The New York Yankees have an opening in their rotation amid news that starting pitcher Frankie Montas needs shoulder surgery that could cost him the entire 2023 MLB season. With spring training just getting underway, the Yankees don’t seem to be in a rush to trade for outside help.
The Yankees plan to fill Montas’ spot in the rotation with a pitcher that is already set to be on the 2023 Opening Day roster, according to SNY’s Andy Martino. Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt are the top candidates to be New York’s fifth starter. The Yankees reportedly haven’t seriously discussed the idea of making a trade.
German spent half of last season in the Yankees’ rotation. The right-hander had a 3.61 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 15 games. Schmidt made three starts, but the Yankees turned him into an important reliever. Schmidt posted a 3.12 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in 57.2 innings.
Both German and Schmidt had better seasons for the Yankees than Montas last year. After coming over from the Oakland Athletics before the trade deadline, Montas had a 6.35 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. In his eight starts with New York, Montas was one of the worst pitchers in baseball.
The Yankees had been prepared to be without Montas for at least a month until it was revealed that he needed surgery. There had been rumors in the offseason that New York would consider moving second baseman Gleyber Torres in a trade for a starting pitcher, but nothing ever materialized.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has remained mum about a possible trade to bolster the starting rotation but acknowledged that Montas has not produced the desired results. At the time of the deadline trade, many experts lauded the six-player deal that involved the Yankees sending pitchers J.P. Sears, Ken Waldichuk, and Luis Medina, along with second baseman Cooper Bowman, to the Oakland A’s for pitchers Montas and Lou Trivino.
“We haven’t gotten access to the pitcher that we know what he is capable of when he is right,” Cashman said, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. “Clearly it hasn’t worked out at all. You know we didn’t really get anything out of it. I’m not looking for a headline of I regret the trade and then they run Montas down. This is part of doing business when you’re dealing with pitchers and there’s no guarantees and he came over with a clean bill of health. And obviously he wasn’t healthy, so the trade goes into a bad category. We gave up assets and we didn’t get anything for it. That’s also part of the business. I’ve traded players that have gone on and gotten hurt elsewhere and I’ve acquired players who [have gotten hurt]. You just don’t want to be a part of it, but it happens.”
New York’s one significant offseason addition was an upgrade to its rotation. The Yankees signed Carlos Rodon to a six-year, $162 million contract. Rodon finished fifth in the 2021 AL Cy Young voting and sixth in the 2022 NL Cy Young race.
The front of the Yankees’ rotation is one of the league’s best. Gerrit Cole has been a top-10 AL Cy Young candidate for five straight seasons. Nestor Cortes led the Yankees in the 2022 season with a 2.44 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. Luis Severino had a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts, making him an overqualified No. 4 starter.
Cortes won’t pitch at the start of spring training because of a hamstring injury. The left-hander seems optimistic that he’ll be ready for the start of the season.