With the New York Yankees committed to making many roster decisions this offseason, could starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt find himself traded to another team before Spring training?
Schmidt Performed Well For Yankees on Lower-End Contract
Schmidt made roughly $740,000 in 2023. He delivered on his contract by going 9-9 in 33 games played with a 4.64 ERA and 149 strikeouts on the year. He was second among all Yankees pitchers in both categories.
That could be attributed to injuries hampering star pitchers Nestor Cortes Jr., Carlos Rodon, and Luis Severino, but Schmidt found a way to generate decent productivity regardless.
Schmidt has been a cost-effective option for the Yankees and could remain a solid piece in the rotation behind their elite arms for head coach Aaron Boone moving forward.
Nonetheless, team owner Hal Steinbrenner will be exploring all options to revamp the Yankees alongside general manager Brian Cashman, making many players’ status on the roster more tenuous.
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What Schmidt Brings to the Table and What He Can Yield For Yankees in Return
Schmidt’s value on the market has the potential to bring back a pitcher of equal value or garner a return for a solid bat deeper in the Yankees’ rotation — where they’ve shown they need help.
News on the Yankees shopping Schmidt has been virtually nonexistent. Management offering Schmidt to other teams would present a pitcher with a well-rounded set of pitches in his arsenal, relying on his cutter, sweeper, sinker, and curveball in nearly equal fashion.
Prior to the start of the 2023 campaign, Schmidt told David Laurila of Fangraphs that his cutter was implemented to deal with lefty batters in attempts to generate more whiffs, which he did behind a solid 29.7 chase percentage ranking in the 62nd percentile:
“The reason they wanted me to add the cutter was lefties. The idea was that I could throw a fastball to lefties and be able to induce either A) weak contact or B) a swing-and-miss. That was the real reason, and then once I started throwing it we realized that my arm action was built even more for a cutter than they thought,” Schmidt said. “The metrics on my cutter are really good. Analytically it became one of my best pitches, which is why they were like, ‘Why don’t we up the usage of this?’”
Schmidt ranked in the 77th percentile in walk rate and excelled even more against right-handed batters. The 28-year-old likely is what he is at this juncture in his career, which is enough for the Yankees to keep or sell on.