About the Off-Season: Welcome Back or Vamoose, Part Six
By Tim Kabel
November 12, 2022
Let's take a look at the starting rotation. This is not an area where there will be a great deal of change. It is also a strength of this team, which might even get stronger.
Before I jump into the starting rotation, there was one position player I forgot to address in my earlier articles. Matt Carpenter resurrected his career last season, before breaking his foot. He had a tremendously productive, although truncated, stint for the Yankees. Unfortunately, his best position is designated hitter, a spot which will be filled by Giancarlo Stanton on a regular basis. Carpenter could conceivably fill in at first base and third base on a part-time basis. If he is willing to accept a one-year deal and an unclarified role as a pinch hitter, and back-up player, I would definitely bring him back.
Verdict- Matt Carpenter- Welcome Back
Gerrit Cole is under contract for six more seasons with the Yankees. He's not going anywhere. He shouldn't go anywhere. He had a very solid year last year, except for the fact that he gave up a lot of home runs, the most he has ever given up in a season. I'm sure that's something he and the pitching coaches will work on. He's a very cerebral individual and works very hard at his craft. One area of concern, in fact the only area of concern I really have regarding him, is his propensity for allowing external factors to affect his performance. He is a perfectionist and when things go slightly wrong, he tends to get upset and lose focus. He seemed to be mastering this at the beginning of the playoffs but regressed in his game against Houston. If he works on that, I think he will have another very solid year and will lead the Yankees forward. He is the ace of the staff until further notice.
Verdict- Gerrit Cole- Welcome Back
Nestor Cortes, Jr. can no longer be considered a fluke or a question mark. He is a bona fide member of the starting rotation. He was an All-Star last year and was tremendous for the Yankees day in and day out. He was solid in the playoffs and won the clinching game against the Guardians in the ALDS. He had a groin injury which affected him adversely in the ALCS. He will be 28 years old all season long in 2023. Write his name in to the rotation right after Gerrit Cole and get out of his way. He will be a solid contributor to the team, barring any injury setbacks.
Verdict- Nestor Cortes, Jr.- Welcome Back
Luis Severino fully recovered from all his injuries in 2022. He was on the IL for stretches but, that seemed to be more away of limiting his innings than anything else. He pitched well at the end of the season and into the playoffs. The Yankees have already picked up his option for next season. 2023 should be a year in which he builds off last year and forms a solid top three with Cole and Nestor.
Verdict- Luis Severino- Welcome Back
Frankie Montas did not have a very promising beginning to his Yankees' career. He will be able to start with a clean slate next season. He will be a free agent after the 2023 season so, he certainly has something to prove. He dealt with injuries before and after coming to the Yankees. If those issues are behind him, hopefully he can be the pitcher the Yankees thought they were getting in the trade with Oakland. There is no way they could or would trade him at this point, as they would not get anything for him. He will be here next season and ideally, he can be an important part of the rotation. He does have ability and if he is healthy, there is really no reason to believe he will not be effective.
Verdict- Frankie Montas- Welcome Back
Jameson Taillon was a solid but not spectacular member of the New York Yankees' starting rotation for the past two seasons. He struggled somewhat at the beginning of 2021, as he was recovering from injuries and surgeries. After that, he was a key contributor. I would not be opposed to bringing him back but, I believe the Yankees feel his cost will be high, and they can fill his spot with someone younger and less expensive. Another option is to sign a free agent who is even better. Carlos Rondon fits that bill. Because the Yankees will most likely be spending a great deal of money on Aaron Judge and whomever they sign to play left field, I do not imagine they will want to invest heavily in a starting pitcher. I could see them revisiting the trade with the Marlins for Pablo Lopez. Either way, I don't see them bringing Taillon back. If it were up to me, I would carefully consider it and compare it to all the other options before I dismissed it.
Verdict- Jameson Taillon- Undecided
Domingo German will not be a free agent until after the 2024 season. He could be the number five starter, or he could be in the bullpen as a long man. His role will probably change throughout the season, depending on the team's needs and who else they have. I do not imagine the Yankees entering the season with German slated to be the number five starter but, it could happen. More likely, he will be a spot starter and fill whatever role is needed out of the bullpen. Either way, he will be back next season.
Verdict- Domingo German- Welcome Back
At this point,The Yankees have 80% of their starting rotation locked in. The fifth spot is a question mark right now but, by the time the season starts, I'm sure that will be answered for all of us.