For as enthusiastic as every fan might be about the potential decision, DFA'ing Aaron Hicks would be a sticky situation for the Yankees to finalize. It would cost nearly $30 million. It's probably still necessary. But the trepidation around cutting Hicks loose is obvious, and it's no wonder they've explored alternate options with available roster spots every time they've been forced to (Franchy Cordero goes down, Oswald Peraza "rehabs," Willie Calhoun crosses his fingers).
But what if we told you there was an obvious struggling Yankee who's presence on the roster isn't tied to a large financial sum? What if that obvious struggling Yankee, who made the roster as the 26th man to start the season, had been usurped on the depth chart by several wild card options who made the roster after a rash of late-spring injuries? And what if that obvious struggling Yankee had already been cut loose once before, only to return again for another round of fixin'?
Nope. Unfortunately, that obvious struggling Yankee is the pitcher who gets chosen to appear in bases-loaded jams against the AL East leader.
Albert Abreu is the bad relationship that Brian Cashman just can't quit. He's the dog that pees on the rug, pees in the foyer, and pees in the laundry room that leaves the Yankees saying, "Sure, but he probably won't pee over here. And, even if he does, he's got an electric fastball."
Forget Abreu's former top prospect status. Forget his velocity. His velocity should, in fact, be a bigger red flag rather than an argument in his favor; nobody with a 99 MPH heater should pitch like Ryan Weber.
Yankees reliever Albert Abreu needs to lose roster spot again
And yet, here we are. Abreu found his way back to New York last summer after unsuccessful stints in Texas and Kansas City. Matt Blake (or the people pulling his strings) couldn't shake the notion that he might be able to unlock the swing-and-miss that had been absent from Abreu's game.
He hasn't. He probably can't. And, when Tommy Kahnle returns, Abreu's lack of options shouldn't factor into the conversation whatsoever. Ian Hamilton has become indispensable, a borderline closer. Jimmy Cordero has been exactly what the Yankees believed he could be, more or less, when they sat and waited through his Tommy John rehab (lowest WHIP on the team!).
When Luis Severino returns (ideally soon), the Yankees can make the obvious move and demote two-pitch hurler Jhony Brito to Triple-A to continue to refine his arsenal. When Kahnle comes back, there might be a demote-able swingman on the roster (Greg Weissert?) who can ride the shuttle effortlessly.
But, the next time someone needs to lose a 40-man spot, it should be Abreu, whose recent streak of implosions has been perfectly in character, despite the Yankees' brass wishing consistently that he was someone he isn't.