Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Bidding for James Paxton Begins...

Photo Credit: The Canadian Press (Fred Thornhill)
Will Paxton join Gerrit Cole in Houston?…

Last year, the Yankees missed an opportunity to acquire top starting pitcher Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Houston Astros swooped in to grab the talented righty. It’s possible that the Yankees could be outdone by the Astros for the second consecutive year. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted this morning that Houston is in on the potential trade  talks for James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners along with the Yankees and other clubs.  

I wanted Cole last winter although a number of Yankee fans did not. Honestly, it’s unlikely Cole would have pitched as well in the Bronx as he did in Houston so perhaps the opposing fans were right. This is a new year, and now the trade speculation is on Paxton, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. My initial desire is to place Kluber at the top of the list, but the more you think about it, the less likely you feel the Cleveland Indians would actually move their aces. The Indians remain a contending team so unless it is a serious overpay, the Tribe is not going to part with Kluber or Carrasco. So it leaves Paxton as potentially the best available trade target assuming the Mariners decide to move him. Seattle GM Jerry DiPoto is, of course, very unpredictable but the Yankees and Mariners have matched up for lesser deals in recent years so there is history of successful negotiations. I have no doubt DiPoto would trade within division for the right mix of players so Houston is a serious threat for the Yankees if they identify Paxton as the guy they want. The Astros may lose Charlie Morton to free agency and they’ve already lost Lance McCullers, Jr for the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery. So the Astros are just as motivated to add top starters as the Yankees.  

As much as I like Paxton, he is not someone I would trade Miguel Andujar for (or Estevan Florial or Justus Sheffield for that matter).  Kluber or Carrasco, yes, but not Paxton. Paxton carries much greater risk with his inability to stay healthy. So, as much as I would hate to get punked by the Astros again and as much as I’d like Paxton on the staff, there is a price I’d draw a line. If Houston wants to overpay, let them.  If GM Brian Cashman can get Paxton at his price, great. I’ll be excited to see Paxton join the Yankees starting rotation…with Miguel Andujar continuing to field grounders at third in Yankee Stadium.  

A pic of a shaved Dallas Keuchel has been floating the Internet with talk about how the “beardless” one would look in the Bronx.  

With no offense to Keuchel, I don’t really want to see him in the Bronx. I know he’s been tough on the Yankees over the years but I cannot find myself with the desire to root for him.  Keuchel will only be 31 when the season begins, however, I think Keuchel and Patrick Corbin are on opposite trajectories for their 30’s. Corbin, like fine wine, stands a much better chance of aging well. If the Yankees miss out on Corbin and others, it is possible they have to make a run at Keuchel but I really hope that’s a potential option which never comes to fruition. Bring me Corbin and J.A. Happ and I’ll be happy.

Trying to brace myself for the possibility the Yankees pass on the big ticket purchases this winter, I think Marwin Gonzalez and Jurickson Profar represent the best options for the infield to help cover for the loss of Didi Gregorius. I’ve liked Daniel Murphy in the past but I don’t feel he really fits the Yankees at this stage in his career. Both Gonzalez and Profar have positional diversity which makes them very valuable with the current group of Yankees. Who knows, maybe this is the year Tyler Wade puts it together to launch his Major League career in full force. It’s not really a bet I’d make but it is not my team or my money. Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner is on record that he is tired of lining the pockets of other owners and it’s his right to make the financial decisions in the best interests of the Steinbrenner Family. I think most of us thought the Yankees were positioning themselves for a big splash into the 2018-19 free agent market but the reality is that we need to be prepared for Team Fiscal Restraint. I am hopeful Hal sees the potential salary relief when guys like Jacoby Ellsbury come off the books in just a couple of years but we’ll see.  

It was tough in years past to see the Yankees pass on the big name free agents. Max Scherzer stands out as one. At the time of his free agency, the Yankees were cited as one of the favorites to sign him. They didn’t and Scherzer moved from Detroit to Washington and has continued to pitch at an elite level. Even if the Yankees weren’t ready to add an elite pitcher at the time of Scherzer’s availability, he’d certainly look fantastic in the starting rotation today. The price would have meant the inability to bring payroll under the luxury tax threshold this year so the decision to pass on Scherzer remains debatable. It’s amazing how the decision to sign Jacoby Ellsbury has haunted the Yankees for so many years. I guess that’s a strong argument for not going hog wild in the current free agent market.  

Before I close, I’d like to send out our prayers and thoughts to all those affected by the wildfires in Northern and Southern California. For some, there will never be recovery. I hope the fires are brought under control soon and we suffer no further loss of life. For those of you in California, please stay safe.

View of Malibu from Santa Monica Pier

Lastly, Happy Veteran’s Day! We can never forget those who served and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to maintain our freedom. Today, and every day, we honor you.

As always, Go Yankees!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Looking Forward to St Patrick's Day...

Photo Credit: AP (Rick Scuteri)
Patrick Corbin should be at the forefront for the Yankees…

So many possibilities, where do the Yankees go? November is always a tough month for the Hot Stove League. Lots of talk but not really much action. There’s always the chance for a major trade but we generally have to get much closer to the Baseball Winter Meetings in December for the flurry of activity, then the quietness returns until the start of training camp. I don’t expect this year to be any different.  

No doubt GM Brian Cashman is laying the groundwork for potential trades. He’s talked with the Cleveland Indians, he’s reached out to the Seattle Mariners, and has surely had talks with teams we’ve heard nothing about. The talks now will hopefully yield fruit later, but rest assured, if the Yankees are successful in obtaining Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco or James Paxton, it WILL hurt. For a team on the cusp of a championship, now is not the time to “prospect-hug”. The team must be prepared to pay the price, whatever it may be, to bring in a top of the rotation arm.  

Of the names mentioned, I probably like Kluber the best. He would immediately became the team’s ace, which we clearly need, and his presence would help take pressure off Luis Severino. Less pressure on Sevy would only enhance the chances for him to become the best he can be. But if the Yanks can’t get Kluber, Carrasco would be a welcome addition. I really like James Paxton and I think his name has been mentioned frequently in the past by TGP’s Daniel Burch. My only concern, like many others, is health. Paxton has not proven to be a durable pitcher. But if the team has the opportunity to add Paxton and the price is reasonable, they should do it.  

Photo Credit: USATSI

Regardless of how the trade market plays out, I hope the Yankees do not lose sight of free agent starter Patrick Corbin. He will be costly but I am very fascinated with how his left arm and pitching arsenal would play in Yankee Stadium. He grew up as a Yankees fan and wore #46 in Arizona out of respect for Andy Pettitte. He is a ground ball pitcher with five legitimate pitches although his deadly combinations are the slider, four-seam fastball, and sinker. He’s been praised for his work ethic and the signs show he will be an elite pitcher in his 30’s. Corbin might slot into the third or fourth spot in the rotation depending upon what the Yankees do on the trade market, but he’d ensure the starting rotation is a strength in 2019 compared to its achilles heel in 2018.  

Despite the rumors of so many names, Corbin remains my number one target this off-season.  I hope the Yankees see it the same way. Paired with an ace acquired via trade, or added along with the return of a guy like J.A. Happ or Nathan Eovaldi, the starting rotation will be better next year with Corbin in it. 

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports (Mark J Rebilas)

The Bryce Harper/Manny Machado talk has reached absurd levels. I am anxious for the guys to get their $300 million plus contracts to end the excessive chatter about the two young superstars. I think the Yankees would be foolish to pass on at least one of the rare “young” superstars but it’s not my money. I see the advantage of Bryce’s left-handed bat in the Yankees lineup and I see Manny’s role in bridging the gap at short and eventually providing a superior defender at third. My personal preference may be Machado as I’ve long admired the player but I would shed no tears with the signing of Harper. Still, the Yankees can win without either so if they go big with the starting rotation and bring in a guy like Marwin Gonzalez or Daniel Murphy to help the infield, it will not be the end of the world. I like the chances better with Harper or Machado, but the 2019 Yankees will contend for the World Series regardless of how this plays out. “Go big or go home” applies now more than ever.  

I want the Yankees to end the reign of the Boston Red Sox next season so I am in favor of whatever moves the team has to make to improve. I’d hate to see Miguel Andujar, Estevan Florial, Justus Sheffield, or Albert Abreu leave, but if it improves the team, so be it. Championship windows do not remain open for extended periods of time. You have to take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves. I am ready for the pain for the greater glory. In Cashman we trust…

Photo Credit: AP (Gregory Bull)

For those keeping score, the Yankees have made some moves this off-season. They’ve re-signed Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia to one-year deals. They re-signed minor league free agent third baseman and defensive-whiz Giovanny Urshela and they signed a minor league deal with former Pirates catcher Ryan Lavarnway. Lavarnway was once a heralded top prospect for the Red Sox, although, now in his 30’s, he has settled into a journeyman role.  He provides much needed catching depth at the upper levels of the farm system. Lavarnway is one of those guys I hope the Yankees don’t need to use but he’s there to help if it becomes necessary. Milwaukee’s Erik Kratz has proven it is never too late to make a significant contribution.  Welcome to the Yankees Family, Ryan!

Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Matt Freed)

The end is within sight for Jacoby Ellsbury. He only has two more years on his contract before the Yankees can exercise their buyout. Ellsbury is owed $42,285,174 for the next two seasons, and the Yankees can then buyout his contract for an additional $5 million. Realistically, I don’t expect Ellsbury to wear the pinstripes again or at least I hope not, but I am glad we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve seen some suggest the Yankees should trade Ellsbury for another dead contract (like Miami’s Wei-Yin Chen, owed $58 million for the next three years, or Seattle’s Robinson Cano, owed $120 million over the next five years). No, thanks. I don’t think the Yankees should take on more money to rid themselves of Ellsbury. I like Cano and he might help but financially it makes absolutely no sense. He is clearly on the downhill slide and he’s entering the really ugly side of his ridiculous contract. If the Yankees can finally move Ellsbury even if they have to pay the bulk of his remaining contract, that’s the way to go. If I was a GM for another team and I was convinced that Ellsbury was finally healthy, I’d take a chance on him for no more than a $5 million per year commitment. That’s a lot of money for the Yankees to eat, but it would be worth the investment (addition by subtraction). I am done with Ellsbury and don’t want to see him pull on the pinstripes again.

Yesterday saw two notable names in the game announce their plans to retire. Hats off to Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins and Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers for long, distinguished careers. Both are names I’d like to see stay in the game in some capacity. I am not sure what their plans are for the future but I wish both the very best as they enter the next phase of their lives. Mauer’s departure certainly opens an opportunity at first base for former Yankee Tyler Austin unless they decide to go in a different direction for new manager Rocco Baldelli. 

Is Sonny Gray still a Yankee? Count me among those who think Cashman will bring a better than expected return for the failed Yankee. I am certain he’ll get at least a strong prospect with upside. We’ll see. Hopefully Gray’s Yankee career is over by this time next month. It would  be great if he could take Luis Cessa and A.J. Cole with him.

As always, Go Yankees!

Monday, November 5, 2018

More Ways To Close The Gap 

The Yankees have several holes we all know. 

The other day I wrote a post detailing what I would do to catch up to the Red Sox and Astros, however as always there is always other ways to do it. Here we will start to look at other ways the Bombers can make up the needed ground, without Manny and Bryce. That being said let’s take a look at what was one of the Yanks biggest holes all season, 1st Base. The Yankees had some of the worst overall production out of the guys manning 1st all season long. Luke Voit stepped in after a late season trade, and torn the cover off the ball. .333 Avg 15 Hrs and 33 RBIs in 132 PA. However no one can be sure he can keep up that production. Greg Bird finally was able to stay on the field and off the DL, but to be nice was horrible. Now I’m not ready to fully give up on Bird just yet. His career numbers albeit over 3 seasons actually add up to one very good season minus the BA. .214 with 97 RBIs and 31 Homers in 569 PA.  The problem for Greg had been staying on the field. So maybe with a full off season of work Bird can turn in to the player everyone expected after his good rookie year. Still with that all being said the Yankees need to close the gap between them and the Top Feeders. (After winning 100 Games, that sounds weird) In Order to do that they need solid and consistent play out of their 1st Baseman all year long. Now we shall take a look at a few options that should be available to them. One thing to keep in mind is the available free agent 1st baseman are not the type of player we would be looking for. Joe Mauer, Matt Adams, Lucas Duda, Chris Carter(yuck), Pedro Alvarez, Tommy Joseph, Chris Parmelee, and Steve Pearce the MVP of the World Series. A real quick look at these guys....Most likely goes like this...... Joe Mauer.....Not leaving Twins unless he retires. Matt Adams.....To inconsistent for me. Lucas Duda, Chris Carter, Pedro Alvarez, Tommy Joesph, Chris Parmelee all big No Thank You!!!! Steve Pearce I would only consider to stick it to the Red Sox other wise I’m also staying say away here. I don’t believe this was some type Of turn around his career type season, rather just him hitting a high. We need more then that. Looks like we need to make a trade stay in house, or have a player switch positions which leads me to the following......

The trade market this is always a crap shoot because who knows how is actually available but the word on the street is Paul Goldschmidt can be had for the right offer. Big Paul has been one of the most productive 1st baseman for sometime now. A career .297 Avg 209 homers and 710 RBIs over 8 seasons.  In 2018 he hit .290 with 33 Jacks and 83 RBIs.  

Goldschmidt Plays a awesome defense as well. He Would add a consistent bat into the Yankees offense, and is only signed for the 2019 season thus the cost shouldn’t be as high. Let’s say one of Luke Voit or Greg Bird, Chance Adams, Kyle Holder, and 1 or 2 lower level prospects? I’d make the deal. Prefer to keep Bird over Voit only because Paul is a Righty as is Voit, so keep Bird who can help keep a balance. Plus as I’ve said I think Bird still has a lot of potential. 

Keeping with the trade market...... Jose Abreu is a player I have always liked and may also be available at a cheep cost. Coming off a season of a .265 avg with 22 bombs and 78 RBIs, is what I view as a down year for him. Would add the production that could help close the GAP.The White Sox totally sucked and looks like they will for a while so they could look to clear house and start anew. I wouldn’t give the farm for this guy, but maybe Chance Adams and a lower level prospect might get the deal done. Cash if you can’t land Big Paul from the Dbacks make a call and see what the White Sox think.  

In house options are sticking with Luke Voit and seeing if we found a diamond in the rough or was this season just another Shane Spencer type years? Going back to Greg Bird who should finally have a normal off seasons and this can show he is what the Yankee’s brass all expected him to be. However the other option is the one I would be interested in seeing. Well that is if we sign Manny and Didi comes back healthy.........Moving Andjuar off the hot corner and seeing if he could play on the other side of the diamond. Thus keeping the doubles Machine in the line up while adding Machado & Then inserting Didi when he is back. That might give the Bombers the best left side of the infield in the majors. The Bronx Bombers could also look at other free agent infielders and see if they would be willing to move to 1st that is if they feel Miguel can get past his defensive struggles at the hot corner. (Again keep in mind for this post we are avoiding Harper and Machado) one name that comes to mind is...... Josh Donaldson – Who turns 33 in December, presents a potential impact bat on a short-term deal maybe only 1 year. Gives him a chance to build up his value again after a up and down season. He’s a late bloomer who played the hot corner and became a star while playing for the A’s in 2013, won the AL MVP award in 2015 after he was traded to the Blue Jays. Josh missed significant time due to a calf injury in 2017, but hit 22 home runs over the final two months of the 2017 season. Donaldson landed on the DL this year in April with right shoulder inflammation and then went on the shelf again May for his calf, that then landed him on the 60-day DL, Donaldson was traded to the Indians before he was activated.  Josh did make a brief but promising return to action late in 2018. With that said, he may be better served to take a one-year pact and re-establish his health and prove he is still the same old Josh. The Yankees should explore this option.   

Also Cash and company could look to another free agent......Mike Moustakas – Royals.  After hitting a Royals-record 38 home runs in 2017, Moustakas’ free agency went terribly for him. Even with a qualifying offer attached, MLBTR predicted a five-year, $85MM contract. That contract never came, instead the third baseman wound up back with the Royals for 1 year at $6.5MM. Moose is a big power low OBP guy, however the OBP May rise in a better lineup. Mike can most likely be had on a 1-2 year deal right now for I’d say 8-10 million per. If all else fails this might just be a guy for the Yanks to look at. Left handed bat power bat in the Bronx could lead to a huge season for the Moose and make Brian Cashman and company look really smart. Anyway you slice it the Bombers need more production from their 1st Baseman in 2019, here’s hoping one way or another they find it.   

As always I can be reached at JamesCPalma@Yahoo.Com 

Let’s G⚾️ Yankees!! 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

No Doubt Today's a "Work Day" for Brian Cashman...

Let the Dialing for Dollars Begin…

Free Agency has officially begun as the team-exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents expired yesterday and the rumors are running rampant. I am never quite sure why they even allow teams a window to talk to their free agents since it almost never results in any pre-open free agency signings. This year, there was more activity with guys renegotiating new contracts due to opt-outs and buyouts. 

Before I get started, I wanted to give a shout-out to Bryan Van Dusen last week for his post entitled Manny Machado vs. Bryce Harper, and The Rest Of The Offseason. Bryan put a great deal of time and thought into his post and of the many, many posts out there about the Yankees off-season and what the team should do, Bryan’s piece is one of the most thorough, logical, and reasonable. It represents a great blueprint for how the Yankees can win the 2019 World Series Championship. Nice job, Bryan!

Well, the World Series didn’t exactly go to plan. Pulling for the Los Angeles Dodgers, I lost a bet with my good friend Julia (@werbiefitz), a lifelong die-hard Red Sox fan. As a result, my FaceBook cover photo has shown a picture of the Red Sox celebrating their championship for the last week. I can’t take it down until a full seven days have elapsed from the end of the World Series. Needless to say, I’ve been staying away from FaceBook lately. I am also reading a Red Sox-related book chosen by Julia. Upon completion, I have to write a 500-word essay about the ten things I’ve learned from reading the book. My goal is to have this finished before Thanksgiving.

Obviously, it is not fun to know the Red Sox have won four championships this century. But if there is any positive about this year’s Boston champagne party at the conclusion of the World Series, it will be so much sweeter when the Yankees snatch the trophy away from them next year.  

Photo Credit: NJ Advance Media for (John Munson)

The Yankees’ off-season got started quickly this year when the Yankees, as expected, declined the $12.5 million option on Brett Gardner’s contract.  After paying the $2 million buyout, the parties quickly announced a new one-year deal for $7.5 million. TGP’s Daniel Burch had pitched bringing back Gardy for $6.5 million so he was very close to the team’s line of thinking. I thought it was a bit of an overpay, but I had mentally prepared myself to move on from Gardner due to the crowded outfield. But upon reflection, I agree Clint Frazier is a huge question mark/uncertainty heading into next year and Jacoby Ellsbury, despite reports of good health, is just buying time until his next DL stint. Regardless of whether or not I think the Yankees should bring CC Sabathia back, I honestly do not feel they will. Certainly things could change, but I think CC gets put on the back burner as the Yankees pursue other pitching opportunities. It increases the likelihood another team, such as the Oakland A’s or Los Angeles Angels, could pitch him an incentive-laden one year deal to return to his home state of California before he rides off into the sunset. Without Sabathia in the clubhouse, Brett Gardner becomes the senior voice and mentor for the younger guys. He may not be the player he once was, but his influence on this team is invaluable so welcome back, Brett!

Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports (Nick Turchiaro)

Every year, I look forward to MLB Trade Rumors and their predictions for the top free agents (teams and contracts). Tim Dierkes is one of the best and I have a great deal of respect for him, but I have to admit that I about fell off my chair when I read his latest offering. He has Bryce Harper going to the Los Angeles Dodgers for 14 years (Yikes!) and, gulp!, $420 million. I am not sure we’ll see a contract break the $400 million mark this year, but if that’s the price tag, the Yankees shouldn’t play. I’d love to have Bryce on the Yankees, but I’d rather spread the money around for the best possible club. Dierkes has Manny Machado going to the Philadelphia Phillies for almost as much (13 years at $390 million). I think most Yankee fans want the team to sign at least one of those guys (with a few ready to spend a billion dollars to sign both as if that would ever happen). If Dierkes is right and Machado and Harper sign elsewhere, I would prefer to see them go to National League clubs. I know, the Yankees don’t need either guy. But it is not often that 26-year-old superstars are available for nothing more than money. So, count me among those who want to come away with at least one. Nonetheless, we need to be prepared the Yankees may not be in play for either.

Third on Dierkes’ list is Patrick Corbin. I saw one writer this week predicting an ‘out of nowhere’ signing of Corbin by the San Diego Padres, but Dierkes stayed with the majority to project Corbin to the Yankees on a 6-year deal for $129 million. Sign me up. If there is one guy I want in this year’s free agency, it is Corbin. He may not be a frontline ace, but he is a very sound option for the starting rotation and would place right behind Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka to give the team a formidable front three. Yesterday, news broke that the Cleveland Indians may be willing to trade veterans so immediate speculation went to a trade to bring Corey Kluber to the Bronx. Regardless of whether or not the Yankees go after Kluber, I’d still sign the left-handed Corbin. He seems like an excellent fit for Yankee Stadium.  Honestly, I think the Indians would be foolish to trade Kluber but if it did happen, he is one of few that are as good as Boston’s Chris Sale. The Yankees should be “all-in” if Cleveland is truly willing to deal, but conversely, it should not stall plans to go hard after Corbin. Getting both would be “greedy”, sure, but losing out on both would hurt.  

Dierkes has Andrew Miller going to the Red Sox and Zach Britton to the Astros. I have resigned myself to the loss of Britton and dread the thought he’ll sign with either the Red Sox or Astros. Miller scares me a bit with his recent injury history, but I loved the guy as a Yankee and I would like to see him come back if the Yankees do not resign Britton or David Robertson. Miller has an infectious team-first mentality that rubs off on others and the talent to match.  

Photo Credit:

Friday was an active day as teams had to make decisions regarding qualifying offers. The Arizona Diamondbacks, as expected, issued a qualifying offer to Patrick Corbin. The one that surprised me was the decision by the Houston Astros not to extend the qualifying offer to Charlie Morton. As such, he represents another option for the Yankees should they lose out on Corbin or simply decide not to pursue him for whatever reasons. If Morton is the best the Yankees can get this off-season, it will be a huge disappointment. Sorry, Charlie. C’mon, I had to do that! With the recent rule changes, the Yankees won’t lose their first round draft pick should they sign Corbin since it’s protected. They would lose their second highest draft pick in next year’s MLB Draft plus a half-million in international bonus pool money. Morton would not cost anything but money but seriously I hope the Yankees can do better.

With the heavy roster activity by MLB teams yesterday, the Yankees picked up a minor league infielder claimed on waivers from the Texas Rangers. Hanser Alberto is a 26-year old shortstop with an ability to play multiple infield positions and even logged some time in the outfield. He hasn’t done much in limited big league opportunities with the Rangers, but he has strong minor league numbers. Last year, in Triple A, he hit .330/.346/.452, with .797 OPS, in 361 at-bats. He doesn’t have much power, but he did drive in 58 runs last year for Round Rock. It remains to be seen if he’ll stick on the 40-man roster this winter. One Rangers blog predicted the Yankees will try to slip him through waivers so that they can outright him to the minors (Alberto is out of options), giving the Rangers an opportunity to grab him back. We’ll find out within the next couple of weeks as the team prepares to finalize its 40-man roster in advance of December’s Rule 5 Draft. I am not really expecting Alberto to stick around.  

I was glad to see Clayton Kershaw sign an extension to remain with the Los Angeles Dodgers. I know he’s struggled with injuries the last couple of years, but I see him as a lifetime Dodger. I know some Yankee fans were hopeful that he’d reach free agency, but I didn’t think the Yankees would have been in play. Knowing Kershaw and how important family is to him, I think he would have returned to his home state of Texas if things didn’t work out with the Dodgers or at the most, would have gone somewhere in the Midwest. There was never a chance he was going to come to the East Coast, in my opinion.  

Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward lost his competition last off-season with Aaron Boone for the Yankees’ managerial gig, but now he’ll get a chance to compete with Boone again as the new manager for the Texas Rangers. The Yankees certainly hold high regard for Woodward given their consideration of him last year. I wish him the best in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.   

Lastly, before I go, I want to say that I am on Team Sanchez. So many Yankee fans have wanted the team to trade Gary Sanchez to the Miami Marlins for J.T. Realmuto. I am not questioning Realmuto is a great catcher, but I am not ready to give up on El Gary. 2018 was not a good year for him but I think he’ll be much better in 2019 with room to improve. If the Yankees are going to give up good, young prospects, it should be for their biggest weaknesses, like the starting rotation for one. Selling Gary low would be a huge mistake in my humble opinion.  

As always, Go Yankees!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Do The Yankees Need To Add Two Elite Starters?

Pitching wins. Just ask an Astros fan.

You've heard the phrase "pitching wins championships" used in multiple sports, many times. Which has led to a plethora of Yankees fans to beg Brian Cashman to somehow acquire a top starter or two every season since... well... the beginning of the franchise? I don't know for sure, but it seems like as long as I've conversed with other Yankees fans I've heard the words "they need pitching" said quite a bit.

Well, how about we take a look at the fWAR (Fangraphs' version of WAR is better for pitching) of a couple of team's pitching staffs from 2018...

Team A 
Starters - 16.9
Releivers - 9.7
Total - 26.6

Team B
Starters - 15.8
Relievers - 4.9
Total - 20.6

Before I go on how about we add offense to the mix? I wouldn't want you thinking that one of those teams above is far and away better at scoring runs, and thus the question was pointless. So here is the bWAR for each team (Baseball Reference's version of WAR is better for batting)...

Team A - 29.5
Team B - 27.3

Looking at thoses numbers you'd probably say that Team A is clearly better. Well, based on which team hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy the other night, you'd be wrong. Because Team B is the Boston Red Sox. And wouldn't you know it? Team A is the New York Yankees.

It's true that championships are not won on paper. On paper, Brian Cashman could construct the greatest team of all time, but they can still fall short when it comes to actually playing the game. And that's what happened last season.

So while it's true that the Yankees don't need Bryce Harper's or Manny Machado's offensive output for 2019, there will come a time when they are happy to have it. Besides, when a talent like Harper and Machado, who are still in their mid-20s, becomes available for nothing more than money, then you go for it. Especially when you're the Yankees and you have plenty of money to spend.

Another reality is that the Yankees don't need to add two elite pitchers to the rotation. Adding Patrick Corbin, and one of CC Sabathia or J.A. Happ, makes it possible for the Yankees to take a chance on a young starter from another team via trade (like Nick Pivetta), or even from their own stock of prospects (Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams, etc.).

If you want numbers to back that up, here you go...

2018 fWAR
Luis Severino - 5.7
Patrick Corbin - 6.3
Masahiro Tanaka - 2.7
CC Sabathia - 2.5
Total - 17.2

As long as the fifth starter doesn't produce a negative fWAR for the Yankees in 2019 they don't need to make a huge trade for somebody like Jameson Taillon, Madison Bumgarner, or Zack Greinke.

Which is why trading Miguel Andujar is unnecessary. Miggy would either be used to get a top starter, who is not needed, or for Paul Goldschmidt, which would be a waste since Goldy is only signed through the next season.

There is one area that the Yankees truly need to improve upon, but I'll save that discussion for another time.

A Fans Questions 

I live in PA, but a big Yankee fan! How do they improve their situational hitting for 2019? 

Average batting averages, leaving runners in scoring position and strikeouts. Read where the Yankees had more strikeouts than hits and had 135 less hits than the Red Sox for the season. Hit a lot of home runs, but leave more than their share of RISP. Is it the hitting coaches? Keep up the good work! 

Well John, 

Thank You for the Email. Some of this is just bad luck. How many times did Greg Bird, and Gary Sanchez hit the ball right at someone? Next year some of those balls will drop in for hits. That is Just a product of luck. Another way to do it is to stay healthy I’m sure if Torres doesn’t get hurt he doesn’t drop off as much as he did when he returned. Also If Judge doesn’t get hurt these numbers are a bit better as well. Yes judge strikes out to but he would have plated some of those runners. Yes they had 135 less hits then the Red Sox but let’s take also take the time to remember when Judge was out the Yanks used Shane Robinson for a good amount of time. So again if Judge doesn’t miss a month plus, and the Yanks use someone other then Robinson that number is closer to 95 rather then 135. If Torres is not hurt for the period of time he is add a few more hits for the time off, plus the fact he most likely doesn’t come back cold and that number is down to 70? Add in the above mentioned Sanchez and Bird the number is most likely down around 45? Now some may say Bird is what he was this year, so then I’d say as Voit or any other 1st baseman and that number is now down to about 10-15 ? I mean the Yankees got nothing out of 1st baseman almost all year until Voit got there. So maybe the answer is just as simple as a productive 1st baseman, and if that’s the case plus everything I mentioned above maybe it’s the Yankees with 135 more hits then the Sox.  Also keep in mind this man lost some time due to injury this year as well......Sir Didi not getting hurt also helps that cause. Anyways we won 100 games wouldn’t worry the Red Sox had 135 hits more then we did. Plus if they add Manny or Bryce if not both that gap is definitely smaller. Also adding one or both of the above what is the HR total then? The Yankees hit more hits then any other team in the history of the game, That number will grow no matter what as long as Judge stays healthy. That being said I don’t think it’s the Hitting coaches as it was just more bad luck. Maybe a contact hitter to add to the lineup rather then another power only hitter? But Bryce and or Manny will also help there. I wouldn’t worry to much again 100 wins and the most home runs ever as a team these young guys are just going to get better with time. Upgrade the pitching and most of the above doesn’t matter anyway. Give up less runs and we would be have won 10-15 more games and people might be asking Boston who? 

Reach me at JamesCPalma@Yahoo.Com and you too may find your Email live here at The Greedy Pinstripes. 

Remember Let’s G⚾️ Yankees! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The off-season is here 

Greetings Yankee Fans. After some time of letting this season’s playoff loss to the hated Red Sox sink in, I’m back. 

This offseason should be very fun. Mission get under the luxury tax has been completed, and it’s time the Yanks go on one of their 4 to 5 year sprees. What a year to do it!!!! With many top tier free agents available, and plenty of trades out there it’s time the Bombers front office and Brian Cashman go to work. The Yanks need to get a a few things done this offseason, most importantly is closing the gap between themselves and the AL’s top 2 teams, the Sox’s and the Astros. In order to do that the Yankees need to upgrade at few everyday positions, while at the same time maintaining their dominant Bullpen, and upgrading the Starting Pitching. Let’s assume Justus Sheffield is not ready for a major league roll till mid season. The Yanks will return Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and that’s all that is guaranteed. Leaving the Yankees 3 starters short. While the Bombers boast a load of young talented arms in the minor leagues, they are unproven. Which leads me to Patrick Corbin, a player they should be signing Corbin had an great season posting 3.15 era with 246 strike outs. Corbin could easily become a prime #2 starter for the Yanks. Re-Sign JA Happ (Sorry C.C.) Happ was phenomenal for the Yankees after being brought in via Trade. That leaves 1 spot and a bunch of question marks to fill it. First thing I would do is look for an Ace, Easing the pressure on Severino, and for that matter Corbin as well. Teams to call? Start with the Giants & go from there, maybe the Mets? May cost a little more but it’ll take either of the 2.  If you can’t get an Ace look for a solid # 4/5 type starter and look for Sheffield to step in sometime mid season. So that will leave the Yanks with either Ace, Severino, Corbin,Tanaka, Happ, or Severino, Corbin,Tanaka, Happ, and a 5th Starter with Sheffield waiting in the wings.  

The bullpen should be pretty straight forward. 

Closer: Aroldis Chapman should remain the teams closer. With Dellin Betances the main setup guy. Resigning both Zach Britton and and David Robertson should be done. Britton may cost the Yanks a little bit more then you would like, but he says he likes being a Yankee so maybe a middle ground can be found. I for one like the 7 man pen a pose to 8 man, that leaves 3 open spots. One of which goes to Chad Green, and in my opinion Jonathan Holder earned a spot as well. The last bullpen option id look into is bringing back Andrew Miller, adding another prime lefty to an already awesome pen. Now moving on it’s time to look at the Starting 9 Position by position. Now before we all start debating between Harper and Machado. 

Remember as the great Daniel Birch wrote.....

“The thing is though, and the thing that a LOT of Yankees fans are missing, is that the Yankees could sign BOTH Machado and Harper, and STILL have money and prospects left over to address the pitching.” So there will be no debate as to which one we should sign during this post. Nor am I going to discuss numbers that’s been done enough.   

Catcher: Gary Sanchez Yes Sanchez had a bad year, no we shouldn’t trade him. One bad year doesn’t make me lose faith in a player with his power and skill set. 

1st Base: Paul Goldschmidt?, Luke Voit, Greg Bird.If the Dbacks are trading him I am all ears. I am not sure how much the Yanks will want to spend here. I am big on free agents in other areas so this comes down to the money.  

However I am trying to compete with the Red Sox this I am making the move. Paul is only signed for 2019 and will be free after that so it’s only for a year anyway. If not Luke Voit earned a chance to show what he can do, and I am still not ready to give up totally on Greg Bird yet. Plus depending on other moves maybe a Voit and Bird combo makes sense.  

We can touch on this later as well.  

2nd Base: Gleyber TorresKeep Torres at 2nd, almost wins rookie of year award if not for a injury, and His teammate. Very amazing player with a huge upside if it’s not broke don’t fix it.  

3rd Base: Miguel AndujarHmmm with Sir Didi being injured this is easy as pie. No position move as of now the Double Machine stays right at the hot corner. Well at least until Didi is back. If the Yanks don’t bring in Goldschmidt via trade Andjuar can possibly cover at 1st base.  

Short Stop: Manny MachadoI wanted Machado before Didi went down. Now Manny is looked at for SS not 3rd. When Sir Didi is back and healthy Andjuar will have to be moved around a lil maybe a lil time in LF ,1b, and even some games still at 3rd. But we need to close the gap between us and the Sox Manny does that. Plus Manny wants to be Yankee, idc if he is not Johnny Hustle that is ok, he is a super talent. 

Left Field: Bryce Harper Super talent ...check 

Harper at Yankee stadium = 50 Hrs? 

Judge ...Harper...Stanton wow what dangerous lineup this can be. That doesn’t even mention anyone else in the lineup.  

Center Field: Aaron HicksHicks finally had the season the Yanks hoped for when they traded for him a few years back.  

He quieted my qualms about trading him. He has earned his spot.   

Right Field: Duh!! Aaron Judge, need I Say any more.  

DH: Giancarlo StantonNo need to freak out I’ll take 38HRs and 100 RBIs but those numbers will be better in 2019. I promise you that.  

The bench keep it simple here don’t need to go crazy or anything like that. The players are 

Already here.  

4th OF: Clint Frazier 

Young, cheap, and a ton of talent. As long as healthily can make a big difference. Dare I Say best 4th Of in baseball? (Guess Not with the Gardner now signed)

Back Up Catcher: Austin Romine 

Proved he can fill in long term if Sanchez is hurt. The pitchers Love him.  

Utl Man: Ronald Torreyes 

Who doesn’t love Toe!? 

25Th man: Greg Bird.  

Assuming Luke Voit is the stater 

And the Yanks don’t get Big Paul from the DBacks, Bird deserves one more shot. I may even consider Bird over Voit if we have Paul G., But that is more for Lefty with power off the bench. 

Well Fans there you have it, my way to early 2019 Yankees. Disclaimer: These opinions will change lol as the off season goes on. They always do! Lol. Have a Great Day my fellow Yankees Fans and Remember.....

G⚾️ Yankees!! I can be reached at JamesCPalma@Yahoo.Com And always look forward to chatting with you.  

Monday, October 29, 2018

Brett Gardner’s Future & The Yankees Offseason

I have to admit that I can be a bit reactive and impulsive when it comes to what I consider to be “my” New York Yankees. I know all fans, most fans anyway, get upset when a pitcher gives up a big hit, and I know a lot of fans get upset with a player when they strike out in a big spot offensively, but no fans take this as seriously as the fans of the New York Yankees in my opinion. Many fans want these players gone immediately, either via trade or by a trip down to Scranton that is inconceivable and against every rule Major League Baseball has to protect its players, and no player got more of this treatment this year than Brett Gardner. Now, I have to admit that for much of this season I expected this to be Gardner’s final year in pinstripes, but now I think I am starting to change my mind a little bit.

No, I don’t want or think that Brett Gardner will be the Yankees starting left fielder on Opening Day 2019, but would it be out of the realm of possibilities that he could be on the bench when the season opens up next year? I don’t think so. Now, don’t get me wrong... I love Clint Frazier, but who reading this trusts Frazier to stay healthy and productive for an entire year? Some may, but it is getting harder and harder to do that in my opinion. No, it’s getting damn near impossible. In my opinion, Frazier still has some trade value, where another year in 2019 hampered by injuries and inconsistencies at the Major League level like he had in 2018 his value may be gone. Therefore, I am reluctantly suggesting that the Yankees trade Frazier this offseason in some sort of package for pitching (Madison Bumgarner or equivalent) while bringing back Gardner on a one-year deal.

Gardner made $11.5 million in 2018 and has a $12.5 million team option for the 2019 season with a $2 million buyout. Gardner showed that his bat may be slowing down in 2018 posting a final line of .236/.322/.368/.690 with 12 home runs, 45 RBI and just 16 stolen bases. That doesn’t sound like it is worth $12.5 million to me, that sounds like it is worth about half that in my opinion, and that’s what I would offer him, roughly. The Yankees would spend $2 million to buy out his current contract and should offer him $5 million to be the Yankees 4th outfielder. Having Gardner available in center field off the bench, along with his veteran and clubhouse presence, would be invaluable in my opinion on a one-year deal. Having that also free up Frazier for a trade to fill in the Yankees biggest gap, pitching, also seems ideal to me.

I know a lot of fans don’t want to see Gardner on the team next season, and at the same token I know a lot of fans want him back just because, but right now it makes a lot of sense for him to be back. If the Yankees sign Bryce Harper I’d honestly still feel this way, and if they don’t I would push even harder for his return. He is not the catalyst he once was, but in a limited capacity he could be invaluable with the Yankees in 2019. Get the man one more ring and bring him back on the cheap.  

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Manny Machado vs. Bryce Harper, And The Rest Of The Offseason

"Hey, Bryan, what should I do this offseason?"

Contrary to what you read from some Yankees "fans" all season long, the Yankees are not that far from being a legit World Series title contender. We're not talking about the 2013 Yankees, who finished third in the AL East, 12 games behind the Red Sox. The 2018 Yankees, despite having flaws, still won a hundred games. While the 2013 team had just two guys, who had more than 250 at bats, finish with an OPS+ of 100 or more, the 2018 Yankees had six such players. While the 2013 Yankees had three pitchers, who started ten or more games, with an ERA+ over 100, the 2018 team had four. And as great as Mariano Rivera and David Robertson were in 2013, that team's bullpen was not nearly as good as the bullpen the 2018 Yankees had (9.7 fWAR vs. 3.4).

The offense next season will be without Didi Gregorius for a while, but the Yankees have a good shot at bringing in one of the biggest offensive threats in Major League Baseball. Hell, they may be able to bring in two of them.

The rotation will lose one of those pitchers that had an ERA+ over 100 next year but are the favorites to add a starter that finished 4th among all starting pitchers in fWAR in 2018.

And although the bullpen could lose one of its key members for this past season, there's a very good chance he'll return for 2019 and beyond.

To be completely honest, as high as expectations were before the 2018 season, I believe expectations on the 2019 team are going to be much higher. And for good reason.

While the offseason has yet to start, that doesn't mean there hasn't been some big news.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, who are ready to rebuild, have said they will listen to proposals for Paul Goldschmidt. For Yankees fans, that have been begging for their team to move on from Greg Bird and solidify the first base position, this seems like an excellent opportunity. And as attractive an option as Goldschmidt is, I believe the Yankees should pass. You see, to trade for Paul Goldschmidt would require a very nice package of players/prospects, and while I believe the Yankees could put together a nice enough package, I don't think it's necessary. Especially when you consider that Goldy is set to become a free agent after the 2019 season.

Like I've said, the lineup is already plenty good enough. The Yankees don't need to pay a steep price to acquire a first baseman for what very well could be just one season. All they need is someone that isn't to the offense, what a black hole is to the universe.

Now, it may be pretty hypocritical what I'm about to talk about, seeing as it's about signing a hitter, but there are differences. First of all, unlike Goldschmidt, all Bryce Harper or Manny Machado will cost the Yankees is money. And the Yankees have plenty of money laying around. Secondly, neither Harper nor Machado are going to be Yankees for just one year. And lastly, we're talking about two guys that are only 26 years old, which is actually younger than when the vast majority of baseball players hit their prime.

Machado vs. Harper... a bigger match-up than the Red Sox vs. the Dodgers.

There's just no way the Yankees, or anyone that has the money to spend, can pass up this chance. The only question Brian Cashman and his cronies should be asking themselves is "should we try and sign both of these guys?"

Of course, I don't think they should. Even if Giancarlo Stanton wasn't signed for another nine years (assuming he doesn't opt-out), having two players signed to big money contracts that last 10 or more years is not good for business. Having a lineup with Harper, Machado, Stanton, and Judge would be a dream come true. But it's just so unnecessary. This year's team had neither Bryce nor Manny, but they still finished second in MLB in runs scored. And that was despite the fact the Yankees seemed to fail with runners in scoring position nine out of ten times. So this isn't a case of trying to sign both, it's a case of which to sign.

I went back and forth when it came choosing between Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. On the one hand, Harper's left-handed power bat makes many Yankees fans salivate, and rightfully so. But when it comes to elite hitters like Harper, Machado, Judge, etc., I don't think the side they swing from really matters. And since Harper hasn't played left field since 2014, and isn't an elite defender already, he could end up costing us some runs on defense.

On the other hand, you have Manny Machado, who would bat in the same spot as Harper would, helping to make an already dangerous heart of the order insane. The thing that really stuck with me when it came to Manny, though, is his defensive ability. Having an infield of Machado and Torres on the left side (yeah, I see Torres at SS, but more on that later) would be great. And I should add that his comments about not being Johnny Hustle do not bother me. The fact he admitted it is a problem makes me believe he's willing to work on that aspect of his game. If he'd simply said he'll likely never be a hustler and left it at that, then I'd be more concerned. But that's not the case. Besides, how often do players reach first base just because they hustled out of the box on a routine ground ball?

And the crotch-grabbing? I could do without things like that, but you'd think the guy was drowning cats or abusing children the way some people have reacted. Seriously. I haven't seen reactions like this since Ray Rice punched his fiance in an elevator, and what Manny has done doesn't come close to what Ray did. Athletes say and do stupid things, but that doesn't necessarily mean they should be blackballed in any way. Bryce Harper tried to choke his closer in the dugout during a game (it was Jonathan Papelbon, so I kind of get it, but still...), Alex Rodriguez knocked the ball out of a fielder's glove (among other dumb things that guy had done both on and off the field), and Aroldis Chapman was accused of domestic violence (I covered why the allegations were questionable). I don't like when these things happen, whether those involved are part of the Yankees organization or not, but they do happen. And as long as they aren't proven to be criminals, then the bottom line is can they help us win?

So back to Harper versus Machado...

The deciding factor in this decision was Miguel Andujar. Andujar's defense at third base is below average, but, as Daniel pointed out, he can improve in that area. And when it came to building the rest of the lineup, having Miggy there was more appealing than any other scenario that I believe is possible (see the thing about signing both Harper and Machado). See, if the Yankees signed Machado I don't think Miguel would be around in 2019. Sure, Andujar could move to first base or left field, but I just don't think that's a good plan. Changing positions like that is not easy. Hell, Miguel already has range issues at third base, imagine if he didn't get a good read on a fly ball to left field? That would absolutely lead to extra bases, while an error at third just leaves a runner at first. And with Andujar being the biggest trade piece not named "Aaron Judge" on the Yankees, I don't see why they wouldn't go after that ace starter they've craved for so long.


Sign Bryce Harper to a deal with an average annual value of $35 million a year for 10 or so years. I could see the deal being front-loaded, along with an opt-out after three to five years, assuring Bryce makes as much money as possible now with the ability to get more guaranteed money should he opt-out down the road. Not to mention doing what we can to keep the average annual value down as much as possible, so the Luxury Tax hit isn't too high.

I am a bit concerned with the fact that Harper has not played left field since 2014, as I mentioned earlier, however his combination of youth and athleticism makes me believe he can be at worst average out there, and more than likely a little better than average.

And for those of you that saw his low batting average this past season (.249), I'd like to point out that since July 1st Harper hit .279. And Bryce's on-base percentage has always been elite, as from July on this past season he got on base 41% of the time. Even when he doesn't drive in runs, Harper is able to put himself in position to be driven in by others. And in the Yankees lineup, where guys like Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar could be hitting directly behind him, that is great.

If you still don't think signing Harper instead of Machado is the way to go, that's fine. Perhaps my other offseason wishes will line up with your own...

Re-Sign Brett Gardner
The team should decline his option for 2019, but work out another contract for less money. Gardy's last contract was worth $13 million a season, which he signed after back-to-back seasons with an OPS+ of 110 and 111. So after being an average to below average hitter the past three years, and being 35 years old, I think a two to three-year deal worth $9 million a season would work. Then again, Gardner could sign for less than that, but I'd rather plan for the worst. Also, I wanted to bring back Gardner due to his history with the Yankees, and more importantly his ability to give Hicks some rest in center field.

Sign CC Sabathia
I would be perfectly fine with J.A. Happ returning instead, but Sabathia's work in New York the past three seasons has been good to very good. Sure, he may not get past the fifth inning, but with the Yankees' bullpen that isn't much of an issue. CC's a leader among the pitching staff and looked up to by everyone in the organization. Plus, management will like his price, as CC's likely to sign another one year deal for around $10 million, while others like Happ will get 2+ years and a higher AAV.

Sign Patrick Corbin 
This would give the Yankees a strong starter at the top of the rotation to go with Luis Severino (no way am I giving up on Sevy being an "ace"). Patrick would also give the Yankees a second lefty in the rotation, balancing things out... particularly in a postseason series. I'd say more about this signing, but there has already been a ton said about the top starting pitcher in free agency already, and will likely be even more. Although I see no need to, as this signing is a no-brainer.

Sign David Robertson
The Yankees need to keep their excellent bullpen going, so re-signing Robertson or Britton is a must. With that said, I don't like Britton as his control is iffy and he doesn't miss bats like David can (7.5 K/9 vs 11.8). D-Rob's velocity is still there and shows no signs of decline. Robertson's never had great control, but his walk rate is no worse than it's been in the past. The fact is, when the Yankees bring Robertson into a game, I feel pretty good.

Sign Justin Wilson
Signing another reliever, preferably a lefty, would be ideal. Justin Wilson has had some control issues the last two seasons, but before that, he wasn't bad in that area. Wilson misses bats well so I can see him being close to the lefty version of Robertson. Justin also played for the Yankees in 2015, so he's familiar with the pressure of wearing pinstripes. Jake Diekman and Andrew Miller are other possibilities, but I like Wilson a bit better. If it wasn't for Britton likely getting a closer role, and a larger contract, from another team I wouldn't be opposed to bringing him back.

Before getting to the rest I want to say that the Yankees need to rid themselves of Jacoby Ellsbury. Do whatever it takes, because the fact is he's a waste of roster space. I honestly don't know who would be interested in him, or what the Yankees would get in return. I'll guess that the Yankees end up paying about half of his salary, or about $11m in 2019 and again in 2020, and get back minor league filler.

I wish you the best in the rest of your career, I just hope it's not with the Yankees.

There's one more move I want to make before taking a final look at the Opening Day Active Roster. Before getting into it, though, I will admit that a big-time trade like this would be tough. However, I think it makes sense for both sides. So here it is...

Trade Sonny Gray, Clint Frazier, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Tyler Wade, to the Philadelphia Phillies for Nick Pivetta, Justin Bour, and Cesar Hernandez.

As for reasons the Phillies would be on board:

1. Cesar Hernandez will become a high-priced bench player as he's set to make just under $9 million in his final season of being arbitration eligible. Scott Kingery will enter into the second season of a six-year deal, and JP Crawford is considered a big part of the Phillies' future. So there's no doubt the Phillies would like to deal away Hernandez for something useful.

2. With Carlos Santana making big money (he's entering year two of a three-year contract worth $60 million), he'll certainly continue to be the starting 1B for the Phillies. Sure, the Phillies would love to get that deal off the books as they look to rebuild, but I'm going to bet the Phillies don't find a taker (although I can see another team dealing for Carlos at the trade deadline). That leaves Justin Bour (set to make over $5 million in arbitration) who, like Hernandez, would be another expensive bench player.

3. The Phillies are loaded with young pitching, so while losing Pivetta is probably not ideal for them, they can afford to lose him thanks to already having Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta, and now Sonny Gray, to go along with even more strong pitching prospects.

4. With bullpens becoming so important to the game, I could see the Phillies very interested in adding Loaisiga. None of their current top relievers went more than 2.1 innings in a game last season, which could Loaisiga a nice addition to their bullpen. And there's still a good chance Johnny Lasagna becomes a starter.

For the Yankees, we already know Cashman is looking to trade away Sonny Gray. Meanwhile, Clint Frazier has no spot on the team after they sign Harper. Loaisiga could have a future as a starter or long reliever for the Yanks, but the team can surely deal with that loss. And with Torres, Andujar, and the high likelihood the Yankees extend Gregorius, Wade has no starting role on the team and is not needed as a backup thanks to Torreyes. 

For those of you that don't know much about the Phillies or Nick Pivetta, Nick will turn 26 soon, has less than 300 MLB innings on his arm, and has never had any serious injuries.

Pivetta is 6'5", and weighs roughly 220 pounds, which is the body type the Yankees are known to covet. Nick did have a high ERA last season (4.77), but his FIP of 3.80 tells a much different story, as the Phillies had one of the worst defenses in all of MLB last season. Nick also struck out 10.3 batters per nine innings in 2018, to go along with a solid walk rate of 2.8 per nine innings. Furthermore, Nick's ground ball rate was very good (35th out of 128 pitchers that threw at least 100 innings in 2018). In my opinion, he would fit into the Yankees perfectly.

Some have speculated that Pivetta would be better served out of the Phillies' bullpen, due to him having trouble the second time through the opponent's lineup during the second half of this season. But as young as he is, and with so few innings in MLB, I think that would be a mistake. None-the-less, that is why I'm not only offering a starter to help solidify the Philadelphia rotation (Gray), but also another pitcher that could fill a starting or long relief spot (Loaisiga).

And one thing that Hal Steinbrenner will certainly like... Pivetta isn't even arbitration eligible until 2021.

"Guys, I'm not that cheap."

Keep in mind that Jordan Montgomery is set to return sometime in 2019, along with youngsters Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams, and Mike King knocking on the door to MLB. So even if they have to deal with an injury or two, like every team nearly every season, the Yankees starting rotation should be perfectly okay. Even if they end up needing a top starter at the trade deadline, the return of Didi would allow the Yankees to shop Cesar Hernadez along with others.

Well, there's what I'd like to see the Yankees do this offseason. Before I wrap this up by showing the full 2019 Active Roster as I'd like to see it, I wanted to say that trade proposals like my own are unlikely to happen. So even if that big trade doesn't happen, I would still like to see the team trade for a lefty-hitting first baseman (I really like Justin Bour), a young starter with high upside like Nick Pivetta, and a second baseman or shortstop like Cesar Hernandez (his switch-hitting ability would be sweet).

Also, I decided not to talk about contract extensions. As you'll see at the end of this post, there's plenty of room in team salary to extend guys such as Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, and Aaron Judge. I'm sure to talk about that later, but for right now just know that I want to see them in pinstripes again in 2019 and beyond.

So here is the Opening Day Active Roster as I'd like to see it, which includes the player's salaries and total team payroll on Opening Day (note that I used actual salaries, which do not necessarily equate to the salaries used for Luxury Tax purposes).

2019 Opening Day Active Roster 
Note: 2019 salary/projected arbitration salary (provided by MLBTradeRumors)/projected pre-arbitration salary in parenthesis

*=left-handed hitter/pitcher

Starting Lineup
1. Aaron Hicks# - CF ($6.2m)
2. Aaron Judge - RF ($.8m)
3. Bryce Harper* - LF ($35m)
4. Giancarlo Stanton - DH ($25m)
5. Miguel Andujar - 3B ($.6m)
6. Justin Bour* - 1B ($5.2m)
7. Gary Sanchez - C ($.7m)
8. Cesar Hernandez# - 2B ($8.9m)
9. Gleyber Torres - SS ($.6m)

Brett Gardner* OF ($9m)
Ronald Torreyes 2B, SS, 3B ($.9m)
Luke Voit 1B ($.6m)
Austin Romine C ($2m)

Starting Rotation
Luis Severino ($5.1m)
Patrick Corbin* ($20m)
Masahiro Tanaka ($22m)
CC Sabathia* ($10)
Nick Pivetta ($.6m)

Relief Pitchers
Aroldis Chapman* ($17.2)
Dellin Betances ($6.4m)
David Robertson ($11m)
Justin Wilson* ($9m)
Chad Green ($.6m)
Jonathan Holder ($.6m)
Stephen Tarpley* ($.6m)

Jacoby Ellsbury - portion of salary paid for by the Yankees ($11m)

Total 25-Man Opening Day Payroll - $209.6 million 
Note: Last season's 25-Man Opening Day Payroll was $166.1m. For comparison, the Boston Red Sox 25-Man Opening Day payroll in 2018 was $233.8m (both figures courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts).