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How Can the Yankees Deal With Gerrit Cole’s Absence?

The Yankees Need to Find a Replacement for Their Star Pitcher Who’ll Miss 1-2 Months Due to an Elbow Injury

The Yankees’ Struggles Continue

Opening Day is in under two weeks and MLB news outlets confirmed that the Yankees’ best starter, reigning AL Cy Young Gerrit Cole, will miss 1-2 months with an elbow injury. The news comes at a difficult time for the Yankees as they just had their worst season in 30 years.

Cole visited well-known surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who agreed with Yankees team doctors in their initial evaluation and explained that there is not a tear in Gerrit Cole’s UCL, which means that he will not need surgery.

How Can the Yankees Deal With Gerrit Cole’s Absence?
Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees | Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

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Cole’s Impact on the Yankees

The 33-year-old right-hander has been one of the most durable pitchers in the majors since the start of his career in 2013. Cole has not missed a game for something other than COVID since 2016, when elbow inflammation landed him on the injured list twice. He missed around six weeks in total.

The Yankees have a very high-risk, high-upside rotation around Cole, who they’ve leaned on as a stabilizing force the last four years. Manager Aaron Boone relied on Cole to dominate every five days, sparing the bullpen and pretty much guaranteeing a win!

Carlos Rodon, Marcus Stroman, Nestor Cortes, and Clarke Schmidt complete the rest of the starting rotation, and all have either injury and workload concerns or are coming off disappointing seasons.

The Gerrit Cole stats also point to the obvious: no other Yankees pitcher is on his level. He went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 209 innings over 33 starts last season, recording 222 strikeouts, two complete games, and two shutouts to win his first Cy Young award.

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How Can the Yankees Replace Cole?

Losing Cole for any period of time hurts, but the Yankees still have options to replace him. Dylan Cease was the perfect solution but the Yankees didn’t want to trade top outfield prospect Spencer Jones to get him and now the Padres traded for him.

The obvious solution is two-time Cy Young winner Blake Snell who is still a free agent. Snell was lights out in his last 23 starts, posting a 1.20 ERA, and he’s capable of replicating Cole’s numbers in the upcoming Yankees games. Snell’s asking price could be an issue, it explains why he’s still a free agent.

Former Yankee Jordan Montgomery is another great option. He was dominant in the postseason, helping the Rangers win the World Series and he’s still a free agent. Michael Lorenzen is also worth a look. Lorenzen was an All-Star last season and threw a no-hitter against the Nationals on August 9. He would add much-needed depth to the NY rotation.

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