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Gerrit Cole Sidelined for 1-2 Months with Elbow Injury

New York Yankees Manager Aaron Boone removes Gerrit Cole from a Spring Training game.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Gerrit Cole would be out for one to two months of the season due to an injury.

Jon Heyman and Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post reported that reigning Cy Young winner SP Gerrit Cole will be out for a couple months to start the season. Cole has been dealing with some issues on the pitching elbow which has been affecting him recover between spring starts and throwing sessions.  The report stated that an MRI showed no tear in Cole’s UCL. This is a huge blow for the New York Yankees, but they avoided a worst-case scenario.

Without Cole, it may be time for New York to start look at other alternative pitching options either in the trade market or free agency. There’s clearly no time to waste with Opening Day right around the corner. The Yankees need a starter to fill in for Cole until he’s fully recovered. It’s a big blow for the team at the wrong time.

What’s Next for the Yankees?

It may be time for New York to start looking at the trade market or free agency to help fill in for Gerrit Cole. One option was to go all in and acquire SP Dylan Cease. It was recently reported that the Yankees had made a new proposal offer to the Chicago White Sox for Cease, according to reporter Bob Nightingale. The players involved in the package remain to be unknown. The Yankees though did make it clear that they weren’t going to part away with prospect OF Spencer Jones in the hopes of acquiring Cease. But they weren’t the only rumored teams to making an offering. Teams like the Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres also engaged with Chicago on a potential deal for Cease. The Padres pulled off the blockbuster trade Wednesday night, meaning the top trade target is off the board for the Yanks.

Another option that the Yankees could choose is to go out and sign LHP Blake Snell. There have been rumors all offseason about the team signing Snell but there hasn’t been much from the team or Snell’s camp. But the deal between both sides does make a lot of sense. Though the price will have to come to the point where both sides agree, Snell will fit perfectly with the Yanks if he lands in the Bronx. The reigning Cy Young winner has plenty of AL East experience since he pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays for five years. His only concern is his ability to limit the free passes..

Then there is plan C. If the Yankees fail to nab Blake Snell they can try to sign LHP Jordan Montgomery. That path seems less likely.

Other Alternatives

If the Yankees were to choose a different route, they can select pitchers from the farm as potential replacements for Cole. One name that comes to mind is RHP Clayton Beeter. This spring so far, he has quite looked good. In his three appearances for the Yanks this spring, Beeter has posted an ERA of 2.00, with a 3.67 SO/BB rate (11 strikeouts, three walks), 1.11 WHIP, and seven hits allowed. But, it would be too early to have him on the major league roster. Beeter needs a couple of starts down in Triple-A Scranton.

Another option is RHP Luis Gil. This spring so far, he has displayed an impressive 0.84 WHIP with 14 strikeouts in eight and third innings pitched.

Time to Worry?

As we know, the Yankees have had a tendency for injuries for quite some time now. Something has been occurring for a while, and people are noticing. The Yankees will now face a tough test in which they will have to make do without their ace. Their first test comes on Opening Day in which they face the Houston Astros. The Astros are known for having the Yankees’ number throughout both the regular season and postseason. With that being said, the loss of Gerrit Cole’s presence changes things for the entire Yankees organization. Their playoff chance may now be in jeopardy. For sure it’s going to be hard to survive without their ace. They can still find a way to survive though in the tough AL East.

The reason why there’s a decent chance the team can survive without Cole is due to the expected period of time he’s going to miss. The worst-case scenario was missing a season and a half. Fortunately, there is some optimism that Cole can avoid Tommy John surgery. But there are examples that show you can survive without your ace. The Rangers are a good example of one. Last offseason, Texas signed ace SP Jacob deGrom to lead them to a World Series title, but a Tommy John surgery cut his season short, sitting him out for the remainder of the season. Look at how that ended up: a World Series title.

The same situation applied to RHP Max Scherzer, who the Rangers acquired from the New York Mets via trade. Unfortunately, Scherzer also got hurt but carried the team into the postseason en route to Texas’s first World Series title in franchise history.

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