Injury uncertainty has again struck the Yankees, who’ve gone without a few top starters and bats this spring. While the club isn’t going to panic, it’ll obviously have to make some unexpected decisions to finalize its roster.
GM Brian Cashman said recently that the Yanks haven’t put in calls to inquirer about potential trades to boost a rotation that has lost major pieces for all (Luis Severino) or part (James Paxton) of the coming campaign. That may well be — and it makes sense, given the time of year — but that doesn’t mean the organization is just sitting on its hands.
The Yankees have sent scouts to examine potential starting pitching targets, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). Just what level of hurler they’ll be trying to identify isn’t clear. The Yanks could certainly stand to add an established MLB arm, though that’s generally quite difficult to swing just before the start of a season.
More likely, perhaps, the New York org will be looking to acquire some depth. There are quite a few pitchers in camp on minor-league deals. Even those that show reasonably well in the spring may not end up earning 40-man roster spots with their present organization.
It isn’t as if the Yankees’ present options are without merit. As things line up at present, Jordan Montgomery and Jonathan Loaisiga would likely found out the rotation. There’s uncertainty, but both have shown real talent in the past. Veterans Chad Bettis, David Hale, and Nick Tropeano are already in camp for depth.
The Yanks could certainly enter the season with that mix, plus another addition or two, and then plan to adapt as the season goes along. The hope, of course, remains that Paxton will return before too long. And there’s always the summer trade period.
The situation is something of the opposite on the position-player side, where the need isn’t really yet known but the solutions are pretty obvious. Slugger Aaron Judge remains sidelined with a mysterious ailment in his shoulder/chest. There’s still no clarity as to just what the underlying issue is, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports on Twitter.
While it’s impossible to know at present just when Judge will be able to suit up — he says he’s still not ruling himself out for Opening Day, though that seems unlikely — the backup plan isn’t much in doubt. Mike Tauchman, Clint Frazier, and Miguel Andujar are first in line for expanded roles to account for the absences of Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.