When is enough, enough? Earlier this week, we learned that the Yankees would skip JA Happ in the rotation because of two off days this week. This was a sensible decision given the continuation of his bad 2019 into his first two starts of 2020. The veteran lefty, or at least his rotation spot, isn’t in need again until Monday. But instead, the Yankees announced that he’ll start Sunday against Boston. I know it’s just a difference of one day, but Jordan Montgomery could have gone on regular rest Sunday. Plus, a certain pitching prospect is in line for Monday.
Running Happ out against Boston’s lineup isn’t likely to get him back on track. Yes, the Red Sox have struggled this year. Still, even without Mookie Betts, there are some excellent hitters in that lineup who probably wouldn’t mind facing Happ. How could hitters not want to face him? He’s given up three homers and walked eight in just seven innings this season to follow up last year’s 4.91 ERA. Do the Yankees really need to keep trying this? We know what Happ is at this point. So, with the trade deadline a little more than two weeks away, it’s time to figure out what the organization has internally (i.e. Clarke Schmidt). Not only is Happ bad, but if Paxton can’t regain his velocity, the Yankees should nab another starter. Maybe that starter is already in waiting at the Alternate Site.
Schmidt was scheduled to throw five innings in Scranton yesterday, which would put him in line to make his next turn on Monday. That should be in the Bronx, but it looks like it won’t be. And it could have worked out just fine, too. Again, instead of Happ Sunday, Montgomery could have pitched on normal rest leaving Monday wide open. Alas.
Putting Schmidt in the rotation now would allow him to start three times before the deadline. As Bobby said earlier this week, might as well size him up before the deadline. Now, I don’t know if that’s enough time to evaluate his readiness to stick in the rotation, but it’s better than not seeing him face big league hitters until mid-September when it’ll be too late to make a trade.
There’s really no need to salvage Happ at this point. Stick him in the bullpen, let him eat some garbage time innings, and maybe try him in similar situations that Luis Avilán is currently getting. Give Schmidt his chance, and if it works out, great. If not, the trade market will still be available.