Will Gerrit Cole's injury ruin Yankees' chance to make impression on Juan Soto?

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Though the full battery of results of Gerrit Cole's tests haven't revealed a worst-case scenario, the New York Yankees are more than likely still bracing for it, even after the reigning AL Cy Young winner's travels across the country to meet with Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Right now, Cole is projected to miss at least 1-2 months, which probably means at least two and possibly three. It's just the way it is with pitchers. You know how this goes.

Thankfully, Yankees fans weren't hit with doomsday Tommy John news, which would've knocked Cole out for 2024 and (more than likely) 2025. Dodged a bullet, for now (as Mark Feinsand's tweet helpfully noted on Thursday night, in case you were feeling too good for a second). If Cole ends up being out for all of 2024, the Yankees are, plain and simply, done.

And this was the year for them to make an impression on Juan Soto, who is only here for one season after being acquired from the Padres. That means the Yankees only have the next 6-8 months to make an impression on the generational slugger.

But if Cole's injury plays a role in derailing the team's campaign (not his fault, but a sad reality!), might Soto be more inclined to explore free agency rather than re-sign with the Yanks come November?

Will Gerrit Cole's injury ruin Yankees' chance to make impression on Juan Soto?

Throw in the Aaron Judge injury too, why not?! Soto is performing at a blistering pace this spring, but the rest of the team is lagging behind -- already not the greatest of signs heading into an all-important bounce-back season.

The Yankees' house-of-cards roster is already being tested. The move to bring Soto aboard depleted the team's pitching depth, placing a greater burden on Cole to somewhat replicate his 2023 Cy Young season. He's the foundation of the rotation, followed by three question marks in Carlos Rodón, Nestor Cortes and Clarke Schmidt. We'd venture to say Marcus Stroman is the only constant, solely because we know what we can get out of him (~125 innings of No. 3-starter stuff).

Then there are bullpen injuries to Tommy Kahnle and Scott Effross. It's unclear if Ron Marinaccio, Ian Hamilton and Jonathan Loaisiga will be able to bounce back. None of that really mattered until the bad news surrounding Cole, though.

Soto needs the royal treatment in the Bronx if he's going to commit the remainder of his career here. Cole is arguably the most important aspect of that effort because, in theory, the Yankees should be able to survive without a key offensive player or two. They cannot survive without their most durable and skilled pitcher.

The Yankees might need to make a play for another arm, but the early returns don't suggest anything promising. Guess it's just fingers crossed on the Cole front for the time being. Extending Soto always felt like a wing and a prayer anyway, didn't it?