The start of the regular season for Major League Baseball is still delayed indefinitely but that doesn’t mean teams can’t’ make roster moves in the meantime. On Thursday the Yankees made the decision to option one of their top pitching prospects, Deivi Garcia, to Double-A Trenton.
In addition to Garcia being demoted the Yankees also optioned RHPs Mike King and Ben Heller to Triple-A Scranton along with INF Thairo Estrada.
Prior to being sent down King was competing for the final spot in the rotation, while Heller was fighting for a job in the bullpen. Estrada was in the mix to be the utility infielder and the primary backup for Gleyber Torres at shortstop off the bench.
As for Garcia, he was also in the mix to make the Opening Day roster out of camp as a member of the starting rotation. However, the odds were always slim considering he’s still only 20 years old and there’s no need to rush him to the big leagues until he proves he’s ready.
After struggling this spring with a 7.36 ERA in three starts over 7.1 IP it became even more clear that he needs some more time to develop in the minors. What was surprising about the news of his demotion was that he was sent to Double-A even though he finished last season in Triple-A with the Railriders.
According to Andy Martino of SNY, there’s a reason the Yankee sent him to Trenton and it has nothing to do with his lackluster performance so far this spring.
“As a source explained the move, rosters were frozen and the Yankees only had three spots at Triple-A Scranton. Those went to players with major league service time — pitchers Michael King and Ben Heller, and infielder Thairo Estrada. With Scranton full, Garcia went to Trenton. But that was only because of the service-time seniority issue.”
Martino added that he’ll still be given a chance to earn a spot on the Yankees 26-man roster or start the season with Scranton. In all likelihood, he’ll begin the season with the Railriders because he’s already conquered the Double-A level and he’s just not ready to pitch in the big leagues yet.
Last season he only pitched 40 innings after he was promoted to Scranton on July 11th and he posted a 5.40 ERA with 45 K’s and a WHIP of 1.48. Out of his eleven appearances, five of them came out of the bullpen because the Yankees were considering calling him up in September to pitch in relief.
If there is a season at all this year Garcia should get his opportunity to impact the major league club at some point, but he’ll have to earn it by pitching well at Triple-A.