1. Clarke Schmidt
Is there a genuine chance Clarke Schmidt gets left off the Yankees’ postseason roster?
Was there a genuine chance of him getting demoted midway through the summer, even as he continued buzzsawing his way through three-inning saves? It didn’t seem like it, until it happened.
For whatever reason, despite a 2.82 ERA, 1.196 WHIP, 51 Ks in 51 innings in an unfamiliar role, Schmidt still seems to be walking the razor’s edge in the Yankees front office’s eyes. The Statcast data backs up his performance, though he could stand to induce a few more chases … wait, oh, sorry, think I figured out why he keeps yo-yoing.
His July demotion was a matter of minor-league options, just like Ron Marinaccio’s. Marinaccio will certainly be staying through the end of the season and into the playoffs. Schmidt? Well, he still keeps getting used in strange places. The middle-innings of a four-game sweep attempt against the Twins. The late innings of blowout wins against the Rays and Brewers (though the last one got tighter, in part because of a two-run shot Schmidt allowed in his “audition”). Schmidt’s appearance in the middle innings of a tight game at Fenway, blowing Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and JD Martinez away, feels like the exception rather than the rule in terms of usage patterns.
If Domingo Germán is in the postseason bullpen to soak up the middle innings, and if Scott Effross and Zack Britton need roster spots, maybe Schmidt goes back to minor-league limbo at some point over these next few weeks. And if he leaves, would the Yankees really go down and grab him again?
It’s not a guarantee. It’s just something to ponder, considering how often this year it’s felt as if fans love him more than the Yankees do.