Behind the scenes of Yankees’ rotation roadmap with Cole sidelined

Yankees' rotation stars Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes, and Gerrit Cole are with Aaron Judge at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, Fl, during the 2024 spring training.

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As spring training draws to a close, the New York Yankees are grappling with a significant setback. Their ace pitcher and the reigning 2023 Cy Young Award winner, Gerrit Cole, has sustained an injury to his pitching elbow.

While an MRI revealed positive news in the absence of a ligament tear requiring Tommy John surgery, Cole will be sidelined from throwing for at least a month, with a hopeful return within two months. Although the timeline remains uncertain and could potentially be extended, the Yankees are optimistic about Cole rejoining the team at some point during the current season.

This injury has piled up the pressure on the Yankees to make a last-minute splash in the free agent market and they are talking to Jordan Montgomery.

While the Yankees breathe a sigh of relief knowing Gerrit Cole’s injury doesn’t require Tommy John surgery, his absence creates a void in the starting rotation. Let’s explore their internal options to fill the innings until his potential return.

Prior to Cole’s injury, the projected starting rotation featured Carlos Rodon, Marcus Stroman, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Clarke Schmidt. However, the Yankees will now need to consider additional arms. Here’s a breakdown of other potential starters based on their Spring Training stats:

Strong contenders from within Yankees

Clayton Beeter: In two starts, Beeter pitched a solid 13 innings, allowing only 5 earned runs with 13 strikeouts. His impressive 3.46 ERA positions him as a strong candidate for the rotation.

Luis Gil: Gil’s stats are even more enticing. Over 11.2 innings in two starts, he surrendered just 3 earned runs while striking out a remarkable 18 batters. His 2.31 ERA makes him a frontrunner to fill the gap left by Cole.

Yankees possibilities but with Concerns

Luke Weaver: Weaver’s lone Spring Training start wasn’t as inspiring. He gave up 4 earned runs in just 5.1 innings, resulting in a high 6.75 ERA. The Yankees may choose to give him more time to refine his mechanics before trusting him in the regular season.

Will Warren: Across two starts, Warren accumulated 13 strikeouts but also allowed 9 earned runs in 10.1 innings. His 4.35 ERA is less concerning than Weaver’s, but the Yankees might want to see more consistency before inserting him into the rotation.

Dennis Santana: Santana pitched a decent 8.2 innings in his lone start, striking out 10 batters. However, he also yielded 3 earned runs. With a 3.12 ERA, he could be a viable option depending on the Yankees’ needs and how the other pitchers perform.

Yankees pitching prospect Clayton Beeter in action for the AAA RailRiders

The Yankees will closely monitor these pitchers and potentially make adjustments to their starting rotation throughout the early part of the season as they await Cole’s return.

With Gerrit Cole sidelined due to injury, a fierce competition has unfolded within the New York Yankees’ starting rotation. While RotoChamps currently lists Clayton Beeter as the favorite for the fifth starter spot, the position remains undecided.

If Beeter secures the role, it would mark a dream debut for the young pitcher. Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers, he arrived in New York as part of the trade for Joey Gallo. Despite Gallo’s initial struggles, this move could prove to be highly significant for the Yankees in the long run.

Beeter comes with a strong track record. In 2023, he boasted an impressive 3.62 ERA across 131.2 innings at both Double-A and Triple-A levels, striking out a remarkable 165 batters. Currently ranked 14th on the Yankees’ Top-30 prospects list, he’s one of two potential starting pitcher debuts this season.

The other rising star is Will Warren. Similar to Beeter, he has also made two spring training starts. A standout college pitcher, Warren joined the Yankees’ system in 2021 and thrived at every level. He wrapped up the previous season with a solid 3.35 ERA over 129 innings pitched across Double-A and Triple-A.


While Warren faced some challenges upon his promotion, he finished the year on a strong note, surrendering only two runs in his final five appearances. This highlights the potential benefits of exercising patience with his development, should the Yankees choose to integrate him into the rotation this year.

Clayton Beeter and Will Warren may be the young guns vying for a starting spot, but the competition doesn’t stop there. Three other pitchers with MLB experience are also in the mix: Luis Gil, Luke Weaver, and Dennis Santana.

Their existing big league experience might suggest they have the edge, especially if their spring performances pick up. This could be particularly true for Luke Weaver, who signed a one-year deal with the Yankees in hopes of solidifying his role.

The eight-year veteran arrived last season after bouncing around three teams. Despite limited appearances (three starts), Weaver did show flashes of potential, including a dominant 5.1 scoreless outing against a World Series contender. With Pitching Coach Matt Blake known for his expertise in developing pitchers, Weaver could benefit greatly from his guidance.

However, Luis Gil presents a different situation. While he debuted in 2021, replicating that form might require a different approach. Here, the expertise of Eric Cressey, the Director of Player Health, might be more valuable. Focusing on overall health and conditioning could be key in unlocking Gil’s past success.

Ultimately, the Yankees face a strategic decision. Do they prioritize immediate results with experienced arms like Weaver, or do they invest in the future by nurturing the development of talented prospects like Beeter and Warren? Spring Training performance will undoubtedly influence this choice, with the coaching staff playing a crucial role in optimizing each pitcher’s potential.

Youthful development vs. immediate needs

Luis Gil, player of the new york yankees

With Gerrit Cole sidelined, the Yankees face a crucial decision regarding their starting rotation. One name generating excitement is Luis Gil, who is making a strong comeback from Tommy John surgery.

At just 23 years old in the 2021 season, Gil was a revelation, pitching to a stellar 3.07 ERA across six starts. This included a remarkable streak of three consecutive scoreless outings, proving his potential and contributing significantly to the Yankees’ playoff chase. Fans eagerly await his return, hoping he can solidify the fifth starter slot.

However, relying solely on internal options presents a gamble for General Manager Brian Cashman. Even before Cole’s injury, acquiring another starting pitcher was a consideration, highlighting the team’s perceived need for added depth.

This gamble is compounded by recent developments. The pursuit of Blake Snell ended without a deal, and the Yankees’ primary trade chip, Dylan Cease, was already sent to San Diego. With these options off the table, New York’s window for immediate reinforcements shrinks.

Further muddying the waters is the impending free agency of superstar outfielder Juan Soto after the 2024 season. The Yankees’ front office faces a complex dilemma – how much to invest in the current push for a championship while keeping an eye on the future and the potential acquisition of Soto.

The Yankees may be forced to adopt a wait-and-see approach, similar to their strategy with Cole’s injury. Spring Training performance and the overall health of their starting pitchers will heavily influence their decision-making. The team must weigh the immediate need for a proven starter against the long-term benefits of developing their young pitching talents like Beeter and Warren.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

One thought on “Behind the scenes of Yankees’ rotation roadmap with Cole sidelined

  1. To me, Gil has the edge. He’s on the 40, has started a few games so this staff knows his psyche, he is now healthy, and has seemed to add a 3rd pitch that can at least be used enough to be a legit show pitch.

    The above being said, I still want Gil as my closer starting next year.

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