Monday, January 11, 2016

If Not Justin Upton then Who?

The New York Yankees are in a bit of a unique situation this offseason. The team has needs, every team does, but the team lacks a true position where they can upgrade the offense and team easily. There are at least seven players vying for the starting rotation and another 10+ vying for the final bullpen slots on the team. The offense is seemingly full and will see breakout rookies like Greg Bird and Robert Refsnyder starting the season in Triple-A while there’s little to no room to improve the defense without a chain reaction of trades. I have said many times this offseason that the team should be at least willing to discuss a potential trade of an outfielder to make room for Justin Upton with little traction coming from my blog posts, if not Upton then who else would make sense for the Yankees this offseason? 

If not Upton then what Yoenis Cespedes? This is the obvious answer if the Yankees are looking for some right-handed pop in the lineup and another outfielder that can play in all three outfield positions. Cespedes, unlike Upton, would not require the forfeit of a first round draft pick though as he was not linked to a qualifying offer this offseason. The list of teams said to be interested in Cespedes is dwindling, especially after San Francisco signed Denard Span to a three-year deal, so you have to wonder if the one or two year pillow contract we discussed for Upton earlier last week would apply to Cespedes as well and whether he would take it or not. All signs point to no since teams like the Chicago White Sox and others have been willing to give Cespedes a three-year deal but you would have to think the window to win in New York is better than that of Chicago.  

If the Yankees want to go back to #TooManyDamnHrs they could always shock the baseball world and go after Chris Davis as well. Davis, although better suited as a DH at this point in his career, has played at first base, third base and the outfield although none were considered to be adequate attempts defensively. You don’t acquire a player like Davis for his defense or his batting average though you acquire him for his 50+ home run power, which may translate to 60 home run power inside Yankee Stadium, and the Yankees may decide his bat is worth finding at bats for. New York would presumably have to beat Baltimore’s $154 million offer they have left on the table for Davis though which may be the biggest obstacle.  

The final piece could bring a pitcher back to New York and that pitcher could be Wei-Yin Chen. I would hate to lose the draft pick for a pitcher that’s not an ace but Chen has a proven track record not only in the American League but in the AL East, which counts for more than people realize I think. Chen is just 30-years old and has a career 3.72 ERA pitching in the East while throwing in at least 185 innings in three of his first four seasons. Chen, like former teammate Davis, won’t come cheap making him unlikely to ever don pinstripes under this current regime but he’s the only pitcher out there that may be actually worth the risk and worth the reward. 


  1. I like Justin Upton much more than Yoenis Cespedes more versatility younger and an all around better player...both are right-handed hitters with some power. The only power we have right handed is A-Rod plus two switch hitters.
    As you stated, Yoenis has NO Draft Pick attached, whereas Justin has...which makes him the better buy, in my Opinion! Could it happen yet? Yes, but doubtful.

    1. Upton is light years ahead of Cespedes and as underrated as they come. He said e wouldn't take a short term deal though hence the article.

      I'm okay with giving up the pick for a player that's worth it. Upton is worth it and so is an ace.

    2. I missunderstood...sorry Daniel!
      At 26 years old Upton with a five or eight year deal with an option for the Yankees...would be worth it, but I thought we were talking about a short time deal of two or so years.

    3. That would be ideal I think for us and for Upton to take advantage of a weaker class in 2017 or 2018 but he says, at least publicly, he's not willing to so...

      Baltimore is interested in him and I think they are just waiting out Chris Davis. Davis goes elsewhere and they take their seven year deal, or less, to Upton. So it makes sense he wouldn't take a one year deal with the Yankees.

  2. I may be in the minority here but we are set in starting pitching. I realize the injury problems attached to our top five starters. But we have some players that are good enough to move into the rotation without missing a beat. Do I want a top #1 or #2 pitcher, yes but, anything less than an 1 or 2 is not any better than what we have already?
    Ok guys...go for it! lol

    1. Chen is better than what we have but I agree and disagree with you. I don't think we are set by any means, unless set means we have enough warm bodies to fill the void.

      At the same time I still feel confident going into the season because of the bullpens ability to shorten the game. If we don't add anyone I am okay with it but at the same time I wouldn't be upset to see a usable arm added either.

    2. Daniel, do you think I am overrating our guys? In that I mean Kaprielian, Mitchell, Nova, Coshow, Clarkin...we only have half-assed reports that all say about the same thing.
      Our starters are without a true #1 unless one counts Tank as the number one. I think he can be the #1 and Severino could become the #1 shortly (maybe).
      So, we are stuck with; Tank, Severino, Pineda, Eovaldi as our four starters with a war between CC, Nova, Mitchell and long shots Clarkin, Kaprielian and Coshow! I know a few of them aren't on the 40 man but, they don't need to be.

    3. Agree and disagree. Go figure. lol.

      The part that I disagree with- if we can do a high risk, high reward 1 year deal, or like daniel suggests "no such thing as a bad minor league deal." Say Cliff Lee, Im in. is that even the type of deal Lee is seeking b/c I havent checked

      Besides that, I think the team is set to compete. The main theme is that every single pitcher has something to prove.
      Tanaka- that he can actually pitch an entire season and is worth 160 mil.
      Severino- that the hype is real
      Pineda- He's more than pinetar and the shoulder wont explode
      Nova- it's the second season removed since tommy john. is an older nova capable of finding consistency
      Sabathia- you've been beautifully ferocious, man. everyone except daniel burch thinks your shot, what's left in the tank.
      Bryan Mitchell- Adam Warren was expendable because you can fill his shoes. Can you?

      And just my main problem with tanaka and why we aren't making it to the world series anytime soon. Besides that one game in what, august, where Tanaka shut down Toronto. Put him in a head to head matchup against another ace, I think he rises to the occasion 1 out of 5 chances.

    4. Lee is said to be looking for the "perfect fit" so a minor league deal is probably not the perfect fit. He will want a guaranteed deal and frankly I'm okay with giving it to him for a couple million plus a crap ton of incentives.

      Also I don't think I ever said I didn't think CC was shot, lol. I think he is a better pitcher than we've seen though. He can be anyway. He still struggles with the fact, especially with two strikes, that he's not the 2009 CC anymore and still tries to challenge hitters. Andy Pettitte, a pitcher who embraced his 92 MPH rather than trying to hide from it, never challenged anyone and pitched to contact.

    5. Reed,

      certain guys I believe you overvalue and certain guys you do not. Kaprielian is a guy that I really like, a guy that I like a lot more now than I did when we drafted him, but to think he will be a true impact player this year I think is being overly optimistic. Lindgren made his MLB the second year removed from the draft as a reliever, not many pitchers (Although Ian Kennedy did) do that as a starter. Especially one's who didn't get above A Ball last year. Not saying he couldn't I just don't believe the Yankees will be that aggressive.

      Coshow is a non-factor this season and probably will be for most of next season as far as MLB readiness goes.

      Clarkin lost an entire year to an injury basically and was already pretty far off anyway. I like his projections but that's not going to matter for at least three more seasons, maybe longer.

      I love Mitchell, always have. Almost to a fault.

    6. Daniel: I think we're more set at starting pitching than what people may think. We're 7 deep with major league ready pitchers. Not saying they're the best, but they're solid. Forget about Kaprelian and Clarkin. They're not ready for 2016. The 3 that are closer are Long, Lail, and Sulbaren. That puts us 10 deep. If they would have gone after Price, Greinke, or Cueto, I would have been all for it. I don't want to see wasted money on second tier pitching. We're chock full of that without adding payroll.

    7. I believe I would throw Eric Ruth into your list along with Long, Lail and Sulbaran. He may be the organization prospect he was before 2015 or he may have finally turned the corner and will build on it in 2016, nobody knows.

      I get that we have plenty of warm bodies and especially with this bullpen we can be solid, I always want more though. Give me five David Price's and I want six. It's in my nature. I have faith in what we have I just wouldn't be upset to see a Nova traded, for instance, to make room for someone better is all.

  3. I have seen good pitchers make their bones in the Big Time as 20/24-year-olds IF they have enough to pitch in AA/AAA and perform very well...they can pitch as a #5 guy at the end of the rotation. Yes, some fail and get sent back but, the good ones adjust and come back because they have a better idea of what it takes to win with the big boys.
    That is one of my big problems with the Yankees and some other teams, they think everyone has to be a very finished product to play in the big leagues. Very few if any matter what position...are ever a finished product coming up to the Yankees. Anyone really believe A-Rod or Jeter were finished learning before they made it? Jeter got called up because our SS was still injured.

    1. I hope you're sitting down Reed. Because I actually agree with you. I don't think it's truly possible for a prospect to be "finished" in the minor leagues. If he hasn't performed at the major league level, then they're not finished. The problem with the Yankees, is that they let contract dictate playing time. It wasn't like that even ten years ago. If you weren't performing, they ate your contract and you were out of town.

    2. Make it a three-peat. You may be MLB ready but you're far from a finished product once you reach the majors. There is no simulation or anything that can prepare you for MLB other than true MLB baseball and competition. This is something the Yankees forget. They would rather their prospects compete at Triple-A, again, and learn the position, again.

  4. Well, thanks guys!
    I remember an 18 year old pitcher a team brought up and he did well, name was Hal Newhouser played for 17 years. Catfish Hunter and King Felix were both 19 when they came up. There were a heck of a lot of pitchers that started at 20/21, very few were finished players at all but, they learned and adapted as they went along. They all hit dead spots but figured it out on the fly, so to speak.
    It is a bad compearision because all of them were very good to HoF pitchers but, no one knew they were going to be what they turned out to be. Carlton (20), Ford (21), Drydale (19), Valenzuela (19), Early Wynn (19) the list goes on and on.

  5. Coshow and Domingo Acevedo two different types.
    Coshow is better suited as a BP pitcher, up to 100mph FB but works at 95/97 and a big time slider working progress with a changeup.
    Ace jr., works near 100 mph and should tail that back a bit as a starter (like Coshow). Has a good change-up working on the slider.
    Not really needed in 2016, I would let them move up the chain this year and be ready for 2017 when we may need them. One a starter and one in the BP.
    IF they can get their C&C under wraps this year, next year (maybe OK!) we could have Evo and Ace jr., in the rotation with Dellin, Miller and Coshow as the three-headed monster, IF Chapman isn't here next year.
    Still think they could be of help if needed, this year...maybe not!

    1. Ace is already drawing the comparisons to Dellin Betances and for good reason. Both are big build individuals and both can throw up to 100 MPH. Both are long delivery type guys and both are max effort type guys. Give Ace every chance to fail as a starter but his future may be in the pen.

    2. I can live with that but, I think unless he finds another workable pitch and losses some weight...BP is his lively hood. He sets at around 300 lbs. now, that is just too much to carry around, ask CC!


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)