Good morning everyone, let’s open the mailbag up for more of your Yankees questions. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.
Chuck asks: With likely more pitching injuries coming (Clarke Schmidt), were there any other free agent pitchers still available that could have been scooped up for Gardner money?
Realistically, I’m sure there are a handful of pitchers that the Yankees could’ve signed with the money that they gave Gardner. The question isn’t so much whether there are more pitchers out there, but more so are they even worth picking up. There’s no doubt that the Yankees’ depth has been challenged over the past couple of seasons, and in particular the pitching has been hit hard, but the difference in quality between the arms they could get for a million or two and the arms they already have in Triple-A isn’t that great. It’s unlikely that the Yankees could convince a worthwhile pitcher to sign on to be the seventh or eighth option, and they probably wouldn’t be worth the additional roster spot on the 40-man anyway.
#UsetheOpener!!! asks: With Gardner back, what do you think will happen with Tauchman? Not sure it would be smart to DFA him given the OF injury issues the last couple seasons but he’d likely be the odd man out if they’re committed to doing a 3 man bench.
I think that Tauchman is in a real bind currently. He’s out of minor-league options, played poorly last season, and has a very limited capability to get at-bats with Brett Gardner back in the fold. For what it’s worth, Depth Charts currently projects Tauchman to make the roster as a fifth outfielder, and it’s plausible that they keep him around in that 26th man slot for a while.
If Tauchman can hold his own through this season, he stands a much better chance of getting real playing time assuming the Yankees decline Gardner’s option. Unfortunately for him, holding onto that roster spot may not be up to his play, but rather the performance of the bullpen. If the ‘pen gets stretched too thin at any point in the year, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the team just DFA’s Tauchman to add a fresh arm to the mix.
Still, if that were the case, Tauchman might be able to fly under the radar since he won’t be getting much playing time and his recent results were less than appealing — meaning the Yankees stand a chance of holding onto him should they be forced to take this route. It’s not ideal, and it’s not guaranteed, but that’s the role Tauchman has been forced into at this point.
Midwest Yankee asks: Any chance Torres or Red Thunder takes over the third spot at some point because Boone wants them getting more ABs?
I wouldn’t say there’s no chance of this, but I don’t think this is a favorable outcome for either player. Boone has shown that he prefers to mix in the few left-handed bats that he can in the three-slot, namely the switch-hitting Aaron Hicks and Gardner when Hicks is unavailable. It’s possible that Torres or Frazier can slot in as the fourth or fifth batter, but I think that ultimately the three hole is unlikely.