games without a day off.
The Yankees need Deivi Garcia and a six-man rotation.
Boone’s focus might be on giving the starting rotation a breather, but what about the bullpen? That unit’s been overworked from the jump. Taillon and Kluber have yet to pitch out of the fourth inning this year. German delivered two starts of just three and four innings to begin the season. Jordan Montgomery’s gone six innings twice, but just five and 4.2 in his other two starts.
Garcia remaining on the roster and acting as the final piece for a potential six-man rotation could’ve helped alleviate the pressure on the Yankees’ relievers and give Boone the option to rest some of the starters.
The 21-year-old debuted last year and made six starts, totaling 34.1 innings of work, which averaged out to nearly six innings per start. That feels like overachieving for this current Yankees rotation. Assuming he’s even better after that experience to kick off his MLB career, he could provide considerable length.
Any of those concerned with a six-man rotation limiting Gerrit Cole starts, it won’t. Boone will deploy his ace every fifth day and rearrange the rest of the starters as he sees fit. That’s already been done with Corey Kluber, who’s started on four, five and six days of rest after just four outings in 2021.
There’s clearly hardly a need for a guy like Nelson, who’s largely been ineffective in his multi-inning relief appearances. Why not just sub him for a guy who can give you up to seven innings on a given night?
Of course, since things are always more difficult than they should be, Garcia was demoted following Monday’s one-game audition. Thanks for playing. Perhaps Michael King can be the sixth man? Or Garcia in another week?
Whether the Yankees opt to expand their rotation or not, it’s clearly beyond time to attempt the maneuver.