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How Gerrit Cole's Injury Could Help the Yankees

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is out for at least the first month or two of the season, according to the latest injury reports. Given the Yankees’ tendency to be a bit cagey about their players’ health, fans can only hope the reports are accurate. Until Cole is back on the mound, the Yankees' starting lineup will be a cause for concern, but there is a not unlikely scenario in which Cole’s health scare ends up making his team better.

With Cole at least temporarily out of the picture, New York’s front office has to be thinking twice about its starting rotation. Marcus Stroman seems poised for a solid year, but the futures of Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes Jr., Clarke Schmidt, Luke Weaver, and Cody Poteet are all uncertain. Maybe a couple of them will do well, maybe they won’t, but no reasonable person should feel especially confident about these five starters. Hopefully, GM Brian Cashman is a reasonable person these days.

Despite the setback with Cole, the Yankees have an opportunity to turn a frown upside down. Earlier in the offseason, some fans hoped Cashman would acquire another starter. At various points in time, it seemed like that starter could be Dylan Cease, Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, or Corbin Burnes. As of now, two of those options are off the table, but there’s still time for Cashman to make a move.

If the Yankees, either via a trade or free agent signing, added at least one more reliable starter to their rotation, the team may actually end up in a stronger position than they would’ve been if Cole never got hurt. Maybe, just maybe, Cole’s injury can serve as a wake-up call to New York’s front office. The rotation, even with Cole, is filled with question marks. Add another name to the mix and with a bit of luck, the Yankees could be looking at three or four solid starters to carry them through the postseason, assuming Cole returns in time, and assuming Rodon or Cortes Jr. is able to have a comeback year.

Perhaps this is a naive wish. Maybe Cashman stands pat and doesn’t think it’s worth adding another starter if Cole is only sidelined for a couple of months. But up until news of Cole’s MRI, there hadn’t been any significant chatter about the Yanks seriously pursuing another starter (Blake Snell’s agent whispering into the ears of reporters doesn’t count). Although he ended up being traded to San Diego, rumors of a possible deal for Dylan Cease suddenly resurfaced. So there is some reason to believe that Cashman isn’t done yet.

Of course, this is the same Brian Cashman who earnestly believed that a team with Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Aaron Hicks, and Joey Gallo in its starting lineup was “championship caliber.” After last season’s historically awful performance, this year is do-or-die for Cashman, at least in the eyes of Yankees fans. He would be wise to do all he possibly can to get this squad ready for the postseason, and that means adding another starting arm, as soon as possible.

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