With news coming out last week that James Paxton will be missing the beginning of the season, what does this mean for the Yankees?
This past Wednesday, Yankees fans received an all-too-familiar piece of news: someone important was hurt and will miss a significant amount of time. The Yankees suffered through so many injuries last season that they brought in an entirely new training staff this offseason, headlined by new Director of Player Health and Performance Eric Cressey, a widely-respected performance trainer. Between this addition and the law of averages, one might expect a stress-free season with minimal casualties.
Well, 2020 is not off to the best start in that regard. Pitchers and catchers report on Wednesday, but LHP James Paxton will not be among them. According to the Yankees’ official Twitter account, Paxton underwent surgery last week to remove a peridiscal cyst. Now I’m no doctor, but according to the tweet, he is expected to “return to Major League action” in 3-4 months. So best-case scenario, he could be back on the mound in early May.
Losing Paxton is not insignificant for the Yankees, but they should be able to hold down the fort until he returns. Paxton was expected to slot in as the number two or three starter in the Yankees’ rotation, which would have lined up as follows: Cole-Paxton-Severino-Tanaka-Happ. Because of this surgery, it is likely that the rotation will now feature Jordan Montgomery in the five slot, with everyone other than Cole moving up one.
With a healthy Paxton, this is arguably the best rotation in the league. Without Paxton, the Yankees still have two potential aces and three other starters who are at the very least serviceable. This rotation, combined with a potent offense and stacked bullpen, should be more than capable of keeping the team afloat for the first two or three months of the season without Big Maple.