With Yankees fans growing increasingly impatient with the team’s play and the front office inaction, focus on the farm system is long overdue.
The Yankees, being the Yankees, can’t afford to throw in the towel on a season that is rapidly getting away from.
This is probably why the Yankees quietly made several moves yesterday with blanket promotions and demotions in their farm system that look beyond today.
If you haven’t heard, the Yankees are currently mired in fourth place in the AL East, a full nine games behind the Tampa Bay Rays, and four games removed from an appearance as a Wild Card team in the 2021 playoffs.
Moreover, after 65 games played, the Yankees are a mere one game over the .500 mark, and unless Brian Cashman steps in to pull another rabbit from his hat at the July trade deadline, the Yankees roster is what it is.
Only nine teams have an average age older than the Yankees at 29.0. The Baby Bombers of yesterday are well into their prime, and soon Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and Gary Sanchez will reach a point where expensive multi-year deals confront them.
In response, the Yankees made these moves, all connected to the construction of their minor league system:
Nick Green – Transferred Scranton to Somerset
Addison Russ – Transferred Scranton to Somerset
Luis Gil – Transferred Somerset to Scranton
Matt Krook – Transferred Somerset to Scranton
Greg Weissert – Transferred Somerset to Scranton
Shawn Semple – Transferred Somerset to Hudson Valley
Reid Anderson – Transferred Somerset to Hudson Valley
Carlos Espinal – Transferred Somerset to Hudson Valley
Oliver Dunn – Transferred Somerset to Hudson Valley
Luis Medina – Transferred Hudson Valley to Somerset
Ken Waldichuk – Transferred Hudson Valley to Somerset
Hayden Wesneski – Transferred Hudson Valley to Somerset
Zach Greene – Transferred Hudson Valley to Somerset
Yankees Looking To Tomorrow
The names (with one exception) are not familiar to most fans of the Yankees.
But what’s significant is the up and down movement within their farm system – Hudson Valley is High-A, Somerset is Double-A, and the Scranton Railriders are the Yankees Triple-A affiliate.
Of course, the name that sticks out is Luis Gil, who has now been fast-tracked from Double-A Somerset to Triple-A Scranton.
With the ever-rising level of injuries in the major leagues to pitchers, many teams have been forced to accelerate the development of their young studs in the minor leagues.
But the move with Gil seems different because, except for James Taillon, the Yankees rotation appears to be pretty much set, subject to the influx of a serviceable starter via trade.
All of Luis Gil’s stats are stellar so far this year.
Only 23, Gil has made seven starts at Double-A, generating a 3.24 ERA while striking out 50 in thirty+ innings and walking thirteen.
Somerset pitching coach Daniel Moskos offered this analysis of Gil at this point of his development:
Yankees: A Strike To The Future
Too much soon with Gil, and are the Yankees setting him up for failure?
Perhaps, but when you look at the Yankees team today, the risk is warranted.
The Yankees received some bad news when Luis Severino was removed in the second inning of his rehab start with High-A Hudson Valley on Saturday due to a groin injury.
He is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Sunday to diagnose the extent of the injury.
Whether the MRI proves good or bad, the return on Severino, once relied on to join the Yankees rotation this year, is now shuffled further down the Injured List (IL).
So why not give the young talent in their system more attention, and that includes Michael King and Deivi Garcia, who, if the Yankees were in a position to make better choices, would be laboring in Scranton, putting the finishing touch on their pitches and command?
Yankees: Is It About Today Or Tomorrow
Here’s my take, see if you agree.
Brian Cashman has little if any wiggle room to make trades from the Yankees 26-man roster. This is mainly due to salary restrictions related to the $210 million luxury tax threshold and players with sub-par seasons.
Therefore, if it hasn’t already, Brian Cashman’s phone will be (in the old vernacular) ringing off the wall with teams hungrily looking at the stable of their young pitchers,
Conspiracy theorists will then look to Gil’s promotion as a show and tell for teams to feast on, with Cashman hoping to secure a power left-handed bat in return.
Yankees: Dreaming In Face Of Reality
The dilemma for the Yankees and their fans, though, is this.
Will the addition of that big bat and even a quality number two replace Corey Kluber enough for the Yankees to make the playoffs this year?
Beyond that, even if they were to make the playoffs, what are the chances they have the wherewithal to beat the White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays to advance to the World Series?
Do you think the Yankees should roll the dice to go all in this year?
I don’t, and I am uplifted by the Yankees’ recent moves to focus attention on the talent they have in the minor leagues.
It’s not an easy turn to make when a team like the win-today Yankees look at tomorrow, but when all other doors are closed, maybe it’s time.
The June College Draft is coming up in a couple of weeks, and the focus of the Yankees on it should be welcome by Yankees fans.
Jack Leiter is projected to be a target of both the Yankees and Red Sox. Leiter, the son of Al Leiter, is a Summit, N.J. native who played high school ball for the Delbarton School in Morristown, is 10-3 with a 2.16 ERA in 16 starts this season.
Leiter or not, this draft is crucial for the Yankees.
It’s Time To Look Down Instead Of Up
Buying into what I’m theorizing is not an easy pill for Yankees fans to swallow, and notice I’m avoiding using the ultimate signal of blasphemy in the Yankee’s dictionary – rebuilding.
It’s not as drastic as that, anyway. Instead, it’s a switch by the Yankees from an instinctive “how can we get better at the major league level” to a more far-reaching how can we get better tomorrow approach.
The onus falls on Brian Cashman to accelerate this change instead of Aaron Boone, who has all he can do in daily meetings with the media to reflect incoming missiles.
The YES Network, the Yankee’s in-house media outlet, is there to shine a light on the emerging stars of the future with more regularity than they are now.
Luis Gil may be the Yankees’ poster boy for the team’s recent up and down movements, and we’ll be sure to follow his experience in Scranton, but when you look at the number of moves and the players involved, there’s much more.
As a fan of the Yankees and regardless of what happens in Buffalo tonight when they meet the Toronto Blue Jays, nothing is better news than the transaction wire showing the team’s minor league shakeup.
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Steve Bullock I’ve been saying this
Chuck Tanner A lot of the moves could and hopefully generate interest from other teams that are willing to trade a proven asset for a prospect. And as we know not all prospects pan out maybe 10 percent in a 5-year span prove to be something.