Saturday, July 18, 2015

Yankees optioning Bryan Mitchell might signal expensive trade market

The New York Yankees optioned right-hander pitcher Bryan Mitchell to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and recalled righty Branden Pinder Saturday.

Mitchell had been up with the club for a few weeks and made six appearances totaling 9.1 innings. He carried a 2.89 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP, while striking out nine batters during his stay.

So far in 10.2 innings (nine games) with the Yankees, Pinder has a 2.53 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP. He’ll be the right-handed counterpart to lefty Chris Capuano out of the bullpen in long-relief or mop-up duties.

I've been saying for some time that the Yankees might be better off with Mitchell as the insurance for the rotation versus trading for it. This move could signal that the Yankees are finding the trade market to be a bit expensive and felt the team is better served by getting Mitchell stretched back out in case of an injury or poor performance down the road.

The Yankees outward position on trades seems to be to hold on to their best prospects (Luis Severino, Aaron Judge and Gregory Bird for example) and be reluctant about trading midlevel prospects unless something of value comes their way.

In the rental market, middle-of-the-rotation starting pitching (Mike Leake and Jeff Samardzija for example) would still cost midlevel prospects. Maybe the Yankees feel unwilling to part with the players they would need to give up when Mitchell is available for nothing.

The move makes absolute sense in my view even if the reason has nothing to do with the trade market. Mitchell is better served as a starter for the club in the long run and if there isn't a concern about innings at this time, then stretching him back out is the way to go.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.