1. Clarke Schmidt
At this juncture, we’ve lost too much of Clarke Schmidt to remain optimistic. Want a brutal, no-holds-barred assessment? Deivi Garcia has already been allowed to flounder, and has lost the vast majority of his trade value.
Schmidt? He’s not a centerpiece anymore, but he hasn’t fallen quite so far. Largely because he’s been unavailable, but … still.
About to turn 26, Schmidt was effective in his 2021 rehab (2.10 ERA in six Triple-A outings, alongside 32 whiffs in 25.2 innings). He couldn’t capture the lightning at the big-league level, though, and looked almost nothing like the pitcher who plowed through 2020 pre-pandemic spring training. In one start against the Mets down the stretch, as well as one relief outing, he posted a bloated 2.53 WHIP.
Yeah, it’s a small sample size, and yeah, we’re using the eye test, but … did any of you see “it” during Schmidt’s September start against the Mets? In what could’ve been a showcase, he was instead mostly barely holding on.
If Schmidt’s going to get a legitimate shot at a big-league rotation spot before he turns 27, it has to come this season. The Yankees have treated him almost as poorly as Garcia, bringing him into high-leverage relief spots and stopping him from breaking camp with the team when he should’ve in 2020.
He has yet to backslide quite as prominently, though, so now might be the time to take advantage on the trade market. Will he be the Yankees’ No. 5 this year? Unlikely. So let him have a shot elsewhere.