Six candidates for the final spot in the Yankees' rotation
Going into the offseason, the Bronx Bombers had few questions surrounding a 91-win season that resulted in playing within one game of the Fall Classic. As if that wasn’t enough, General Manager Brian Cashman went out and acquired the MVP of the Senior Circuit in Giancarlo Stanton, marking the Yankees a force to be reckoned with in the American League rivaling the Astros and Red Sox.
One question that surrounded the team at the beginning of the offseason was the starting rotation, and who would fill out the back end following the likes of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and Sonny Gray. The Yankees re-signed CC Sabathia to a one-year, 10-million-dollar contract filling one of the two holes, however there remains speculation as to who will take the fifth spot on the Opening Day roster in 2018.
With the coveted Shohei Ohtani and Yu Darvish off the market due to their signings with the Angels and Cubs respectively, as well as coveted trade target Gerrit Cole being shipped off to Houston, here are six possibilities, two internal and one external, for who could be the Yankees fifth starting pitcher in 2018
- Jordan Montgomery- The most likely candidate for the role already resides on their roster in Jordan Montgomery, who posted a 3.88 ERA in 155.1 innings and 29 games started. Montgomery developed great command for his pitches last year in the bigs, and showed he is capable of pitching late into games as well. He remains a young talent under team control for the foreseeable future, who has potential to develop into a valuable number 3 or 4 starter in the majors. This decision makes the most sense for the Yankees, as they are able to stay under the luxury tax by choosing an in-house option.
- Jake Arrieta- Another name that catches every Yankee fan’s eye is Jake Arrieta who, going into spring training, still remains a free agent. The former NL Cy Young winner and World Series champion has pitched two no-hitters in his career, posting an ERA of 3.57 with over 1000 strikeouts during his time with the Orioles and the Cubs. Arrieta would most likely be placed at the top of the rotation with Luis Severino, with Tanaka, Gray, and Sabathia rounding out the final three spots. Certainly, signing Arrieta would open up the Steinbrenners’ wallets, but for a veteran pitcher that could make the Yankees’ rotation every hitters nightmare, it may be worth the cash.
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- Lance Lynn- Coming off of season-ending Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow in 2016, Lance Lynn remains an intriguing candidate who had a bounce-back year with the redbirds last season. Posting a 3.43 ERA while keeping his ground-ball rate down to 44%, Lynn provides some veteran leadership for a young and exciting clubhouse hungry for a World Series Title. He would come at a significantly cheaper price than Arrieta would, and his experience in the postseason also remains a valuable asset to a team that is certainly capable of taking over October by storm.
- Jake Odorizzi- Odorizzi is another interesting name that has come up in the offseason trade rumors. He is a familiar face having pitched with the Rays, a division rival, for the past few seasons. Under control for a projected 6.5 million through arbitration, Odorizzi is coming off of a down year after putting up 4.14 ERA in 143.1 Innings, and the Rays are in rebuilding mode after shipping off franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants. He wouldn’t cost the Yankees any of their high-end prospects, and would also keep the Yankees’ salary affordable at the start of the season. Since the Rays’ inception in 1998 though, they have never made a trade with the Yankees. With the Rays seemingly out of the playoff picture in 2018, however, there remains a chance that a deal goes down between the two teams.
- Chad Green- Green emerged as a lights-out fireman from the back end of the Yankees bullpen last season, having a remarkable season in which he posted 5-0 record while maintaining a 1.83 ERA and striking out a ridiculous 103 batters in 69 IP. Manager Aaron Boone had recently indicated this offseason that the fearsome reliever could see opportunities to start games and earn a spot in the rotation out of spring training. Before his bullpen, days, Green was a middling starter for the Yankees in 2016 where he struggled to a 4.73 ERA. Relievers generally do not tend to adapt to the starting rotation role very well, however the numbers on Green indicate he may just be suited well enough for the role.
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- Patrick Corbin- Corbin came into the league as a young pitching talent for the Arizona D-backs, and broke out during his age 23 season going 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA in 32 games. Since then he has had trouble with consistency after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014. The Diamondbacks’ roster is cluttered with big contracts, such as, Zack Greinke and Yasmany Tomas, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see GM Mike Hazen move a couple of expensive pieces to clear up some payroll space. He would slot right into the Yanks’ rotation giving them another lefty to supplement the veteran CC Sabathia. Corbin may need a change of scenery to get his confidence going into 2018, so what better place is there to land than a city that has housed names such as Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, and Derek Jeter?
Article by: Gianmarco CastronovoFollow @gianmarcocast6 Follow @BronxBomberBall