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Yankees Mailbag: Stanton in the outfield, Schmidt’s future, and policing baseballs

This week’s mailbag goes in-depth on one particular aspect of the pitching staff.

Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/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.

BFear04 asks: Hear me out here. Once Stanton is healthy again, I think it’d solve the OF issues. An OF of Stanton, Bader and Judge make sense to me. Yet a more problematic issue is pitching with both Sevy and Rodón on the shelf, do you think maybe just maybe sending down Schmidt and calling up García would help at all?

This is a bit of a two-parter, so let’s address the opening statement first. While I’m sure most doubt that Giancarlo Stanton will be seeing much of the outfield, especially after this latest injury, the Yankees are outwardly still projecting that he will be in the rotation there. I wouldn’t be so bold as to say it solves the issue, as I don’t believe he will play the overwhelming majority of his starts in the field, but he can still be part of the solution.

Now, as to whether García would be a better fit than Schmidt, that is a difficult question. As a starter, I don’t think there’s any question — the Yankees have moved on from García in that role, and even if Schmidt is currently struggling there they won’t reverse that decision. García has gotten a chance to reinvent himself as a reliever down in Triple-A, and the results there are decent on the surface but worrisome when expecting what he could do for the big-league team. García has walked 16 batters in just 22 innings at Scranton, far from an ideal ratio in and of itself that would likely only be worse a level above. But that’s only half of the pitching conundrum, so let’s move to our next question to consider Schmidt’s role in this.

Lewis W. asks: Is it time to admit that Clarke Schmidt is a AAAA starter? Too good to improve at AAA but not good enough to succeed in the majors. If so, should he be converted Michael King-like, to a high-leverage reliever once Severino and/or Rodón return?

So while I’m not ready to give up on Schmidt as a starter long-term, it’s certainly not going well enough this year to warrant going back to him once the cavalry arrives. Schmidt saw success as a reliever last year, and given the general struggles that some of the bullpen has faced it could certainly use a boost from within. King has been so successful in his transition to relieving that it’s hard to believe the team would shift him out of the role, but that’s a high bar for Schmidt. His prior stint would easily surpass what the team is getting out of Albert Abreu currently, and his previous experience as a starter would give them some more length that the bullpen could desperately utilize.

pj asks: From what I’ve researched, MLB has been manually rubbing mud on game ready baseballs for more than a few decades. In light of the recent controversies about pitchers using foreign substances and such, shouldn’t MLB be searching for a 21st century solution to all the problems associated with these issues, and establishing a standard approach to the baseball being used?

You would think so! To be (somewhat) fair to MLB, there’s a lot of variety in what each pitcher prefers the ball to feel like. Manufacturing a ball that has a higher level of tack to it is going to satisfy some and underwhelm others. The better workaround is providing a more legal method of utilizing substances beyond rosin, as it’s clear that most pitchers want something stronger. As it stands we have one substance that is allowed, but only on certain terms, and the umpires may or may not be aware of how to police it. That’s not going to be conductive to presenting the game in a good light, and however it gets solved it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.