Do the New York Yankees need another top starter in their rotation? Most fans would say that isn’t a priority. Would it be nice to have one? Absolutely. Might it be smarter to find other options that can lengthen the unit behind Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino? Probably.
But it appears general manager Brian Cashman is content with Frankie Montas and Domingo Germán assuming that role. He could of course be bluffing, but the manner in which this organization has stubbornly stood by its trade decisions and incessantly backed Germán for over three years now, it’s hard to believe Cashman isn’t being serious with that sentiment.
When speaking with the media at the general managers meetings in Las Vegas, Cashman explained the reasoning behind not giving Jameson Taillon the Qualifying Offer, which, in 2023, is a one-year, $19.65 million deal. Only Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo received them.
Taillon may not be worth a $20 million AAV, but to dismiss his return (or the addition of somebody else of his caliber) like that, all the while feeling confident about a failed trade acquisition and someone who’s pitched in 37 games over the last three years seems like a massive oversight.
Who’s to say Montas will recover from his shoulder issue and then miraculously perform well outside of Oakland? Who’s to say Germán will recreate his 2019 season with a promising 15-game showing in 2022?
What should the Yankees do about the back end of their starting rotation?
Losing Taillon won’t be a killer, but the right-hander was one of the most effective starters in MLB this past season. In 32 outings, he went 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 1.13 WHIP and 151 strikeouts across 177.1 innings.
Is there going to be a reliance on either Montas or Germán to replicate that and/or remain healthy for the entirety of the season? That’s another issue entirely. So many times have the Yankees seen their rotation suffer as the year progresses due to players missing time — an inevitable occurrence, especially in New York.
Both Montas and Germán have well-documented injury histories as well as off-the-field issues. To place trust in both of them to be mainstays as the No. 4 and 5 starters (with someone like Clarke Schmidt behind them and nobody in the prospect pipeline ready to go for the start of 2023) can’t be what we’re settling on in November.
Guys like Rodon, Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander might be too expensive and the Yankees have much more pressing priorities. But what about Chris Bassitt? Nathan Eovaldi? Tyler Anderson? Martin Perez? Jose Quintana? Some have draft pick compensation attached to them, but the Yankees will also need to address the 2024 rotation with Sevy and Montas hitting the open market after 2023.
The trade deadline is always another resource, but the Yankees never get it right with their midsummer moves. Best to be prepared for the long haul at the onset and not bank on the best-case scenario — something this team has done far too often only to see it blow up in their face.