If you’re a starting pitcher on the New York Yankees, not named Gerrit Cole, than you're having a rough start to the season.
Cole has dominated in ace-like fashion, posting Cy-Young numbers in his first three starts. He has a 2-0 record to go along with a 2.47 ERA and 29 strikeouts. The right-hander has issued just three walks in his first 18.1 innings and has allowed a measly batting average of .179.
Past Cole, however, there is some cause for concern after the first few turns through the rotation.
The latest underwhelming outing came from Corey Kluber on Wednesday afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays. Kluber lasted just four innings, allowing six hits and three runs on two home runs.
Then, there's James Taillon, who the Yankees acquired via trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason. Taillon has failed to reach the five-inning mark in each of his first two starts and was touched up for five runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings on Tuesday night against the Blue Jays.
When general manager Brian Cashman added Kluber and Taillon this past winter, there were obviously question marks surrounding the health of these two starting pitchers given their injury history. Now, at least early on, they have yet to receive a return on their investment, leaving the club with two unreliable options in their rotation.
Domingo Germán, who had a strong spring training and won the No. 5 spot in New York's rotation, is another pitcher that has not performed through his first two starts. Germán has gone 0-2, allowing 12 hits and four home runs in just seven innings of work. The right-hander was optioned to the Yankees’ alternate site after his latest poor outing against the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend.
Left-hander Jordan Montgomery has been the only other serviceable starting pitcher past Cole thus far. In two starts, Montgomery has a 1-0 record with a 3.27 ERA in 11 innings. Montgomery and Cole are also the only starters on the roster to reach the five-inning mark in a game this season.
Other than Cole and Montgomery, the rest of the Yankees’ starters have posted a combined record of 1-4 with an ERA north of six, while allowing a batting average well above .300.
A quick fix solution could be for the Yankees to recall starting pitcher Deivi García from their alternate site. García showed a lot of promise in his rookie season last year, but lost out on the fifth spot in the rotation as he struggled with his command during spring training.
Regardless, Garcia has had some success at the big-league level and would be a better internal option than trotting out Germán for another start.
As for the remainder of the season, the Yankees will likely have to make a trade or two in order to stabilize their starting rotation.
Brian Cashman, the floor is yours. Cashman built this rotation, which was re-constructed in the offseason with the additions of two large question marks in Taillon and Kluber. Now, the Yankees must do something in order to enhance their rotation in the short-term, while also surveying external options to come in and provide a boost to a unit that has struggled mightily so far.
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