The New York Yankees’ hopes for a championship run in 2024 has suffered a major setback.

Gerrit Cole’s elbow injury has cast a long shadow over the team’s pitching rotation. Further, reports of a visit to famed orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, have raised doubts of a serious ailment that could sideline their ace for an extended period.

The fallout from Cole’s injury forces the Bombers into a frenzied search for alternatives. With premium starting pitchers commanding exorbitant salaries, the team must weigh cost versus potential. Could a serviceable veteran like Michael Lorenzen be a surprising Plan B if a blockbuster move for a top-tier starter like Blake Snell proves too costly?

Risky Alternatives: Viable Options or Potential Liabilities?

While Lorenzen’s 2023 stats (4.18 ERA, 1.7 WAR, and 4.46 FIP) might not inspire awe, his ability to log a career-high 153 innings makes him a potential workhorse. This makes him a valuable asset for the New York Yankees if Cole misses significant time (he is reported to miss at least 1-2 months of field time).

Michael Lorenzen threw a career-high 153 innings in 2023.

The Yankees could potentially use him as a depth piece.

A 4.18 ERA, 4.46 FIP, and 1.7 WAR aren’t sexy, but it would help. Those are serviceable innings. Whether he repeats what he did last year is another question.…

— Joe Randazzo 📚📕📖 (@LibrarianJoe_) March 14, 2024

Projections by Steamer for a slight decline (4.74 ERA, 0.9 WAR, and 4.79 FIP) shouldn’t deter the Yankees entirely, especially considering Lorenzen’s affordability (Jon Heyman of The Post reported that the pitcher has declined offers in the $5 million–$7 million range) compared to top-tier free agents.

The Bronx Bombers could also turn to promising but untested prospects like Will Warren or Clayton Beeter (acquired in the Joey Gallo trade). However, Lorenzen’s eight years’ worth of experience might be the safer play in a pennant race.

As renowned baseball insider Heyman outlines, Blake Snell’s Cy Young pedigree unquestionably makes him the ideal Cole replacement. But the New York Yankees’ desire to stay mindful of the luxury tax threshold could complicate their pursuit of Snell.

This throws them in an impassable predicament considering the hefty tax implications of being penalized 110% over every dollar spent after potentially adding Snell’s $30 million+ salary.

Other options, like Michael Clevinger and Trevor Bauer, have their own baggage, making Lorenzen’s relatively clean track record (aside from his 2023 numbers) a potential deciding factor. Until Cole’s injury is fully diagnosed, the Yankees’ pitching decisions will teeter on a knife’s edge.

Tension Mounts as New York Yankees Await Test Results

Manager Aaron Boone’s comments underscore the uncertainty surrounding the team’s ace, further fueling speculation about the Yankees’ next move. If a torn UCL sidelines Cole long-term, Lorenzen could become even more appealing as a stop-gap solution. “We’re still in the gathering-of-information [phase],” stated Boone, highlighting the lack of clarity surrounding the injury.

Gerrit Cole’s consistency and dominance have been pillars of the Bombers’ recent successes. His absence could destabilize an already thin rotation and force drastic mid-season changes.

The team’s strategy now hinges on Cole’s diagnosis and their financial appetite for taking on a high-priced replacement like Snell. If cost-consciousness wins out, Michael Lorenzen—while not a perfect solution—could be the “Plan B” that keeps their season afloat.

The New York Yankees will be closely monitoring Cole’s health updates alongside Lorenzen’s potential price tag as they navigate this unexpected pitching crisis.