The New York Yankees are entering 2019 with a World Series or bust mentality. Accordingly, it appears that manager Aaron Boone is willing to do whatever it takes to get his club there, even if it means angering a few baseball classists.
According to Bryan Hoch, Boone stated during a Spring Training interview that he would not be opposed to using an "opener" at some point during the season.
Aaron Boone said he can see scenarios where the Yankees use an “opener” in 2019, starting one of their big bullpen arms and working backward.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 6, 2019
The theory behind the opener is simple. Use a high leverage bullpen arm--of which the Yankees have plenty--to begin the game in order to face the opposing team's top bats, instead of waiting for the ninth inning when the players batting may not be as good. After the first inning, the regular starter takes over. By the "opener" logic, the first out is just as important as the last one.
Occasionally using an opener makes sense for the Yankees. With a bullpen featuring Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Zack Britton, and Adam Ottavino, the Yankees can afford to use a high leverage arm to start the game while still having another to close the game out.
However, the Yankees do have a stellar rotation after the addition of James Paxton this winter. If Boone does use an "opener," it may come if an emergency starter is called up from the minors in order to ease his burden. This may come early in the year, as Luis Severino and CC Sabathia continue to battle injuries.
Luis Severino was scratched from today's start with right shoulder discomfort. He will undergo further evaluation and examination this afternoon.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 5, 2019
If the Yankees do use an "opener," they are sure to anger many around the league. Multiple players including Madison Bumgarner have come out against the movement and a few Yankees players may push back on the idea. But if Boone believes an "opener" strategy can help the Yankees win, he is sure to deploy it.