Note to self: Stop defending the Yankees' procedural roster moves, because even the most obvious wins could have a bit of a dumpy ... what's the opposite of a silver lining? A black cloud? A gray ... lining?
When Jhony Brito was demoted after Sunday's excellent start, it was widely acknowledged as an obviously good piece of roster maneuvering. Old-school fans worried about chemistry and tied themselves in knots trying to figure out how infuriated Brito might potentially become, but real ones knew this ... was perfectly normal. Teams in need of bullpen help, and with a well-timed off day, demote pitchers with options, no matter how well they performed, only to eventually call them up when needed.
Unfortunately, the Yankees' plan does come with a baked-in flaw. Shoutout to the people who cried over the initial demotion. You weren't on to something, but now you can take a victory lap.
Unless an injury occurs in the interim (and, let's face it, an injury could very well occur in the interim), the Yankees can't call Brito back up until April 18, due to the 15-day rule for bringing players back from the minors. That means that, while a fifth starter isn't needed during this turn through the rotation, the honor will probably go to a "bullpen game" the next time through the rotation before Brito can be brought back.
That will probably ... tire out the bullpen once again, yes.
Yankees force themselves into "bullpen day" after demoting Jhony Brito
So ... they demoted Brito to get additional bullpen help during a lengthy stretch without the need for a fifth starter, but they're also going to have to reserve some of that bullpen help heading into a "bullpen day," which could've been started by Brito? Do we have that right?
Having middle relievers like Ian Hamilton and Colten Brewer available for bullpen depth will be extremely valuable for the time being. When those two have to be held out of games (along with Albert Abreu, probably) in order to reserve them for the "all hands on deck" game by design, though, that advantage will be somewhat neutered.
Hopefully, for Aaron Boone's sake, the Yankees continue clicking and go on a run where the bullpen is rarely asked to cover innings five through nine.
Considering how likely it is that No. 2 starter Clarke Schmidt will need early relief help, though, perhaps he should've been the one demoted instead of Brito.