2. Clarke Schmidt
Ahh, the good old days of spring training 2020. Clarke Schmidt was carving up hitters and looking like a Rookie of the Year threat. The offense was clicking. Only the most paranoid among us had ever Googled “coronavirus.”
Unfortunately, Schmidt’s momentum was halted by something far beyond his control, and he’s never regained it. A few Alternate Site outings last season, an MLB debut in a high-leverage relief situation (???), and a spring training injury latter, and we’re still waiting for the impact (as well as his first real pitches of 2021).
All that said … why trade him now at the lowest value he’s held since his pre-draft Tommy John surgery rehab ended?
At some point this offseason, the Yankees might’ve been able to parlay Schmidt into a Lance Lynn trade or an equivalent No. 2 starter. If they’d been able to polish that off, they wouldn’t have regretted it whatsoever, confident that they’d maximized the return and traded potential for production. Even if, say, the ace they’d acquired had bombed, the process would’ve been sound.
That said … it’s not as if this team is dripping in MLB-ready pitching. What do the Yankees gain from including Schmidt as a secondary piece now in a trade at his lowest value? If he can’t headline a package, why utilize him that way when this team needs all the arms it can get? If he’s currently rehabbing, wouldn’t it be a better idea to see what he can provide in August and September rather than stapling him onto a Kyle Gibson deal?
In the right trade, of course Schmidt should be available. But he shouldn’t be shoehorned into one.