Good morning everyone, your answers to this week’s mailbag are right here. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.
Andrew asks: The Yankee game on 8/25 was PPD due to rain and rescheduled as a doubleheader on 8/26. Both teams were off on 8/27, wouldn’t they each have preferred playing on 8/27 instead? The Yankees have a lot of doubleheaders coming up so I can’t imagine they wouldn’t have preferred spacing out the games if possible.
There are pros and cons to the decision. Spreading out the doubleheader to two games over Wednesday and Thursday would have lightened the load on that day, but in the overall week I actually think it would’ve hurt the Yankees. First, considering that doubleheaders are only seven innings this year, it actually lessened the strain on the pitching. Second, with the other doubleheaders already on the schedule, playing on Thursday would have messed up the Yankees rotation. Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka split the doubleheader starts, and can attempt to do again on Sunday, thought it’d be short rest. If Tanaka went on Thursday instead, that wouldn’t work.
Jesse asks: What would it take for the Yankees to fire Boone this year? Which (if any) pitchers do you think Cashman will bring to the Bronx this deadline? Why won’t the Yankees give guys like Clarke Schmidt a chance?
We’ve got a smorgasbord of questions in this one. Let’s go through them in order.
I think we should pump the breaks on the “fire Boone” idea. There’s definitely been some questionable decision making that has come back to bite Boone this year, and a couple of instances like Gerrit Cole being annoyed about being taken out of a game and Aaron Judge arguing not to go on the IL have given the notion that Boone might be losing the locker room.
I’ll believe that when I see it. Boone has hardly made the kind of mistakes that would warrant a departure from the team. I’ve been critical of his performance so far, but this is far from a predictable year and I wouldn’t stake his short-term failures as an indication that he’s unfit to run the team.
As for which pitchers Cashman may be targeting at the deadline, a better question may be which ones aren’t being targeted. The Yankees need help in their rotation, there’s no doubt about that, and there’s a handful of pitchers being floated on the trade market. If the Yankees want a controllable starter that will help the team beyond 2020, Mike Clevinger or Marco Gonzales would be smart targets. If it’s a rental, Mike Minor or Kevin Guasman could be feasible. The Yankees tend to put more value on the long term, so I would personally guess that Gonzales would be the option to go for, since the Mariners are clear sellers.
Finally, Clarke Schmidt has been a hot topic of late. He impressed plenty of fans, as well as the coaching staff, when he took the mound in summer camp, and the need for pitching could certainly be filled in by him. What’s holding Schmidt back, however, is a roster spot. Since he’s not on the 40-man roster, the team is delaying on calling him up. It’s possible that a trade opens up that slot, since it would probably take a couple of pieces to get a valuable starter, but that might then make calling Schmidt up a non-necessity.
A lot of this depends on how the team handles J.A. Happ’s spot in the rotation as well. Should he fall out of favor, then two spots would be open for Schmidt and a trade acquisition, but Happ has already made his feelings about the Yankees potentially manipulating his innings clear. Happ’s vesting option is one of the few murky cases that wasn’t simply scaled to the amount of games like players’ salaries have been, so outright saying they’re manipulating his contract isn’t something we can do at this time, but I’d hardly say the Yankees have an innocent background when it comes to this situation.
Aryeh asks: As of today, the Phillies are two games back in the NL wild card race. Didi is having a typical, good, Didi season. What would it take to pry him loose from the Phillies, bearing in mind he is once again a free agent after this season?
Much as the Yankees could use Sir Didi right now, I have my doubts about whether the team would bring him back just to cut him loose again in the winter. I don’t think they burned any bridges or anything like that, so it theoretically remains possible, but that may not be what’s best for either side. Regardless, let’s consider a world where the two want to get back together.
I’ve used Baseball Trade Values as a resource for this scenario. They estimate Gregorius’ median value to be worth about $2 million, which is pretty cheap but fair for a rental. Assuming that the Yankees could deal out of their surplus of young pitching prospects that just aren’t ready yet — and also that the Phillies could desperately use some bullpen help — I offered Albert Abreu straight up for Gregorius and the deal went through. It was a slight overpay with Abreu valued at $2.8 million, but one that the Yankees could more than afford. That should be a fair asking price for 20-plus games of Gregorius’ services plus the potential postseason, and it wouldn’t hurt the Yankees’ assets angling for a larger starting pitcher deal either. Get ‘er done, Cashman.