As of 4:01 PM on July 31, the Yankees will be playing the rest of the year with the same guys that got them to this point. What you see now is what you’re going to get. Heading into the trade deadline, it was clear that the Yankees needed another starting pitcher. The Bombers didn’t get one, largely because there weren't many great options available. So they’ll move forward with what they have.
Some fans feel the Yankees’ pitching staff is the single weakness of this team, and that it may prevent them from making a deep run in the playoffs. Yankee pitchers have certainly struggled recently, and the rotation ranks the worst pitching staffs in baseball since the All-Star break.
Pitchers like Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton have had bad starts, but they will most likely bounce back after a historically bad week. Outside of Domingo German, however, the starters haven’t had great seasons to date. So come the playoffs, the Yankees may have to get creative to maximize their pitchers. With Dellin Betances and Luis Severino hopefully coming back towards the end of the season, the Bomber will have more options from which to choose.
On a number of occasions, the Yankees have take to employing Chad Green as an opener. Green has been an elite reliever for the team over the past few years, but has thrived in the opener role. Using an opener in the playoffs could be an option, but the normal strategy of turning that into a bullpen game won’t work on a night-to-night basis. Instead, this is where the team could insert a guy like Paxton or Severino for the bulk innings.
Paxton has struggled mightily in the first inning of games this season, so a bulk performance after Green opens the first inning or two may work. Severino, on the other hand, will most likely have a pitch limit. If he can cover innings three through seven, or anything in that range, that could be an interesting strategy. The Yankees have so many elite relievers it might be worth using Green in the first few innings and saving the others for later, especially if Betances comes back healthy.
Another option to go along with Severino’s pitch limit could just be to use him as a multi-inning reliever, available to bail out any given starter. The best-case scenario, obviously, would be if Severino did not have a pitch limit. Then he could just resume his role as staff ace. Betances and Severino are slowly making good progress in their return from injury. as they’re both almost back to throwing from a mound.
Dellin Betances could throw from the mound during the upcoming homestand, Boone said. Luis Severino should be shortly after that.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) July 27, 2019
A lot of this does depend on their health. We’ll have to wait and see what their status is once we get closer to the postseason.
In the meantime, top pitching prospect Deivi Garcia may get some action before the season ends given that no other pitchers were added on Wednesday. If Garcia shows good stuff, he may find himself a role on the postseason roster as well.
So even though the Yankees didn’t make that blockbuster trade to satisfy the fanbase, there are still options for the team when it comes to pitching. Given the lack of pitching available, no matter what, the club would be winning playoff games with their offense and bullpen anyway. With hopefully a healthy Betances and Severino returning around September, the Yankees could be just fine in the long run, especially with the type of lineup they have.