Predictably, based on the Yankees' actions, it seems like there's an internal name sneaking up Matt Blake's rotation depth chart.
The Yankees were well aware that last year's high-variance rotation needed a familiar, reliable name inserted in the middle, which is why they struck a peace treaty with Marcus Stroman in early January. That addition gave them a five-man group that, on paper, looks pretty productive if everyone's best health scenario materializes.
That, unfortunately, literally never happens. So ... who's the "next man up"? Unfortunately, all the ones fans know were dealt to San Diego in a Juan Soto swap. Michael King, Jhony Brito and Randy Vásquez aren't walking through that door. That would indicate the Yankees might benefit from a one-year flyer on an established starter -- you know, someone who would resonate more than Luke Weaver or Cody Poteet.
The Yankees' actions, on the other hand, indicate the opposite. They like Weaver. They like Poteet. And, most importantly, they think names like Will Warren, Chase Hampton and Clayton Beeter can provide more meaningful innings than the pitchers on the market at the moment (outside of, perhaps, Blake Snell, whose asking price remains outrageous).
Matt Blake gave a sneak peek at his expectations on Monday, insinuating that Warren -- the team's No. 2 pitching prospect behind Hampton, a top-100 name -- would have ample chance to contribute this spring.
Yankees top prospect Will Warren should see MLB time in 2024
Expect Warren to be "one of those names" given a long runway in spring training to prove himself, as well as one of the team's potential final cuts/most difficult roster conundrums.
Warren finished 2023 on a noticeable high note, riding his newly honed sweeper to a single earned run allowed in 23.2 September innings, capped by a career-high 10 strikeouts in five innings of his Triple-A finale.
Whether Warren proves he can be more dominant out of the bullpen like Brito or shows off the ability to eat five-inning chunks like Vásquez has yet to be determined. Regardless of which role he embraces, his big-league path is clear in Blake's mind.