Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across Major League Baseball. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in New York Yankees fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate in the weekly emailed surveys.
Remember back in February when there seemed to be a collective sentiment of mild disappointment that the promising Clarke Schmidt wouldn’t get a chance in the Yankees’ rotation? After all, they had ace Gerrit Cole, fellow 2022 All-Star Nestor Cortes, free agent addition Carlos Rodón, longest-tenured Yankee Luis Severino, and recent trade deadline pickup Frankie Montas all ticketed for the starting five with Domingo Germán backing up as needed.
Well, that depth eroded in a hurry. Germán had to step in for the beleaguered Montas almost immediately upon pitchers and catchers reporting, and before spring training was over, both Rodón and Severino were out, too. Considering the players’ injury histories, it wasn’t a stunner, but it was a blow nonetheless to see all three go down. Germán, Schmidt, and previously planned Triple-A starter Jhony Brito made the cut. The results have been a mixed bag, with Germán’s better-than-expected results at best offsetting Cortes’ regression, and both Schmidt and Brito struggling to find any consistency.
There is some good news on the horizon though, as Severino is expected to make his second rehab start tonight for Double-A Somerset. If all goes well, he should return to the Yankees on Sunday in Cincinnati. This means that one of Schmidt or Brito will have to leave the rotation, so who should it be?
In this question, we are emphasizing should, as the Yankees themselves have already telegraphed that in all likelihood, it will be Brito since they swapped him out yesterday for an opener with the rookie serving as the “bulk guy” out of the bullpen instead. But is removing Brito from the equation the move that you would make if you were running the Yankees? Or would you see if Schmidt can work out his troubles in Triple-A?*
*Update following Tuesday night’s game: We realize that Germán facing a possible 10-game suspension following his ejection might render this debate moot, but play along for the sake of the exercise!
Our other question this week focuses on the absent Rodón. Severino’s lat strain and Montas’ shoulder surgery at least offered more familiar rehab timelines, but Rodón’s ailments have been more of a mystery. Originally on the IL with a left forearm strain, that has reportedly long since healed and he is instead trying to recover from chronic back discomfort. The southpaw recently got a cortisone shot and is throwing from 60-75 feet as he attempts to get some kind of timeline established for a return. Yet it still remains up in the air right now, particularly since Rodón’s injury happened early enough in camp that he would need almost a full spring workload in rehab work to get back into game form.
For now, all we can do is throw our arms up and hope that Rodón comes back soon. But if you had to speculate, when will it be? It seems impossible for him to return at any point in June, so we’ve listed July, August, September, and 2024 as the possible options.
We’ll review the survey results in an article later this week.