The Yankees Make Some Moves
Today the Yankees have announced 6 moves of their players to, hopefully, bring some energy to the team. Let's talk about it.
Note: Once the official moves have been announced, that tweet will take this place.
What's Happening: Headed to the 10-Day IL with back tightness
Is This The Right Move: Yes
While the hitting was being lead by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, a large part of how Yankees started the season on-pace to break the record for most wins in a season was because of their bullpen. That bullpen wasn't perfect- Aroldis Chapman was often losing the strike zone and Jonathan Loaisiga was showing nothing of his great 2021 season- but it was held up by two key relievers. Then, the bullpen took a major hit when Michael King went down with a season-ending right elbow fracture at the end of July. King was a multi-inning threat who was atop the American League across every important relief metric. That left Clay Holmes alone.
Leading up to, and including the game where King had his injury (on July 22nd), Clay Holmes was pitching to a 1.26 ERA with 17 saves at that point in the season. Since then (which includes two solid performances at the end of July), Holmes has pitched to a 10.50 ERA with 3 blown saves. This type of shift does not just happen to a pitcher. They don't suddenly forget how to pitch like this...which is explained by the reports of back tightness.
Now, I wrote in my game recap for last night's game about how the Yankees should give Holmes some (much needed) time off and place him on the "phantom" IL. This is that move. Yes, Holmes probably has back tightness, and yes I am happy they're giving him time off. It just comes as no surprise given how every single player, and especially pitchers, in the MLB have something going wrong with them at one point or another all season wrong. (As, likely, do you and me. Just this morning my back was a little sore after my workout yesterday.) It's the right move to make to clear at least one roster spot.
What's Happening: Headed back to the MLB
Is This The Right Move: If they play him, yes.
One of my biggest critiques of the Yankees modern era has been the inconsistency in which they have given their prospects to become regular major league players. Too often we've seen players the Yankees were unwilling to give a shot have solid performances with other ballclubs in their post-Yankees years. Too often the Yankees are worried about service time manipulation instead of bringing up talent when they are ready to make a difference at the only level that counts. Too often the Yankees have been too passive on their prospects and have missed out on them being great.
Think of the guys like Clint Frazier. Rob Refsnyder. Thairo Estrada. Even when these guys were brought up they weren't given an honest to goodness chance to play. Fraizer was never given a real shot and flamed out in part due to that (the only real shot he was given was after many other failed "try-outs"). Rob Refsnyder has become a solid fill-in player for needy teams across the league. Thairo Estrada is a solid piece of the current San Francisco Giants core.
Look at the Atlanta Braves model. They are constantly bringing up new players and signing them early to deals that benefit the player and the team. Look at Ronald Acuna Jr. Ozzie Albies. Michael Harris. The player gets to cash out early in their career with enough money to last them and their children a lifetime, with the chance to get to cash out again before their peak is over. The team gets to keep around talent at a rate lower than market value, and if they're effective at doing so it will prolong times to seriously contend.
Now, Estevan Florial has not been given a chance to prove it at the big league level. Since 2020, he's played in just 15 games and started just 11 of them. He has nothing left to prove in Triple-A. In this season, he is hitting to a .286/.368/.490/.858 quadruple-slash with 14 Home Runs, 39 RBI's, and 32 stolen bases. It's time to let him get a chance to play every day and see if he can replicate numbers like these in the MLB.
The other option is to continue to push Aaron Hicks into the field. This year, Hicks is hitting to a .218/.339/.305/.644 quadruple-slash with 6 Home Runs, 32 RBI's, and 9 stolen bases. He's been worth just +0.6 bWAR in 102 games. We know he has nothing to benefit the team. Let him assume the 4th outfielder role to prep him for next year when Harrison Bader is (hopefully) ready to play center field for the Yankees. Let's see if Florial is the real deal. Give him an honest to goodness chance to prove it for once.
What's Happening: Headed to the MLB for the first time
Is This The Right Move: Probably
Oswald vs. Oswaldo. If both players work out (or even stay Yankees), it's going to be the age-old question of who is who. It is not often that two players, nevertheless two top prospects, have such close names while playing at the same level and being in the same organization. Well, unless your name is Brady Feigl, but that's such an oddity that it was absolutely newsworthy. (If you haven't read about them, take the time to do so.)
Now, Oswaldo Cabrera is the lesser of the two prospects in the Yankees system- being ranked 14th to Peraza's 3rd- but there are a number of reasons beyond just service time manipulation for why he was called up first. (Even though a large part of this is due to avoiding bringing up Peraza too early.)
First, Cabrera is a switch-hitter. Now, this definitely could be seen as the Yankees caring too much about the minute details when everything else is going wrong, but it needs to be said that the Yankees need more left-handed at-bats from the team. Now that Matt Carpenter is going to be out until the end of the season (if we're lucky), the Yankees need that line-up balance he provided. Anthony Rizzo as the lone starting lefty bat is not enough. Having a player who can switch hit in Cabrera will be nice, especially as his power has been coming more from the left-side of the plate.
Second, Cabrera is an all-around infielder. He can play second, short, and third base, which means- if the Yankees are smart- they will be able to find consistent playing time for him once he's brought up. Two days at second base, two days at shortstop, two days at third base, one day off. It's that easy as you rotate the open DH spot between Torres and Donaldson. The problem with Peraza is that the Yankees don't want to move him off of shortstop to have to find him an everyday role with the team. This isn't a problem with Cabrera.
Third, well, it is also due to service time manipulation. I believe I read somewhere legitimate that under the new CBA there are new rules about service time clocks with top prospects (though, I cannot seem to locate this exact outline at the moment). If so, it's clear why Cabrera- who is not a Top-100 prospect on any of the lists- is being moved up, yet Peraza is sticking in Triple-A. If that new rule isn't the case, well, it still holds that if brought up now his service time could use a full years worth of "clock" if he spent more than 45 days with the MLB club. Either way, it is clear that was a factor for the Yankees.
Cabrera is a good first step.
Quick Thoughts on the Other Players on the Move:
Tim Locastro: Unfortunately, speed only plays for so long. The Yankees needed a roster spot to seriously consider and try Florial in the center field role and given how left and right field are comfortably held by Benintendi and Judge (and how the Yankees won't eat Hicks' contract to get rid of him), Locastro was the obvious man out. He wasn't getting much playing time anyway and wasn't hitting either. It happens.
Miguel Andujar: A surprise move to see Andujar dropped from the team, but it's clear the Yankees do not trust or believe in him at all anymore. It is no wonder he requested a trade the last time he was sent down in early June. Again, I feel bad for Andujar because he'll also go on the list of players the Yankees screwed over and didn't give a real shot to.
Ron Marincaccio: WELCOME BACK! Yes. Good. It is no surprise to see Marinaccio back because (A) he's been very good this year and (B) the other relief option- Clarke Schmidt- is being stretched out as a potential starting option for the near future. The bullpen needs some help and I can only hope that Marinaccio is the cherry on top of a move to really spark some life back into this team across the offense and in the bullpen (which has been a disaster recently).
Note: If you were looking for the article on "How to Get Hit by a Pitch", that was moved to Thursday's 4:00 PM slot to make room for this more up-to-date news.