Last week we asked you to submit questions to our new Yankees mailbag. We ended up receiving questions on Twitter, through email, and in the comments section. We received too many questions to answer them all in one go, so don't feel bad if I missed your question. Check back next week and another staff member might answer it.
@dougo357 asked: Did the Yankee players have an issue with Refsnyder's attitude last year and if so what will make this year different?
The idea that Rob Refsnyder might have an attitude problem first came up back in August when Mike Francesa mentioned it on his radio show. There was some speculation that Refsnyder had been sent down after a handful of games around the All-Star break because of his attitude, and that this explained why Stephen Drew was continuing to man second base.
As far as I know, none of the Yankee players actually discussed Refsnyder's attitude. Brian Cashman was asked about the truth of this rumor after the season ended, and he denied that Refsnyder had an attitude problem, saying he wasn't there long enough to rub anyone the wrong way. We'll probably never know whether the rumor was true, but if it is true then the demotion back to Triple-A might have done him some good.
Siriusrooney asked: All baseball prediction for Yankees start with the "if the Yankees rotation can hold up" disclaimer. I know it is impossible to predict baseball, and even more impossible to predict injuries, but do you think the Yankees rotation will actually hold up and if any injuries happen, will the swingman (presumably Nova) and the cavalry from AAA (Mitchell, Cessa, Green et al) be able to hold the fort?
Barring any spring training injuries, the Opening Day rotation looks like it will consist of Masahiro Tanaka, Nathan Eovaldi, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino and CC Sabathia. Brian Cashman is saying that Sabathia's spot is not locked in and that he'll have to compete for the fifth spot with Ivan Nova, but that is hard to believe.
Unfortunately, all five of the projected starters spent time on the disabled list at some point last season. Severino hit the DL with a right middle finger injury back in May, Eovaldi finished the season with right elbow inflammation, Sabathia had a flair up in his degenerative knee, and Tanaka and Pineda both experienced forearm strains. There's a very good chance that some (or all) of these players will have injuries again this year. Sabathia's knee condition is never going to go away, and Tanaka's torn UCL will always be a cause of concern.
As for whether Nova and the Triple-A players can hold down the fort if injury does strike, I would lean towards no. This is where the loss of Adam Warren starts to hurt the rotation depth. Nova had a rough 2015, though there is the hope that he will pitch better in his first full season back from Tommy John rehab. Luis Cessa's ERA hovered around 7.00 through 62 innings pitched in Triple-A last year, and Chad Green has never pitched above Double-A. Bryan Mitchell has not inspired much confidence during his stints with the team, but we'll see what happens. If the rotation does break down, Cashman might have to work a few Brandon McCarthy-esque trades.
96onCHROME asked: Due to the Yankees refusing to engage in the FA market prior to the season, what moves do you foresee the team making midseason? Buying/Selling? And in either case, what assets do you think the team will give away/acquire?
Since the Yankees have been so adamant about not spending money on free agents, and trying to reduce the overall payroll, it really seems like they won't budge until some of the bigger contracts come off the books. I can't imagine Cashman trading for anyone with a hefty contract, but I don't think he will give away any big chips either. If the Yankees are in the basement near the trade deadline then maybe he would flip someone like Aroldis Chapman (or one of the other soon-to-be free agents) to a contender, but even that seems unlikely.
I expect Cashman to stick to the same game plan as he has for the last few years and look to make small improvements without giving up too much. Rotation depth appears to be the biggest area of concern at the moment.
NYCKING asked: Attendance-O/U Yankees pass 3 million and is it 1st game NYY have game below 30K announced at current YS?
I'm going to take the under. The Yankees finished 2015 with a total attendance of 3,193,795, and attendance has dropped for several seasons in a row now. I was somewhat surprised to discover that attendance did not drop below 30,000 during any games last year, though they did come close. On April 29th, attendance was 30,055, and on September 9th it was 30,038. I don't necessarily think that this team is any worse than last year's, but the StubHub thing might end up having enough of an impact that attendance dips once again.
If we didn't get to your question it's possible that we will get to it next week. Be sure to submit questions for our next round of mailbag answers in the comments section below or shoot us an email at pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail.com!