2. Stephen Ridings
Stephen Ridings either needs to be protected on Friday or traded out of the organization on Wednesday or Thursday. It’s that simple. Enough is enough.
Ridings, currently off the 40-man, feels like the Yankees’ latest attempt at a Whitlock mistake — except, unlike in Whitlock’s situation, they know exactly how his stuff would translate to a big-league opportunity, considering they fostered one themselves just a few months ago.
The 26-year-old former substitute teacher starred for the 2021 Yanks during the early-August period where the season began to turn around.
Sure, Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo helped, but we’d rather credit Ridings. Sounds better. Plus, he earned it, tossing five innings and whiffing seven men with a 1.20 WHIP during a critical stretch against the Orioles, Royals and Mariners.
Of course, Ridings disappeared nearly as soon as he arrived, heading to the minors before coming down with an “elbow injury” on the same night Luis Severino “couldn’t get loose” before his “final” rehab start. What a night that was! At the moment, we still don’t know the condition of Ridings’ arm … which was also the case with Whitlock when he was swiped midway through his rehab, thanks to some top-notch Red Sox scout catching his workout in an Instagram video. Cool.
Leaving Ridings floating in the breeze instead of protecting him (and adding him to the 60-Day IL, in a worst-case scenario, next winter) would be a huge mistake. If the Yankees are scared off by his injury issues, deal him in an under-the-radar package. If they’re not, keep him on board.