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Ask Pinstripe Alley 5/13/16: Yankees' 2017 rotation; Jordan Montgomery's ceiling; Trade the farm for Mike Trout?

Answering questions about next season's rotation, Mike Trout, Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery.

Earlier in the week, I asked for questions for our PSA mailbag and we received a ton of responses both in the comments section and via email. I wasn't able to get to all of the questions, but there's a chance that they'll be answered by another editor in the future. Here are my answers.

Fred Slagle asked: Should the Bombers keep their starting rotation intact for next year assuming no injuries?

I think they have to make some kind of move since the rotation has not been a strength so far this year. Michael Pineda has been terrible, Luis Severino has struggled, Nathan Eovaldi has been up and down, and CC Sabathia has already landed on the disabled list. As Jason pointed out, Sabathia, Pineda and Eovaldi will become free agents after the 2017 season ends, and Masahiro Tanaka can opt out of his contract at that point. If the Yankees do nothing next year then they will lose almost the entire rotation during the 2017 offseason.

What the Yankees ultimately decide to do will depend on how the season goes. In the past, the Yankees have attempted to make up for mediocre seasons by going out and signing big free agents. Of course, we already know that there aren't going to be any high caliber starting pitchers on the market this season. If Hal Steinbrenner is serious about getting under the luxury tax threshold then Brian Cashman might have to part with some of the "untouchable" prospects to bring in a decent starter. Better to start fixing the rotation now than to wait until after 2017 and try to rebuild it entirely.

imramet asked: This issue came up in discussion of Yankee prospects: Suppose the Angels were willing to part with Mike Trout, and would trade him for Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, Luis Severino, James Kaprielian, and Greg Bird. Would you pull the trigger today?

Mike Trout is a great baseball player, and as much as I would like to have him on the team I just don't think this would be worth it. He's currently signed through 2020 and set to make upwards of $118 million from 2017 onward. A move like this would completely wipe the farm system out, and Trout is not cheap. What is the point of getting one great player and surrounding him by a team full of mediocre players? Without all of those prospects, the Yankees would be left without anyone to deal in order to make upgrades, and without anyone good to call up to play.

NYCKING asked: Can Yankees option Luis Severino to minors or put him in pen?

Sure, the Yankees can do either of these things if they want to. If they were to pull anyone from the rotation at this point, Pineda has been worse, but Severino has definitely struggled as well. Through six starts, he's given up seven home runs and is currently sporting a 6.12 ERA and 4.91 FIP. During his last outing against the Red Sox, he struck out a season-high nine batters, but also gave up three home runs (two to David Ortiz). On the plus side, his walk rate is just 4.3%.

If anything, the Yankees might send him down to Triple-A to work on some things, but he would probably pitch well there since he wouldn't be facing big league hitters. It's difficult to say how he would fare pitching out of the bullpen, but the Yankees don't have a whole lot of options to replace him in the rotation if they go that route. Depending on when Sabathia is able to return, they could remove Severino and keep Ivan Nova in the rotation. They could also call up Chad Green from Scranton, but it doesn't sound like there are any immediate plans to remove Severino from the rotation.

Kristian Quackenbush asked: In my mind Jordan Montgomery has been a very pleasant surprise the past two seasons. With such a good season last season and a pretty good start to this season when should we expect him in the bigs and what do you expect his ceiling to be?

Since being drafted in 2014 out of the University of South Carolina, Jordan Montgomery has worked his way through the lower levels of the Yankees' minor league system with relative ease. Splitting his time between Tampa and Charleston in 2015, he ended the season with a 2.95 ERA through 134.1 IP. Montgomery started this season in Double-A Trenton and has continued to pitch well, although his strikeout rates have dropped a bit and he is walking more batters.

Most scouts view him as a back-end starter, and MLB's Jim Callis even considers him to be underrated. If all goes according to plan, he could reach the majors sometime in 2017, or possibly 2018. It looks like he will stick in Trenton for awhile to work on his pitch sequencing and build up innings.