Yankees' Gerrit Cole undergoing elbow MRI as 2024 season hangs in balance

New York Yankees Photo Day
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The New York Yankees traded a fair chunk of their 2024 (and beyond) pitching depth in order to acquire San Diego Padres slugger Juan Soto. Sure, their teetering rotation beyond Gerrit Cole was cause for concern, but at the very least, it seemed like the team would be able to pair three of the league's top 10 players together in one spectacular Soto walk year.

While injury concerns cropped up surrounding Aaron Judge on Sunday after a slightly early exit, it turns out spring Yankees fans had their panic centered around the wrong cornerstone.

Cole, the team's ace and most irreplaceable pitcher in baseball -- especially given what currently sits around him in the rotation -- is headed for an MRI on his pitching elbow, per manager Aaron Boone.

Given the types of injuries Boone and Co. typically hide, you'd have to imagine the worry is significant, considering this issue has already been disclosed.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole undergoing elbow MRI on pitching arm

It's no exaggeration to say that losing Cole for the year would mean the season -- Soto's only campaign under contract -- would likely be a wrap. How comfortable do you feel with Marcus Stroman and Carlos Rodón behind Cole? Now, remove Cole from the equation entirely for a year and a half, given not only the potentially horrific injury, but also the impeccably poor timing of the whole ordeal.

Yup. "Sign Blake Snell" will be a popular refrain, with the left-hander still on the market, but signing Blake Snell will certainly not be enough to stanch this unprecedented bleeding.

The subtlety with which the Yankees announced this season-altering blow is cause enough for concern. Now, like Knicks fans did while battling demons over Jalen Brunson last week, it's now time for New Yorkers to again band together and hope that both 2024 and 2025 weren't erased in one fell swoop.