Yankees need Blake Snell even more in wake of Gerrit Cole’s injury

Bad news keeps getting worse for the New York Yankees and their ace Gerrit Cole.

Cole will reportedly miss at least 1-2 months after an MRI on his throwing elbow revealed a ligament tear. As I suspected, he will not be ready to start for the Yankees on opening day in Houston.

For pitchers, spring training is all about the process of ramping back up to being able to throw five-to-seven innings and getting your body back into that position. That makes it very troubling to hear Yankees manager Aaron Boone tell reporters recently that Cole said he felt like he was bouncing back from his March 1 start like he had just thrown 100 pitches — Cole only threw 39 pitches over two innings.

With Cole now out for the foreseeable future, it’s a nightmare situation for the Yankees that could possibly get even worse, depending on whether it is determined that Cole needs surgery on that tear. Regardless, the best-case scenario still has Cole being out likely until May at the earliest.

Now it’s time to go get Blake Snell

I was saying before the news of Cole’s injury that I still thought the Yankees could use Snell. Now, that is especially true. 

The Yankees currently have Cole, the defending American League Cy Young winner who, when healthy, is the best pitcher in baseball. They also have Aaron Judge, who won AL MVP just two years ago. You have these two players who have been begging for the Yankees to add around them, but that has not happened over the past couple of years — at least not like the Yankees used to when they were the “Evil Empire.” They finally did that in December by trading for Juan Soto.

But the Yankees only have Soto under contract for this season. If there’s ever a time to go all in if you’re the Yankees, it’s right now. 

Look at these deals that free agents like Snell’s fellow Scott Boras client Cody Bellinger have recently signed. Long-term deals aren’t being handed out right now. The ones that are being given out are the short deals with high average annual value. That fits right into the Yankees’ current plan.

New York Yankees need Blake Snell after Gerrit Cole MRI

Go pay Snell a lot of money for this season. Put opt-outs in the deal, have a shorter-term deal with high average annual value. If Cole returns before much longer, then great — you have a rotation with Cole and Snell, the two defending Cy Young winners, at the top of it. Worst-case scenario, Cole’s injury does not completely derail your season like Judge’s toe ailment did last year, because you still have one Cy Young winner who’s a two-time recipient of the award in Snell. 

I already thought this was a must-make move for the Yankees, and that belief has only grown in the wake of Cole’s injury. I still was not sure if the Yankees were a World Series contender with a healthy Cole and no Snell. Now, they need him as either a perfect wing man to Cole at the top of their rotation — or possibly his 2024 replacement as the Yankees’ ace.

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Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter @BenVerlander.

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New York Yankees

Blake Snell

Gerrit Cole

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