Friday, October 31, 2014

If Not Hanley Ramirez, What About That Cuban Guy?

Yesterday I posted an article going over my ideas for the offseason. That post was done with only free agents in mind, as you can't predict trades. If the Yankees could make a deal for a better hitter at third base than Chase Headley, then I'd be okay with finding a better defender to play shortstop. The bottom line is that the team needs to do is improve the offense.

Now, I'm picturing numerous people yelling at their computer monitors, with the name "Pablo Sandoval" being said somewhere between all the spit. My response to Sandoval is two-fold...

Stop yelling and let me explain.

For starters, the Giants have a history of re-signing guys that are key to the team and the fans love. Look at Tim Lincecum, and his 2-year $35 million deal, as evidence.

Secondly, I don't trust the guy. I'll never fully believe a guy that's overweight is somebody you can count on for five or so years.

He's an extreme example, but Cecil Fielder garnered MVP votes from his age 26 season through his age 29 season. After that he not only didn't get a single MVP vote, he didn't appear in any All Star games, and he only had one more healthy season (1996, when he was traded to the Yankees). In fact, if it wasn't for being able to hit quite a few home runs between the ages of 30 and 33 (and by a "few" we're talking 28, 31, 39 and 26), he would have been a below replacement-level player.

Sandoval hasn't got as much power as Fielder did, doesn't get on base as much as Fielder did, and his batting average... while higher than Fielder's... is nothing to get excited over (.279 over the past two seasons).

Perhaps Chase Headley can improve on his last two seasons, and get closer to what he was 2012. But I'm not counting on that, and neither should the Yankees. They need to find a sure way to improve the offense first. And Hanley Ramirez seems to be that guy.

Unless, like I said in the introduction, the team could swing a trade. Or...

"You've got my attention. Now, this better be good."

If the Yankees could either void the remainder of Alex Rodriguez's contract, or decide to just release him, then that would open up the DH slot for Carlos Beltran. Then the Yankees could sign Headley for third base, find a better defender for shortstop, and improve the offense by adding a middle of the order bat in outfielder Yasmani Tomas.

At 24 years old Tomas has yet to reach his prime. Baseball America gave him a 70 out of 80 on the power scale, and go on to say he's a decent runner for his size. While Yasmani could jump right into MLB, BA went on to say that he may need to spend some time in AAA to get accustomed to things in MLB. If so, the Yankees would want to add a good 4th outfielder who could handle things for a couple months or so until they call up Tomas.

However, there would be risks. Tomas ran into an outfield wall last season, which resulted in him losing playing time during the second half of the Serie Nacional season. His power that season took a big hit, as he could only manage 6 home runs (he had 15 the year before). But the fact that he was able to continue to hit well (batting average at .290), along with a solid on-base percentage of .346, makes me think the power will return.

And due to all the hurdles Yasmani needs to jump through before even being eligible to sign a contract, such as gaining residency in another country and get an unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, he may not be able to sign until well into 2015. At that point the other good options could be off the table.

Perhaps just signing Hanley Ramirez would be easier, but there are options rather than dealing with more sub-par defense from our shortstop. Let's hope Brian Cashman and Co. are smarter than I am.

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