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The Yankees don't have a starting pitching issue

Today I had a heated argument with a teammate of mine about the state of the Yankees. He was upset that the Yankees pursued Stanton because they “didn’t need him” and “need starting pitching.”

I told him to shut up.

I have HAD IT with people complaining about the Yankees starting pitching issues. Of course, if the Yankees don’t resign CC Sabathia, it would be wise to go out and get a guy to settle out the back end of the rotation. However, if they do bring him back, which I pray they do, the Yankees will thrive in 2018 with what they have. 

In 2017, the Yankees starting rotation had serious question marks. Masahiro Tanaka was the ace without question, and he ended up having the worst year out of all five starters. Luis Severino was coming off a season where he was literally sent to the minor leagues and nobody could have predicted that he would end up in the AL Cy Young race. CC Sabathia had a great bounce back year, proving to be the Yankees “stopper”, winning 10 consecutive games after Yankee losses with a 1.69 ERA. Jordan Montgomery came out of literally NO WHERE to nail down the fifth spot in the rotation, and he performed consistently all year (by the way, he’s got ridiculous stuff and will be better in 2018). 

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Oh, the Yankees also have this guy named Sonny Gray. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of him, but the Yankees traded for him in the middle of the season last year. Sonny Gray is pretty good. While his three and a half month stint with the Yankees was fairly average, he got the job done. I think Sonny Gray will have a monster full season next year. 

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The bottom line is the Yankees have DUDES in their rotation. They have young talent, veteran leadership in Sabathia and Gray, and a proven big game pitcher in Tanaka. Down on the farm, the Yankees have Chance Adams (#2 Yankees prospect, MLB.com #53 overall) and Justus Sheffield (#4 Yankees prospect, MLB.com #80 overall), both who will probably be on their way up at some point in 2018. Domingo Acevedo (#6 Yankees prospect), who projects more toward a back end bullpen guy, is also a possibility to eventually become a starter, but not anytime soon. 

I read something about the Yankees trading for Matt Harvey and I legitimately laughed out loud. Gerritt Cole would be interesting, but would probably cost the Yankees a top prospect or two, which isn’t exactly the direction the Yankees are heading. If they could acquire a guy like Cole for the right price, sure. 

The Yankees staff in 2017 put up some surprising numbers. Wanna hear them? The Yankees starting pitchers combined had a 3.98 ERA. Only the Dodgers, Indians, DBacks, and Nationals had a better starting pitcher ERA. Yes, the Yankees had the second best starting pitcher ERA in the American League. Keep in mind the really bad stretch the Yankees had in the middle of the first half.

The bullpen, which we know is fantastic, had a 3.34 ERA. Third in the Major Leagues behind Cleveland and Boston. However, with the midseason additions of Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson, it’s pretty clear that the Yankees have the single best bullpen heading into 2018. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Yankees going out and getting another bullpen arm for safety, though. Games will be handed over to the bullpen possibly even earlier in 2018 if the Yankees offense provides an early lead, which more than likely will. This will ultimately save starters arms and keep them healthy throughout the entire season. 

Brian Cashman recently noted that they want Chad Green to head into camp as a starter. He was the Yankees saving grace in 2017, serving as either a long relief or 7th inning set up man. Another question mark in the bullpen is Dellin Betances, but that’s another story for another time. 

Also, the Yankees rotation will perform even better in 2018 than they did in 2017. Why? Offense and bullpen depth. The fact that the offense will be adding Giancarlo Stanton, a guy with 59 homers and 132 RBI’s, will take a lot of pressure off the Yankees pitchers. The offense, which finished second in runs and first in homers BEFORE acquiring Giancarlo Stanton, will have the ability to give pitchers more of a cushion to perform. 

Long story short, the Yankees “starting pitching problem” doesn’t exist. Nothing is perfect, but the Yankees have the best bullpen and the best offense in the Major Leagues. The fan base is always going to complain about something, but whatever way you look at it, the Yankees rotation has good arms, and this team went from rebuilding in April of 2017 to World Series favorites in December of 2017. 

Article by: Noah Clement
Twitter: @Rocky_BalNoah

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