So this is where we stand, Yankee fans.
Luis Severino. One of the best pitchers in baseball and sure as hell one of the most electrifying to watch is gone for over a year.
Wow, did our paradigms shift big time with this one. A week ago most of us thought, rightfully so, that this season was going to be the Yankees and the Dodgers winning one hundred and something games each and playing each other in a classic seven-game World Series between two fully loaded death stars posing as baseball teams.
The only question was who would win the coin flip of a game seven? The winner would get the Commissioner’s Trophy (which, ironically, the Commissioner himself called “just a piece of metal”). The loser would have to suffer from listening to half of its fan base yelling highly nuanced thoughts on sports radio and social media, such as “couldn’t get it done when it counted!” and “chokers!”. (Please don’t ever be that fan. As a loyal reader of My Baseball Page, I expect more of you.)
But the Yankees rotation of Cole, Severino, Paxton, and Tanaka – which make no mistake, would have been a steamroller of a rotation to have to face in a playoff series – no longer exists. The current rotation is now Cole, Tanaka, Happ, and some combination of Montgomery, Cessa, Loaisiga, and Chad Bettis.
Good news? That’s still a pretty good rotation. It’s absolutely better than most teams’ and with the Yankees offense it’s still going to be a fun and promising season. But it’s not the type of rotation that will make your team the favorite in a playoff series, because as has been discussed here previously, a badass starting rotation is what wins playoff series in 21st-century baseball.
More good news: There are no teams, even the very very good ones, that don’t have at least one question or two themselves about their starting rotations heading into the 2020 season.
So the question then becomes, how much confidence do you have in Brian Cashman to do what needs to be done to address the issues midseason? When health issues are more clear for all teams and which players are available in trades becomes clearer, do you have confidence in Brian Cashman to pull the trigger on the right move?
Do you think he can outmaneuver the front offices of Tampa Bay, Houston, Oakland, and Boston? I literally laughed a little when I typed that because the answer is obviously “no”. And even if he did and the Yankees got to the World Series, are you confident that he would have assembled a pitching staff that could hang with those of the Dodgers’ and Nationals’? Again, not likely if you’ve been watching Cashman over the past decade.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not throwing in the towel on the season. It’s going to be a fun ride regardless with the players the Yankees still have.
But to say the loss of Severino following the loss of Paxton dampened my spirits a little bit, would be an understatement.
Curious about my thoughts on Stanton? They’re coming soon.
Did I miss something? Let me know.
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