Yankees Jumping Over Hurdles: Options And The 10-Day DL


The Yankees, like all MLB teams, will be dealing for the first time with a new rule that eliminates the 15-day disabled list, reducing a player’s time on the DL to 10 days. The impact of the rule change on the team could be significant.

The Yankees, like most teams, have probably used the Disabled List (DL)  at times as a means to “park” a player, usually a pitcher, who needs a blow or has been ineffective in a couple of recent starts. They can then skip over the player while recalling a fresh arm from their minor league system.

Over the years the Disabled List Rule has been enforced by MLB using mainly the honor system. If a team says a player is injured and unable to play, they put him on the DL, and no one blinks or says he isn’t injured. That is about to change, or at least MLB is saying it is.

Maybe Cashman will place himself on the DL at some point.

MLB has been aware of the practice, and when the new round of negotiations sprang up recently, the owners insisted that the rule is changed to what we have now – the 10-day DL. Their hope is that teams will now be forced to be less “creative” in the ways they manipulate using the DL.

Case Study: Possible Impact On The Yankees

Ten days is not ten games and that’s important to remember. Because depending on a pitcher’s regimen, he might be lost to the team for only one start, whereas the old rule guaranteed at least two starts.

It all depends on what a team is trying to accomplish by putting a pitcher on the DL. Assuming the Major League Police Force doesn’t intercept them, the Yankees, let’s say, have noticed a sluggishness in Michael Pineda‘s last three starts.

They have James Kaprielian all warmed up and ready to go at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. So, they “diagnose” Pineda with a “tired” arm, recall Kaprielian, give him two starts and then option him back to the minors. This game of tag is played all the time by every team.

Dealing With The Options Rule

Again using the same illustration, the Yankees can simply send Pineda down to the minors, recall Kaprielian and go from there. But in a similar situation, they could not send Dellin Betances, Tommy Layne, Aaron Hicks, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, Chris Carter to the minors because they are out of options and the Yankees would have to expose them to the waiver wire and possibly lose them to a team that claims them.

More from Yanks Go Yard

By looking at the players on this list, you can see that the Yankees are in a pickle if they decide to give the right field job to Aaron Judge over Hicks because they would need to keep Hicks as well or risk the chance of losing him forever.

Similarly, if Chris Carter had options remaining, he could be dumped to the minors and replaced with a more productive player. As a sidebar on that, it might be interesting to watch the Yankees do that if only to see if another team claimed Carter, wouldn’t it?

It gets complicated, but it just goes to show the complexity behind Brian Cashman’s job when it comes to utilizing the DL, as well as the composition of his 40-man roster.

On the matter of the roster, currently, the Yankees are considering using Tyler Wade as a replacement for Didi Gregorius at shortstop. But one thing working against Wade is the fact that he is not on the Yankees 40-man roster, meaning that Cashman would have to subtract a player before he can add Wade.

What’s interesting, though, is that neither Aaron Judge or Tyler Wade have control over any of this. And yet, their baseball future is on the line as to whether or not they have a job with the team to start the 2017 season.

And in the case of Carter, a precious spot on the roster is being taken by his presence.  Presumably, the Yankees were aware of the specifics with both Hicks and Carter when they acquired them. Now, though, the chickens could very well be coming home to roost.

And with all the young talent at the Yankees disposal, is it not possible that a glance or two is not made toward Carter and Hicks as the team suits up for the day in the clubhouse and a couple of the kids wonder to themselves, “Really? Him and not me?”

The team, and especially Cashman, has its hands full dealing with other issues. But the fun of managing a roster over 162 games and six months is just beginning. Maybe Cashman will place himself on the DL at some point.