Despite making Gerrit Cole the highest-paid pitcher in league history the Yankees rotation is looking really thin now that Luis Severino is having Tommy John surgery.
The New York Yankees overcoming injuries is nothing new after having as many as 25 players spend time on the IL last season. But it was announced Tuesday that starter Luis Severino will undergo Tommy John surgery, effectively ending his 2020 season and dealing the Yankees a major blow to their rotation.
What’s frustrating is that Severino had been working back to full strength this spring training and early reports made it seem like the hard-throwing righty was making progress. However, Severino explained his decision to undergo the surgery in a post on social media, making it clear that 26-year-old wasn’t quite as healthy as originally thought.
So with Severino now down for the season along with James Paxton likely out until mid-June recovering from surgery as well, the Yankees rotation suddenly looks really thin. Domingo German won’t be available for the first 63 games of the season due to his 81-game suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy, leaving the Yankees with Cole, Mashiro Tanaka, and JA Happ as the only locks for their rotation.
Jordan Montgomery returned in September from Tommy John surgery and has reportedly been throwing 94 MPH in spring, but beyond him there aren’t many clear options to choose from. Rookies Deivi Garcia and Michael King could be options, same with Jonathan Loaisiga who started four games for the Yankees last season but mainly came out of the bullpen.
Bryan Hooch of MLB.com listed a few other names to consider internally, but none are options you’d expect to see on a team projected to win 103 games in 2020. Speaking of projections, Dan Szymborski of Fangraphs showed that with the Yankees losing Severino, the Rays and Red Sox may see the door of the AL East opening ever so slightly.
But as we mentioned before, the Yankees are no strangers to overcoming injuries like this and as proof, look no further than last year’s club. It’s not hard to see Gerrit Cole being dominant enough to carry New York’s rotation, plus the Yankees might have the best bullpen in baseball.
While the Yankees have proven to be resilient, expect them to be active in the trade market if it looks like internal solutions aren’t working.
Losing Severino doesn’t necessarily change the Yankees’ outlook on the season, but it does stretch their depth. And by doing that, it makes the Yankees susceptible to a major collapse should another serious injury happen.