It may be hard to believe, but the Yankees have a strong starting rotation. The team’s top five can go to battle with nearly any other staff in baseball and hold their own. After that, however, things get dicey. Jonathan Loaisiga has tremendous upside but lacks a healthy track record; Domingo German had inconsistent results starting and may call the bullpen his home; and Luis Cessa hasn’t done much to engender confidence over the last few years.
With that in mind, it comes as little surprise to learn that the Yankees have considered adding a veteran starter for depth purposes. Jon Heyman indicated that Gio Gonzalez and Ervin Santana could be of interest to the Bombers.
Gonzalez, 33, split his time between the Nationals and Brewers last year. He pitched to a 4.21 ERA (4.16 FIP) over 171 innings. His strikeout rates dropped to a 7.79 K/9, noticeably below his career norms. He also walked far too many batters, with his 4.21 BB/9 the worst mark since 2011.
Santana, meanwhile, had an injury-shortened season in 2018. He made just five starts, logging 24.2 innings. The 36-year-old did have a quality 2017 campaign, however, when he pitched to a 3.28 ERA (4.46 FIP) over 211.1 innings. Santana carried a strong first half to an All-Star selection, and he even started the Wild Card Game against the Yankees. Remember how that turned out?
Neither pitcher should be counted on to recapture their heydays. That wouldn’t be their job. They mainly would eat innings to give CC Sabathia a breather. Maybe one would run into a great start every now and then, just by happenstance.
It remains to be seen if the Yankees make a move for one of these starters. Heyman also suggested Wade Miley, and he just signed with the Houston Astros. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do, however, as these rumors have persisted for a while. The team seems to want to take an insurance policy out on the rotation, and Gonzalez or Santana fit that definition.