I put out a call for more Ask PSA questions yesterday, and many of you kindly obliged. Keep in mind that other editors might answer others at a later date. So here are four questions facing the Yankees!
P_ETE asked: How will the Yanks deal with Luis Severino when he's back healthy? They can't put him back in for Ivan Nova as long as Nova keeps pitching like he is.
The Severino situation is not exactly an easy one. He is due to make a rehab start in Triple-A Scranton this weekend, and if that goes well, then Joe Girardi will have a decision to make. Keep in mind that this is, of course, a good problem to have since Nova has exceeded expectations in the rotation since first filling in for CC Sabathia and now Severino. It's certainly still a small sample, but Nova has always been a very streaky pitcher. If he' looks sharp, it is best to ride the storm out until he falters.
Even though he rebounded from a disastrous beginning to the season with a decent start on Sunday, my pick to go to the bullpen would be Michael Pineda. He just has not looked the same since May of last year, and until another spot opens, it makes the most sense to relegate him to long relief duties. Severino didn't make matters easier because he also got off to a terrible start in 2016 and Girardi did not totally attribute that to his triceps injury. I would still trust him more though since he's so essential to the team's future and young players should be given the chance to work out April/early-May kinks.
As it stands though, if everyone is healthy, I think Girardi will just decide to put Severino in the bullpen or keep him in Triple-A. Maybe he could sell it as a chance to ease back into a regular role while everyone else takes their turn, particularly since Pineda did have that recovery Sunday. I hope I'm wrong, but we'll see. I'd rather them have to make a decision like that than deal with another injury.
Pat Scopelliti asked: What is the latest news on the Yankees massive 2014 International spending spree? How are these players performing so far? Where are they playing? And of course... was it worth signing them?
I actually wrote a full update on the headliners from that 2014 spending spree at the end of last August. I've seen this question a lot in the comments, so consider this my go-to plug. Not much has changed since then, as most of those players are so young that they would not even be in full-season ball yet. Expect a good chunk of them to report to one of the short-season teams in Staten Island or Pulaski once those start up shortly after the draft. Also, I would definitely say it was worth signing them. Almost all of those prospects were 16 or 17-year-olds, and those are very difficult to project, even among the most talented. It's akin to buying a large number of lottery tickets, and the New York Yankees can afford to take that risk.
There are a couple quick updates to, well, that update though. Wilkerman Garcia was one of the more exciting names in that haul, and he received some nice prospect praise prior to the season from Baseball America and MLB.com. However, he is currently on the shelf with a shoulder injury, so like when Jorge Mateo dealt with an injury in 2014, fans will have to wait a little while for him to make his season debut (he is currently assigned to Pulaski). Hoy Jun Park was the elder statesman of that group at 18, so he's more advanced than the rest of them. Now age 20, he played well last year in Pulaski and is currently hitting .243/.344/.382 with a 111 wRC+ in 36 games with Low-A Charleston, splitting time at shortstop and second base. Baseball America ran a nice feature on Park late in 2015; keep an eye on him.
Aidan Ridings asked: With rumors circling that we will trade Aroldis Chapman at the deadline is there any possibility we keep him?
While I think that there is a decent case to dealing Chapman even if the team is in contention for a playoff spot since the bullpen is a big strength anyway, the most likely scenario still has him on the team in August. Neither the AL East and Wild Card race seem like they will have any clear-cut standouts, so if the Yankees can continue their winning ways and move even just a handful of games over .500, the team won't sell. Chapman is key to the team's strategy, so if they are in contention, they will want him around for a potential playoff run.
TommyJohn asked: What do we think of Ronald Torreyes? I’m looking to him as a guy who could be one of those uber utility players for a few years, someone who will be so good that whenever a regular is slumping, the fans will chant "Give Torreyes a shot," even though he’s really not quite that.
Torreyes is another nice, sneaky little addition by the front office to the organization. You are right to say that he is not really a starter, but that's not a knock on him! Teams need useful bench players; most of the Yankees' championship squads also had solid reserves to fill in when needed. Since Torreyes can play several infield positions and even cover right field in a pinch, I like having him around. I simply don't expect too much of him when he's at bat, and when he does come through like his two-run triple the other day, it's vintage Luis Sojo excitement. If his bat falters too much, then he enters Ramiro Pena territory, but the early results are good.