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.
Which “close to big league ready” prospects will the shortened season/no minor league season hurt the most? — Bryant Cleary
If you consider 25-year-old Clint Frazier, who has played in 123 big league games and has had 393 at-bats, still a prospect, then it is him.
If you don’t, then it is right-handed starter Mike King, who missed a big chunk of time last year due to a right elbow issue that limited him to 12 games (one in the big leagues late in the season). King could work his way onto the big league roster at some point this year, but if he doesn’t, there is no other place to pitch.
Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia finish second and third.
How many pitchers will they carry in a short 60-game season? — Henry DeBianchi
With rosters going from 26 to 30 early, figure many teams will fill at least three of the extra spots with pitchers and possibly all four since starters aren’t going to work much past 65 pitches at the outset. The Yankees might go with three extra pitchers and Frazier in the outfield.
Will they extend/re-sign (DJ) LeMahieu, or allow (Thairo) Estrada or someone else to compete for the second base job? — Timmy Sullivan
Based on what LeMahieu did last year in the first leg of a two-year deal worth $24 million with the Yankees, it would be foolish not to retain him when he becomes a free agent following this season.
However, what the economic landscape will look like after the clubs hemorrhage money due to lost revenue from this season is a guess.
Remember, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ will also be eligible for free agency, too. The bet is LeMahieu stays, but until a deal gets done nothing is certain.
Will this season’s loss of Yankees revenue effect future signings or the trading of highly touted prospects to save money? — Jim Davis
Even the deep-pocketed Yankees won’t escape the financial problems that will rock MLB teams when the short season is finished. It will surely impact how Hal Steinbrenner views free agency.
As for trading highly touted prospects to save money, that won’t happen because big-time prospects will make the league minimum if they reach the big leagues. Teams look to move veterans with big money, not prospects to save money.
Only one player has been given 21 since Paul O’Neill retired, and (LaTroy Hawkins) was booed so much he gave it up right away. Why hasn’t O’Neill’s number been retired? If The Boss was still alive, he would have done it for the Warrior. — Rich Maddalena
There is no denying Paul O’Neill was a very good player and a big part of the 1996-2001 run of excellence, and he does have a plaque in Monument Park. He is 12th on the team’s all-time batting average list (.303), 14th in RBIs (858), 18th in on-base percentage (.377) and 19th in homers (185).
It’s odd that while the number hasn’t been retired it hasn’t been worn since 2008 by Hawkins. Yet, O’Neill retired after the 2001 season and Steinbrenner died in 2010, so he could have retired the number and didn’t.
How will pitching rotations change with the condensed schedule? — Leslie Camm Jr.
In the beginning, some teams will use a six-man rotation instead of five, and the Yankees with Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa have that option, which is created by carrying a 30-man roster at the start. Or they could use Chad Green as an opener, which was something not planned for when spring training started in February.
Submit your Yankees questions to be answered in an upcoming mailbag
Monument Park (features) plaques honoring longtime Yankees whose numbers haven’t been retired. Wouldn’t that be the fair way to spotlight and honor the memories of Jerry Coleman and Bobby Murcer? They were two of the finest people to wear the pinstripes and left legacies of love and respect. — Mike McCann
I believe Roy White should at least get a plaque in Monument Park— 15 years with them and was always a good leader. — Joe Sheehan
This is a popular topic lately when it comes to Murcer being honored by the Yankees. Those who knew Murcer best loved him and he was a very good player.
However, among Murcer, Coleman and White, it is White who had the best Yankee career from a numbers standpoint; he is in the top 20 of seven offensive categories.
As for who deserves a plaque in Monument Park, that is up to Hal Steinbrenner.