You can never have too much pitching or too much depth.
It has already been reported on River Ave Blues that “C.C. Sabathia will not be ready for Opening Day as he works his way back from offseason knee and heart surgery.” Then, just today, Luis Severino was scratched from what would have been his first start of the spring. The reason? "Shoulder discomfort." The most recent update is that Severino will be shut down for at least two weeks and that it is “highly unlikely that he’ll be ready for Opening Day.”
A few weeks ago, the Yankees had, comfortably, five starters to open the season with. Right now, they are down to three.
The deep end just might be as deep as the Yankees thought.
This is the risk the Yankees took this winter. Supposed depth can go away in a flash.
Remember all the outfield depth the Yankees supposedly had last year? It vanished. 32-year-old Shane Robinson ended up playing in 25 games for the Yankees and batted just .143 with one lone home run.
Over the weekend, Aaron Hicks had some back stiffness and was scratched from Sunday's game. It was originally said that he was going to start today, but that didn’t happen. He didn’t play and will continue resting. No one seems too worried. Thank goodness.
I do wonder though, if Hicks is actually hurt, who replaces him? What depth do the Yankees have in center field?
I'm not going to harp on these things all season, but we're seeing, already, the results, or the possible results, of the risks the Yankees took by not jumping into the deep end of the free agent pool. They felt they were good enough. They felt that they didn’t need Patrick Corbin. They felt that they didn’t need Bryce Harper.
But, already two key guys, Hicks and Severino, who are supposed to be cogs that the team is built around - the center fielder and the ace starter - have been scratched from games due to injuries. It’s already been stated that Severino won’t be ready to begin the season.
The Yankees depth... the depth that made them not need to play in the big free agent market, might, just might, be evaporating. Already.
If this is the case, it's management's worst nightmare.
But, there is still a way to help the team. The Yankees can fix the pitching concern. There still is an option and it makes all the sense in the world.
Dallas Keuchel is still available. He might be seemingly trending in the wrong direction as he ages, but he is still a pitcher who logged over 200 innings last year. He is also just one year removed from a 14-5, 2.90 season. Keuchel may no longer be an ace, but the Yankees need a reliable starter - now more than ever. There is no one in the system that can provide quality starts like Keuchel can and would. No one. People tend to imply that he’s an older pitcher, but he is only 31. He was born the same year (1988) as James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka.
If Luis Severino turns out to be healthy, Keuchel would still slot in as a fifth starter, at worse. I think there is a good chance that he’ll out perform every start the Yankees currently have. At worst, he is a way better bet than C.C. Sabathia. It’s clear, already, that the Yankees need a pitcher. Keuchel is certainly a much better option than Jonathan Loaisiga or Domino German.
Again, Keuchel pitched 200 innings last year. No Yankee starter pitched 200 inning last year. Only Severino went at least 190 innings. If Luis Severino and C.C. Sabathia are out for any length of time, the Yankees would need to rely on Loaisiga AND German. The even bigger question is who do they have after that?
It's early, yet the Yankees are showing, as so many already knew, that a team's depth may not as deep as they claimed. It’s March 5, and they might already need to jump into the market.
Dallas Keuchel is not the splash I originally wanted the Yankees to make, but the Yankees need to start swimming to assure that they have the best possible chance to be the team they hope to be in 2019.