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View from the other side: Yankees questions for Joshua Diemert of Pinstripe Alley

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MLS: Atlanta United FC at New York City FC Chris Bergmann-USA TODAY Sports

We start a three-game series with the Yankees tonight.

The Yankees are at the top of the AL East, with a 49-28 record, sitting 4.5 games ahead of the Rays.

They are second in the AL in runs per game at 5.52 (Jays are averaging 4.08) and they are fourth in the AL in runs allowed per game at 4.31 (Jays are allowing 5.17).

I sent off some question to Joshua Diemert of Pinstripe Alley, SB Nation’s Yankees’ blog, just this morning actually, and he got back to me very quickly.

I thought I’d ask what Yankees’ fans think of the trip to London? Any worries about the players having troubles with jet lag?

I think most people are curious about the appetite for baseball in the UK, but there would probably be more excitement if MLB included Yankees-Boston in the Mexico series or something like that, since the interest of fans in that market seems much more palatable. I think both teams will use the extra 26th man and the full bench for both games to hedge against jet lag and avoid players getting hurt on the stadium’s turf.

You guys have a bunch of Jays on the team, a friend mentioned that you were trying to recreate the 2015 Blue Jays. Let’s split up the questions about them. What’s going on with Troy Tulowitzki? I’m imagining his MLB career is over, but then I thought that last year. And while we are at it, what was the thinking behind getting Kendrys Morales? Will he play again for the Yankees?

Ouf, Troy Tulowitzki. He’s terrible and injured, and the last I had heard the Yankees had shut him down after a setback and advised him to “consider his future in baseball”. To me that sounds like a team suggesting retirement without saying that word. I doubt he’ll play for the Yankees again, but I can’t say whether he’ll hang them up or not - I know having his son see and remember him play was a big motivating factor in him coming back in 2019.

Morales is ALSO terrible and injured, and admittedly the terribleness is something I called well ahead of time:

In a time when players are trying to get the ball in the air more, and a year the ball is juiced, Morales just hasn’t been able to do that. If all you hit is atom balls on the ground, it negates a lot of exit velocity advantages. He’s currently out with a calf strain, but I expect him to be DFA’d fairly quickly upon returning.

How have you turned Gio Urshela into a useful player? For use he couldn’t hit or field. Is he the 3B for the rest of the season?

Urshela’s definitely been a Statcast success story - he’s upped his avg exit velocity 5 mph and juiced his hard hit rate too. Urshela did credit some mechanical changes in the minors and offseason, but I’m not sure if those were prompted by Yankee coaching or private swing instructors like we see with a lot of players today.

I’ll admit I’m sad to see Edwin Encarnacion in pinstripes. He’ll always be a favorite of mine, he is a lot of fun to watch. Did the trade surprise you as much as it did me? Where is he hitting in the lineup?

I also love EE, and the trade kind of came out of nowhere even if we shouldn’t allow Jerry DiPoto to ever surprise us when it comes to trades. He’s gotten off to a slow start in the Bronx with just a 42 wRC+ in his first week but that’ll come around. He’s being penciled in right around 5-6 in the lineup, behind the big OBP guys like Judge and LeMahieu.

How is J.A. Happ doing? Is he slowing any at 36.

J.A. Happ is doing poorly. After being manhandled by the Astros yesterday he has the second highest HR/9 rate in the majors, his strikeout rate is the lowest since 2009, and both his ERA and FIP are over five. If the Yankees were hoping he could stabilize the bottom of a thin rotation, boy have they been wrong.

With the trade deadline coming up, what will the Yankees be looking to pick up?

If I were in charge, the team would be targeting one of Marcus Stroman, Matt Boyd or Trevor Bauer (although he is personally extremely icky and I would prefer the Yankees steer clear). Unfortunately the team doesn’t really have much in terms of high-ceiling prospects right now, the kind you need to acquire young starters with multiple seasons of control. It seems more likely they’ll go after a depth rotation piece and another bullpen arm - Brad Hand and Mike Minor would make sense if their teams drop off before the deadline.

Thanks Josh.