The Yankees, as far as we know, have not seriously considered a six-man rotation for the 2018 season. But that didn’t stop one of their prized veterans from urging the team to add another power starter to an already full rotation.
Yankees most veteran starting pitcher, CC Sabathia, took time out from a charity event in his home state of New Jersey to talk a little baseball with Brendan Kuty, who was covering the event for NJ.com. Sabathia’s comments are interesting and practical.
Sabathia may or may not have been (indirectly) speaking to the Yankees continued interest in Yu Darvish, who’s been playing Twitterball with the baseball universe since he became an elite free agent in this year’s class, superseded only by Jake Arietta who also remains unsigned in this leisurely-like walk to the finish line we are witnessing, but still not processing.
The race for Darvish, according to reports, has dwindled down to two teams, The Yankees and Dodgers. The Cubs sit on the outside a bit as they have not given up on bringing Arietta back into the fold. The Dodger, like the Yankees, need to shed payroll to absorb the contract Darvish is seeking and will probably command. That’s if both teams stick to their pledge (and need) to fall under the salary cap (yes, it’s not a luxury tax) in 2018.
All of that aside though, and I think it needs to be placed there for the moment, is Sabathia’s idea there could be another starting pitcher, Darvish, Justus Sheffield, Lance Lynn, Chance Adams, or otherwise who could join the Yankees rotation sooner rather than later. And if that happened, what would be the purpose except to add another starter to the rotation? Darvish, Lynn, Chris Archer, Sheffield to the bullpen? Hardly.
CC Sabathia knows well that he is pitching on borrowed time. Both Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray have checkered pasts regarding injuries causing them to lose valuable time, especially late in the season when the pennant race is in full bloom.
Montgomery, coming into the 2018 season, can only be seen as a wild card as to whether or not he can deliver an entire season to the Yankees following his debut, which called for him to toss more innings than he has ever pitched before. Luis Severino is hopefully the horse becoming the new Sabathia, but you never know.
Sabathia, much like we in the press do, is good at pointing out a potential problem. But the solution to the problem remains in the hands of Brian Cashman. Shedding salary largely remains in the hands of one player, guess who? – Jacoby Ellsbury, who at this point, the Yankees ask nothing more than some relief in salary demands in a trade to another team.
Sometimes, more is less. But in this case, Sabathia is right on target when urging the Yankees to add another arm to the starting rotation. If nothing less, it will allow Aaron Boone an opportunity to lengthen out his usage of starters over the course of the season. Six pitchers, each with 160 innings heading into the playoffs sounds much better than five starters heading into October with 180+ innings already absorbed.
Tanaka, especially, is someone who can benefit from a reduced workload. He’s never complained about it since he came to the U.S. from Japan, but in his native country where he pitched for almost a decade, there are no games scheduled on Monday. Translated, this means he pitched every sixth day instead of every fifth as the custom is here in America.
Naysayers will point to Tanaka’s so-so record when he has pitched for the Yankees with the “extra” day of rest, but those starts have occurred because of quirks in the schedule and not as a routine.
But the point for Aaron Boone should be to start off slow and end up blazing to the finale in the World Series. Boone will need to manage his bullpen in the same way, but that extra hand in the starting staff, Darvish or not, will make all the difference come October.
Here’s a quick add to end this and a fun video that portents the (intangibles) value of Mr. Sabathia to the New York Yankees during the coming season.
Enjoy the Brady Bowl. Me too. See ya next time.