Good afternoon everyone, it’s time to dive back into the mailbag and answer some of your questions. Now that we’re in the offseason, we’re going to be doing these every two weeks as opposed to weekly, so I’ll try to touch up on more of your questions than normal. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.
Anthony G. asks: Who does it make more sense to bring back: Montas, Severino, or Germán?
First to clarify, Domingo Germán is still under team control for next season, but it’s possible that the Yankees move on from him in the offseason so we’ll keep him in the discussion. The one that makes the most sense to me is Frankie Montas, and it shows in how the Yankees worked with him to return just for the single short appearance at the end of the year. There’s a relationship there that’s being built on, even if we didn’t get to see any of it due to Montas being out for nearly the whole year. He was a quality pitcher before he likely arrived in New York already injured, and since that is a risk that all three of these pitchers carry, the one with the most recent success stands out.
However, while it’s clear that he’s probably is gone, my heart wants Luis Severino to get one last shot, whether it’s as a starter or out of the bullpen. It’s just such a shame that the former homegrown ace has been battered by injuries to the point where even when healthy, he can’t perform. He was genuinely a gamechanger when he was at his peak, and I’d hate to see him in another uniform, but the odds of him finding it are just slim to none at this point.
Hankflorida asks: Do you think the Yankees will have Cabrera take IKF’s role as the player for all the positions with Peraza in the infield in a similar role, and would they have Wells on the team instead of giving him some playing time in Scranton just like they will with the the Martian when he comes back from his injury?
Well, I’m not sold on the idea that Isiah Kiner-Falefa is gone from the team, so it would be hard to immediately slide him into there. Even if we assume that is that case though, I don’t think the Yankees can entrust significant playing time to Oswaldo Cabrera unless they see him in spring training next year and see how he bounces back from this dismal season. Oswald Peraza, on the other hand, has established his floor with another solid year in Triple-A and adjusted well to the majors in September, so I could see him splitting time with DJ LeMahieu around the infield.
Now, as for Austin Wells, I outlined in the mailbag last week that the catching competition is one that’ll need to play out in spring before we know who is going to break camp with the team. It’s a toss-up whether he’ll wind up backing up Jose Trevino or starting in Scranton — personally, I’d like to see him get a chance out of the gates in New York, but I can see the logic either way.
Chris J. asks: Why is it any time I watched a game and there was any coaching going on with the pitchers in the dugout, it was coming from Cole? Shouldn’t our pitching coach be coaching occasionally? Don’t get me wrong I love that Cole does it and the man knows baseball.
This is a strange complaint to make about one of the universally praised members of the organization. Matt Blake has made major strides with the pitching staff as soon as he walked in the door, and he’s certainly a presence in the dugout during the day-to-day game flow as well. Having Gerrit Cole as a secondary coach amongst the players is just a blessing on top of the system that the Yankees have going on there (just to name another example: during their overlapping time in New York, CC Sabathia was always highly complimentary of Andy Pettitte’s advice), but this sounds like a case of just selective memory burning out Blake’s contributions.
David O. asks: What is it that makes players think they can improve over a shorter offseason than during the longer actual season? Yes, I’m looking at you, Stanton, in particular.
The offseason provides players a chance to work purely on mechanics, as opposed to focusing on scouting reports and watching video for the day’s opponent and looking ahead to who is coming into town next. It’s also the time of year where they can mess around with extreme changes without risking going into a major funk and costing their team wins, so it’s all around the optimal time to experiment. Giancarlo Stanton faces an uphill battle to get his numbers back in line, but he isn’t wrong that now is the optimal time for him to get right.