Yankee general manager Brian Cashman has been busy over the last 72 hours reinforcing the Yankees lineup with trades and approving some September call-ups. Notably, their top prospect and the one player Cashman and Boone said would be on the roster and pitching in September, Justus Sheffield, is still waiting on a promotion. While he hasn’t joined the team yet, it is likely he will still arrive at some point, the question has become, when?
The high profile move was bringing in former MVP and All-Star Andrew McCutchen, as reported by NJ Advance Media. He became an immediate upgrade over the rotation of platoon players that have been roaming the outfield both defensively and offensively. He has the ability to spell Brett Gardner, which will be highly important as he has looked worn down the last month, and he provides some new energy which has been needed. For the price of a couple of raw prospects, it was a solid deal.
Adeiny Hechavarria came over in a deal with the Pirates for a player to be named later or cash consideration, and Pittsburgh is rumored to be picking up part of his salary. With this deal, Cashman brought in a strong defensive shortstop that can hit enough to stick around. With Didi Gregorius out until at least next weekend with a bruised heal, Hechavarria provides some stability on both sides of the ball. It was also thought that he would clear the way for more pitching to join the roster as everyone shifts back to their natural positions, but that didn’t happen.
Now, I’m ready to throw the pinstripes on and get to work. @Yankees let’s go!— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) August 31, 2018
Instead, Cashman still summoned Tyler Wade up who is a decent defensive infielder, but certainly not the caliber of Hechavarria, and he doesn’t hit anywhere near as well. It was initially thought he would stay in AAA in light of the trade with Pittsburgh, so his promotion is a little puzzling. Unless they have plans to use Wade to give everyone time off while making a push to lock a wildcard berth, reporters and analysts are wondering what the Yankee brass has in mind.
Catcher Gary Sanchez rejoined the team after a stint on the DL and has slotted immediately back into the lineup, moving Austin Romine to backup duties. Pitcher Luis Cessa was a given to be called up, but instead of bringing up Sheffield, they went with lefty Stephen Tarpley who they plan to use as a situational type of specialist to get out a specific hitter here and there according to manager Aaron Boone. No one has commented on why Sheffield didn’t join the roster, but it is thought that maybe he didn’t impress to the level Cashman was hoping. Since moving to the bullpen has surrendered two earned runs in three innings while striking out three. They aren’t glamour numbers to be sure, but they lose flexibility with Tarpley that Sheffield would have provided.
As Sheffield is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in December, the Yankees must have him on the 40-man roster prior to then in order to protect him, and it is a given that they will do that as one of the top prospects in baseball. As much as it is a necessity, it isn’t an immediate need, and judging by Boone in his weekend press conferences, it seems that Sheffield may not join the team at all this season, and instead just be added on the roster as soon as the Yankees’ season ends.