Yankees: If Gerrit Cole Isn’t The Answer Then Who Is

Yankees Number One Geritt Cole (NY Daily News)

The Yankees brought in Gerrit Cole to deliver in games he hasn’t been able to win. So, is it back to the drawing board to find someone who can?

When the Yankees signed Gerrit Cole to a $324 million contract, it was widely thought to be a good investment aimed at the team’s number one need at the time – that Cole would be The Guy the Yankees could rely on to deliver in the one game the team needed most to win.

Without argument, most will agree that Cole has underperformed in these instances, and some will even say he has failed.

Rather than spending time deciphering why Cole has failed to deliver, a better approach is to find another pitcher who has the markings of someone who can fill that void.

Now before you go off the deep end, saying, – “What, more money? – ask yourself if the Yankees currently have anyone on their staff or farm system who should have pitched the Wild Card game against Boston.

Like you, perhaps, I toyed with the idea of using Jordan Montgomery or Nestor Cortes Jr. only to come to the same conclusion the Yankees did – why is Cole here if not to pitch this game?

Without an alternative to Cole, history will repeat itself next year and for the duration of his contract.

Yankees: Is There Anyone Better Than Cole?

With that framework and assuming no team will trade their number one starter to the Yankees, let’s turn our attention to the Class of 2022 Free-Agent Starting Pitchers.

Right away, we see three pitchers with a reputation for delivering the big game to teams they have played on. But just as quickly, we see they are up in age (Justin Verlander 38.6, Clayton Kershaw (33.5, and Max Scherzer 37.2), and the first two have and continue to be prone to injury.

Scherzer is the most appealing of the three, but convincing him to leave the Dodgers where he has excelled along with the team isn’t likely.

Mets Marcus Stroman in the 2022 spotlight (Photo: thespun.com)
Mets Marcus Stroman in the 2022spotlight (Photo: thespun.com)

Moving further down the list, we can find any number of attractive candidates, but the only thing is they don’t fit the bill as a number one.

Marcus Stroman, Danny Duffy, Kevin Gausman, and Noah Syndergaard would be healthy additions to the Yankees or any team’s starting staff, but not a better choice than Cole to pitch the big game.

So, what we have then is the realization of two things. First, Number One’s are a rare breed in baseball, if they exist at all. And second, no matter which pitcher is in the discussion, they are all subject to having a bad game.

Max Scherzer, for example, has won only seven of his thirteen postseason starts, and Clayton Kershaw has a 13-12 record and a 4.21 ERA across his 30 postseason starts. Hardly dominant.

Low and behold, though, Gerrit Cole is 8-5 with a 2.93 ERA across 14 starts in the postseason, and two of his best starts have come with the Yankees.

Gerrit Cole And Those Questions…

The trouble with Cole, of course, is the what have you done for me lately tag and the one bad game he had this year in the Wild Card playoff, so fresh in our mind.

Still, there are questions about Cole the Yankees need to answer. For one, is the claim valid that once MLB cracked down on the sticky stuff, Cole became an ordinary pitcher?

Sonny Gray: Another New York Misfit (Photo: NJ.com)
Sonny Gray: Another New York Misfit (Photo: NJ.com)

If that’s true, the Yankees have a deep and long-lasting problem that may force the team to seek an alternative to Cole, even though the pickings are slim.

The other question about Cole is if he is suffering from NewYorkitis, a disease that has afflicted so many starting pitchers in the past (A.J. Burnett, Sonny Gray, Kevin Brown, and Kenny Rogers, to name a few)?

That one is ridiculous because no one is more grounded as a person and professional ballplayer than Cole.

Cole is a pitcher’s pitcher who studies and restudies every pitch from every start he’s made and who displays body language on the mound reminding of Andy Pettitte‘s soul in his eyes.

The Holes To Fill Are Far Bigger Than Cole

We are left with then, and the argument I am making is that Gerrit Cole is the pitcher the Yankees bought as their number one, and when contrasted to others he’s not so bad after all.

Like the others, he may or may not deliver what the Yankees need from him in the “Big Game” because – that’s baseball.

Gerrit Cole (right) as a young Yankees fan (Photo: Newsday)
Gerrit Cole (right) as a young Yankees fan (Photo: Newsday)

The Yankees, as some have said, did not make a mistake when they signed Gerrit Cole.

You can bet that he’s working on ways even now to eliminate what happened in that one start and the previous five during the regular season – because that’s the way he is built.

So, if the Yankees are giving any thought to finding another Number One, they should abandon the task in favor of locating the position players they need in their lineup to manufacture and score runs…

For More Yankees 2022 Themed Stories
Link To Main Page Here

And Thank You For Sharing – Email Me Here

Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.