With Opening Day less than two weeks away and Luis Severino officially out until May, the Yankees have a major decision to make on how to handle their starting rotation.
Manager Aaron Boone has announced Masahiro Tanaka as the Opening Day starter, followed by James Paxton and J.A. Happ, but after that still remains a mystery.
CC Sabathia is also not expected back until mid-April, but because of the off days built into the Yankees' schedule, they really only need one spot starter to fill the void until Severino returns.
Here are the Yankees' options:
Cessa appears to be the most likely option at the moment, pitching the best out of any of the other starters this spring. The 26-year-old carries a 0.69 ERA this spring, allowing just one run on seven hits and a walk while striking out 13 batters in 13 innings thus far. He earned Boone's praise after his most recent outing on Thursday.
"I feel like he has a real good idea what he's doing right now...and executing," Boone said. "Another exciting step forward for him."
The righthander took the mound on Friday and entered the game with a 2.35 ERA, allowing three runs, two earned, on eight hits and a walk with 12 strikeouts through 7.2 innings pitched this spring. German, 26, started 14 games for the Yankees last season and flashed some potential but struggled with consistency, posting a 6.19 ERA as a starter.
The 24-year-old righthander, who is the No. 2 prospect in the Yankees' farm system, was probably the frontrunner to fill in for Severino earlier this spring but he has struggled in his four appearances (three starts). Loaisiga has allowed 11 runs, 10 earned, on nine hits and six walks in nine innings of work for a 10.00 ERA. He had a cup of tea with the Bombers last season, starting four games but his spring struggles may keep him off the team on Opening Day.
Boone used an opener -- a reliever to start the game -- just once last season but the Yankees manager sounds open to embracing it as an option in April with his deep bullpen.
"I could see it being something we consider from time to time," Boone said last week. "I don't see it a lot, but yeah, I could see it coming into play on certain occasions."
Jonathan Holder started for the Yankees on Sept. 24 last year and was followed by Stephen Tarpley, Sonny Gray (two innings), Chad Green, David Robertson, Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and Zack Britton. It is possible he carries one of the three aforementioned pitchers to toss two or three innings in this scenario.
SNY's John Harper wrote that the Yankees should pursue the veteran left-hander earlier this month when Severino was first scratched from his start and Gonzalez is still on the market as of Friday. The 33-year-old would not only fill in for Severino, but would be a reliable arm in the back-end of the rotation that could provide innings and also make the Yankees' rotation even deeper.