The Yankees have to be thinking; here we go again. Brian Cashman does not panic, but if he goes outside for a replacement starter, Matt Harvey makes sense.
The Yankees are already re-writing their best-selling book from last season.
They’ve amended the title a bit – it’s now – “You Still Can Never Have Enough Pitching”, but the content with only minor date changes is the same for the chapter on Luis Severino.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman finds himself in a familiar spot, having to defend why the potential for Severino’s injury and ensuing surgery wasn’t caught sooner.
To which, Cashman maintains, “…He doesn’t like going in the MRI tube. So it’s something I know he would have pushed back on.”
“But clearly, if we could’ve turned the clock back, (we would have) done an MRI maybe three weeks ago now. But it wasn’t done. We can’t change that. So we just did one before we left here, after the complaint, and we’ll do another one now, and we’ll keep doing them until we know he’s clear.”
Yankees Refrain Sounds Familiar, Brian
This is also interesting because Cashman said this not yesterday but last June when he was reporting on Severino’s season-ending surgery in 2019.
This time, Cashman provided a slight wrinkle as to why the Yankees didn’t discover the injury sooner, telling Sweeny Murti of WFAN radio:
“This time he went (to New York) and did a nerve conductor test which was negative, a CT scan which was negative, and a dye contrast MRI, or otherwise known as an MRI arthrogram. And that result was the finding of a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.”
In any event, the Yankees will soon be filling out the necessary paperwork to recover as much of the $10 million Severino is due to be paid for this season from their insurance company.
Yankees On The Hunt Again
Good news on that front was received yesterday when Montgomery hurled two perfect innings behind Cole.
And then what? The MLB Trade Rumors page is void of any talk about teams offering a proven starter, so unless Cashman plays Magic Man again by coaxing another Paxton from some unsuspecting team – that’s out.
How about internally, anything there? Well, that depends if the Yankees genuinely believe their hype about Deivi Garcia. Ditto Mike King, Clarke Schmidt, Jonathan Loaisiga and Albert Abreu, all in various stages of development.
They’ll all get a look over the next few weeks, but it’s not like the Yankees to set a prospect up for failure by pushing him too far too soon.
Hi Ho The Dairy O – A Shopping We Must Go
This leaves, of course, the ultimate source of gaining help – the open market. Typically, the Yankees claim their reluctance to go this route, stating: “What I’ve got is what I’ve got,” Cashman said of his rotation at the same juncture last year.
His comment to CBS Sports on Tuesday echoed the same feeling this year: “You rely on your depth,” Cashman told reporters Tuesday.
“I wouldn’t expect any domino effect or cause and effect in terms of us being able to go to the marketplace. The winter marketplace this time of year, it doesn’t exist.”
Last year, for instance, Dallas Keuchel remained on the open market, but for reasons the Yankees never quite explained, they made only cursory efforts before the Braves eventually signed him.
Here are the top available free agent pitchers according to FanGraphs projected 2020 WAR:
- RHP Collin McHugh: 0.7 WAR
- RHP Clay Buchholz: 0.6 WAR
- LHP Jason Vargas: 0.5 WAR
- RHP Andrew Cashner: 0.5 WAR
They’re all well-known and have been picked over in the tomato bin by every shopper in the store.
Hey, You Forgot Somebody
But one name can and should be added to the list – and that’s Matt Harvey. McHugh is an unknown coming off an injury, Vargas has taken his turn and failed twice in New York, and both Cashner and Buchholz at 33 have seen better days.
Harvey also adds some pizzazz to a storyline that could have him squaring off against the Mets during the Subway Series.
But the main reason why Harvey makes more sense than the others is his easy convertibility to the Yankees bullpen when Paxton and German return.
Matt Harvey has another life left in him, and there is no reason he can’t become the next Jason Isringhausen, who went on after an abbreviated career as a starter to amass almost 300 saves after the age of 30 (Harvey’s age).
Just sayin’, Brian. Think about it if you end up taking the Yankees to the open market.