Yankees Loser: Nestor Cortes' Guaranteed Future
Nestor Cortes Jr. has done too much excellent pitching over the past two-plus seasons to be labeled a fluke. That said, there's something in between an All-Star and a failure, and it's entirely possible Cortes has not cemented himself as a long-term rotation stalwart. Especially if he keeps stalling out the third time through the order.
Cortes is under team control through 2025; he won't be going anywhere for the next several seasons (especially if his trade value continues to dip). The reason some fans feared he could be traded this offseason, though, was the Yankees' propensity to sell high on assets they feared might take a tumble. Viewing Cortes as a person would've stopped any trade in its tracks. Viewing him as a moving puzzle piece, though? It was worrisome -- especially considering the Yankees' potential fears have reared their ugly head for season's first two months.
Entering his start Tuesday night in Seattle, Cortes held a 2.03 ERA in innings one through four, followed by a 14.44 ERA with seven bombs the rest of the way. After his worst start of the season, an uncharacteristic early implosion in Texas, he was given extra rest to battle back from strep throat. Unfortunately, that solved nothing.
Ultimately, the Yankees opted to keep their rotation's heart and soul -- smart -- and will now have to hope he can get over whatever stamina hump has tripped him up to begin 2023.