By now you know all about Rob Refsnyder, likely the best second base prospect the Yankees have in their system. At the age of 23 he's hit .333/.403/.547 with 12 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A this season. The caveat is that this is only his second year as a full-time second baseman and he might need more seasoning on the defensive side of things before he's a major league option. Given their current needs in right field, the Yankees have had him playing in right field to give him another way of making the team this season, however it seems that even that is a long shot because Brian Cashman doesn't want to call him up this year.
"My preference would be to let him play the year in Triple-A...We're looking toward him more for 2015, but that doesn't mean he can't get here in 2014. But I wouldn't bet on it," said the Yankees GM. Because clearly a team looking to upgrade their roster for a playoff run would rather have Brian Roberts' .241/.306/.376 below-average batting line and the seven extra-base hits Ichiro Suzuki has collected all season. It's like they're ignoring their offensive woes and pretending like getting a league-average pitcher will just fix everything. Refsnyder could not possibly be any worse than either of them and there's a chance, yes a chance, that he's actually better than at least one of them right now.
What's even worse is that Refsnyder doesn't need to be added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft this winter, so they have nothing pressuring them to make a move. Obviously, they'd prefer to add players to the 40 who can be taken from them, like they did with Jose Campos and Slade Heathcott. That worked out well. With Manny Banuelos also on the 40, the Yankees essentially have a 37-man roster because adding any of them to the 60-day disabled list would start their service clock. Preferring to use roster spots for more players that have no use to the team any time soon is not the right move to make. Refsnyder is actually capable of helping the team right now and next year. There's obviously a strategy at work here, but that doesn't mean it makes sense.They need to adapt because they're just continuing to sink the strength of their roster with players who likely won't be able to help them in 2015.
They've obviously been impressed with what Refsnyder has accomplished this year, but if you've been hoping that he's due up any day now, Cashman put that hope to rest saying "right now I don't have any plans to call him up. That doesn't mean it can't happen." It sounds like the only way he's getting a call-up is if there's an injury. If Carlos Beltran needs elbow surgery and is lost for the year or Brian Roberts finally breaks down. If neither happen, don't expect to see Refsnyder any time soon. It's great to hear that they actually view him as a legitimate solution next year, but if they're not confident he can be better than Roberts right now, how can they be confident in his ability to outperform whatever veteran second baseman they bring in to compete with him in spring training. If they honestly believe there's a chance he could be worse than what they can bring in then they should trade him right now while his value is at its highest.
It might not be the best idea to call up a prospect and waste service time during a lost season, but if they're already hoping on him in 2015, shouldn't they give him a test run at some point just to help him get his feet wet? I would like to imagine that they're keeping him down until after the trade deadline, just in case they can get a really good deal, but who knows at this point. Maybe he gets a September call-up, maybe not. If they're honestly not interested in calling him up this year then they need to let him play second base every day and stop putting him in right field. Either way they're wasting one of their best assets right now while pretending they're just one solid pitcher away from being legitimate contenders.