The Yankees pitching depth took another hit Tuesday, as GM Brian Cashman told reporters that starter Luis Severino will need Tommy John surgery, according to media reports out of Yankees spring training.
That likely will keep one of New York’s star pitchers off the field for all of the 2020 season, the postseason, and likely the start of the 2021 season, too. Talk about a crushing blow in spring training.
Of course, few Twins fans will cry for the Yankees. New York signed another ace this winter, when they committed a record $324 million for Gerrit Cole, one of the best pitchers in baseball and apparently one of the best free agents ever.
Severino pitched 4 scoreless innings at Target Field in Game 3 of the 2019 ALDS before he handed it over to New York’s bullpen. In 2017, he was the starter opposite Ervin Santana, and he got chased early before the Yankees went a full 8 2/3 innings with their lights-out bullpen to salvage that Wild Card game.
Severino’s surgery still is bad news for an excellent Yankees team, as the primary question they faced last year was about their starting staff in October. They have built super bullpens year after year; they added to that the highest-scoring offense in the league last year, despite a rash of injuries to position players early. They are deep and they are scary, and they added Gerrit Cole.
But now without Severino and James Paxton, who had February back surgery, the rotation starts to look a lot less stable. Paxton could miss as much time as Twins starter Rich Hill, and Sevy is almost definitely done for the year. After that, they’ll turn to Cole, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ, probably. After that? Jordan Montgomery? Jonathan Loaisiga? Luis Cessa?
Now the Yankees will have to answer that question that will sound familiar to Twins fans. Do they have enough pitching to get the job done in October?