Yankees GM says they are 'always open to outside help' following Masahiro Tanaka's injury
Tanaka went down with 'mild' strains of both hamstrings Friday
Saturday night, the New York Yankees won for the ninth time in their last 10 games, rallying from an early 3-0 deficit to beat the New York Mets (NYY 4, NYM 3). At 42-18 (.700), the Yankees have the best record in baseball. They are 13-1-1 in their last 15 series.
The Yankees have built their MLB best record despite a rotation that has been good, but hardly great. Their starters own a 3.91 ERA, 12th best among the 30 teams. Even after adjusting for their hitter friendly home ballpark, their rotation is only six percent better than average, which is 11th among the 30 teams.
Last month, the Yankees lost sophomore southpaw Jordan Montgomery to an elbow injury, and last week it was announced he needs Tommy John surgery. On Friday, the Yankees lost erstwhile ace Masahiro Tanaka to injuries to both hamstrings. He got hurt legging out a sacrifice fly.
Following the game, Tanaka said he first felt tightness in his hamstrings in the third inning while on the mound. Running the bases in the sixth inning exacerbated things. Straining both hamstrings in one play is a very Mets injury. Fitting it happened at Citi Field, I guess.
Anyway, Tanaka was placed on the 10-day DL on Saturday and GM Brian Cashman said he is expected to miss "weeks," though a return before the All-Star break is possible. Tanaka will receive treatment over the next week or so, then be reevaluated. New York's rotation depth chart looks like this at the moment:
- Luis Severino
- Masahiro Tanaka (on DL with injured hamstrings)
- CC Sabathia
- Sonny Gray
- Jordan Montgomery (out with Tommy John surgery)
- Luis Cessa (out with oblique injury)
- Domingo German
Not great, especially with Gray pitching to a 4.81 ERA rather than pitching like the Oakland Athletics version of Sonny Gray. Now the Yankees have to come up with a starter to replace Tanaka for at least a little while. Not surprisingly, Cashman told reporters he is open to making a trade, but is more likely to stick with internal options. From Dan Martin of the New York Post:
"We're always open to outside help, no matter what time of year it happens to be,'' Cashman said. "But we also have internal options we can rely on. … It's always important to have depth, no doubt about that.''
Cashman and the Yankees did not name names when it came to their "internal options," though prospects Justus Sheffield and Chance Adams are in Triple-A, and fast-riser Jonathan Loaisiga is sitting in Double-A. The Yankees were reportedly ready to call up Loaisiga, who has a 2.30 ERA and a 54/4 K/BB in 43 innings this season, to start a doubleheader last week before a rainout changed their pitching plans.
As for the trade market, the top names on the market are Texas Rangers lefty Cole Hamels and San Diego Padres righty Tyson Ross. Now that the amateur draft is over though, teams will now shift into trade deadline mode, and more non-contenders will get serious about making their players available. Others like Chris Archer and Michael Fulmer could become viable trade targets in the coming weeks.
For now, the Yankees say they will replace Tanaka internally, which is exactly what they did when Montgomery went down. Montgomery got hurt and German stepped into the rotation. The Yankees have a robust farm system and they've solved a lot of problems internally in recent years. There's no reason to think they'll behave differently this time around.
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