- New York Yankees’ SP James Paxton will be out until May or June after a back operation
- The Yankees will consider multiple pitchers and options to replace him in the rotation
- In the betting odds, New York are the favorites to win the World Series at +350
Throughout the entire offseason, the general manager of the New York Yankees, Brian Cashman, was concerned about James Paxton and his back pain. As a result, he would keep telling his staff: “Let’s just get the surgery out of the way. We’re losing time.”
Paxton was checked out by three different doctors, all who would agree with one another that his back problem could fix itself up.
“They all came to the same conclusion: No, no, no,” Cashman remembered.
However, the doctors would end up being inaccurate, and Paxton’s back didn’t heal at all, which would eventually lead him to having surgery on Wednesday — Paxton is expected to be out until either May or June.
The Yankees would announce that Dr. Andrew Dossett would perform the procedure in Dallas, and Paxton would undergo a microscopic lumbar discectomy to repair a herniated disk and take out a peridiscal cyst. New York says that Paxton will be able to start throwing the ball again at around six weeks, and could be in his first Major League Baseball game of 2020 in about three-to-four months time.
Earlier today, LHP James Paxton underwent a microscopic lumbar discectomy with removal of a peridiscal cyst. The surgery was performed by Dr. Andrew Dossett in Dallas, Texas. His approximate timeline to return to Major League action is 3-4 months.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) February 5, 2020
During the regular-season finale at the Texas Rangers on September 27, Paxton would leave the game after just one inning, and the Yankees would announce it to be because of a tight left glute muscle. Before that, Paxton was on a hot streak of 10 straight wins with his starts, which was a career-best for the 31-year-old — his injury would end that stretch.
Before the MLB playoffs kicked off, Paxton would visit with Dr. Christopher Ahmad, the head team physician for the New York Yankees, and Dr. Keith Meister, a physician for the Texas Rangers, and he would receive a dosage of painkiller in that time. In the postseason, Paxton would put up a 1-0 record and 3.46 ERA in three starts in the playoffs — in his 13 innings of action, he would allow a total of five runs.
“It did resolve. He pitched extremely well, especially in Houston,” said Cashman. “But when he started ramping up his winter program about four weeks or so ago, he started feeling symptoms again.”
After the playoffs, Paxton was examined once again, this time by Dossett. Paxton would receive more painkillers and was told to see how things progress within the next three weeks. If nothing got better, and it didn’t, well, I’ll just let Cashman explain it to you.
“It turned out clearly that that did not resolve the problem, so surgical intervention then was the last resort,” stated Cashman.
The Yankees have starting pitching depth , but losing James Paxton for the first part of the season is a rough one. And for him, it's his free agent year.
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) February 5, 2020
New York’s rotation was already hurting because of the absence of Domingo German, who is currently undergoing an 81-game suspension due to violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy — he still has 63 games of his suspension left to serve. German will be able to return to action on June 5 when his suspension expires, this assuming there aren’t any delays.
What Do the Betting Odds Say?
American East League Division
- New York Yankees | -750
- Tampa Bay Rays | +650
- Boston Red Sox | +1100
- Toronto Blue Jays | +3500
- Baltimore Orioles | +60000
American League Pennant
- New York Yankees | +110
- Houston Astros | +325
- Minnesota Twins | +700
- Tampa Bay Rays | +1200
- Cleveland Indians | +1500
- Oakland Athletics | +1500
- Los Angeles Angels | +1500
- Chicago White Sox | +2000
- Boston Red Sox | +2500
- Texas Rangers | +3000
- Toronto Blue Jays | +5000
- Seattle Mariners | +25000
- Kansas City Royals | +25000
- Baltimore Orioles | +50000
- Detroit Tigers | +50000
MLB World Series Championship
- New York Yankees | +350
- Los Angeles Dodgers | +400
- Houston Astros | +800
- Atlanta Braves | +1400
- New York Mets | +1600
- St. Louis Cardinals | +1600
- Washington Nationals | +1600
- Minnesota Twins | +2000
- Philadelphia Phillies | +2000
- Tampa Bay Rays | +2000
- Chicago Cubs | +2500
- Cleveland Indians | +2500
- Los Angeles Angels | +2500
- Milwaukee Brewers | +2500
- Boston Red Sox | +3300
- Chicago White Sox | +3300
- Cincinnati Reds | +3300
- Oakland Athletics | +3300
- San Diego Padres | +3300
- Arizona Diamondbacks | +4000
- Texas Rangers | +6600
- Colorado Rockies | +10000
- San Francisco Giants | +10000
- Toronto Blue Jays | +10000
- Pittsburgh Pirates | +15000
- Seattle Mariners | +15000
- Baltimore Orioles | +25000
- Detroit Tigers | +25000
- Kansas City Royals | +25000
- Miami Marlins | +25000
Will the New York Yankees Reign Supreme Like the Betting Odds Say?
As you see, it’s the New York Yankees who sweep all three No. 1 spots for the betting odds to win the American League East, American League and MLB World Series. So, the question is: How will James Paxton effect the Yankees’ odds? Could they see a decline?
Last season, Paxton would put up stellar numbers with a 15-6 record and 3.82 ERA, while also posting a 1-0, 3.46 ERA tally in the 2019 postseason. Needless to say, New York certainly takes a hit to their rotation with the loss of Paxton. However, there are a couple of bright spots with this injury situation.
Paxton is expected to return in either May or June, so the Yankees will have to deal without his services for four months at the most, not bad considering the situation could be worse — like season-ending worse. Another positive for New York is the fact that their pitching is already loaded. After signing a historic nine-year, $324 million contract, the largest for a pitcher, Gerrit Cole leads a rotation that includes the likes of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ.
As far as who will be replacing Paxton in the rotation, the Yankees will be looking at multiple options, including Jordan Montgomery, who would make a return last September after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Others includes the likes of Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa, as well as rookies Michael King and Deivi Garcia. New York isn’t stopping there though, with general manager Brian Cashman saying they could even use the fifth spot by combining relievers.
Montgomery put it into perspective perfectly:
“Things always happen, so the more arms you have, the better,” Montgomery would state at the New York Yankees’ minor league complex in Tampa, Florida on Monday. “I’ve got to be ready.”
“The more arms you have, the better.” That’s certainly a luxury that the New York Yankees have. So with all of that being said, don’t expect anything catastrophic to happen to the Yankees’ season and their betting odds.
You could make this situation interesting when you examine USA Today’s MLB projections for the 2020 season. The media outlet has the Yankees with a 103-59 record, while having the Tampa Bay Rays with a 92-70 record. You could make the argument that Paxton’s potential to miss four months could knock New York’s win total down a bit, bringing Tampa closer to the AL East division title. I personally think you still have to lean in the favor of the Yankees, however, because of their pitching being so deep — that’s just something that Tampa can’t compete with. It’s an interesting scenario that could play out, but I don’t see it happening that way.
So, to fans of the New York Yankees and bettors out there who have placed their hard-earned money on the Yankees in one of the wagers above (or all of them), don’t sweat it. New York isn’t just loaded with pitching, but their hitting is also powerful, per usual. The Yankees are loaded, which is why they’re placed first in the odds for each the AL East, American League and World Series.
Nothing will change there. Paxton will be back in three-to-four months, the Yankees will eventually get Domingo German back from his suspension, everything will be fine in the Bronx. The rich will only get richer as the season progresses.
Keep those betting tickets, the New York Yankees will be absolutely fine — minimal harm here.