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Yankees Mailbag: Rotation maintenance, Robinson Canó, and the Subway Series

The mailbag touches on the past, present, and future this week.

New York Yankees v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Good afternoon everyone, it’s time for another edition of the mailbag. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wayne Henson asks: Can this rotation hold up for the whole season (and then the postseason)? The rotation being a jumbled mess (along with bullpen burnout) has been an issue of recent Yankees teams. Sevy hasn’t pitched 190 innings since 2018 before he broke. Monty 157 is his career high last year and he seemed to be scuffling a bit end of 2021. Taillon 144 last year coming off 2 time TJ. Cortes 93 innings and he looked tiring at some point.

It’s a valid concern, but one that we won’t know much about for at least another month or two. Every pitcher is due to have an off start or two, and Nestor Cortes ran into that in his last outing, but the workload is still only building for the starters. Of the four that you mentioned, I think the only one that can currently be concerning is Severino, who we know will have to deal with an inning plateau at some point due to the sheer lack of innings that he’s thrown in the last three years. Severino is also a core part of the rotation and is looking strong in his return, so it will be key not to press him with too much up front to ensure that he’s available in September and October.

That leads to a reliance on the bullpen, which hasn’t been a problem up until this point thanks to the expanded rosters and innovative use of roster spots by the Yankee front office, but now that we’re back to a more normal-sized bullpen this could become its own concern. The Yankees are loaded with relievers compared to most teams, and they have a reserve of quality pitchers waiting in Triple-A as well, but you want guys as dominant as Michael King and Clay Holmes to be available at any point in a postseason series. Perhaps the solution is having Domingo Germán or one of the Triple-A arms piggybacking Sevy starts, or perhaps its being aggressive for another starter on the trade market, but we won’t know the plan just yet.

David C. asks: Canó? He’s free (basically), a lefty bat, and as recently as 2020 hitting over .300 and slugging over .500.

This is a generous portrayal of Canó, which, although true, glosses right over two downright terrible years for the former Yankee star. 2021 was a complete wash for Canó thanks to his second career PED suspension, and so far in 2022 he’s been next to unplayable. As it stands, I don’t see the Yankees being interested in Canó mainly because they have a solid group of players at his position already, and whether Canó has anything left in the tank is a major question that’s better answered by a team that needs to take that gamble. The Yankees are sitting in a strong position, and without a need or even a want at the position it’s unlikely that this reunion will happen — though I personally hope Canó does find a landing spot somewhere (that doesn’t impact the Yankees) to at least get one final shot.

torturedsoulv1 asks: Who are the Yankees beating in the World Series? Because they’re winning it all.

Well, I like the confidence. Let’s talk about the National League a bit, even though it’s far too early to be scouting out potential World Series opponents. The Mets, Brewers, and Dodgers are currently top dogs in the senior circuit, but let’s look specifically at the Mets and a rematch of the Subway Series 22 years in the making. The Mets are certainly looking like they’re not the Mets of old — a new ownership, a new philosophy of spending on top tier talent, and improbable wins instead of the typical collapses have epitomized this. This has been said about them before and aged like milk by June or July, but considering all of the factors, it’s hard to doubt that this team is legit.

Conversely, the Yankees have found their footing and staked a claim on top of the American League at the same time, The World Series is always the goal for the Yankees, and losing would have a bitter taste no matter what, but a Subway Series would provide an electricity to the scenario that is undeniably appealing. I think both fanbases would love for this to be the outcome because the upside of winning would be even sweeter, but we’ll see if the momentum carrying these two teams towards each other is sustained into the summer.