James Paxton’s back surgery leaves a hole in the Yankees’ rotation, and while the team obviously won’t make any decisions on how to address the vacancy just yet, manager Aaron Boone spoke highly of left-hander Jordan Montgomery when discussing the team’s starting pitching depth (link via George A. King III and Dan Martin of the New York Post). “I think he has proven himself at this level,” Boone said of Montgomery, who posted a 3.88 ERA in 155 1/3 innings back in 2017 before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018. “For him to get back last year was big, just for his frame of mind. The fact he was able to make it back and get some work done, get into some games, I think was big for him and his mindset moving forward.” All signs point to a spring competition to round out the rotation behind Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Yankees bring in a veteran on a minor league deal, although between Montgomery, Luis Cessa and Jonathan Loaisiga, the Yankees do have three options who’ve at least made some big league starts.
More from the AL East…
- Orioles righty Alex Cobb is hoping for a healthier 2020 season and has already been throwing off a mound at Orioles minicamp, per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The 32-year-old Cobb, who signed a surprising four-year, $57MM deal late in the 2017-18 offseason, has been limited to 164 2/3 innings in Baltimore and hasn’t pitched effectively at all when healthy. A back injury cost him nearly all of the 2019 season — Cobb pitched in just three games last year — and he’s still owed $29MM under that four-year pact. A healthy Cobb would be a boon for a perilously thin rotation mix in Baltimore. Beyond him, the Orioles will lean on lefty John Means, journeyman Asher Wojociechowski and perhaps non-roster invitee Wade Leblanc. Baltimore’s only rotation additions this winter have been Leblanc, Rule 5 pick Brandon Bailey and former Twins prospect Kohl Stewart.
- The Blue Jays announced yesterday that director of player development Gil Kim will join the Major League coaching staff for the upcoming season. He’ll retain that title as he continues to work with the Jays’ up-and-coming wave of talent in the Major League clubhouse. “We identified an opportunity on the Major League coaching staff that would maximize Gil’s expertise in player development as an obvious asset,” general manager Ross Atkins explained in a release announcing the unorthodox move. “…As the season progresses, Gil’s role as a coach will continue to develop. His previous work to streamline our player development programs, philosophies and systems gives us tremendous confidence that incorporating his leadership and skillset into our Major League coaching staff will be an exciting addition.”