On Tuesday, Feb 25th, sad news struck Yankees Nation.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman announces RHP Luis Severino needs Tommy John surgery. https://t.co/fHzUO3yeel pic.twitter.com/xPDlG6MIiW
— MLB (@MLB) February 25, 2020
Please participate in a moment of silence for Sevy’s second-consecutive lost season.
News of Severino’s surgery comes on the heels of James Paxton’s injury that will keep the Big Maple out for the first quarter or more of the season.
As a result, the Yankee rotation now looks like this…
It looks like Jordan Montgomery will fill one of those two slots, but who will pitch every fifth day?
There are two reasonable options manager Aaron Boone can decide from. He can either roll out RHP Jonathan Loaisiga or he can deploy the Opener strategy.
If the 25-year old earns the fifth spot, getting rid of his putrid nickname will be first on the agenda. “Jonny Lasagna” is not an MLB nickname. It sounds cringy and does not even make sense as Jonathan is from Nicaragua, over 1000 miles away from Italy (1694.378 km for anyone outside of the US). A replacement nickname can be “Siggy,” or “Loai-sling” (like slinger, slang for a pitcher). Regardless, if it’s not listed on his BaseballReference page, or on his Player’s Weekend jersey, it should not be used.
Siggy had a 10.52 K/9 last season in 31.2 innings as a starter and reliever (four starts). He can miss bats and touches 96 mph with his heater while spinning a curveball 30% of the time.
He pitched better as a reliever, with a 1.27 WHIP and 3.20 ERA out of the pen and a 1.83 WHIP and 6.75 ERA in his four starts last season.
In this day and age, there is certainly a possibility the fifth rotation spot is filled by committee, led by Chad Green as the opener.
Green struggled at the beginning of the season last year, but after a stint in the minors, he became one of New York’s best relievers, especially as an Opener. Green finished the season with a 12.78 K/9 overall and as the opener, he had a 14.9 (!!!) K/9 with a 3.75 ERA.
Nestor Cortez Jr. primarily pitched the bulk of the middle innings in 2019 when New York used the opener strategy, but he was traded to Seattle for bonus pool money, so the Yankees will have to orchestrate a different path through innings 2-6 (3-6 if Green is dealing).
New roster rules complicate the situation because teams can only carry 13 pitchers at a time. This should not be a problem as the Yankees opened the season with 13 pitchers last year, but the opener can create an overreliance on the ‘pen.
Even with rosters expanding to 26, the Yankees cannot carry more than 13 pitches in order to acquiesce the Opener.
Featured Image: Arturo Pardavila III/Flickr