By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com
Gerrit Cole is ready for the season. That can be expected with his 2.45 ERA in five starts through 18 innings with 24 strikeouts and three wins in spring training.
There aren’t any worries.
As for the rest of the rotation….
That’s been the Yankees’ rhetorical question for the spring.
The Yankees have left it to Corey Kluber, Jordan Montgomery, Domingo German, and Jamison Taillon. It’s not one of the exactly the star-studded staffs of the past. GM Brian Cashman didn’t pull the trigger for a late-March veteran.
And it isn’t consoling that Kluber and Taillon combined for one inning last year, Montgomery has been injured and inconsistent since an impressive rookie season in 2017 (9-7, 3.88 in 29 starts), and German missed all of last season due to his domestic violence issue.
There also is Luis Severino who should be back after the All-Star break from elbow surgery, and phenom Deivi Garcia in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Still, this is the type of staff that makes Yankees’ fans cringe in April. We’ll know by Memorial Day if there is a need to panic.
It may be difficult, but keep the faith.
This Yankees’ rotation has an upside that has the potential to be a stacked one in late summer.
It really boils down to Montgomery and German. Both of them had impressive springs and appear to be the backbone behind Cole.
Montgomery had a miniscule 0.90 and was smooth in three appearances, while German has looked every bit like his 18-4 campaign from two years ago with 13 strikeouts in nine innings.
Kluber is the wildcard in the mix and looked like his old Cy Young Winner self with a 1-0, 1.86 ERA, nine strikeouts in 9.2 inning performance. However, Montgomery and German can help alleviate any early pressures as the team’s No. 2 starter.
Taillon, who is coming off Tommy John last August, will be pushed back to next week and will work at a slower pace. In three starts this spring, Taillon had a 1-1 mark with a 1.08 ERA and 14 strikeouts in eight innings.
Yes, you should never put too much stock in spring training stats, but these performances give the Yankees a better sense of assurance as they head home.
By most accounts, Montgomery, German, and Kluber have looked in mid-season form with their overall command. The Yanks slowly pace each of them throughout the spring.
Cole will bring a sense of calm when he takes the ball Thursday at the Stadium.
Kluber will follow Saturday, and the confidence will start to dwindle.
Don’t fret. It’s too early. See how the staff plays itself out in April. Keep an eye on Montgomery and German as the keys.
By Memorial Day, Yankees’ fans again will feel in control or will take their anxiety to another level.