Over the past week or so, rumors have begun to crop up about the Yankees potentially going after one more big starting arm to add to the rotation for the rest of the season. With injuries to Jonathan Loaisiga, James Paxton, CC Sabathia, and Luis Severino, the Yankees starting rotation is certainly depleted, even if Paxton and Sabathia could be on the return track soon. Yet, it might not make sense to get rid of prospects for an extra arm with the way the Yankees are presently constituted.
Due to the plethora of injuries, there has understandably been more concern than usual about the team’s immediate future. However, take a step back and look at how the Yankees have produced so far. Domingo German, almost out of nowhere, has become one of the elite pitchers in the American League. On top of that, Masahiro Tanaka has consistently produced at a high level, posting a sub-3 ERA and a 152 ERA+. The Yankees’ bullpen, in spite of a few flare-ups and some frustrating performances, has also posted impressive numbers whether it seems like it or not. Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, and Aroldis Chapman all have run ERA figures under two while striking out the lot.
Even so, many have called for the Yankees and Brian Cashman to go after another arm. Two of the Yankees’ premier pitchers in Luis Severino and Dellin Betances should make their returns some time in July. So given their current situation, first place in the AL East, and with reinforcements on both the short-term and medium-term horizon, why is this now the time to dip into the farm system and get another pitcher?
It’s a bit of cliche, but when Severino and Betances come back, that right there can be the equivalent to a high-profile deadline move. German has essentially replaced what Severino was expected to bring, Paxton looked dominant before injury and looks to be back within the week. Add Severino into the mix, and a starting rotation of Severino, German, Tanaka, and Paxton, with Sabathia/J.A. Happ in the fifth slot, looks formidable. Let’s also not forget about Jordan Montgomery who, when he returns, can be used as another extra arm going down the stretch.
Why consider yielding players like Clint Frazier, Estevan Florial or Loiasiga when an elite rotation could form itself naturally in a matter of weeks? The Yankees’ success to this point this season has given them a little cushion and wiggle room. If the Yankees were in third place at this point, you’d almost have to make sure they’d find a way to upgrade by the trade deadline. Their performance thus far has put them in a situation where they might not have to do any more than wait for the reinforcements.
Now, of course, if things go astray and Betances or Severino experience any setbacks, this becomes a different story. Severino is the most talented pitcher on the team, injured or not. The Yankees should not plan to make a deep playoff run with Domingo German as their best pitcher, even with how great he has played in 2019. Even if you look past the pitching, the Yankees have run into so many happy surprises this year, there may be nothing to add at all by the trade deadline. Yankees fans must pray all their starters return on time and in a smooth manner, but this team and organization is currently so deep, Cashman might not have to do much shopping after all.