3 desperation moves Yankees can make if Gerrit Cole's doomsday comes true

They're going to need *someone*.
Texas Rangers v New York Yankees
Texas Rangers v New York Yankees / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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Let's get this out of the way first. There isn't a single pitcher the Yankees can add -- on the open market, on the closed market, from someone else's roster, from a faraway land -- who can replicate what Gerrit Cole brings to their rotation.

If Cole is forced to miss the season, his calming and influential clubhouse energy will remain impactful on the campaign's outcome, but his role will pale in comparison to what it could've -- and should've -- been. The team will get worse.

Rationally, pitchers break, and the Yankees should consider themselves lucky to have obtained three full years of Durable Cole, as well as the shortened 2020 season, before their investment was halted. Irrationally, this process sucks tremendously, and even if Cole's elbow is miraculously deemed "clean," this feels like a hurdle that won't go away.

So far, the Yankees are using the word "precautionary" to describe their ace's elbow exam, a determination that would hold more water if they weren't bizarrely using the term, "mid-spring beat up" to describe their Captain's lingering mystery soreness.

So, where do the Yankees pivot? Whether or not Cole's done in by his balky elbow, it seems likely he'll miss time in 2024 -- on at least one occasion. How many Cole starts can this year's Yankees, locked in a battle with the O's, Rays, Jays (and don't count out the Red Sox, because you never can), afford to sacrifice without improving the rotation?

With Cole, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Carlos Rodón's efforts have combined to spark concern. Without Cole, even for a single stretch? They could be the difference between reaching October and grasping at it from afar.

3 desperation moves Yankees have to consider if Gerrit Cole MRI is messy

Sign Blake Snell (or Jordan Montgomery), Don't Ask Questions

Honestly, though? Add in Montgomery's purported personal feelings about the Yankees, his lower ceiling, and his repeated requests for a seven-year deal, and a desperation, short-term play for Snell feels much more plausible. Neither can replicate Cole, or come very close, but at the very least, a team in the Yankees' possible dire straits would be borderline required to fork over $100 million in short-term cash for the Cy Young winner.

Someone might have to explain to Hal Steinbrenner that no one, on any corner of this earth, cares about his tax bill in the unfortunate situation where Juan Soto's walk year suddenly hangs in the balance.

According to SNY's Andy Martino, nothing about Cole's unexpected trip to the MRI tube has changed the team's perspective on Snell; in fact, they pulled their offer months ago. If the worst-case scenario drops, expect Cole's agent Scott Boras to attempt to change the Yankees' tune powerfully.