The Yankees are awesome. They are 56-29, which is a pace to win 107 games. Their postseason chances are 99.8 percent, per SportsLine.
Man, that rotation could use an upgrade. Luis Severino leads the AL with a 1.98 ERA, CC Sabathia -- who at age 37 should be like the fourth or fifth starter on a playoff team -- is very good at 3.02. And yet, the Yankees are still middle of the pack with a 3.92 ERA in their rotation.
In most years, a team with an elite ace like Severino, a ridiculous offense and almost equally ridiculous bullpen wouldn't have to worry much about the 3-4 spots in the rotation. This year is different, though. Obviously, just making the playoffs isn't good enough for the Yankees. It's the Yankees; they made the ALCS last year. This year, they have to deal with at least two other juggernauts in the Red Sox and Astros.
Worse yet, what if the Yankees had to burn Severino in a wild-card game? Would you feel comfortable with this rotation versus the Astros or Red Sox if you were Aaron Boone?
The latter is where the biggest problem lies. The Yankees gave up a pretty decent prospect package for Gray last July 31. He was supposed to fit toward the front of the rotation. After all, he's a former All-Star who once finished third in Cy Young voting and went toe to toe with Justin Verlander in a playoff duel for the ages.
Gray is 28 and doesn't appear to be injured. He's just ... bad.
Through 17 starts this season, Gray sports a 5.85 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. His strikeout rate is actually higher than it was when he was good, but he walks a lot more and gets pounded. Friday night against the relatively punch-less Blue Jays, Gray only lasted two innings, allowing five runs on six hits.
Opponents are now slashing .284/.362/.448 against Gray this year. That's not all too different from Christian Yelich's line. Making entire lineups look like Yelich is problematic, no?
While Gray enjoyed a good year in 2017, he was awful in 2016. He's now pitched to a 4.77 ERA (89 ERA+) since the beginning of 2016 in 66 starts. It's fair to say he's broken and needs to be out of the Yankees' rotation come the playoffs.
This is where the Yankees need outside help. Tanaka is coming back, but he was below average before his injury. Domingo German has a 5.37 ERA. Sabathia is 37. Jonathan Loaisiga, the 23-year-old rookie, has been good in four starts, but this team needs someone more reliable when talking playoffs.
It's July 7 and Yankees boss Brian Cashman has time to add to the rotation. Thanks to Gray falling apart, he desperately needs to. Winning 100-plus games in the regular season won't mean much if they are bounced in the ALDS with a sub-par rotation.