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Yankees Mailbag: Luis Gil, backup outfielders, and infield adjustments

The mailbag is here to answer your latest questions.

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees - Game Two Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Good afternoon everyone, let’s open up the mailbag 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.

Jake W. asks: What the hell is up with them skipping over Luis Gil like that? I understand the game was postponed but come on ... Does this mean he’s being sent back to the minors for good or just until it’s his turn again with us?

My understanding is that despite making his debut and pitching in those three games, since he was either on the team as a COVID replacement or an emergency 27th player for doubleheaders, Gil’s service time clock hasn’t started yet. Because of this, the Yankees probably want to avoid using him as a regular member of the roster until their hands are forced. The postponed game shook things up and pushed Gil’s next start out of turn, and now Corey Kluber is returning to the rotation.

This doesn’t mean that we’ve seen the last of Gil in 2021, but it might take some shuffling in the pecking order to see him back in the rotation. Kluber showed some definite signs of rust in his rehab starts, and if he doesn’t pick up where he left off in the major-league level there may be a need for Gil to resurface. Heaney is the man on the outside now with Kluber’s activation, so it’s unlikely he gets enough of an opportunity to put himself back into the conversation with the calendar flipping to September. Speaking of next month, those two additional roster spots would make it a lot easier to call up Gil and not have to juggle a demotion for someone else.

Warran C. asks: I saw that Jonathan Davis was called up again [four days ago] to the Yankees. Based on his production since claiming him from waivers, I thought Greg Allen has done more to earn the call-up. What are your thoughts on the Yankees’ reasons to not utilize a more productive hitter, no slouch defensively either?

Davis has been called up and back down since this question was submitted, but let’s dig into this scenario for a minute — the Yankees have clearly been favoring Davis over Allen when they’re in a pinch for outfielders. Davis’ bat, or lack thereof, has been noted, and there was some noise over Allen’s short stretch of play prior to the Gallo and Rizzo trades. He hasn’t gotten much of an opportunity since, and that has baffled some folks.

Honestly though, Allen’s slight advantages with the bat don’t make up for what the Yankees have needed when Davis has been on the roster — a defensive replacement while they work Stanton into the outfield. Both players career-wise are detriments with the wood, Allen having a more fortunate run this year compared to his overall body of work, but they’re bringing Davis in when the lead exists already and they want stronger defense to hold onto it. Stanton is showing he’s more than capable to play out there, so this is perhaps a moot point, but this is the logic for why Davis has seen more recent roster time.

Byron Fear asks: If all can stay healthy I’d like to see Rizzo at first Stanton in the field and Voit at DH ... With the way Voit and Stanton hitting, they ought to play long as they are healthy and are hitting well ... Yet the real question is do you think we should re-sign Rizzo after this season. Since Torres is coming back the question is what to do with Velazquez as he is playing well. Yet in a way its good to have this problem. What do y’all think?

It’s probably too early to speculate on Rizzo’s offseason market, but if there isn’t too many bidders I could see the Yankees being interested. Stanton’s outfield prowess opens the lineup up to its current arrangement, and it’s a promising one — and it also offers insurance against another unhealthy season from Voit. The Yankees probably can’t hand out too much to Rizzo while keeping in mind the other roster decisions they have to make, so if his market heats up they more than likely stand firm at a point and let the chips fall where they will.

Velazquez is an interesting player to consider, for several reasons. Given the success he’s had, paired with the struggles Torres has gone through, it’s not inconceivable to see Velazquez continue to get starts. Its not likely, as Peter argued earlier this week, but it’s likely to be considered. The more interesting wrinkle has been Velazquez passing Tyler Wade on the depth chart — both are natural shortstops, but it’s been Velazquez getting the nod recently even though Wade has been tearing the cover off the ball this month. Velazquez’s defense has been impressive during this stint, his bat has been serviceable, and combined that might be enough to get him more looks as the playoffs approach.