Doing nothing can not be an option.
No option is classified as a slam-dunk situation, you can not miss, blaming the baseball gods if it does not work.
That is the vision in which the Yankees find themselves as they approach the deadline of July 31, fully understanding that their release requires improvement. That vision turned to Sunday in an interesting way, if nothing else, when they saw Marcus Stroman put an audition in front of them.
Stroman is not 2017 Justin Verlander, neither 2014 Jon Lester, nor 2008 CC Sabathia, to name three top-level starting pitchers of the recent season who switched teams mid-season and excelled. However, the diminutive right-hander, a native of Long Island, must merit an ultra-serious consideration from the Yankees at this time because of these two important assets: it has high potential and spans the stage and the moment.
"I know I can compete with anyone," Stroman said after losing the Yankees' 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. "He would give me the ball in any important situation."
In his first appearance since June 29, after being sidelined by a pectoral cramp in his left shoulder, Stroman allowed three runs and seven hits to the Yankees' solid lineup, walking two and striking out seven in six innings. However, that does not tell the whole story. The seven blows were broken in this way: six singles, four of them on the ground and one double. The Yankees did not even hit the wall against Stroman, or hit a flying ball toward the warning track. The specialist in ground balls (a quality that the Yankees really like) lost in a wild pitch in the fifth inning that his receiver Danny Jansen recovered in time to eliminate Gio Urshela in the home plate, only to silence the tag.
Stroman's fastball, averaging 92.7 mph before Sunday (thanks, FanGraphs), averaged over 93 mph and peaked at 95.5 mph (thanks, Brooks Baseball Pitchf / x). His slider looked particularly unpleasant when the Yankees turned 14 of them and missed six.
"I really think I always get stronger as the year progresses," said Stroman, whose effectiveness actually increased to 3.25. "I've always been a pitcher in the second half, I think I'm going to have a very special second half, my body feels very good, my arm feels very good."
(Data verification: Yes, Stroman now has a 3.37 ERA in the second half of his career compared to 4.14 in the first half).
The risk of "adjustment" occurs, as Joel Sherman of The Post recently explained, on whether Stroman, which may be extravagant and has some detractors, would get too entangled in the noise that exists here.
The Yankees will not take this important decision in a vacuum, naturally. Scouts of the Phillies, Cubs, Braves, Padres and Red Sox were witnesses of Stroman's effort. And the Yankees will surely continue to participate in pitchers like Trevor Bauer of the Indians and Robbie Ray of the Diamondbacks, as well as Stroman; They have not appeared so interested in the legend of the Giants Madison Bumgarner.
The Blue Jays, with a strong core of position players, would prefer to pitch in exchange for their pieces such as Stroman, closer Ken Giles and shortstop Freddy Galvis. Most of the Yankees' most important trading records reside in the lower levels of the minor leagues, which should not be a problem for the Jays, who consider 2020 to be another rebuilding season.
Following a strong and victorious start by Masahiro Tanaka, Aaron Boone ardently defended his initial rotation at his postgame press conference.
"I feel like he's been underestimated all year and underestimated," said the Yankees manager.
While it is not harmful to say that, we all know the pitfalls of the current quintet, and that there is no guarantee in the last effort of return of Luis Severino that will start on Monday with a game of capture. The Yankees need more options to reach their goal.
They will do something soon to loosen the grip of the press. However, it will take another three months to be fully extracted. Stroman seems a bet as good as any to achieve it.