Yankees News/Rumors: David Hale we love you, Clarke Schmidt, Anthony Volpe, and more

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt
Feb 16, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Clarke Schmidt (86) pitches during a live batting practice at spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

David Hale still a Yankee!

Yesterday, I, along with many others who report on the New York Yankees, reported that Yankee reliever David Hale had been cut, although it was true Hale is still a Yankee.  Hale had an opt-out in his minor league contract at the end that could have been exercised four days before the end of spring training.  With spring training shut down, the opt-out became moot.   So the story was accurate, the Yankees did release him, but the news didn’t catch up that he had been immediately re-signed.

Meanwhile, Hale is at his home in Georgia, trying to stay in shape for an eventual re-start of the season.  Being that this was paperwork only matter, Hale was temporarily shaken when he started to get texts from friends about his release.  His manager explained it all, and all is good.  Hale may start in the minors when the season starts, but could also be used in the bigs for a multi-inning reliever at some point in the season.

Clarke Schmidt made his point

Deivi Garcia went into spring training at the Yankees number one pitching prospect, and wanted to solidify that position.  That did not happen; in fact, the New York Yankees announced that Garcia would be demoted to the Trenton Thunder.  Clark Schmidt, on the other hand, also considered a top pitching prospect proved to the Yankee brass that he was the man.

The 24-year-old Schmidt really opened eyes during the shortened spring training. Before Schmidt’s signing in 2017, he had Tommy John surgery. In his two years in the minors, he had posted a respectable 3.39 ERA in 27 games.  During spring training, he pitched beautifully in his two-game allotment due to the shortened camp.  In his second outing scouts remarked:

“It was his [second] big league game and it’s spring training, but when you can throw the breaking ball behind in the count for strikes, you have a chance to be really good,’’ the scout said of Schmidt, who worked two scoreless innings, allowed two hits, struck out three and didn’t issue a walk. “You can see him as a keeper.’’

Obviously Schmidt was trying to elbow his way into starts at Yankee Stadium due to the pitching shortage caused by back surgery to James Paxton and the Tommy John surgery on Luis Severino.  With the shortened season and James Paxton to return sooner than expected, that will likely not happen.  He also has not pitched about the double-A level.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him flash his stuff at some point during the season, especially if there are injuries in the rotation.

Anthony Volpe and spring training

In a really messed up spring training caused by the coronavirus, Anthony Volpe got a taste of playing with the big guys.  When a minor league tested positive for the virus, all the minor leaguers were guaranteed.

The 18-year-old passed up on a scholarship to Vanderbilt and signed with the New York Yankees.  Last season he slashed a .215/.341/.704 line.  But for the month before his season was shortened by mono, he hit .318. Volpe got to play in one game at Gorge M. Steinbrenner Field this spring.  Disappointed by the sudden shutdown of camp, he returned to his home in New Jersey when the minor league quarantine was lifted.

“In the grand scheme of things, compared to other people, we didn’t have it that bad,’’ Volpe told The New York Post. “Pray for the people who are sick and all the doctors and the nurses and everyone who are putting themselves at risk.’’

Yankee manager Aaron Boone says yes to a baseball season

The New York Yankees Field Manager Aaron Boone is at his Greenwich, CT. home trying to prepare for what a baseball season might look like. He is also playing occasional catch with newly acquired Yankee pitching ace Gerrit Cole who purchased a large home near Boone’s.

In a recent podcast, Boone indicated his optimism that there will be a baseball season this year, albeit a shortened one.

“I absolutely feel hopeful that we’re going to have a season,” said Boone. “I’ve tried, even though it’s hard because you kind of end up speculating every day, like whatever little bit of information that comes in, ‘Well I could see us starting on this date.’ It’s usually a futile effort because you don’t really have any answers and nobody really does. You try to remain hopeful and remain optimistic.

“If and when that time comes, as best we can, go out there and be prepared to go win a championship. That will be our mindset and that will be our focus. I’m confident that when we do get that call that our guys will be ready to go perform in whatever way, shape or form that is.”

Boone said of the need for a mini-spring training that it would depend on the start date and on what MLB will allow for a roster expansion.  Boone said he is in touch with all the players by text message and, in some cases, by Facetime.  He also indicated that there are about a dozen players that have remained in the Tampa training complex area.