Entering a weekend where the New York Yankees desperately needed a few wins to right the ship, 26-year-old Clarke Schmidt toed the rubber and fired spectacularly, striking out 11 men in six perfect innings while releasing a statement to the baseball world.
Unfortunately, that rubber was in Scranton, PA, and that statement was, “Please come get me, dudes, you need me up there.”
Schmidt was unceremoniously demoted several days before Ron Marinaccio joined him, serving as the corresponding move for Carlos Espinal’s (?) temporary logistical promotion as Luis Severino headed to the 60-Day IL and the team awaited some deadline reinforcements. Supposedly, this demotion was once again an effort to stretch Schmidt out and start him down the stretch, though the team doubled, tripled, and quadrupled down on Domingo German a few hours later by trading Jordan Montgomery from a position of weakness.
And so, in Triple-A Schmidt sits after wrapping his time with the Yankees with yet another three-inning, bullpen-saving effortless save against the Kansas City Royals. At the time, such a thing seemed easy to secure. But since Schmidt and Marinaccio went down, the Yanks haven’t been holding many leads of any kind. Perhaps we all should’ve been more appreciative.
Now, while the ball club wades through Albert Abreu and Jonathan Loaisiga’s struggles in the big-league pen and awaits a German start Friday night at Fenway, Schmidt is rocking and rolling against Boston’s Triple-A club, logging his best start ever on Thursday.
Yankees top prospect Clarke Schmidt should be hurling for the Bombers, not flirting with perfection with RailRiders
A brilliant, and ultimately wasted, effort for a big-league club that should’ve been all over this.
In New York these days, “minor-league options” are the most valuable thing a pitcher can have. Well, not “valuable” in the sense that the MLB club values your contributions. “Valuable” in that Brian Cashman’s favorite thing to do is shuffle pitchers around without losing them, rather than putting the best possible product on the field.
So what that Lucas Luetge is a low-upside solid mop-up guy? So what that Cashman wants to be the smartest person in the room, picking Abreu up to prove he can ultra-win a trade, only for Aaron Boone to keep throwing him out in high-leverage spots to dispel that notion? A team can’t possibly lose those assets for nothing, even if it means losing games.
And so, Schmidt sits at Triple-A with his friend Ron, who’s working on a 22.2-inning stretch with only one run allowed spanning May through Aug. in the bigs. Schmidt, meanwhile, is “stretching out” as a starter, and seems ready to twirl gems with the big boys, too.
Abreu could be DFA’d. Luetge could be DFA’d. German could definitely be DFA’d. It also doesn’t even need to come to that — Jonathan Loaisiga, slumping all year long, has a valuable option remaining, and could be demoted to work on his mechanics where the lights are a little less bright.
Nope. The Yankees have chosen to send arguably their second-best reliever to the corn field, while allowing a star young starter to twirl perfect games against Franchy Cordero (who we wish was still with the Red Sox, but isn’t). Enjoy tinkering with that AL East cushion, Cash. Tinkering over winning any day.