The New York Yankees need an infusion of minor-league talent in the absolute worst way, and appear to have made a play for three separate sparks on Wednesday morning. According to sources, infielder Oswaldo Cabrera, outfielder Estevan Florial, and bullpen favorite Ron Marinaccio are all on their way to the bigs.
In order to complete that infusion, though, the Yanks will have to make a flurry of corresponding moves. To bring Marinaccio back, specifically, somebody from the bullpen had to suffer an injury of some kind, lest the Yankees have to make a difficult DFA decision with Albert Abreu or Lucas Luetge.
Fans have long had their eyes laser focused on Clay Holmes, as his release point has dropped and his ERA has risen. Whether injured or not, Holmes could certainly use a break, but also … something must be wrong, right? Relievers don’t forget a year’s worth of lessons in a snap and become mechanically unsound.
Holmes’ recent struggles, capped by another devastating blown save at Fenway Park on Friday night and featuring at least one earned run allowed in four of his past five outings, had many begging for a “Phantom IL” stint, otherwise known as a semi-fudged “injury” that would allow Holmes to take a much-needed breather.
It’s not … it’s not a “lie,” per se. Something is clearly wrong with Holmes. But, until the 10-Day Mental IL exists, teams have to be a bit more clever when removing struggling pitchers from the active roster.
After Tuesday’s game, Holmes addressed the media and revealed that (gasp!) his back locked up on him recently, and he struggled through a bullpen session this week. While delivering the news, he couldn’t contain a smile, giving a non-Oscar-worthy performance to say the least.
Yankees closer Clay Holmes is borderline smiling while talking about the IL
Is Holmes’ back really injured? It’s highly possible! Again, the sudden deviation in his numbers starting on July 9 indicates there was an inciting incident of some kind. Holmes didn’t just forget how to command his sinker midway through an All-Star campaign.
But why now? The move is happening now because the Yankees needed a clever way to get Marinaccio back from Triple-A. He’s going to immediately absorb high-leverage innings as soon as he returns from the minors, which is a pretty solid sign he shouldn’t have been down there in the first place.
Holmes didn’t seem to be too concerned about a long-term issue while speaking to the media Tuesday. Maybe that’s because he’s felt pain like this before, and knows it’ll dissipate if he takes 10 days off. Or maybe it’s because he memorized the Yankees’ script and started grinning because he knew just how silly this all was.
Either way, Holmes seems like an excellent closer under pressure, but a subpar actor. Look at him shuffling nervously side-to-side and giggling! If the Knicks can get fined for tampering with Jalen Brunson, surely somehow MLB can ding the Yankees for this, too.