Yankees activate David Robertson, option David Phelps

The Yankees have officially activated David Robertson off the disabled list, the team announced. David Phelps was optioned to the minors to make room on the roster. He’ll get stretched out with High-A Tampa before joining Triple-A Empire State.

Robertson has been on the shelf for a little over a month, and his return will help lighten the late-inning load on Cory Wade, Boone Logan, et al. Those guys did a great job in his absence. Phelps had recorded one out and thrown a total of nine pitches sine May 28th, so it’s not a surprise he was sent down. He needs regular work and this is the best way to get it.

Gardner out 3-4 weeks after PRP therapy

The Yankees announced that Brett Gardner will miss another 3-4 weeks after receiving platelet-rich plasma therapy on his strained right elbow. He also received a cortisone shot. The official diagnosis is a bone bruise, joint inflammation, and a muscle strain.

Gardner did no long-term damage to his elbow, it just hasn’t healed entirely. All three doctors — Ahmad, Andrews, and Kremchek — confirmed the diagnosis. Joe Girardi suggested Brett might not be back until after the All-Star break a few days ago, and that seems pretty spot on right now.

2012 Draft: Yankees sign nine more picks

Via Matt Eddy, the Yankees have signed nine more draft picks: RHP Derek Varnadore (9th round), 1B Matt Snyder (10), LHP Caleb Frare (11), LHP James Pazos (13), LHP Tim Flight (17), LHP Dietrich Enns (19), OF Danny Oh (27), LHP Eric Erickson (34), and RHP Charles Basford (37). A recent tweet by RHP Nick Goody (6) indicates that he’s close to signing as well, if he hasn’t already. Frare is the only high schooler in this group, everyone else comes from the college ranks.

The Yankees have already signed (or agreed to sign) OF Austin Aune (2), RHP Taylor Garrison (7), OF Taylor Dugas (8), RHP Andrew Benak (14), and 1B/C Saxon Butler (33). First rounder RHP Ty Hensley is supposedly in Tampa for a physical, so he should be signing soon as well. All of the team’s draft picks can be found at Baseball America, and their draft pool status can be found on our 2012 Draft Pool page.

Yankees scouted Ben Sheets recently

Via MLBTR, the Yankees were one of several teams that recently watched Ben Sheets throw at his home in Louisiana. He hopes to help some team down the stretch. The Phillies, Braves, and Angels were also in attendance.

Sheets, 34 next month, hasn’t been an effective pitcher since 2008. He missed all of 2009 and 2011 with various elbow surgeries — Tommy John and flexor tendon stuff — and pitched to a 4.71 FIP in 119.1 IP for the Athletics in 2010. Sheets is one of the most underappreciated great pitchers of his generation, but it’s hard to think he has something to offer a big league team at this point. I’m sure the Yankees were just doing their due diligence.

Heyman: Yanks don’t see Carlos Quentin as a fit

Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees don’t see Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin as a fit should Brett Gardner‘s elbow injury turn out to be a long-term thing. He says they would likely seek a speedy outfielder similar to Brett should they explore the trade market.

Quentin, 29, is off to a monster start with San Diego — .591 wOBA and 291 wRC+ — after missing the first six weeks of the season with a knee problem. It was his fifth DL stint and third surgery since 2007. Quentin can straight mash from the right side, but he’s a defensive liability and obviously a health risk. He’s also scheduled to become a free agent after the season. I like him but there are obvious reasons to be skeptical.

Another Update: RAB Goes To Washington Drink Up 6/16/2012

(Photo via billy-ball.com)

Hello all!  Just wanted to give you a quick update on our plans for Saturday’s Drink Up!

I have received word from The Big Hunt that they will be open Saturday at 5 p.m.  So, let’s shoot for about that time or after (barring the game doesn’t go 22 innings).  We do not have anything too organized there, but I have asked them to save a table or two for us, so it’s all pretty informal.

If using WMATA’s Metro from Nationals Park, you can take the Green line to L’Enfant Plaza, transfer to the Yellow or Blue lines to Farragut West and then walk. Or you can take the Green line to Gallery Place then transfer to the Red Line to Dupont Circle and walk.  The walk from Dupont is slightly shorter, but because of the WMATA’s weekend work, the ride on the Red Line may take much longer.

Hope to see you all there!  Even Mike!

The Trade Deadline and the Rule 5 Draft

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

I still feel like the season has just started, but we’re already fewer than seven weeks away from the non-waiver trade deadline. We’ve already taken a very brief look at what the Yankees could be in the market for prior to July 31st, though the shopping list has changed somewhat because the starting rotation has sorted itself out and David Robertson is one day from returning. Brett Gardner‘s elbow injury continues to linger though.

Anyway, rather than talking about needs, I want to spend some time talking about what the Yankees have to offer in trades. Specifically, I want to discuss three young right-handed pitchers: Adam Warren, Brett Marshall, and Mikey O’Brien. All three are having solid years and are pitching at the Double-A level or above, which is when you can really start to get serious about thinking a guy may be able to help your big league roster at some point relatively soon. More importantly, all three guys share one thing in common that is beyond their control: they’re all eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this coming offseason.

The renewed emphasis on the farm system in the mid-aughts resulted in a lot of players being protected or left exposed to the Rule 5 Draft in recent years. The Yankees famously lost Ivan Nova to the Padres for about three weeks in 2008, and over the years we’ve seen guys like George Kontos and Lance Pendleton get selected in the Rule 5 Draft before being returned. Zack Kroenke was selected and returned in 2008 before being retained by the Diamondbacks in 2009.

At the same time, the Yankees have protected hordes of players from the Rule 5 Draft by adding them to the 40-man roster. Right now they’re carrying Brandon Laird, D.J. Mitchell, Austin Romine, Corban Joseph, and Zoilo Almonte on the 40-man for that very reason. In the past it’s been guys like Ryan Pope and Reegie Corona, Anthony Claggett and Kevin Russo, Romulo Sanchez and Chris Garcia. Some saw time in the big leagues after being added to the 40-man, some didn’t. None of them had any kind of impact and were all eventually cut off the roster.

Now obviously protecting a player and possibly getting some mileage out of him is preferable to losing him for $50k in the Rule 5 Draft, but it’s not an either/or situation. The Yankees could also use some of those borderline players in trades before they become Rule 5 eligible to clear up the 40-man roster crunch before it even happens. The Red Sox did this to a certain extent last summer when they acquired Erik Bedard in exchange for four miscellaneous prospects, two of whom — Stephen Fife and Chih-Hsien Chiang — were Rule 5 Draft eligible after the season.

That’s kinda where O’Brien, Marshall, and to a much lesser extent Warren fit in. They’re right on that protect/expose bubble and the question becomes: are they more valuable on the 40-man roster in the coming years or as trade bait? How necessary are these three with similar pitchers like David Phelps and Mitchell already on the 40-man? The answer could very easily be yes, there’s always going to be a need for pitching. That’s not always a given though, not every prospect is going to make it. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean the Bombers should they go around shopping these guys, but perhaps they should be among the first offered when it does come time to talk trade.

The Yankees are carrying 48 players on their 40-man roster right now thanks to the eight 60-day DL guys, but at least three of the 40 healthy players — Dellin Betances, Zoilo Almonte, Melky Mesa — are unable to help the big league team right now if needed. They just aren’t ready for it. A case can be made that Corban Joseph and Matt Antonelli belong in that group as well. There are going to be bubble players every year with regards to the Rule 5 Draft, and many times the best way to maximize what you get out of those guys is by trading them before they’re even eligible.