The task of projecting how the Yankees’ starting rotation will fare is daunting. Just about everyone’s season could go one of several ways.
Take Masahiro Tanaka, for example. He was lights out as a rookie last year … right up to the point he suffered an elbow injury that may eventually need Tommy John surgery.
And that’s the thing. Tanaka might be great again, and he might last the whole season. Or, the 26-year-old righty might blow out his arm on Opening Day today at Yankee Stadium against the Blue Jays. There’s no way to know, and it realistically could go either way.
CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda share similar concerns to Tanaka. Sabathia still is paid like an ace despite declining numbers corresponding with increasing age — he’ll be 35 this summer. He missed the final four months of last season due to a knee injury, and he carries a lot of weight on his large frame.
Pineda is younger, presumably with his best production ahead of him. But with just 13 starts since joining the Yankees before the 2012 season, there’s no way to feel confident he will pitch a full season.
The newest member of the rotation, Nathan Eovaldi, comes with the least injury or age concerns.
The 25-year-old righty, who came over in a trade that sent Martin Prado to the Marlins during the offseason, logged 1992/3 innings last season.
He also surrendered more hits than anyone else in the National League. Maybe he’ll thrive in the AL — he’s having a stellar spring — but history suggests otherwise.
Adam Warren rounds out the five-man unit, but he’s probably just holding the spot for veteran lefthander Chris Capuano. Capuano, in turn, would likely lose his spot when Ivan Nova returns from Tommy John surgery around midseason.
But who knows? Injuries could force all three to become the main options by season’s end.