The Yankees have gone through most of the past two seasons without one of their best players, right-hander Luis Severino. After emerging as an ace-caliber starter from 2017-18, Severino logged just 12 innings in 2019 because of shoulder surgery. The hope was that Severino would return to health this past year, but the Tommy John procedure he underwent in February wiped out the chances of that. He missed the entire season as a result.
As someone who’s still just 26 years old, the Yankees are no doubt hopeful that the hard-throwing Severino will return to form next season. However, they’ll have to make do without Severino when the campaign opens, as general manager Brian Cashman told James Wagner of the New York Times and other reporters on Wednesday that the hurler won’t return until June or July.
Another Severino-less rotation, even if only for a couple of months, would leave the Yankees with Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt among the in-house possibilities for their staff (Cole’s obviously a lock). They’re currently slated to lose Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ to free agency, while Domingo German’s future is uncertain after he missed all of 2020 because of a domestic violence suspension. Though German has been reinstated by MLB, the Yankees have not had “access” to him yet because of COVID protocols, per the Athletic’s Lindsey Adler (via Twitter).
Cashman spoke about the rotation Wednesday, saying that it “needs to get improved upon,” per Marc Carig of The Athletic. Notably, aside from the aforementioned pending free agents from New York, the market will include the likes of top option Trevor Bauer, Kevin Gausman, Marcus Stroman, Jose Quintana, and Jake Odorizzi. The Rangers’ Lance Lynn, a former Yankee, figures to be near the forefront of the trade market. Don’t be surprised to see the Yankees explore the Lynn or other options in the trade market to build out their rotation depth. Given the success of the Rays this season, the Yankees figure to enter 2021 with an appropriate amount of urgency – and that means having depth ready for action.