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Yankees Mailbag: Severino’s struggles and auditions for the fill-ins

The mailbag is turning over every stone on this up-and-down team.

New York Yankees v. New York Mets Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via 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.

Jesse R. asks: I really like Dominic Fletcher’s profile (controllable 25-year-old lefty outfielder stuck in Arizona’s AAA team because of their logjam). This is specific but what are the chances he’s available in a possible deal?

Considering that he’s Arizona’s 14th ranked prospect on MLB’s list and the Diamondbacks are surprise contenders currently leading the NL West, I think they’d be amenable to dealing from their strength. The problem there is that they’d be looking for help with their own playoff push and likely want a major leaguer in the return, so would the Yankees be willing to deal from their bullpen to get him on top of any prospect cost? I’m skeptical of the idea.

Going further on the idea, while I think that Fletcher is a player that could certainly be sought after for the long-term value he can provide (as mentioned, he still has rookie status so he’d be controllable for a long while) the upfront cost of getting him doesn’t mesh with the short-term goal. He’s still a relative unknown despite posting some solid Triple-A numbers and a decent stint with the major-league team, and that’s not a gamble that the team can afford to make right now. They need an established outfielder badly, both to hold down left field and to be insurance in case Harrison Bader misses more time or Aaron Judge’s injury lasts through the summer. Fletcher is an option, but he’s a ways down the list.

Shoducky asks: Of the four Retreads of the Apocalypse — Bauers, Calhoun, Franchy, and McKinney — which one would you keep when Bader comes back? I’m inclined to platoon McKinney with Bader to keep him healthy. Bauers could back up Riz but I don’t see a place on the bench for Calhoun or even Oswaldo moving forward. You?

Bader’s return won’t get rid of all of them right away, but of these four I think the one who’s made the most of their audition in the majors is Jake Bauers. Noah and Malachi have written recently about his adjustments at the plate, and if there’s any priority to be given on what this team needs I would focus on fixing the offense. Bauers’ outfield play is rough, but Calhoun and Cordero aren’t going to be making much of a difference out there and McKinney is a late addition to the party who I imagine will be the first sent down when Bader does return. Bauers isn’t going to step in and produce bombs on the regular, but he’s the most consistent offensive threat of the bunch.

Keiter71 asks: Curious the thoughts on Severino? Trade him at the deadline? Keep him and give him the qualifying offer? Can’t see a long term deal doesn’t make sense but you don’t want to lose him for nothing.

There was a lot of hope building off of Severino’s first two starts when he returned from the IL — the fastball was electric, he was picking his spots and executing well. In the Dodgers start and on, however, that hope has crashed down hard. There were small rumors of trades that could work with Severino as a package, particularly ones where the Cardinals had bats but needed pitching desperately, but I don’t think those scenarios are as potent anymore.

For one, the Cardinals have slipped from underperforming to straight-up bad, and Severino’s value was predicated on the fact that while he may be injury-prone, when he’s healthy he’s an ace. That’s not the case right now, and unless it turns around quickly I don’t know what his future looks like. The qualifying offer could be on the table, but that’s a lot of the budget tied up in a pitcher who may only see a third of the season regularly at this point — and though I’m loathe to use the budget as an excuse it’s clear that the front office will so I’ll work with that reality in mind. It’s possible that there’s a world where they simply test the market, and it all depends on what Sevy can get done in these next few months.

BRIAN55 asks: The change this “team” needs is not only by addition, but by subtraction. Trading the likes of New York failures as Stanton, Donaldson, Torres could bring the needed change and stability to the Yankees system. What changes do you suggest? Rotation? How about signing players with a healthy past history? How about starting a real defensively young productive infield?

So, the Donaldson discourse has been run though and I won’t bore you with the agreement that they should move on from him but likely can’t find a trade partner. Similarly, at this point people’s opinions on Stanton are rather set in stone — aside from his second half last year he’s a big bat and you either live with his flaws or can’t wait to trade him somehow (I’m in the former camp).

Gleyber Torres is an interesting target for this category of blame, however. He’s struggled in the past, at some points mightily, but to call him a failure here after the past year and a half? I just don’t see it — he’s not the elite game-changing prospect that he came up as but he’s more than found his footing as a solid regular in the lineup. Yes, he makes the occasional bone-headed play, but his defense is nowhere near as bad as it was when he was at shortstop and he’s either the third or second best bat in the fully-healthy lineup this year, depending on how you view his consistency versus Rizzo’s hot-cold streaks. Perhaps there’s a way for the Yankees to incorporate Oswald Peraza to reward his white-hot streak in the minors, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of Torres’ playing time.