NEW YORK -- The Yankees have been vocal about their desire to upgrade their rotation, but there is some comfort in knowing that the group currently filling out manager Aaron Boone's starting five brought the club within one victory of the World Series last fall.
Led by Luis Severino, who established himself as an ace by going 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA and 230 strikeouts in 2017, the Yanks believe that they have a promising variety of inning-eating talent in place even if general manager Brian Cashman is unable to add another starter before the season opener.
"You look at the depth in the farm system and guys knocking on the door; we do feel like we're in a pretty strong position, but I know we're working hard to try to add where we can," Boone said.
ROTATION IF SEASON STARTED TODAY
Luis Severino, RHP
Masahiro Tanaka, RHP
Sonny Gray, RHP
Carsten Sabathia, LHP
Jordan Montgomery, LHP
Consistency is a word that comes to mind as the Yankees stick with the same five names who completed 2017, a year in which their starters ranked fifth in the Majors with a 3.98 ERA and allowed one run or fewer in 53 starts. Severino was an All-Star and boasted the American League's highest average fastball velocity, Tanaka had flashes of brilliance and Gray ranked 10th in the AL with a 3.55 ERA. Sabathia's presence is a plus, and Montgomery's workload can increase in 2018.
Will Gray be more comfortable in his first full year as a Yankee? They believe so. Gray was pitching lights-out when the Yanks acquired him from the Athletics, as he'd gone 4-2 with a 1.37 ERA in his final six starts for Oakland. The right-hander had mixed results (and little run support) during his first weeks in New York, going 4-7 with a 3.72 ERA in 11 starts, then was hit hard by the Indians in Game 1 of the AL Division Series. Gray was better when he tried again 12 days later, holding the Astros to two runs (one earned) and one hit over five-plus innings of AL Championship Series Game 4.
WHAT MIGHT CHANGE
Cashman has been working the phones to add another starter. The Yankees are thought to have engaged in some level of discussions concerning the D-backs' Patrick Corbin and the Tigers' Michael Fulmer, though no trade appears to be imminent. The Yanks could also ramp up negotiations with free-agent hurlers such as Alex Cobb and Yu Darvish, the latter of whom they would be very interested in if the price was right.