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The best rotation now resides in the Bronx

They did it. They finally did it. After eight years of trying to make Gerrit Cole a Yankee, they actually did it. Where they failed to get him in the draft and then via trade several years later, the Yankees finally succeeded in getting Cole Bronx bound.

This immediately transforms the franchise for years to come. In particular, though, it lengthens this rotation and matches it up against any other rotation in baseball. In fact, I would argue the Yankees have the best rotation in the American League, and probably all of baseball now.

Because much like adding an impact bat lengthens a lineup, adding a certified ace to a rotation shifts everyone else down a slot where they now quickly seem overqualified. Matchups on paper now seem to almost exclusively favor the Yankees.

Just having Gerrit Cole as your No. 1 starter is great, but now look at what it does to this rotation.

Luis Severino, who can be one of the best pitchers in baseball when healthy, but was probably more of a 1b type starter, now becomes the No. 2 guy. James Paxton, who most scouts thought had the best stuff on the staff is now the No. 3 starter. And Masahiro Tanaka, who the Yankees originally signed to be their ace and has certainly been ace-like at times, is now arguably the best No. 4 starter in baseball.

With a rotation like that, it doesn’t even matter who the fifth starter is, though that doesn’t mean the Yankees don’t have good internal options. At the very least you can say that spot will be earned by either Jordan Montgomery or Jonathan Loaisiga. But as of right now Happ is still on the team and German’s future is up in the air, both still options for that last spot.

What starting rotation in baseball matches up against that on paper? In the American League right now the Astros still probably have the best other rotation. But their rotation runs top-heavy. Verlander and Greinke are a great 1-2 punch, but as of right now they don’t have much more than that, and they’re also 36 years old.

Tampa Bay also has a pretty solid rotation with Snell, Morton, Chirinos, and Glasnow. That rotation has better depth than Houston but all four of those pitchers have been inconsistent. The Washington Nationals are probably best suited to matchup against the Yankees with Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin, and a likely World Series matchup. You could probably coin flip any of those number 1, 2, 3 matchups. But they don’t have the advantage of a Tanaka type at 4.

You’ll see deeper analytics into why this rotation is looking like the best in baseball, as there’s still plenty of offseason left. But for now, fans can exhale and feel really good about where their rotation sits today. So happy holidays, Yankee fans, we just got the best present possible.

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