Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My Thoughts On The Yankees "Big" Offseason Moves

More often than not I like to share my opinion of news that comes out about our New York Yankees. However, thanks to life getting in the way, I haven't said much of anything lately.

So I decided to give some quick thoughts regarding the bigger transactions the Yankees have performed this offseason.

And since you have probably already skipped past this introduction to get to the bolded part, let's get it going.

And let's tip our caps to Mr. McCann.

11/17/2016 Traded C Brian McCann and cash to Houston for RHPs Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman.

Two years and $34 million, along with a vesting option for a third year at $15 million. The trade really comes down to all that money. But let's take a look at other reasons...

1. Gary Sanchez is the starting catcher for 2017, and hopefully for many years after that. I don't need to tell you why, either. 

2. While the designated hitter position seemed to be McCann's for the taking,  I can't help but look at his batting numbers for the last five years and wonder... can't the Yankees do better? 

Maybe I'm alone in this, but a person with a batting line of .238/.314/.421 while averaging 22 home runs is nothing special. Especially for a designated hitter. In fact, last season, out of the players with at least 450 at bats as the DH, Brian's wOBA of .326 would have ranked 15th. Yeah, striving for better than that, especially at $17 million a season, makes perfect sense.

By the way, I like Brian McCann. He's a great guy. But in the immortal words of Triple H, you gotta do what's "best for business".

Best of luck coming back, Nathan.

11/19/2016 Released UTL Dustin Ackley. Designated RHPs Nathan Eovaldi (released on 11/28) for assignment.

Dustin Ackley is a pretty versatile player. During his career he's played over 2500 innings at second base and over 1500 innings in left field. Plus he's had a significant amount of playing time in center field (to be honest, it's not much lately, but he could probably handle CF if it was needed), and last season played primarily at first base. 

However, a batting line of .235/.296/.358 since 2012 is... well... it's not very good. If the Yankees had nobody else for that 25-man roster spot, then I wouldn't be too against holding onto him. However, at the time the Yankees still had five outfielders on the 40-man roster, and that doesn't include Clint Frazier and Jake Cave who are currently at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Then there's Nathan Eovaldi. I've stuck up for the guy before, but regardless of what my heart says you can't argue with the numbers. Or, in Nathan's case, the lack thereof. He's been a slightly below average starter his entire career (94 ERA+). Can he get better? Sure. He's got a strong arm, and while he's not a "prospect", he isn't "old" either. 

And you have to take into consideration that he won't pitch in 2017. due to having Tommy John surgery in August. 

Finally, look at the plethora of young pitching the Yankees have... Luis Severino, Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Bryan Mitchell, James Kaprielian, and Justus Sheffield. Even if none of those guys become aces in MLB, it's not hard to imagine them being as valuable as Eovaldi.

Hopefully we see this stance often, and while he's wearing a Yankees uniform.

12/7/2016 Agreed to terms with OF/DH Matt Holliday on a one-year contract.

Especially after trading away Brian McCann, the Yankees had a clear opening at designated hitter. But we can't ignore the cost for filling that spot, because it's quite clear that Hal Steinbrenner is not ignoring that cost. So what could the Yankees do? A lot worse, that's for sure.

The days of Holliday batting around .300, and having an on-base percentage pushing .400, are probably over with. But he's never hit at or below .235 (McCann's overall batting average as a Yankee), and his OBP has never been at or below .313 (McCann's overall OBP as a Yankee). Furthermore, Matt's never hit less than 20 home runs in a season (excluding injury shortened ones). 

Now, it's true that the Yankees will end up paying $1.5 million more having Matt Holliday at DH in 2017, than if they held onto Brian McCann. See, the Yankees are on the hook for $5.5m of McCann's salary, while only paying Holliday $4m less than Brian will make. But the key is the extra year on Brian's contract, along with the vesting option for a third.

A still picture like this is one of the only times you'll actually see the ball after it comes out of Chapman's hand.

12/15/2016 Agreed to terms with LHP Aroldis Chapman on a five-year contract.

There are millions of Yankees fans that don't remember the last time the team didn't have a strong one-two (or three) punch in the bullpen. From Rivera-Wetteland, to Robertson-Rivera, to Betances-Miller-Chapman, we've seen over and over again how the back-end of the bullpen can lead to more and more wins.

So it comes as no surprise that the team would look to find somebody strong to pair with Dellin again in 2017. Furthermore, it wasn't much of a question who they were going after. As good as Kenley Jansen has been, the fact of the matter is Aroldis Chapman has been a little better. And the real tie-breaker of this "battle" is the fact that Chapman, unlike Jansen, has gotten it done in New York.

I'm not 100% confident that Aroldis will be as dominant as he has been for the next five years (he has a no-trade clause for the first three). Pitchers that depend on power as much as Chapman does tend not to be great long into their 30s. For example, CC Sabathia's decent began at age 31, and it took him three years to become effective again.

So while I'm cool with this signing, if you read between the lines the deal makes me smile a bit more.

Answer me this...

Why would the Yankees sign a closer for $86 million if they didn't have plans for this team to contend again soon?

Okay, if you're answer is simply "they're idiots", then don't bother responding. Unlike some people I don't think that Brian Cashman is dumb. Regardless of where you rank him among MLB General Managers, you don't keep that job as long as he has while being a moron.

So do I think the Yankees will compete next season? No. In 2018? Maybe, but that would depend on Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, and other young/cheap players reaching their ceilings. But I sincerely believe 2019 will be the Yankees year.

13 comments:

  1. Thank you for pitching in Bryan!
    I think you wrote a very fine article and agree with most of your opinions...
    Chapman, good signing!
    I have a wait and see on Holliday!
    The young pitchers have a good upside!
    Cashman is better some think, yes!
    Our Farm is one of the best, from being rated as LAST or near to it!
    I have the team getting past the 1st round, in October of 2018! than bar the door because...anything can and does happen!

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    1. Reed I would love to make you a wager on your comments about Yanks getting past the first rd. I have Yanks no breaking the 80 game mark. What wager can we make that the Yanks don't make the playoffs?

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    2. None, I don't bet on anything except myself. As I am too damn old to be able to do that, I just look at the talent we have! They are good and each one has a hole in their game but so did/does every player in the game.
      I do the best I can evaluating them. I never trust someone's word for talent until I get to see them more than one or two games. The best time to watch players is when they aren't going well and how they handle it going forward, to get back into the game they can play.

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    3. One guy on here last year predicted where the Yanks would finish and that was dead on which was me. Not tooting my horn, just given you facts and there is no way this team can or will make the playoffs the way it is currently constructed. The Rays might in fact pass the Yanks this year. 82 wins if lucky with this staff 4th place

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  2. We have a few talented Pitchers in the system right now....

    Kaprielian RHP...very good slider, curve, change-up and his FB sits 94-96 mph...top of the order type starter.

    Sheffield LHP...I call him the New Whitey Ford with more speed and without the "Scuff Ball" at about 93-96 mph. Above average potential on his slider and changeup but needs work on his Command...2018-19!

    "Ace" Acevedo RHP, Fastball up to 103 mph, couple that with a wicked change-up and a slider in progress. I would like to see if he can stand-up to being a starter, if not, he would be one heck of a PB arm for sure. 2018 or sooner!

    Chance Adams, RHP...upper 90s FB, a Killer slider, with a curveball and change-up trailing behind. We have all seen him pitch before! 2017-18.

    Just four of them soon to be ready in 2017/18. There are many more!

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  3. I am not a Cashman fan. I don't think that's any secret around here. I probably don't think he's as bad as Reed does, but I'm just not a fan. I agree with all of the moves he made this offseason, which gave me some optimism that he was improving, but then he made one boneheaded move that I just don't understand. Chris Carter. I don't get it. I know some of you view this as a depth move, but I disagree. Assuming everybody stays healthy, one of Judge/Refsnyder/Austin was going to start the year at AAA. Now, with Carter, two of those guys will start the year at AAA. None of them have anything left to prove there. If they can't cut it in the big leagues now, they never will. All 3 of them scorched AAA pitching last year. Just $3.5 million wasted.

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    1. Jeff, I think you have a misprint...

      ''I am not a Cashman fan. I don't think that's any secret around here. I probably don't think he's as bad as Reed does, but I'm just not a fan.''

      Maybe it should be...

      ''I am not a Cashman fan. I don't think that's any secret around here. I probably don't think he's as bad as Ken H, does, but I'm just not a fan.''

      Or maybe...

      ''I am not a Cashman fan. I don't think that's any secret around here. I probably don't think he's as good as Reed does, but I'm just not a fan.''

      I am hoping the three Amigos show they can hold down the job and make one of Holliday or Carter superfluous. We need the younger guys for a much longer time.

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    2. Reed I think you are correct. Levin meant to say me. I still think the elf is one of the worst GM's in baseball and purchased his WS rings. I like a lot of the people he brought back in trades but not getting a top line pitching prospect that was either in AAA or Major league ready is a sore spot with me. Levin the guy that will not make the team this spring will be Judge. He will put to much pressure on himself with his long looping swing and he will have to spend time in triple A figuring it out. I never liked the drafting of Judge when there was highly rated pitching available at that time in the draft.

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    3. I did mean to say Hans and not Reed. Doesn't change my point though. Carter wasn't a useless signing, because he will provide power off the bench. But he was unnecessary. Those are the stupid things Cashman does. There isn't a person here that can convince me that Hal went to Cashman and said, "Hey, I think we should go get Carter."

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    4. I didn't like anyone of the two pick-ups, we aren't using what we have if one of the guys stays in AAA while we lose games because of a guy hitting a home run every so often but, not often enough.
      As for pitchers, forget it, we could use a game changer but none of those out there are good enough to be game changer.
      Let the kids show what they have or don't have! Set up 2018 by seeing just what we do have and what we may need.

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    5. Agreed Levin and this is why the dumpster diver tries to prove he is Maddon like. He wants to show you hey I'm smarter than you because I bought the NL HR leader a 220 career hitter for 3 million dollars. I don't care it stunts the growth of my younger players. I just want to show you I'm smarter than you. We went from being too left handed to almost too right handed

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  4. I'm confused, but I should not be.

    Daniel, CEO of this site, has not posted since Jan. 20th.

    We sure had a lot of folks around here asking about him. One,
    or two, of them even stated their desires to leave. Remember ? I do.

    How many regulars post here ? Six, seven tops ?

    Of those, two can provide an explanation, but to date...will not.
    One is Daniel's co-founder, Bryan, who claims to know nothing.
    In truth, he may not know anything. About anything.

    While an established regular here states he has all the facts....but...
    "We have to vote on it first, in order to read it." Or, words to that effect. Talk all you want about FUBAR.

    patrick confused ? No, not really. It's just a baseball site lads,
    not the CIA War Room.

    Daniel, hope all is well.

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    1. Daniel is ok. He didn't give me any details of what he's been up to, but he's fine and said he'd fill everybody in.

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