Yankees: Clarke Schmidt update more proof you should trade pitching prospects


Drafting Clarke Schmidt in 2017 despite his pending Tommy John surgery was an easy decision for the New York Yankees.

Get a bargain on one of college baseball’s top starters, wait out his rehab, and then you’ll have a top pitching prospect who will likely never have to undergo the procedure a second time. Win-win, right?

Well, when have the Yankees ever correctly evaluated a pitcher?

Unfortunately, as Schmidt’s February flexor tendon strain continues to linger and befuddle the team to no end, it seems he might end up as another cautionary tale for the team’s poor process, and a perfect argument for trading even the pitching prospects you value the most highly.

Aaron Boone and the Yankees seem to be grasping at straws with Schmidt at this point, and while the team’s manager doesn’t believe he’ll need a second reconstructive surgery, they also have no idea what’s going on.

It’s fair to assume the worst. Because even if it doesn’t materialize, the ongoing saga is still more proof that you should never pass up the chance to trade unrealized potential for an established product.

The Yankees needed to “go for it” and include Clarke Schmidt in trade packages.

Schmidt was a “sure thing,” right?

Already branded with Tommy John scars, he was among the least likely in baseball to succumb to the procedure a second time.

Well, here we are midway through April, and the now-25-year-old has lingering elbow pain from a strain that occurred nearly two months prior, and is sitting on a mystery.

Schmidt likely would’ve played a major role in a 2020 season that began on time; after all, he was the talk of spring training leading directly into an April that never materialized. Instead, Schmidt’s 2020 consisted of just three outings, his debut featuring traffic on the bases and a nonsensical high-leverage relief appearance. Another bit of joy in Yankee Land that may be extinguished before it ever began.

What could Schmidt have netted the Yankees if they were willing to discuss his inclusion in trades after 2020? Perhaps breakout Padres star Joe Musgrove, fresh off the franchise’s first no-hitter? Maybe Lance Lynn, who cost the White Sox Dane Dunning, proving Chicago knows when to upgrade from an unknown to a known quantity?

Schmidt could have been a wonderful Yankees piece, and technically this evaluation of his “career” is premature. But any fan understands where we’re coming from.

New York drafted Schmidt following a major injury because they believed they were getting a bargain, misused him and barely touched him in his lone MLB season to date, and sat on their asset when given the chance to upgrade even though they clearly valued him at no higher than a seventh starter entering 2021.

Always trade your pitching prospects. Never deviate from that mantra. Especially if you’re the New York Yankees, working on a two-decade streak of picking the wrong pitcher.