We didn't actually do an official call for questions for this week's PSA Mailbag, but I scrounged up some unanswered questions from the past two months. Here are my answers.
mee15 asked: How many injuries will it take to see Refsnyder in the Bronx?
Well, the Yankees did decide to go with Ronald Torreyes instead of Rob Refsnyder, so Refsnyder seems to have an uphill battle ahead of him. It is unlikely that Refsnyder will be called up unless someone gets injured or Refsnyder starts hitting well in Triple-A (and Torreyes stops hitting). As of last night, Refsnyder has played 51 innings at third base in Scranton, and has been charged with two errors so far. He's also only hitting .220/.250/.293. Meanwhile, Torreyes has only made it into four games with the Yankees, but he's batting .500 (SSS alert) through 12 plate appearances.
There is no way that Torreyes will keep hitting like that, yet the Yankees have no real incentive to call up Refsnyder anytime soon. He has a better chance of being called up if Torreyes or Chase Headley happen to get injured. If Headley went down with a significant injury, Torreyes would likely become the starter and then Refsnyder would probably be called up to be the backup, but Brian Cashman would certainly start looking around for a new third baseman elsewhere.
el_primo_nano asked: How can people call Hal cheap when the Yankees have had a top 2 payroll for the past 10+ seasons? Since when does winning in December translate into winning in October?
I think it really depends on how you look at this. Yes, the Yankees' have the second highest payroll in baseball, but a lot of that is tied to a handful of players who were signed several years ago. For example, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez are set to make over $65 million combined this year.
Although the Yankees haven't signed any free agents to major league deals in a year, they have added a small amount of salary through trades. Depending on where you look, the Yankees only increased their salary by about $8 million this year. I don't think I would call Hal Steinbrenner cheap generally speaking, but the Yankees definitely have tightened the purse strings recently. Of course, big spending doesn't necessarily translate to wins. If the Yankees can win games and make improvements without adding free agents then that's great, but they shouldn't miss out on opportunities just because the team wants to get under the luxury tax threshold.
jarrod.spiga asked: What do you think the reason is behind Starlin Castro holding his helmet down on his head while touching each bag in his tour of the bases after hitting a home run?
I tried to do some research on this one, but I failed to find any explanation behind Castro's home run trot. I did discover that he came under fire last year after ESPN's "SportCenter" actually timed how long it took him to round the bases after he homered in Miami. Castro later said that the 30 second trot wasn't meant to be disrespectful (and it appears to have been an isolated incident). He also seems to be the player who started the Cubs' trend of rubbing their helmets during games last year.
Maybe he's worried his helmet will fly off in Eduardo Nunez fashion, or maybe he's afraid Alex Rodriguez might physically snatch it from his head. We'll probably never know.