The Yankees gave a troubling update on injured ace Luis Severino on Monday, with manager Aaron Boone saying Severino didn't feel right while long-tossing and has been sent back to New York for a second MRI.
Severino, whose first MRI revealed right rotator cuff inflammation but no structural damage, was not expected to return until May. Now, that timeline will almost certainly be pushed back.
If the Yankees get good news after the MRI, Severino will likely be cleared to resume his throwing program. If they get bad news, it'll be a different story. Either way, it's fair to believe the Yankees should be looking to bolster their rotation with the uncertainty surrounding Severino.
Here are five options, though only one might be available immediately...
The Giants dangled Bumgarner during the offseason and after starting the season with a 3-8 record, it won't be surprising if they make him available again. That might not happen in April, but expect there to be noise about the pending free agent if the Giants aren't in contention.
Bumgarner, 29, battled injuries in 2017 and 2018 and isn't the shutdown pitcher he was from 2013 to 2016, but he is still very good. He had a 3.26 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 129.2 innings last season and has opened this season by posting a 3.32 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 19 innings (three starts).
Another promising thing for Bumgarner is that his fastball velocity has been remarkably consistent from 2016 to 2019, which lends credence to the belief that he can regain his dominant form. If he's made available, the question then becomes whether the Yankees have what it takes to get him.
The 31-year-old Keuchel remains on the free agent market, and reportedly wants a one-year deal that will pay him more than the one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Astros he turned down during the offseason or a long-term contract at a lower salary,
While Keuchel has taken a step back from the dominance he displayed in 2015, he was still solid in 2018 -- posting a 3.74 ERA (3.69 FIP) and 1.31 WHIP in 204.2 innings, though his strikeout rate continued to dip (down to 6.73 after being 7.72 in 2017).
Combine the dip in strikeouts with the alarming amount of hits Keuchel allowed last season (211 in 204.2 innings) and the fact that his fastball velocity has always been relatively low (he averaged 89.3 MPH last season, nearly identical to the 89.2 MPH he has averaged during his career), and you get a pitcher teams might be wary to make a large investment to.
The Astros and Padres are among the teams who have reportedly shown interest in trading for Stroman, and the Blue Jays could potentially make him available later this season.
The Jays have started the season 3-8 and are not expected to contend. That could make the 27-year-old Stroman a valuable trade chip. Stroman had a down 2018 as he dealt with shoulder issues, but had a 3.09 ERA in 2017 and has started this season by posting a 2.41 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 18.2 innings (three starts).
Stroman, who is earning $7.4 million this season, has one more year of arbitration remaining and is eligible for free agency after the 2021 season.
The 32-year-old Roark isn't the most attractive option, but he has been very solid throughout his career -- with a 3.61 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in seven seasons with the Nationals and Reds, with whom he signed a one-year deal worth $10 million this offseason.
The Reds, who also added Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Sonny Gray this offseason, aren't tanking -- so there's no guarantee Roark will even be available. But if he is and the Yankees are still dealing with uncertainty pertaining Severino, they should inquire.
Gonzalez is already under the Yankees' control, but he has an April 20 opt-out in his contract he can exercise to become a free agent if the Yanks don't add him to their 25-man roster by then.
If he's in the majors, Gonzalez can earn $300,000 per start, with a maximum total of $12 million this season. But Yankees GM Brian Cashman has suggested he prefers to go with the Yankees' youngsters.
It also doesn't help that the 33-year-old Gonzalez -- who had a 4.57 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in 145.2 innings last season for the Nationals -- got tattooed in his first start for the Yanks in Triple-A, allowing eight runs in 4.0 innings.