Sunday, March 12, 2017

On second thought, let’s make that Quintana trade…

Credit:  AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

According to Jack Curry on the YES Network, there is “nothing currently happening” between the Chicago White Sox and the Yankees regarding pitcher Jose Quintana.  Quintana was brilliant the other night in the WBC for Columbia in its game against the USA.  He was pitching a no-hitter through 5 1/3 innings and struck out Daniel Murphy twice (a feat turned against Murphy only six times last year).  He gave up a two-out single before departing with 63 pitches thrown (WBC limit on first round pitchers is 65 pitches).  The baserunner scored against a subsequent reliever, charging Quintana for the run.  It was a performance that only rekindles the dreams of how great Quintana would look in any team’s starting rotation.

Joe Giglio of NJ Advance Media for NJ.com cited the following players who should be on the table for a possible trade with the White Sox:  Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, Miguel Andujar, Luis Severino, James Kaprielian, and Dillon Tate.  I am not sure that I fully agree with this list.  Maybe I am like the Yankees and their current “prospect-hugging” approach.  The knock against Judge is the strikeouts.  Mateo is a replaceable part in system strong with middle infielders, led by top prospect Gleyber Torres.  Miguel Andujar could be  replaced with the surplus of free agent third basemen in a few years (most notably, Manny Machado).  We love Severino’s potential, but it probably comes down to ‘who would you rather have right now’.  No question that you’d take Quintana over Severino.  I am very high on Kaprielian, but I understand Giglio’s comment that young pitchers with injury history are high risk.  With other strong pitching prospects in the organization like Jordan Montgomery, Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, and others, I would have no problem including Tate in a trade for a premium starting pitcher.

I have seen a few comments on The Greedy Pinstripes blog that it’s tough to give up great young talent for a pitcher the organization once had in their possession.  I definitely get that argument.  If the team had only evaluated Quintana better at the time he left as a minor league free agent in 2011, we wouldn’t be in a situation that involves giving up multiple top prospects to get him back.  

This morning, Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media for NJ.com reported that Yankees scout Matt Daley has been scouting several young 24-year-old right-handers the last couple of days.  The pitchers, Erick Fedde, of the Washington Nationals, and Joe Musgrove, of the Houston Astros, have a similar arsenal of pitches.  Both throw fastballs in the low 90’s, although Musgrove can touch 95 mph.  They feature a slider as a plus offering, and complement the other pitches with average change-ups.  Both pitchers are known for their command and control.

Fedde was taken in the 1st round of the 2014 MLB Draft as the 18th pick for the Nationals.  He would have been a top ten selection but slid in the draft due to Tommy John surgery.  Since the surgery, the Las Vegas native has only improved.  He is currently the #2 top prospect for the Nationals according to MLB.com.  He became the organization’s top pitching prospect following the trade of Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning to the White Sox this winter in the Adam Eaton deal.  

This spring, Fedde has appeared in 3 games with a single start.  He is 1-0, and has not given up any earned runs, 3 hits, and 4 strikeouts in 7 innings.

Fedde profiles to the ceiling of a #2 starter.

Musgove was taken in the first round of the 2011 MLB as a supplemental pick by the Toronto Blue Jays,  The El Cajon, CA native was part of the package sent to the Houston Astros in 2012 for pitcher J.A. Happ.

Like Fedde, Musgrove also had a slow start to his professional career due to injury (with a sprained rotator cuff and elbow ligament).  He made his major league debut for the Astros last summer, and is currently competing for the fifth spot in the Astros starting rotation.  On Baseball America’s 2016 Mid-Season Top 100 Prospects, Musgrove was rated #32.  To give it perspective, then-Cubs prospect Gleyber Torres was #27 and the Yankees’ Gary Sanchez was #36.  

Musgrove profiles to the ceiling of a #3 starter.  

I like this train of thought.  Instead of focusing on the pitcher everybody wants, look to uncover gems hidden in other organizations.  The price will still be high but not as high as it would be for Quintana.  The risk is time.  With Quintana, he’s plug and play.  He would be an immediate addition to the top of the rotation.  Pitchers like Fedde and Musgrove would be works in progress.  Musgrove is closer than Fedde, who is currently at AA, but either one would still be a few years from reaching his respective ceiling.

I am glad that they pay GM Brian Cashman to make these decisions.  It’s a tough call.  I am warming up to the idea of a trade as I feel the Yankees need more than what they currently have for the rotation.  I don’t like the idea of a crap shoot every time the fourth and fifth spots come up on the rotation, or wondering if CC Sabathia’s knee is going to hold out.  So, go ahead and put me down for the Jose Quintana trade.

In Saturday’s play, it was just another day at the office for the Spring’s best team.  Masahiro Tanaka threw four innings of hitless ball and had 7 strikeouts to help the Yankees defeat the Detroit Tigers, 7-1, in Tampa.  Gary Sanchez, Matt Holliday, and Gleyber Torres all homered for the easy win.  I am starting to get excited about having Holliday’s bat in the lineup.  After watching Alex Rodriguez and his cold bat at DH for most of last season, it’s great that power has been restored to the position.  Congrats to Torres for his first home run of the new year.  I think that kid’s got a good future in this game.  LOL!

The Yankees (13-3) play the Atlanta Braves today at Steinbrenner Field.

Have a great Sunday!

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