Starting on April 17th, the Yankees will play 30 games in 31 days. Not the kindest of stretches for a team that racked up more doctor visits than the rest of the country. Other than Nathan Eovaldi, Tanaka is the only pitcher to have 20 starts last year. Larry Rothschild is faced with the difficult task of keeping Humpty Dumpty (Oops I meant the starting rotation) together again. Rothschild said that the Yankees will be considering using a 6 man rotation at different times during April and May.
That couldn’t be a better idea. Last year the Yankees used 13 starting pitchers, and only Hiroki Kuroda had 30+ starts. Kuroda is no longer with the team, making the most durable pitcher Nathan Eovaldi instead. Nothing wrong with that, except that he is projected to be the 4th or 5th starter. Now the Yankees can help there pitchers stay fresh by implementing a 6 man rotation. That would be mean that either Chase Whitley, Esmil Rogers, or Adam Warren would be called on to pitched during April and May.
Rothschild said “It’d be nice to go through a season with five starters, but there’s a good chance we’re not going to. There’s a good chance every team in baseball won’t, so it doesn’t hurt to see who might fit in as a sixth starter…It’s something that if we need to deal with when it comes up, we will.”
The concept is great in that it is intended to keep the rotation healthy and well rested. At the same time, however, there is a potential negative. Using a 6 man rotation for a period of about a month means that there is one less roster spot for a reliever. That could exhaust the reliefs corps and counteract against its strength. The Yankees also have great depth in the bullpen this year, why not just have a shorter leash on the rotation during the stretch and let the team’s strength carry you through. Regardless how the Yankees chose to attack this situation, we are just two days away from baseball season.