James Paxton had yet another poor outing for the New York Yankees yesterday against the Colorado Rockies. The former Seattle Mariner has had a year to forget in his first year in the Bronx. His ERA has increased to a career high of 4.20 and his WHIP has jumped from 1.098 in 2018 to 1.471 in 2019. While the Yankees have a comfortable lead atop the AL East, the starting rotation has remained an area for concern as the postseason approaches. Paxton’s latest outing is an important reminder that New York needs to get another starter.
The only Yankees’ pitcher with an ERA under 4.00 is Domingo German and he is the closest pitcher in the rotation to a WHIP around to 1.000. New York has continued to rely on their imposing lineup and reliable bullpen, but situations can change quite drastically come the postseason. Hitters can go cold as was the case last year. The bullpen can become worn out from too much use if starters are unable to last long into games. Starters traditionally have a shorter leash in the postseason, and their ability to pitch effectively and deep into games can provide a night off for the bullpen. As of right now, however, it does not look like the Yankee’s have that luxury.
There are two schools of thought with how New York can address its pitching dilemma. General Manager, Brian Cashman, can either look to bolster the bullpen, which would most likely be more cost efficient, or can go after a big name starting pitcher that would be a long term solution over a few seasons. Trading for a veteran pitcher, such as Madison Bumgarner, might be a bit desperate as he does not look to be the pitcher he was back in 2016.
As stated earlier, James Paxton is certainly not the only pitcher having a tough year. J.A. Happ, who has one more year remaining on his deal after this season is making $17 million a season and is having a horrendous second year with the club. He is posting a 1.300 WHIP, which itself is average, and has allowed 54 earned runs through 100.0 innings pitch. Comparatively, Paxton is only eating up $8.57 million and his contract expires at the end of the year with arbitration on the horizon. The highest paid pitcher is Masahiro Tanaka at $23 million while CC Sabathia will be retiring at the end of the year. Both pitchers have been reliable this season and Tanaka was an All Star this year, but neither are particularly experiencing stand out performances.
What all this means is that the New York Yankees rotation is in a state of uncertainty in 2019, but 2020 looks less so. The Yankees younger brass of Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino, Johnathan Loaisiga, and Domingo German are all promising pitchers for the future and each player is under 27 years-old. Yet, all except for Domingo German, who just came back from injury, are still out for the foreseeable future. The good news is that each player possesses immense potential once they get back in action if not by the end of this season, then in 2020.
The Yankees are in need of some assistance in the rotation. The club has been linked with Matthew Boyd of Detroit, Marcus Stroman from Toronto, and Madison Bumgarner with the hot San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately, each pitcher will undoubtedly require a hefty assortment of prospects, which could drastically deplete New York’s farm system. Cashman will have to make the difficult decision as to whether the Yankees can win the World Series this season without a deadline move by holding out on adding a starting pitcher. A bullpen piece might be just what the Yankees need to get through the playoffs.
The New York Yankees are favorites to win the World Series and a matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers would prove to be enticing for the MLB. The Yankees also have enough depth in their lineup should a few players go cold. The return of Giancarlo Stanton, who does not look to be missed in the lineup, would only help cement this push for the title. While all looks to be good an unforeseen occurrence might just alter New York’s trajectory. If there is a way to add a pitcher whether it is in the bullpen or starting rotation, it would go a long way of providing some insurance down the line.
Photo Credit-Unsplash: Dan Gold