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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 8/18/22

Clay Holmes to IL; Call-up fever hits the Bronx; Predicting October; Digging positives from a slump; Dellin Betances retires

MLB: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Trade Rumors | Mark Polishuk: Clay Holmes mentioned that he was experiencing back spasms after Tuesday night’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, and on Wednesday afternoon he was officially placed on the 15-day IL. For the first half of the year, Holmes legitimately looked like the best reliever in the game, but he has struggled mightily over the last couple weeks. With his recent string of solid appearances, one would imagine that Aroldis Chapman is going to once again assume ninth-inning duties with Holmes on the shelf, but there might just be someone coming up from the minors to help offset what is sure to be an impactful loss for the bullpen...

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: There were some rumors floating around after the game last night, but they were officially confirmed on Wednesday. Minor leaguers Estevan Florial and Ron Marinaccio have returned to the big league club, and prospect Oswaldo Cabrera is making his big league debut. To make way for the youngsters, the aforementioned Holmes was placed on the IL, and Miguel Andújar and Tim Locastro were optioned to Triple-A. This team is in desperate need of a spark on offense and some, er, relief in the ‘pen, so expect this trio to assume a fairly big role almost immediately. Cabrera in particular is one to watch, as he has been on an absolute tear in Triple-A since coming off the IL. Here’s to hoping they can spark something in this team.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Kristie is a writing machine! In her second feature in today’s roundup, she discusses the kind-of-bizarre spin that the Yankees are currently putting on their recent stretch of bad play. After a brutal stretch in which they’ve lost 11 of their last 13 games, it would be easy for any team to cave in on itself, and while that’s still entirely possible behind-the-scenes, the team isn’t letting on. After Tuesday night’s loss, both Jose Trevino and Aaron Judge talked about how they still believe in this club, and the MVP frontrunner went on to say that a rough patch like this has the potential to make them tougher down the stretch. While Yankees fans are firmly in “we’ll believe it when we see it” mode, it’d be great if Judge were right about this one.

FOX Sports | Jake Mintz: There is no debate that the last few weeks have been some of the ugliest baseball we’ve seen in recent memory. Just as the blazing hot start the Yankees got off to this year was amazing to watch, this recent stretch is equal parts hideous. Is it time to panic yet? Jake Mintz has us covered, recapping the key ingredients that have led to this slump — injuries, underperformance at the plate, and a leaky bullpen — and suggesting that perhaps the Yankees are neither as good as they looked at the start of the year, nor as bad as they currently look. It’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, but at least it’s a sobering one for both sides of the “Is this team actually going to do any damage in October?” debate.

MLB Trade Rumors | Darragh McDonald: To end this morning’s news, let’s pour one out for one of the most popular Yankees of the 2010s. Dellin Betances rebuilt his career from a failed starting pitching prospect to a game-changing reliever. From 2014-15, he was particularly filthy with a 1.45 ERA, 2.05 FIP, and 266 strikeouts in just 174 innings (13.8 K/9). Even after that peak, the man continued his excellent multi-inning relief and ultimately made four All-Star Games in a row as he led a generation of “fireman” relievers who proved to be more valuable than the classic one-inning closers. Betances was an absolutely essential piece in Joe Girardi’s most dominant bullpens. At his best, no one could touch him.

Sadly, the injuries came in 2019 and just didn’t stop as Betances’ command only got worse. Betances only made it into 13.1 innings between 2019-21 with both New York teams, and per Jon Heyman, he has retired rather than continuing a comeback bid in the Dodgers’ system. We at PSA only remember Dealin’ Dellin fondly and wish him the best of luck in whatever comes next.