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Yankees Mailbag: Schmidt’s dilemma, Roderick Arias, and Madison Bumgarner

The mailbag is heavy on pitching concerns this week.

New York Yankees v Cleveland Guardians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Good afternoon everyone, it’s time to dive back into the mailbag and answer some of your questions. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Douglas W. asks: My question is how weak is the Yankees pitching depth that Schmidt has not been dropped from the rotation? How many poor outings does the guy need to have before the Yankees realize that they cannot continue with him?

Clarke Schmidt has definitely not gotten on solid ground this year, struggling to get deep into games and also struggling to avoid bats. We’ve touched on how his new-found cutter hasn’t developed as quickly as the team hoped, and in general he’s leaving a lot of his pitches over the plate while losing command over his other offerings. None of this has been pretty, and while the team has gotten excellent starts from the expected regulars the other fill-ins have been a bit more hit-or-miss. So, are there any other options?

Well, not exactly. The Triple-A pitchers who are currently on the 40-man roster are Deivi García, Matt Krook, and Randy Vásquez. The Yankees gave García a shot in spring training but seem to want to pursue using him as a reliever if he comes up, and Krook has also been utilized out of the bullpen this year after coming up as a starter. That leaves Vásquez, who has only been as high as Double-A prior to this year. His initial starts this year for the RailRiders haven’t gone well either, so it’s not like he’s pushing the envelope. In short, Schmidt’s rough go about the start of the year is far from ideal, but he’s also the depth call-up and not a pitcher the team expected to start. His job is to hold the line until Carlos Rodón and Luis Severino return, and right now that’s about it.

Dan H. asks: Are the Yanks firm on keeping Arias in the lowest minors for the year, or will they allow him to advance if he has some success at the Florida complex?

It’s likely that the Yankees take it slow with Roderick Arias. The top prospect from last year’s international class, he didn’t get off to the greatest start. His debut was delayed by a wrist injury, and when he pushed to get through it Arias didn’t look so hot — a .194/.379/.370 triple slash in 31 games isn’t going to get the job done. A full, healthy year in summer ball could set Arias up for success in the affiliate leagues, and I don’t think the Yankees have much reason to push the envelope with the 18-year-old at the moment.

thor14 asks: Donaldson and Hicks for Mad Bum.


To put a little more thought into it, this isn’t the type of situation where the Yankees should be looking to offload a bad contract for a bad contract. Even if you wanted to look at Bumgarner as just a sign-on after he clears waivers and hope that Matt Blake could turn him around, there ... isn’t a lot left to work with.

Yeesh. That looks like the definition of cooked, and even with the work that the Yankees have done to be near the top of the game in identifying adjustments for pitchers, there doesn’t look like a lot to be gained here. There’s a big difference between unlocking the skill in a pitcher that has gotten relatively little exposure and poor results versus righting the ship for a veteran who has degraded in quality over time (and hasn’t exactly been willing to adjust his game anyway).

Bumgarner, for all his success in his early years with the Giants, is definitely in the latter camp now, and is better off finding a spot with a team that has nothing better to do than gamble on him.