Lately, the New York Yankees don’t look so much like the walking wounded as they do the walking dead. The injury bug is more like a swarm of injury bugs, taking players down for days, weeks, months, and even years. It really has gotten that bad. Then there is the issue that the timetable for the return of a couple key players has been delayed, and general manager Brian Cashman has a mess on his hands that is more than an unenviable cleanup if he intends to keep the Bronx Bombers positioned for the wild card.
Jacoby Ellsbury is done. He may be back next year, or not at all depending on how well his recent hip surgery has repaired his torn labrum. Pitcher Jordan Montgomery is gone until 2020 thanks to his Tommy John surgery. Pitcher Domingo German is out for an undetermined amount of time with a bicep problem. Pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga is out with right shoulder inflammation. Then there is Gary Sanchez’s right groin strain, Aaron Judge’s fractured wrist, which is worse than originally diagnosed, and Clint Frazier dealing with post-concussion symptoms that could shelve him for another week or a month or more. There is no set timetable on that type of recovery.
Final line for @swbrailriders' Justus Sheffield today:— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 9, 2018
7th straight start allowing 1 ER or less for the #Yankees' top prospect: https://t.co/tG77sJ03hS pic.twitter.com/qiekaJFWEm
It gets worse, as reported by Newsday. Closer Aroldis Chapman has been dealing with what a month ago was cited as a minor problem, that is now maybe back problems and left knee tendinitis according to manager Aaron Boone as reported by NJ.com. His velocity is at its low point for the season, he has had two closing situation meltdowns, and his loss of command is an issue according to Boone. There’s more. Neil Walker was out of the lineup last night and will likely miss today’s game as well with what Boone described as “neck issues and sickness.”
Bringing in Lance Lynn, Zach Britton, and J.A. Happ has helped patch the pitching problems, but they aren’t a fix. Britton and/or David Robertson are both capable options to close if needed. Lynn and Happ have been very impressive so far, but the rest of the rotation has been less dependable of late aside from Luis Severino. Considering that the staff ERA has gone up by a point since the All-Star break, something needs to be tweaked. Sabathia looks tired after five innings lately. Tanaka has been beat up by some trading deadline depleted lineups, as was the case against the Rangers last night. Severino has been the one holding it all together, but if anything happens to him, or any starter, it is back to Sonny Gray and no one seems to think that is a good idea according to Pinstripe Alley.
Sheffield, on the other hand, has been easily shredding hitters in AA and AAA this year, as reported by NJ.com. “Sheffield was 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA in Trenton. He’s improved on that at Scranton, where he has a 2.16 ERA with 75 strikeouts in 79 innings pitched.” There is no doubt that Sheffield will be on the 40-man roster when the expansion takes place, but the Yankees need help now.
It isn’t just fans that think it is time for Sheffield to be promoted now, the sabermetric analysis is calling for it. In a recent analysis of each team considered to be in contention for a postseason slot, MLB.com also rated Sheffield as the minor league player that could have the greatest impact helping a contender down the stretch, even saying that the sooner he gets in the game, the greater impact he will have. Mike Rosenstein, who covers the Yankees every day for NJ Advance Media, has been calling for Sheffield to be promoted.
As was posted at Bronx Pinstripes, the Yankees, pitching trades have helped some, but not enough and Sheffield is the likely answer to filling in the blanks.
“Trading for J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn at the Deadline didn’t answer all of the Yankees’ rotation questions, nor give them a potential frontline starter for the playoffs. With three quality pitches and no difficulties dealing with Triple-A at age 22, Sheffield might be able to fill both voids.”
One way or another, it is being presented within the Yankee organization that Sheffield will be coming up this season, the only question is when. The only reason it would seem the Yankees might hold off for a little longer calling Sheffield up now is to delay his clock to arbitration eligibility from starting earlier than planned, or they have worries about how many innings he has thrown.