Will the Gerrit Cole injury change balance of power in AL East?

While the Orioles know they will begin their season without either right-hander Kyle Bradish or lefty John Means in their pitching rotation, they now also know that the New York Yankees will begin the year without 2023 American League Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole.

Cole and the Yankees got some good news this week, in that his elbow ailment seems limited to inflammation and no surgery or procedures will be needed. But reports say he will miss one-to-two months or as one report put it, as many as 10-to-12 weeks.

If it’s on the long side of things, he could be out until around mid-June give or take a week or so. The Orioles play the Yankees four times from April 29-May 2 and three times from June 18-20. But more than the potential seven games he could miss between the teams, it’s the nearly half-season of games he might miss.

Since 2020 with the Yankees, Cole has gone 51-23 with a 3.08 ERA and 1.011 WHIP and is consistently among the best pitchers in the game. He has twice finished second for the Cy Young award and been in the top five six times.

Last season he was 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA and 0.981 WHIP with 222 strikeouts. He was a unanimous winner of the Cy Young award with the O’s Bradish finishing fourth in the voting.

Before this news, the PECOTA projections had New York winning the AL East this season at 94 wins and had the Orioles for 86.

With a rotation currently minus Cole of Carlos Rodon, Marcus Stroman, Nestor Cortes and Clark Schmidt with no clear No. 5, does New York make another late spring addition? They were rumored in on right-hander Dylan Cease before he went to San Diego.

New York could make a last-minute play for a free agent with Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery still out there. But their luxury tax situation is such they would have to pay a 110 percent tax on any signing. So even signing a pitcher for one year at $30 million would mean a $63 million actual payout. That might be too pricey even for the Yankees.

I wasn’t buying the Yankees as AL East favorite even before the Cole issue and this news doesn’t help said Captain Obvious.

During the year all teams have to deal with injuries. For the Orioles and now the Yankees too, their rotations will begin the season with neither at full strength.

Player props for 2024 season: The sports wagering site betonline.ag has set some over-unders for individual players for the upcoming season.

Here is where it stands with a few Orioles.

* Adley Rutschman for batting average (.275), RBIs (77.5) and homers (20.5)

* Gunnar Henderson for runs (95.5), RBIs (80.5) and homers (27.5).

* Anthony Santander for homers (27.5) and RBIs (90.5).

* Cedric Mullins for steals (29.5) and homers (16.5).

* Corbin Burnes for wins (13.5), ERA (3.10) and strikeouts (207.5).

* Grayson Rodriguez for wins (11.5).

* Craig Kimbrel for saves (26.5).

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