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Yankees Mailbag: Digging through farm depth and taking stock of the slump

Good day everyone, it’s time to dive back into the mailbag and answer some of your questions. Remember to email your questions for our weekly call to pinstripealleyblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

Damn_yanks asks: Apart from maybe Agustin Ramirez, can you give me a few reasons why I should focus on the Yankees system this season. If you say Spencer Jones and Roderick Arias, my head explodes.

I’d rely on our own Smith to do a more in-depth analysis of some of the candidates generating excitement than I can do here, but I’ll throw in my own two cents. Unfortunately, there isn’t much excitement about other candidates near the majors right now. Jorbit Vivas has his legs under control in Scranton and his bat is coming alive, so maybe he could work his way into the infield equation if the team needs an internal solution outside of Gleyber Torres or DJ LeMahieu. Jack Neely worked his way up to Scranton after a red-hot start in Somerset and could bring his strikeout skills to the bullpen toward the end of the year — and they could certainly use all the help they can get right now.

The Yankees’ farm system is one of the stronger in baseball, but their talent is far from contributing to this year’s team, and those who were close have either gotten injured or struggled. This could be a big year for Brian Cashman to reshuffle the deck in transfer talks, and while he’s been hesitant in the past, I don’t think there are as many names in the untouchables folder as there once were. There could be plenty of package deals to take advantage of the organization’s ability to produce plenty of young players, but it’s up to the other teams if they prefer that over one or two quality names.

OLDY MOLDY asks: How do they get Gil into the bullpen quickly? The scouts have him figured out and his innings limit will be reached sooner rather than later.

Boy, my opinion on this has changed quickly. Last week, I urged some patience in light of Gil’s implosion against Baltimore and hoped for a strong rebound. Gil turned around and got beat up for the second straight game, allowing five runs in 4.1 innings against the Mets. While that’s still technically an improvement over his 1.1-inning, seven-run stinker, that’s a low bar for a guy who was on pace to potentially start in the All-Star Game.

I’m still against a direct move to the bullpen, mostly because the Yankees need a win somewhere in that rotation now and don’t have many options to replace Gil. However, with their next off day coming up, when Gil would begin his usual rest, they might opt ​​to skip his next start and see if a little reboot serves him well. Gil may have been above average in the first half, but he still showed he could be a key weapon in the rotation, and the Yankees need him to get fit for a final push and the postseason after that. Hopefully they can find a way to get him there, and soon.

The idiot who said, “Harper is coming,” asks: WTF? That’s my question. That’s all.

Normally I’d wrap up with a question like that and just make a little joke, but let’s take stock for a moment, shall we? The Yankees were one of the strongest teams in baseball overall in the first half, but had some glaring weaknesses that they didn’t do a particularly good job of addressing – the infield corners and second base were a problem the whole time. It’s no surprise that those positions are once again part of the problem now that the team is in the midst of a crisis, but what was surprising was the complete reversal of rotation performance combined with the collapse of the bullpen’s health.

We’ve talked about Gil in this mailbag before, but Carlos Rodón is in an even worse stretch right now, and Gerrit Cole has had a shaky return to the rotation as well. Marcus Stroman and Nestor Cortes have been serviceable, but when the majority of the rotation is putting the team behind at best from the start, it’s just going to be hard to win games. Now that Giancarlo Stanton is on the injured list and Juan Soto is in a slump, the onus is all on Aaron Judge to get this offense through. What gives me hope, at least for the offense, is that I fully expect Soto to get things right sooner rather than later, and I have little expectation of Judge slacking off anytime soon. If those two are back in tune, the rest of the offense should benefit, and then they’re just a Verdugo or Volpe away from getting hot to get back into shape. The offense is manageable, but it’s the pitching staff that worries me going forward. We’ll see which side comes back first.

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