Being swept by the Red Sox and losing eight of nine to them this season is bad enough. Still believing the Yankees have a shot at a Wild Card berth is even worse.
And yet, here we are. The Yankees next host their fellow cellar-dwellers, the Nationals. One would hope the alleged “Bronx Bombers” find a way to muster some offense, but who knows? Manager Aaron Boone seems more desperate at each press conference and the front office has finally grown “frustrated.”
There is simply no life in the Yankees clubhouse, even with Aaron Judge playing with a bum toe. The lineup is himself, Gleyber Torres, and a ragtag cast of contact hitters and role players. Not exactly an inspiration to suddenly spark a big run out of nowhere, is it? Even Boone has said his team needs to be “unbelievable” in order to even be in the playoff picture.
Well, maybe the Yankees need to go the 2016 route, punt the season, and let the kids play. Remember, that’s what started Aaron Judge’s career as well as Gary Sanchez slugging 20 home runs in just 56 games. We’re officially at the point where the Yankees have nothing to lose playing their youth.
In which case, if general manager Brian Cashman ever pulls the trigger, the following moves would be a good start.
Dump Billy McKinney, recall Everson Pereira. Pereira is the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect and has turned lots of heads this season. Most recently, he’s hit .316 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and has 18 home runs across two levels, including this 476-footer. Call him up, and he slots perfectly into left field.
Adding the 22-year-old Pereira is easy enough too. Billy McKinney’s second tour in New York was fun, but he’s “banged up” and streaky at the plate. Call Everson Pereira to the show and send McKinney off with some kind words and a handshake.
Transfer Anthony Rizzo to 60-day IL, recall Andres Chaparro. This move is a bit unconventional as Rizzo continues to recover from a concussion. However, with the season all but lost, it’s probably better for him to focus on his health and look towards next year. Furthermore, transferring him to the 60-day IL opens up a roster spot.
Enter Chaparro, who’s had a low key great year in Scranton. He’s slugged 23 home runs with 75 RBI and a .805 OPS. Chaparro also has an impressive line of .244/.335/.470. His wRC+ isn’t the best at 98, but it’s practically late August and the Yankees are sub-.500. Let the kids play.
Dump Greg Allen, recall Oswald Peraza. The Yankees need to make a decision about Peraza sooner or later. He’s batting .268 in Scranton and just had back-to-back three-hit games. And yet, New York’s brass seems gun shy because he hit a meager .179 in 19 MLB games this year.
It also might be tough to get regular ABs for Peraza in the Bronx. Anthony Volpe is locked in at shortstop and Isiah Kiner-Falefa has been a serviceable utility player. Either way, better for him to get the roster spot than another journeyman in Allen.
Dump Luis Severino, promote Randy Vasquez. The Yankees have waited all season for Luis Severino to look like an ace. His 7.98 ERA implies that’s probably not happening. Meanwhile, Vasquez has a 2.42 ERA in five appearances (four starts) with the big league club. Furthermore, he could be in the rotation next year.
Even with a 5.55 FIP, Vasquez has looked more reliable in his small sample than Severino has all season. By moving on from Albert Abreu and his inability to pitch with men on base, the Yankees can stash Severino in the bullpen until his contract expires at season’s end. Vasquez, in the meantime, can get some more MLB innings under his belt.
Dump Albert Abreu, call up Clayton Beeter. Or, if the Yankees want to keep Severino in the rotation, they can move on from Abreu another way. Beeter was the throw-in from the Dodgers in last summer’s Joey Gallo trade and has turned into the surprise of the farm system. The 24-year-old righty has a 3.69 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) across two levels, plus 118 strikeouts in 96.1 innings.
So why stick Beeter in the bullpen when he’s started in the minors all year? Simply put, the walks are a problem at 4.7 per nine innings. Better for him to get some low-leverage relief innings while pitching and bullpen coaches Matt Blake and Mike Harkey figure out the next step in his development.
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