The New York Yankees are currently enjoying (suffering through? tolerating?) one of the most bizarre seasons in recent franchise history.
It’s been a year marked by catastrophic failures, wild emotional swings, and eight brilliant innings followed by a singular, disastrous one that scribbles over the entire picture.
Among all the noise, there’ve been several severely disappointing performers, many of whom unfortunately can’t be replaced on a whim, as much as we might want to.
DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres have all been varying degrees of frustrating but they, uh, can’t be demoted to Scranton, despite some ill-advised calls early in the season when Torres supposedly didn’t hustle on a simple grounder.
While emotions have occasionally gotten the best of us, we’d like to think we’ve been rational about who should and shouldn’t lose their jobs — and typically, injuries seem to take care of some of the messier thought experiments, anyway, like in the cases of Clint Frazier and Miguel Andújar.
There is still a bit of dead-ish weight (or, at least, underperforming weight) on the roster, which has been difficult to deal with lately, considering how many bullpen innings have been lost.
Still, though … based on recent events, it’s hard to justify maintaining a certain long reliever’s spot in the bullpen.
Yankees player to demote: Albert Abreu
If Albert Abreu would like to display his top prospect pedigree, now would be a very good time, considering just how many of the middle innings remain available.
Abreu has vacillated between occasionally competent and, well, downright unforgivable, as he was just over a week ago when he was left out to dry by Aaron Boone as the Rays hung a 10-spot on (mostly) him in the sixth inning at the Trop.
Some of the runs were charged to Gerrit Cole, sure, but Abreu’s flat fastball and out-of-control breaking stuff led to a parade of homers that would’ve led a less pitching-starved team to make an immediate demotion. Without recording a single out, the theoretical top talent allowed four hits, two walks, and six earned runs, including a grand slam and two two-run shots. The 25-year-old has posted a 5.19 ERA and 1.154 WHIP, and briefly looked the part of a big-leaguer before faceplanting spectacularly (partially thanks to Aaron Boone!) at the world’s worst domed stadium.
Without Luis Cessa, these valuable middle innings — in blowout wins or losses — need to be soaked up by someone who we’re more confident can provide length. Like…
Yankees prospect to promote: Clarke Schmidt
Clarke Schmidt’s ready!
After 2.2 solid innings at Somerset on Aug. 5, the right-hander claims his elbow troubles are behind him, and he’ll be ready to help the Yankees bullpen as they clatter down the stretch without several of the arms they were counting on (including Cessa, who was willingly sacrificed for payroll help they ended up not needing).
I almost went Ron Marinaccio here (in controversial fashion) and advocated for reliever to get the call a la Stephen Ridings (63 Ks in 38.1 Double-A innings with a 1.86 ERA), but that’d be a tougher sell, considering they’d need to create additional 40-man room — or need another emergency COVID replacement, which seems more likely.
For now, I’ll choose the safer selection in Schmidt, who could easily be up before Sept. 1 and should provide command, control, and effortless attitude in the fifth and sixth inning whenever he’s called upon.