Yankees do not make any qualifying offers before Friday’s deadline


As expected, the Yankees did not tender any qualifying offers to free agents prior to today’s 5pm ET deadline. They haven’t officially announced anything yet, but yeah. Their only free agents this offseason are Chris Young, Stephen Drew, and Chris Capuano. None of worth even half a qualifying offer.

Long story short, the QO is a one-year contract worth $15.8M that entitles the player’s former team to draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere. The deadline to accept or reject the QO is next Friday. No player has ever accepted the QO and I don’t think anyone will accept this year either.

Here’s the list of QO for this offseason. (Warning: Auto-play video.) There are several surprises so far (Marco Estrada! Ian Kennedy! Colby Rasmus!), so we might actually see a player accept this year. Except we’ve been saying that four years in a row now. Either way, no extra 2016 draft picks for the Yankees.

Capuano, Drew, Young become free agents; Yanks outright Santos, Moreno to Triple-A

Drew. (Jim Rogash/Getty)
Drew. (Jim Rogash/Getty)

At 9am ET this morning, a total of 139 players officially became free agents. Here’s the full list. Only three of those 139 players are Yankees: Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew and Chris Young. The Yankees hold exclusive negotiating rights with them until 12:01am ET this Saturday, when free agency officially begins. Here’s the offseason calendar.

Also, the Yankees activated both Sergio Santos and Diego Moreno off the 60-day DL and outrighted them to Triple-A Scranton today, the team announced. Santos refused the assignment and instead elected free agency. Moreno could not elect free agency since this was his first outright assignment, but he’ll become a minor league free agent in a few days anyway.

Santos, 32, appeared in only two games with the Yankees this season before blowing out his elbow and needing Tommy John surgery. He started the season with the Dodgers, was released in early-June, then signed with the Yankees a few days later. Santos’ most notable act as a Yankee was escaping a bases loaded, no outs jam against the Marlins on June 15th.

Moreno, 28, threw 10.1 innings across four appearances for the Yankees this season as part of the bullpen shuttle. They originally acquired him from the Pirates as part of the A.J. Burnett salary dump trade a few years ago. Moreno had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow late in the season and did not pitch after August 1st.

Moreno’s most notable act as a Yankee was throwing 5.1 hitless and scoreless innings of relief against the Rangers on July 28th, after Capuano failed to escape the first inning.

Rico Noel was outrighted off the 40-man roster earlier this month, so between that move and today’s moves, the Yankees now have four open spots on the 40-man roster. They’ll be filled when Domingo German (elbow), Jacob Lindgren (elbow), Chase Whitley (elbow), and Mason Williams (shoulder) are activated off the 60-day DL in the coming days.

A Bad Beginning, a Bad Ending, but Three Good Months in the Middle [2015 Season Review]


Thanks to free agency and Derek Jeter‘s retirement, the Yankees were faced with replacing three-fourths of their starting infield last offseason. Mark Teixeira was the only holdover. The Yankees traded for Didi Gregorius to replace Jeter, and they wound up re-signing Stephen Drew and Chase Headley to play second and third bases, respectively.

Headley has a history of being an above-average player, so he received a multi-year contract. Drew? He was coming off a miserable 2014 season in which he hit .162/.237/.299 (45 wRC+) in exactly 300 plate appearances after sitting out the first few weeks because no team wanted to forfeit a first round pick to sign him. The Yankees felt Drew was a better player than what he showed and gambled he wouldn’t be that bad again in 2015. Technically, they were right.

The Return

Around this time last year, we were all looking forward to a free agent class loaded with shortstops. It never materialized. J.J. Hardy re-signed with the Orioles before free agency opened and no one loved the idea of giving Hanley Ramirez or Jed Lowrie multiple years to play shortstop because they’re no good defensively. Asdrubal Cabrera’s offense and defense had both been declining as well.

A very good case can be made Drew was the best shortstop on the market last year. I mean actual shortstop. Capable of playing the position defensively. And yet, he was unable to find work until the Yankees re-signed him in mid-January, after they traded for Gregorius to play shortstop. Drew had to settle for a second base job. The cost: one year and $5M. That’s nothing in baseball dollars these days. It was a low cost flier.

The Importance of Spring

One of the reasons the Yankees hoped Drew would bounce back in 2015 was Spring Training. He would have a normal Spring Training for the first time in three years — he missed Spring Training in 2012 with a fractured ankle, missed a big chunk of Spring Training in 2013 with a concussion, and missed all of Spring Training in 2014 because no one signed him. Drew would finally get a proper spring to prepare himself.

Drew, who turned 32 in mid-March, played in 22 Grapefruit League games, the most of any regular. He played well too, hitting .256/.310/.481 with three home runs in those 22 games. Also, the Yankees kept Drew at second base so he could continue to learn the position after making the switch at midseason last year. He played only one game (six innings) at short. That’s all. Everything else was at second base. All things considered, Drew had a solid spring, which he needed.

Home Runs … And Nothing Else

When the season started, it quickly became apparent a full Spring Training hadn’t helped Drew a whole lot. He went 2-for-17 (.118) in his first four games, then hit a solo home run off Clay Buchholz to cap off a seven-run first inning in his fifth game of the season. The next night, Drew had what was legitimately one of the biggest hits of the season, a go-ahead pinch-hit grand slam against the Orioles:

That was incredible. Even that early in the season, it felt like a huge hit because the Yankees — and Drew, for that matter — stumbled out of the gate. That was as big a win as you’ll see in April.

In the following days Drew continued to hit the ball out of the park and do little else. He went 8-for-42 (.190) with four home runs in his first 13 games and 31-for-177 (.175) with nine home runs in his first 53 games (58 team games). That’s 25-homer pace across 162 games, but he was also hitting .175 with a .237 OBP, so yeah. The homers were nice, but Drew was a black hole through the first third of the season.

Sneaky Good Production

From June 2nd through September 2nd, a totally arbitration three-month stretch of season, Drew quietly hit .250/.320/.485 (117 wRC+) with 12 home runs in 68 games and 225 plate appearances. That’s really good! Especially for a second baseman. I mean geez. Middle infielders who can put up league average offense are hard to find these days. Drew was quite a bit better than average during those 68 games.

And yet, because he started the season so terribly, his average remained under the Mendoza Line and everyone wanted Drew out of the lineup. It wasn’t entirely undeserved either. Drew was awful last year and awful for the first two months this season. We’re talking close to 500 plate appearances. And with Rob Refsnyder sitting in Triple-A, it was not at all unreasonable to want the Yankees to make a change. Aside from Refsnyder’s four-game cameo around the All-Star break, they never did.

It was not until August 30th in Atlanta that Drew finally (finally!) saw his average creep over .200. All it took was a 4-for-4 day. He homered and also drew two walks that day. Drew went into the game hitting .192/.262/.369 (69 wRC+) on the season and left hitting .201/.274/.385 (77 wRC+). I can’t imagine many everyday players raise their wRC+ eight points in a single game in late-August.

The grand slam against the Orioles was certainly important, though Drew’s biggest hit as a Yankee came on September 1st against the Red Sox, his former team. The Yankees had slipped behind the Blue Jays in the AL East but were still within striking distance (only 1.5 games back), so they needed every win possible. Drew went 1-for-3 on the night, and the one was a go-ahead two-run double in the fifth inning.

The Yankees held on for the 3-1 win and kept pace with the Blue Jays. That was part of a ridiculous four-game surge for Drew, during which he went 9-for-12 (.750!) with two doubles and two home runs. That raised his season batting line to .211/.281/.404 (84 wRC+) in 399 plate appearances, which is still comfortably below-average, but it was much better than what the Yankees got out of Drew in April and May.

The Premature End

Drew limped to the finish line the last few weeks of the season. He went 2-for-27 (.074) to close out the season and seemingly lost his starting second base job to Dustin Ackley. It wasn’t entirely performance related, however. Drew took a bad hop ground ball to the face on September 12th and suffered what was eventually diagnosed as a vestibular concussion. It was the same thing that cause him to miss most of Spring Training in 2013.

Drew played again on September 13th and that was essentially his final game of the season. He never played a full nine innings after that, instead coming off the bench for defense and occasionally to pinch-hit. Drew didn’t play at all after September 22nd, the 150th game of the season. He missed the team’s postseason berth clinching celebration because he was seeing a specialist in Pittsburgh, which sucks. Drew was there all season and deserved to celebrate with his teammates.

When it was all said and done, Drew hit .201/.271/.381 (76 wRC+) with 17 home runs in 131 games and 428 plate appearances this season. (His average was over .200 for only 20 of those 131 games.) He actually finished with the fifth most homers on the team, behind Alex Rodriguez (33), Teixeira (31), Brian McCann (26), and Carlos Beltran (19).

Normally when a player has better than average strikeout (16.6%), walk (8.6%), and ISO (.80) rates, he has a good offensive season. Not Drew. The first few weeks and the last few weeks were a mess, among the worst hitting performances I’ve ever seen, but those three months in the middle were really good too. The overall numbers were very bad, but, for those three months there, Drew was an asset at the plate.

The Other Side of the Bag

The Yankees moved Drew to second base in the middle of the season in 2014. He had never played a position other than shortstop (and DH) in his entire career, Majors or minors, but they felt Drew had the athleticism and instincts to handle the move, so they took a shot. Drew went through some growing pains last year before settling in.


This season Drew looked much more comfortable on the other side of the second base bag. It’s a bigger adjustment than you may realize! Turning a double play is completely different for a second baseman, mostly because you have to make the blind pivot with the runner bearing down on you. It’s not as easy as Robinson Cano made it look. There are also cutoff assignments and whatnot.

The one-year sample of defensive stats — not even a full season at that — say Drew was right in the vicinity of average in the field. Total Zone liked him the most (+3 runs) and DRS liked him the least (-3). UZR was in the middle (-0.2). I thought Drew was solid, not way better than average and not below-average either. He made all the routine plays and occasionally spectacular ones, especially going to his right.

When the ball was hit to Drew, I didn’t freak out. I guess that’s the best way to evaluate defense across one season. I felt comfortable with Drew handling the baseball even in big situations — if the Yankees needed a double play to escape a jam, cool, hit it to Drew. I was confident he’d make the play. He is as sure-handed as you could want.

Between solid defense and his three strong months at the plate, Drew had a nice stretch of production this year. The middle of the season was good! The beginning and end? Eh. Drew finished with +0.2 fWAR and +0.4 bWAR, though the defensive stats might be underselling his glove a bit. Normally when a player sits below the Mendoza Line most of the season, he’s sub-replacement level. Drew’s power and glove helped him contribute in a positive way, albeit slightly.

Looking Ahead to 2016

Drew is once again a free agent this coming offseason. Gregorius is entrenched at short and the Yankees are “leaning towards” using Ackley and Refsnyder at second base next year, meaning there’s no room for Drew unless he’s willing to be a backup infielder. I’d rather have Drew on the bench than Brendan Ryan, but, given the dearth of middle infielders, my guess is Drew will find a greater opportunity for playing time elsewhere. (Plus it would be nice to have a righty bat on the bench.) Bringing Drew back at a low cost this year was a fine move. It was a risk worth taking. It just didn’t work out too well.

Injury Updates: Eovaldi, Drew, Headley, Ellsbury


The Yankees and Orioles will play a split doubleheader later today following last night’s rainout. The first game will begin a little after 12pm ET. Here are some important injury updates via George King, Meredith Marakovits, and Ryan Hatch.

  • Nathan Eovaldi (elbow) threw a bullpen session yesterday, his first since going down with inflammation. “Everything felt great. I threw 25 pitches, 18 fastballs and seven splits,” he said. Eovaldi will throw a 35-pitch bullpen session Monday, and if that goes well, he’ll then face hitters in live batting practice or a simulated game. There is no chance Eovaldi will be available for the wildcard game Tuesday, but Joe Girardi acknowledged an ALDS roster spot “is something we will look at” should the team advance.
  • Stephen Drew has a “vestibular concussion” and he is unlikely to return this year, even if the Yankees go deep into October. “Right now (his return is) doubtful because he still has the symptoms,” said Girardi. That’s a shame. Drew wasn’t great this season, but you never want to see anyone’s season end due to injury, especially a brain injury. Also, this more or less guarantees Brendan Ryan will be on the postseason roster as the backup infielder.
  • Both Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury are scheduled to play one game of today’s doubleheader. Both were sidelined Thursday with back soreness but were available off the bench if necessary. “They are both better,” said Girardi. Headley said he wants some at-bats this weekend and not have such a long layoff before the wildcard game.

Building the Wildcard Game Roster: Position Players


The Yankees are in position to clinch a wildcard spot very soon, possibly tonight, so it’s time to start thinking about the wildcard game roster. Earlier today we sorted through the pitching staff, trying to figure out which ten or eleven pitchers the Yankees will carry in the wildcard game. It was easier said than done.

Ten or eleven pitchers — my guess is ten, but you never know — leaves 14-15 position player spots to fill. Joe Girardi will have a decent-sized bench at his disposal, but ideally it won’t come into play too much. The starting lineup will decide the game. As we did with the pitchers, let’s go through the position player group and try to figure out who will be on the wildcard game roster next Tuesday.

The Locks

This is the easy part …

Catcher: Brian McCann, John Ryan Murphy
First Base: Greg Bird
Second Base: ???
Shortstop: Didi Gregorius
Third Base: Chase Headley
Outfield: Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran
Designated Hitter: Alex Rodriguez

That’s nine of the 14-15 position player spots right there and they’re all self-explanatory right? Right. That is eighth-ninths of the starting lineup and the backup catcher. All easy calls. Next.

Second Base

For most of the summer, Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan platooned at second base. That is no longer the case. Drew has been dealing with some dizziness/concussion issues that may end his season, but even before that Dustin Ackley wrestled the starting job away from him. Ackley got some playing time, hit right away, and he’s continued to play against right-handers.

Meanwhile, Rob Refsnyder has started each of the Yankees’ last four games against left-handed starters, not Ryan. Chances are Refsnyder will start against lefties Wade Miley, Rich Hill, and Wei-Yin Chen the next three days too. Like Ackley, he got a few at-bats, got some hits, and has received more playing time. That Drew/Ryan platoon was together for 140 games or so. The last 16 have gone to Ackley/Refsnyder.

Smackley. (Presswire)
Smackley. (Presswire)

At this point there is no doubt Ackley will be on the wildcard roster. The rest of the guys is where it gets tricky. Refsnyder is starting against lefties, but would the Yankees actually start him in the wildcard game if they face, say, Dallas Keuchel or Scott Kazmir or Cole Hamels? I get the sense Girardi would stick with Ackley in that situation and just roll with his best player.

If Refsnyder’s not going to start the game, then what’s his role? Pinch-hitter against a lefty reliever. That’s all. I guess he could pinch-run too, but there figure to be other guys on the roster to do that. Refsnyder’s not going to come in for defense. Pinch-hitter against a lefty is a big deal though! It could be the difference in the late-innings of a close game. Given the extra bench spots, I think Refsnyder’s in.

With Ackley and Refsnyder on the roster, the Yankees will need to carry a shortstop-capable backup infielder. Neither of those guys can play short. Not even in an emergency. That leaves a spot for Drew or Ryan. In a vacuum, I’d take Drew over Ryan eight days a week and twice on Sundays. But Drew isn’t healthy and we shouldn’t count on him getting healthy before the wildcard game. He’s still dealing with this dizziness/concussion stuff and has been for almost two weeks now. That puts Ryan on the wildcard game roster along with Ackley and Refsnyder.

The Pinch-Runner

Rico Noel will be on the wildcard game roster. I’m sure of it. One of the benefits of shrinking the pitching staff in the postseason is creating an open roster spot for someone just like Noel. A burner who can come off the bench to pinch-run in the late innings of a close game. Look at Rico run:

The kid can fly and his speed can potentially have a huge impact in the wildcard game. The Yankees brought Noel up this month strictly to pinch-run and I fully expect him to be on the postseason roster. Remember, they carried Freddy Guzman on the postseason roster in 2009 for this exact reason. Noel’s on the wildcard roster. I have no doubt about it.

(Since he wasn’t called up until September 1st, Noel will technically have to be an injury replacement. The Yankees have two position player injury spots available thanks to Mark Teixeira and Mason Williams.)

The Backup Outfielder

Noel will be on the wildcard game roster but he’s not really a backup outfielder. He’s a pinch-runner and that’s all. (The scouting reports indicate Noel is a pretty good defender, but the Yankees haven’t used him defensively all that much.) The Yankees will still need to carry a legitimate backup outfielder if for no other reason than to replace Beltran for defense in the late innings. Chris Young, who is the only righty hitting outfielder on the roster, held that job all season and I expect him to be on the wildcard roster. I know he’s stumped lately, but there’s no reason to think the Yankees won’t carry Young in October. In fact, I’m not sure how you can look at the 39-man active roster and saying Young doesn’t belong on the wildcard game roster. He’s in.

The Final Roster Spot

We still have one last roster spot to fill. The nine locks above plus Ackley, Refsnyder, Ryan, Noel, and Young gets us to 14 position players. I suppose the Yankees could carry eleven pitchers, but I doubt it. It was hard enough coming up with ten pitchers worth a spot on the wildcard roster. One last position player makes sense.

There’s no point in carrying three catchers, so Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez are out. The remaining candidates are Jose Pirela and Slade Heathcott, assuming Drew is indeed done for the year. With Refsnyder on the roster, there’s no need for Pirela, another righty hitter. Yeah, Pirela can play the outfield if necessary, but he’s an emergency option out there only. Noel and Ackley are available as emergency outfielders. I also think Pirela would have played more this month if he was a serious wildcard game roster candidate.

Slade. (Presswire)
Slade. (Presswire)

That leaves it between Heathcott and a possibly but not likely healthy Drew. If Drew is not over high dizziness/concussion symptoms by next week, this questioned gets answered for us. In the unlikely event Drew is healthy though, would it make sense to carry another infielder or another outfielder? I think an extra outfielder makes more sense. Between Ackley, Refsnyder, and Ryan, you’ve got the second base starter and two backups. The only backup outfielder is Young considering Noel’s job is pinch-running.

Heathcott gives the Yankees another potential pinch-runner — he’s no Rico, but he’s faster than Young or Refsnyder — and another quality defender, as well as a left-handed bat on the bench. In fact, Drew and Slade are the only possible lefty bats off the bench, and one’s hurt. Besides, if Drew is healthy, it’s Ryan or Heathcott, not Drew or Heathcott. I’d take Heathcott over Ryan.

With Slade on the roster, the Yankees would have two backup infielders even without Drew (or Ryan), and Heathcott at least has a chance to contribute offensively and defensively. I mean, if Drew’s healthy and on the roster, what’s the point of Ryan? What does he offer in a winner-take-all game? I’d expect neither guy to actually play in the game, but, if pressed into action, it’s easy to see Slade having more potential impact than Ryan.

So after all of that, here’s the 25-man wildcard game roster we’ve kinda sorta pieced together today:

Catchers (2) Infielders (7) Outfielders (6) RHP (5) LHP (5)
McCann Bird Gardner Masahiro Tanaka (SP) Andrew Miller
Murphy Ackley Ellsbury Dellin Betances Justin Wilson
Gregorius Beltran Adam Warren Chasen Shreve
Headley Young Andrew Bailey Chris Capuano
A-Rod (DH) Heathcott Nova/Severino/Pineda CC Sabathia
Refsnyder Noel (PR)

Remember, the Yankees can change their 25-man roster prior to the ALDS should they advance, and they’ll have to change it too. They’d need to get more starting pitchers on the roster. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. One thing at a time.

That appears to be the best 25-man roster the Yankees can carry in the wildcard game. Maybe not the most talented, but the most useful given the circumstances. We’re not planning for a best-of-five or best-of-seven series. It’s one game. One stupid little game where anything can happen. Hopefully Girardi won’t have to use anyone beyond the nine starting position players, Beltran’s defensive replacement, Tanaka, and the big three relievers. That’s the best case scenario. If the Yankees need to dip any deeper into their wildcard game roster than that, then, well, just hang on tight.

Stephen Drew’s season likely over due to dizziness and concussion symptoms


Yesterday afternoon, both Stephen Drew and Joe Girardi acknowledged Drew’s season may be over due to his ongoing dizziness and concussion symptoms. He’s gone for tests which ruled out “serious stuff” but showed a problem with his vestibular system, the inner ear system that controls balance and eye movements.

“From the MRI, the good news is they were basically checking some serious stuff and that showed negative, but on the concussion side it’s kind of leaning toward that,” said Drew to Fred Kerber. “They’re going to do some more tests and try to figure it out and go from there because of the way I’m feeling … It’s more or less the vestibular. They’re trying to pinpoint it. There is no time frame. I could wake up tomorrow and feel really good.”

Drew, 32, has not played since last Tuesday and has only played nine innings in the field (three at-bats) in the last 15 days. Part of that is Dustin Ackley taking over as the starting second baseman, but Drew has been dealing with this dizziness for about ten days now. He said he believes it happened during the doubleheader with the Blue Jays, when a ground ball deflected off his glove and hit him in the face.

“You go back on the play when the ball deflected off the glove and hit me in the face. I don’t think much about it and keep playing. It just progressed, got worse. It’s that play. There was nothing else in the season,” said Drew. He missed time with a concussion with the Red Sox in 2013 and had vestibular problems as well. “That’s the symptoms I’ve been having. With the vestibular, when I had it in ’13 it was really severe.”

Girardi said the Yankees are “playing it like we’re not going to have him” the rest of the season, which makes sense. Drew said there hasn’t been much improvement in recent days and the season ends Sunday, so there’s not much time for things to improve. You don’t want a player to rush back from a possible concussion either. It’s a brain injury, remember. You don’t mess around with those.

Assuming Drew’s season is over, he finishes the year having hit .201/.271/.381 (76 wRC+) with 17 homers in 428 plate appearances, which is quite bad. His defense in his first year as a full-time second baseman was fine, more than fine really, but I’m not sure any level of defense makes up for making an out nearly 73% of the time. Drew was worth the $5M flier but it didn’t work out. So it goes. The Yankees have a good second base situation right now.

Yanks have found a productive new second base platoon late in the season

(Adam Hunger/Getty)
(Adam Hunger/Getty)

For much of the summer, we couldn’t help but focus on second base. The Yankees are locked into their starters at every other position and Stephen Drew was unproductive for long stretches at a time, so finding an upgrade was a reasonable idea. Whether that upgrade was Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela or a trade target, it made sense to look for a new second baseman.

Instead, the Yankees stuck with Drew all summer and he’s put up a .201/.271/.381 (76 wRC+) batting line in 428 plate appearances. That’s a long leash. Drew platooned with Brendan Ryan for much of the second half, and while Drew’s production ticked up later in the summer, the No. 9 spot in the lineup was still an eyesore. For the most part the rest of the offense picked up the slack, allowing the Yankees to carry the Drew/Ryan platoon and their defense.

The second base picture has changed over the last two weeks or so. Trade deadline pickup Dustin Ackley, who got hurt almost immediately after being acquired, returned from the DL and hit his way into a regular lineup spot. Ackley has been really awesome in an extremely limited number of at-bats. He’s holding his own in the field — to be fair, he is being lifted for a defensive replacement on the regular — and taking aim for the short porch. It’s working.

Ackley has wrestled the starting job away from Drew, and lately Joe Girardi has been using Refsnyder against lefties. Refsnyder started against the three White Sox lefties over the weekend, started against Eduardo Rodriguez last night, and will probably start against Wade Miley and Rich Hill in the coming days as well. Refsnyder has hit in his recent limited action — 5-for-12 (.417) with a double — even though the Yankees aren’t scoring a ton of runs.

“It’s a kid that in the past has swung pretty good against left-handers and since we’re seeing so many of them, I put him in there. He’s done a decent job,” said Girardi to Ryan Hatch. Outside of a four-game cameo back in July, the Yankees didn’t Refsnyder much of a chance this season, not even earlier this month, but they’re doing it now and it’s better late than never. Ackley? He took the job from Drew almost immediately after getting healthy. That happened even before Drew’s bout with dizziness and a possible concussion.

The Yankees have gone from six games up in the AL East on August 1st to five games down today, and a tumble down the standings like that wouldn’t have been prevented by changing second baseman earlier this season. Too much other stuff has gone wrong. The new second base platoon can help the Yankees going forward though, and at this point of the season that means October. The Yankees will clinch a wildcard spot in the coming days in all likelihood.

“I think it’s too early (to talk about the postseason second base situation). We’ve liked the way (Refsnyder)’s swung the bat and defensively he’s done a good job, so I’ll continue to give him more opportunities,” said Girardi to Chad Jennings over the weekend. My guess is lefty or righty, Ackley will start the wildcard game at second base because Girardi will simply go with his best players. It would be a real shock to me if the kid with 30-something big league at-bats started a winner-take-all game.

The offense has been stumbling of late and, for once, it’s not because of second base. The unproductive Drew/Ryan platoon has been replaced by Ackley/Refsnyder, who’ve both hit. Will it last? Who knows. It’s working right now and that’s all that matters. The season ends Sunday and the postseason is right around the corner. It only has to work for a few more weeks. The Yankees finally have a new second base platoon, and it’s better late than never.