baseball

Cole and Company Have A Different Look This Spring

By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com

Are there choices after Gerrit Cole?

There are, but the Yankees appear to be shifting from their typical options.

Instead of bringing aboard the usual veterans — there are at least 10 viable candidates — to fall in behind their $300 million lead dog, the Yanks are leaning toward harvesting a crop of young arms.

This isn’t all about saving money either. It’s finally about delving into their farm system for arms.

Most signs point to the Yanks not being  the first team to whip out their pen to sign the most wanted free agent on the market. 

The days of opening the checkbook for Catfish Hunter, Don Gullett, David Wells, David Cone, Mike Mussina and others are temporarily put on hold.

They have targeted second baseman DJ LeMahieu at the top of their list, and that situation likely will come down to an amount of years not dollars in the deal. Although, there are rumors swirling about a difference of 20-plus million.

That’s another story.

As far as the pitching staff behind Cole, the Yanks have initially rolled out their future for 2021 and beyond.

Gone from the scene are James Paxton, J.A. Happ, and Masahiro Tanaka, who may still be back as a veteran presence in the No. 2 spot.

In are Devii Garcia, Jordan Montgomery, and Domingo German, the latter who missed last season due to a suspension for domestic violence.

German served his time, and he already has been busy in winter ball in the Dominican Winter League — albeit reportedly he is struggling. The 28-year-old showed he has all the stuff to be a high-end starter with his performances in 2018 and in 2019 until he was suspended.

He also will need to be accepted by the Yankees’ brass after his incident.

Garcia grew in his game at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes/Barre over a few seasons before his promotion last year.

The 21-year-old was the youngest Yankee to start a playoff game last season, and he should have had the opportunity to finish it after he was shockingly pulled in the second inning.

German and Garcia can form a one-two punch that can be locked in for years. Throw in the seasoned Montgomery, and the Yanks have a comparable and competitive staff behind Cole.

There also will be fellow youngsters Clark Schmidt, Nick Nelson, Mike King, Miguel Yajure, and Jonathan Loaisiga in the mix for innings.

Manager Aaron Boone has pointed to the youth movement.

“I’m certainly excited about the people we have behind Gerrit Cole,” said Boone in a recent Zoom call. “From a depth standpoint; from the number of young guys getting opportunities to pitch this (past) year and showing a lot of promise.”

It will be 46 years ago on New Year’s Eve that the Yankees have Hunter then a staggering five-year, $3.5 million deal.

Rehash those big ticket signings because you may not see many more in the near future.

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