The Yankees can either call up first baseman/outfielder Nick Swisher from Triple-A or try to trade suspended closer Aroldis Chapman for a bat as a way to spark their offense, writes Barry A. Bloom of MLB.com. Of course, it’s debatable whether either action would present any kind of solution. Swisher – whom the Yankees signed to a minor league deal earlier this month – is raking in Triple-A (.381/.440/.571 in 25 plate appearances) and was a terrific major leaguer from 2005-13, including four seasons in pinstripes. However, more recently, he was among the majors’ worst regulars the previous two seasons, has dealt with knee problems, and was jettisoned by both the Indians and Braves. Although the Yankees’ Dellin Betances– and Andrew Miller-led bullpen has fared well without Chapman, who will return next month, it’s difficult to imagine a prospective contender dealing a legitimate offensive producer for less than a season of control over the flame-throwing lefty. Plus, despite the Yankees’ early RISP troubles (their .668 OPS with men in scoring position ranks 20th), their offense is still a solid 10th in the league in wRC+.
Here’s more from the AL East and one NL East team:
- Orioles right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who left Friday’s start after two innings because of shoulder discomfort, will see team orthopedist Dr. Mike Jacobs in Baltimore today, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. Gallardo told Encina that his shoulder began acting up while getting loose in the bullpen before Friday’s game. “My shoulder just didn’t feel right. To be honest, it was one of those feelings that I’ve never had my whole career,” he said. That’s a particularly alarming admission from a player who signed a two-year deal with the Orioles in February after the team nixed an agreed-upon third year because of a shoulder problem that came to the forefront in Gallardo’s physical. The 30-year-old has also experienced a notable velocity drop this season, which manager Buck Showalter acknowledged Friday. “I’ve done all the looks at his average velocity in April and May. Every start I’ve looked at them. He’s down,” Showalter said.
- Betances and Miller have been brilliant out of the Yankees’ bullpen this year, but David Schoenfield of ESPN.com argues that the team isn’t getting as much from them as it could. The two have logged 15 appearances between them, and only once has manager Joe Girardi deployed either for longer than an inning of work (Betances got four outs April 12). That isn’t good enough, opines Schoenfield, who believes the Yankees should lean more heavily on both of them until Chapman returns, citing Betances’ ability to handle a significant workload (he easily led all relievers with a combined 174 innings from 2014-15) and Miller’s past as a starter.
- The Braves are willing to overlook third baseman Adonis Garcia’s defensive struggles because of his above-average offensive output, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. In 74 games dating back to last season, Garcia has hit a palatable .285/.318/472, though his .870 fielding percentage ranks last among major league third basemen who have accrued at least 120 chances going back to 1910, per Bowman. “He’s not a third baseman. He plays hitter,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Garcia. In fairness to Garcia, over a 345-inning sample size at third in 2015, he was only a bit below average by the standards of advanced metrics like defensive runs saved and ultimate zone rating.
- The Red Sox seem pleased with Hanley Ramirez’s transition from left field to first base, and the 32-year-old has won fans over with his effort and attitude, but the club needs more from him offensively, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe offers. Ramirez, a career .296/.366/.493 hitter, is batting a disappointing .277/.290/400 with 17 strikeouts and two walks in 69 PAs this year. Since signing a four-year, $88MM contract with Boston in November 2014, the Red Sox’s current No. 5 hitter has put up a below-average .253/.291/.423 line in 499 PAs.