You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Yankees.
Are we victims of grade inflation of the young Yankee “stars” [Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Luis Severino] given the amount of time they’ve spent on the injury list since the brilliant starts to their careers? — Jack B
You can only grade what you see on the field, and the players you mention are very good to great when healthy. Judge is among the top two-way players in the game, Sanchez’s power is real and very hard to find from a catcher, Torres has MVP potential and Severino went a combined 33-14 in 2017-18. Of course staying on the field is also a tool, and outside of Torres, the others have had difficulty doing that.
So, are you grading off production when healthy? Or are you dinging the players for missing time?
With all the injuries, has Judge’s value [for future contracts] gone down? — George Medero
He has been in the league for three full seasons, has been limited to 214 games the past two and wasn’t going to be ready until at least June this year because of a fractured rib suffered last September.
So, when assessing how teams will view Judge when it comes to free agency following the 2022 season, his injury history will certainly be discussed. However, Judge’s talent is so big that if he plays without injury in 2021 and 2022, teams will be motivated to sign him.
When will the Yankees end their strange divorce with Roger Clemens and invite him back for Old Timers’ Day? Maybe I missed the memo on what caused [it], but with the team inviting back so many average [players], it makes me wonder what exactly happened with such a key cog from the dynasty era. — Mark Banholzer
Since retiring following the 2007 season, Clemens has kept a low profile, and included in that could be him not being interested in the attention that would surely surround him coming back to the Stadium for a big event such as Old Timers’ Day, which was scheduled to be Aug. 9 this year.
Or the Yankees might not want to take away from the pageantry of the day, since Clemens would certainly be the media’s No. 1 priority.
Submit your Yankees questions to be answered in an upcoming mailbag
Every once in a while there is a whisper in spring training that Clemens was going to drop by the Yankees’ camp, but he wasn’t seen publicly.
As for being a key cog of the dynasty era, Clemens was a Yankee from 1999-2003 and returned from Houston in 2007. In his first stint, Clemens went 77-36 with a 3.99 ERA and was the AL Cy Young winner in 2001. In 2007, Clemens, 41 at the time, went 6-6 with a 4.14 ERA in 17 starts and one relief outing.
When I think of the dynasty (1996-2000), I believe Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams were the cogs, but Clemens certainly played a big part when he was in pinstripes.
I am not at all confident in our GM and never have been. That being said, I now feel the same about the player development group, especially after reading your column about [Estevan] Florial. Why do we keep players that are known to be injury prone? — Joe Scalzo
Estevan Florial is 22 and plays defense well enough to man center field in the big leagues now.
Big league organizations don’t discard talent — and Florial has flaws offensively — simply because of injury. Every club hunts for talent, and when they find it they keep it until the talent doesn’t turn out or injuries step in.
Clarke Schmidt is the Yankees’ top pitching prospect and is 24. He had Tommy John surgery before being selected in the first round of the 2017 draft. Now, he looms as a middle of the rotation starter at some point, and they are hard to find.
Would it have been responsible if the Yankees discarded Mariano Rivera after right arm surgery in 1992?
Talent trumps everything.
Who did Babe Ruth replace in the outfield when he came to the Yankees? — John Derr
Ruth’s first year with the Yankees was 1920, and he played right field in 86 games. In 1919, Sammy Vick played 99 games in right, Chick Fewster 28 and Al Wickland 15.
How many options does the team have to bring up/send back minor league players? — Helen Marie Munson
If by options you are referring to players being moved back and forth between the big leagues and minor leagues, that is yet to be determined between the clubs and players for this season, if there is one.
Should you be referencing what are the Yankees’ options as far as choosing what players could help, it depends on what position you want to target once the roster limit — possibly 30 up from 26 — is established.
Which Yankee pitching prospects have the potential to be on the big league roster soon? — Ron Vorpe
Deivi Garcia, Mike King, Clarke Schmidt have chances because of their talent and that there likely won’t be any minor league games to pitch in.