Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon and Marcus Stroman Tasked With Transformational Roles for the New York Yankees in 2024

Yankees 3 tasked with getting back to postseason

Opening Day 2023 saw Gerrit Cole at the top of an already depleted New York Yankees rotation that also featured that day: Domingo German, Johnny Brito, Clarke Schmidt, and Nestor Cortes, Jr. Injuries had claimed Luis Severino, Frankie Montas, and Carlos Rodon before the season even started. According to Peter Brody of, “the group as a whole finished the season in the bottom-third of the league in fWAR (9.2) while narrowly avoiding the bottom third in ERA (4.44) and FIP (4.50).” For the starting rotation and the team as a whole, 2023 was a disappointment.

Fast-forward to January 2024, the Yankees have Gerrit Cole in the rotation, now the American League unanimous Cy Young Award winner, and he is currently projected to be followed by some familiar names and one new name: Carlos Rodon, Marcus Stroman, Clarke Schmidt and Nestor Cortes, Jr.,  and then several possible candidates for the fifth starter spot: namely, Clayton Beeter, Will Warren, Luke Weaver, Yoendrys Gomez and Luis Gil.

Cole’s role in leading the Yankees staff in 2024 is undoubtedly to improve, if possible, on an already impressive resume. Cole went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA and 222 strikeouts in 33 starts. Randy Miller of wrote that “he was first in ERA, innings, starts, quality starts, opponents’ batting average against and WHIP, second in winning percentage, third in wins and strikeouts.” (10/09/2023). Cole improved on the number of home runs he gave up, from 33 in 2022 to 20 in 2023. In November, he noted to Bryan Hoch of that he is focusing on command of his off-speed pitches for the upcoming season. Fans are eager to see how Cole sustains his hall-of-fame career numbers in 2024.

If Cole lived out his dream in pinstripes in 2023, Rodon lived out his nightmare. He started 2023 on the Injured List with a left forearm strain, and he was injured until July 7th, when he was activated. His ERA in July was 5.75, rose to 6.23 in August, and peaked at 8.10 in September. In August, he battled a left hamstring strain that sidelined him for 15 days. Injuries and ineffectiveness marred his season. Randy Miller of (10/9/2023) wrote, “Rodon’s whole season was such a catastrophe that Yankees management has to be worried sick that it made a terrible $162-million investment.” Given the Yankees aggressive campaign to land Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Rodon’s status as the number two starter would appear to be in question. Since the Yankees failed to land Yamamoto, Rodon is once again in the spotlight as the number two starter, and fans are eager for him to rebound with a healthy Spring Training and an improved performance in 2024.

Marcus Stroman and the Yankees began to be news about the second week in January, and in short order, Stroman was signed to a two-year $37 million contract with the Yankees. Fans were shocked because Stroman’s relationship with the fans and the Yankees would seem to have been strained in past years as he had hopes of becoming a Yankee that went unrealized. He had bickered with and blocked many Yankee fans on X, but none of this mattered to the Yankees’ front office, which had previously made an offer to National League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell that had been rejected. Stroman thus takes the number three spot in the 2024 rotation. Stroman is a top-ground ball pitcher, currently second in the league with a 56.7% ground ball rate. He keeps the ball in the ballpark. He was announced this week and will wear number 0 for the Yankees.

Stroman also adds some swagger to the starting pitching role. Greg Joyce of the New York Post, “Marcus Stroman agrees to Yankees deal to bolster rotation” (1/11/24), reminds us that in 2021, Stroman tweeted, “Besides Cole, there’s no current Yankee pitcher who will be anywhere in my league over the next 5-7 years. Their pitching always folds in the end.” While Stroman’s observation has turned out to be right, Yankee fans will hold his feet to the fire in 2024 if he fails to live up to expectations to improve this rotation.

Cole, Rodon, and Stroman will lead the Yankees’ rotation in 2024 and must perform at their highest levels in order for the Bronx to become “the Mecca of baseball” that Cashman called for after the team acquired Juan Soto. The team failed to reach the postseason in 2023, and the World Series was nothing but a spectator sport. It is up to the big three of the starting rotation to transform the narrative in 2024.

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