If you had strong feelings for left-handed pitcher Richard Bleier, I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but he’s been traded. Designated for assignment last week to make room for the newly signed Chris Carter, Bleier was acquired by the Orioles yesterday for a player to be named later or cash. The 29-year-old pitcher accumulated a 1.96 ERA in 23 innings this year but didn’t have much of a place on the team once Tommy Layne came around.
Looking at the players that are actually in camp, the Yankees have been hit with a few injuries already. We know that Tyler Austin will miss six weeks due to a broken foot he suffered in batting practice. Mason Williams will also miss two weeks with patellar tendon inflammation. While neither sound incredibly serious or devastating to the team, these injuries will certainly be a blow to the team’s depth in spring training.
Joining those two on the sidelines now are pitchers Ronald Herrera and James Reeves. The 21-year-old Herrera was a acquired from the Padres last offseason for Jose Pirela. This year he pitched to a 3.75 ERA over 132 innings in Double-A Trenton, and the Yankees awarded him with a 40-man roster spot this winter. He is reportedly suffering from shoulder inflammation and will be out for two weeks. It certainly won’t ruin his spring, but it could cut down on our time to watch him pitch.
I only just spoke about how interesting it was that James Reeves had been invited to big league camp after the Yankees already made their official announcement. The 23-year-old lefty received attention from evaluators when he got a chance to pitch out of the rotation for a bit this season. He threw a 2.22 ERA in 97.1 innings in Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa between the bullpen and the rotation, but Reeves’ unusual delivery was what attracted most peoples’ attention. Now he has suffered a mild elbow ligament sprain and will be out three or four week, which likely means his spring training is over before it even got started.
While Reeves was unlikely to make much of an impact on the 2017 Yankees, the other three players could all see some playing time. Tyler Austin all but had a place on the team locked up before Carter was signed, but if he can stay healthy, there is bound to be an opening on the roster at some point.
Mason won’t be a big part of this year’s team, but he was expected to compete with Aaron Judge for the starting right field job. Now that competition is pretty much over and Williams won’t be seen until an extra fourth outfielder is needed.
Herrera still needs some seasoning in Triple-A, but there is certainly a chance he could be on the big league team at some point when you consider their other options. At the time of the trade, Herrera didn’t seem like much, however, he has certainly done more than expected to become an important depth piece this year. Hopefully he will be back on the mound to give us a sense of what he is capable.