The news that Luis Severino will miss the 2020 season due to Tommy John surgery was a devastating blow for the Yankees — one that already has many fans debating which pitchers can be acquired in exchange for prospects. General manager Brian Cashman, however, downplayed the possibility of adding an arm from outside the organization.
“You rely on your depth,” Cashman said in aftermath of the Severino announcement (Twitter link via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com). “I wouldn’t expect any domino effect or cause and effect in terms of us being able to go to marketplace. The winter marketplace this time of year, it doesn’t exist.”
To Cashman’s point, it’s difficult to imagine a club trading off a significant rotation piece at this juncture of the offseason. The GM did acknowledge that he’s always on the lookout for means to improve the club, regardless of circumstances, so it’s likely he’ll at least explore the trade market to some extent. But most teams have set their rosters at this point. And even rebuilding clubs with some assets to sell off might still hold out for a godfather offer that the Yankees simply won’t pay.
Perhaps the Yankees could look to a few of the yet-unsigned veterans on the market — Jason Vargas, Clay Buchholz and Clayton Richard are still free agents — but it’s not clear that any are clear upgrades over what the Yankees have in house. With Severino and James Paxton IL-bound to open the season, it’s likely that southpaw Jordan Montgomery will step into the fourth spot in the rotation behind Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ. In-house candidates for the fifth spot include Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, Mike King and prospect Deivi Garcia. Non-roster right-handers Chad Bettis and Nick Tropeano may also see their odds of cracking the Opening Day roster in the wake of the Severino news.
As Spring Training progresses, it’ll be interesting to see if the Yankees inquire on any other veterans who signed non-roster deals with other clubs. Most veterans who agree to minor league pacts have spring opt-out dates baked into the deals. It’s possible that some familiar names could return to the market and become options for New York.