Trying (And Failing) To Make Sense Of Ryan Over Refsnyder

This was supposed to be a long post analyzing the decision to send Rob Refsnyder down and keep Brendan Ryan up on the active roster.  I was going to try to be fair and rational and logical and come up with an explanation that made sense for the team and the players involved.  But after thinking about it for the last 18 hours or so, I can’t do it.  I can’t.  I really don’t have the energy or the desire to try to rationalize this move, and after 18 hours I still can’t figure out why the Yankees made it.

No matter what way I try to look at the decision, it doesn’t make sense to me.  Keeping Ryan over Refsnyder makes the team weaker and worse than it was before.  Refsnyder might not have the defensive flexibility that Ryan does, but he looked good enough at second base.  Wouldn’t the team be better off with him at second and Stephen Drew on the bench as the utility infielder?  …

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Should Bryan Mitchell Be Sent Back Down To Work As A Starter?

If there’s one place the Yankees could really stand to add some depth before the trade deadline, it’s the rotation.  We’ve been through the talking points a million times already this season, so nobody needs to be reminded of why that is or what the concerns are.  The bottom line is that the Yankees have multiple concerns in their rotation with over 70 games to play and their organizational starting pitching depth is not what it was at the beginning of the season.  That being the case, let me ask this.  Does it make sense to send Bryan Mitchell down to Triple-A to stretch back out and work as a starter?

Based on what we’ve seen in his 9+ Major League relief innings, the quick answer is no.  Mitchell’s already plus stuff has played up as expected out of the bullpen.  He’s been firing mid-high 90s heat and a nasty curveball, and along with Adam Warren and Chasen Shreve he’s helped to stabilize and even solidify the Yankees’ middle relief.…

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Report: Refsnyder To Stay With The Big League Club After The All-Star Break

Take this with whatever quantity of salt you desire, but according to John Harper of the Daily News, the Yankees are not planning on sending Rob Refsnyder back down to Triple-A after the All-Star break.  Instead they will keep him up with the Major League club, presumably as their new starting second baseman and bare minimum as part of a second base platoon with Stephen Drew.

This report comes on the heels of the Yankee decision makers speaking in vague, non-committal tones about Refsnyder’s future over the weekend.  Cash said there were no plans for him beyond last weekend when he was called up, and Joe told reporters after Sunday’s game that the team would use the break to discuss options and make a final decision.  If this report is indeed true, then it would appear as though the team liked what they saw from Refs on Saturday and Sunday and are finally coming to the realization that they can’t continue to trot Drew out at second base every day.…

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Yankees Announce Post-ASB Rotation Order

The Yankees finished up a 4-2 homestand and a pretty solid final first half turn through the rotation yesterday.  Their diminished former ace pitched well enough to win on Wednesday, their new ace and backup ace looked like aces on Thursday and Friday, their recovering TJS guy continued to show some positive signs in his battle to regain his pre-surgery form on Saturday, and their young development project turned in his 9th start of 3 ER or fewer in his last 10 yesterday.

The Yankee rotation has had no shortage of concerns and conversations surrounding it this season.  From injury concerns to workload concerns to performance concerns to concerns over who should and should not be in it.  After a first half of spot juggling, injury replacing, extra rest days, and harsh realities, the team already has its plan mapped out for the start of the second half.  Per Dan Barbarisi yesterday morning:

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Projecting The 25-Man Roster At The Trade Deadline

By now, almost everybody has had a chance to catch up on the big story to come out of last night, that being the Yankees’ decision to send Adam Warren back to the bullpen.  They announced that Nathan Eovaldi would make the start tomorrow, effectively removing Warren from the rotation and sending him back to where he was originally supposed to be.

The argument for why Warren deserved to go when he’s outperformed former fellow starters CC Sabathia and Nathan Eovaldi is both a valid and unnecessary one, as this was always the move the Yankees were going to make.  Further beating that dead horse case into the ground won’t change the decision, so rather than dwell on it let’s move forward from it and use it as a launch pad to look ahead over the next month.

The return of Ivan Nova is what really led to the Warren decision, and depending on how you want to look at it, that return can act as the Yankees’ version of adding a starter at the trade deadline.  …

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Quick Hit: Nova Touched Up In Latest Rehab Start

It was a big night for Adam Warren last night, but it was also another important night for Ivan Nova.  He made his third MiL rehab start, second for Triple-A SWB, and this one wasn’t nearly as good as the first 2.

Nova completed 5 innings and gave up 5 earned runs on 7 hits.  He walked 2, struck out 4, and threw 49 of his 84 pitches for strikes.  I thought he was scheduled for 90 or so, so he didn’t reach that level.  His command was not as sharp as it was in his first Triple-A start, which is not all that unexpected after TJS, but as with the first 2 outings there were no physical issues and Nova came out of the start saying he felt good.

The question once again becomes what do the Yankees do next with Nova?  There was talk of him rejoining the rotation after only 2 rehab outings, but after this step back in terms of command and performance, perhaps the Yankees will rethink whatever current rotation options they have in the works.  …

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How Much Longer Should The Yankees Wait To Make More Roster Changes?

A little over a month ago I wrote a post on the importance of the Yankees using some off-days to prepare for how they could go about improving the weakest parts of their roster.  At the time they had a healthy bullpen, a good enough rotation, and a few position players (Drew & Jones) that stood out as obvious replacement candidates based on their weak production.

4 weeks later, the landscape has changed a bit.  The bullpen is now in tatters, both in terms of health and effectiveness, Jones has started to hit better, and Chris Young has slid into Jones’ spot as the painfully under-performing bench player.  Drew is still stinky and that’s a problem, but it might not be the most glaring one anymore based on his power output and above-average defensive value.  With the team in the midst of another bitter cold streak and its lack of overall depth being exposed by the National League rules, it’s time for the brain trust to get serious about what they can do to improve these areas of weakness and when.…

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On Yesterday’s Sneak Peek At The New Bullpen Hierarchy

Betances vs BAL

Dellin Betances shakes hands with a small child in a John Ryan Murphy jersey at the conclusion of yesterday’s game. Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees salvaged a little something from the weekend series in Baltimore yesterday with a hard fought 5-3 victory.  The big offensive inning in the top of the 5th is what got them the lead, but the real reason they held on to win was the outstanding relief work by the last 3 reliable men standing in the bullpen.

Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson, and Dellin Betances.  Only 1 of them was expected to be a critical part of the bullpen’s success this year, but yesterday all 3 of them shined in their new roles.  Shreve came on in relief of starter Adam Warren in the bottom of the 5th to hold the lead the offense had just given them, and did so by getting Travis Snider to fly out to end the inning.  He then returned to the mound for the start of the 6th inning and retired the Orioles 1-2-3 on a pair of groundouts and a foul tip strikeout.…

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Quick Hit: New Middle Relief Options Emerging

In the wake of the David Carpenter DFA decision, the biggest question facing the Yankees was what they were going to do to replace him as one of their regular middle relievers.  The bullpen is currently very low in right-handed relievers, with only Dellin Betances and Esmil Rogers remaining.  We saw what happens when Rogers gets a shot at filling Carpenter’s shoes and it wasn’t good, so the question still stands.  What are the Yankees going to do to make up for that lack of reliable righty middle relief?

If you go back and look at how the bullpen work has been divvied up over the last 2 weeks or so, the Yanks may have already figured out the answer to that question.  As expected, the answer lies not in replacing the lost righty relief but rather in using the high number of lefty relievers in the ‘pen to soak up the extra innings.  Justin Wilson and Chasen Shreve have both seen themselves move up in the pecking order lately and they’ve responded well.  …

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