Clouds over Rodon’s Yankees rotation spot as Cole nears return

Which way will the Yankees go? 6-man rotation or send a starter to the bullpen?

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The New York Yankees are grappling with a pleasant problem as Gerrit Cole, their ace pitcher and 2023 Cy Young winner, edges closer to a much-anticipated return. Early this season, Cole’s absence is deeply felt, after an elbow injury sidelined him, leaving a void in the rotation that seemed irreplaceable. Now, with Cole on the brink of returning, the Yankees’ rotation is suddenly crowded, sparking debates over who will make way or whether a shift to a six-man rotation could be the answer.

Yankees rotation conundrum: Six-man setup or a bullpen shift?

As Cole resumes throwing, anticipation mounts around the Yankees’ strategy for their pitching staff. The current rotation includes Carlos Rodón, who has emerged as a reliable starter, showing significant improvement over his last season’s performance. With an ERA of 3.56 and a record of 3-2 in his starts, Rodón’s presence has been solid. Contrasting this with Nestor Cortes, who despite a history of strong performances, has been less convincing this season with an ERA over 4.00 and only one win in nine starts.

The dilemma intensifies with the performances of Clarke Schmidt and Luis Gil, both of whom have pitched commendably well, making the decision tougher. Given this scenario, moving Cortes to the bullpen seems a viable option, especially considering his struggle to maintain consistency compared to his 2022 All-Star season. A six-man rotation could also be on the table, offering a way to ease Cole back into the lineup without drastically altering the existing setup.

Gerrit Cole is expected to throw off a mound on Saturday.

Does Rodón’s standout performance secure his spot?

It seems highly unlikely that Rodón would be the one moving to the bullpen. His numbers this season place him securely within the rotation, especially when compared to his peers. Meanwhile, Luis Gil, who was initially considered a temporary replacement, has proven his mettle, thereby complicating the decision further. Gil’s impressive stats, including a 2.51 ERA and a 4-1 win-loss record, suggest he deserves a continued spot in the rotation.

Clarke Schmidt’s case is similar; with a 4-1 record and an ERA of 2.95, his performance also speaks volumes. His struggle, like Gil’s, lies in extending his outings, which is crucial for relieving the bullpen, particularly when Cole, known for his depth in games, returns possibly still recovering and requiring more bullpen backup than usual.

Implications of Cole’s return

Cole’s imminent return is not just a tactical adjustment but a morale booster for the team. His track record before the injury, boasting a 2.63 ERA and over 200 innings pitched, underlines his significance. His latest bullpen sessions, including a 29-pitch stint at 89 mph, are promising but also urge caution. The Yankees, currently holding a strong 27-15 record, are likely to be conservative with their ace’s reintroduction to major league action.

As the Yankees consider their options, the most sensible approach seems to be shifting Cortes to the bullpen, potentially using him in shorter, possibly high-leverage situations where his experience and past success can be most effective. This would maintain the integrity of the current rotation and allow Cole to re-enter without causing major disruptions.

The Yankees are at a crossroads, with several viable paths forward. Each choice comes with its risks and rewards, reflecting not just on the players involved but on the strategic philosophy of the team’s management as they navigate maintaining a winning formula while integrating a star player back into the fold. Who will step aside or will the Yankees innovate with their rotation? What do you think? Leave your comment below!

One thought on “Clouds over Rodon’s Yankees rotation spot as Cole nears return

  1. Everyone forgets that this is Year 1 of pitching – only 2 relief appearances late last season, for Gil, coming off TJS &the rehab. The Yankees always had a plan for Gil, the biggest change is that he is pitching in the Big Leagues as opposed to Triple-A. Bottom line is, no matter how well Gil pitches, there is no way he will even be allowed to finish with 28GS, and 165 IP. The way he is pitching, allows the FO to have Cole pitch up here instead of that 4th or 5th rehab start he is allowed, with Gil being the piggyback guy. I can see Cole with a W, and Gil with a 3 or 4 inning S. This does several things. Not only does it ease Cole back in, and ease Gil, but with those 2 scheduled to pitch like that also helps to rest the pen too.

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