Thursday, November 2, 2017

Who Stays And Who Goes?

"Does anyone want me to stick around?"

The Yankees have a handful of problems to fix this offseason. Like pretty much every team in MLB, the rotation is a question mark, and by Saturday we'll have a clearer picture of what the plan should be there (Tanaka has to decide to opt-out or not by Saturday). They have to figure out what's going on with Dellin Betances too.

However, I want to focus on position players.

The Yankees have a good problem on their hands here, but none-the-less it is a problem. They simply have too many players. While Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, and Jacoby Ellsbury are the "regular" outfielders, Clint Frazier is waving his arms around saying "what about me?" Gleyber Torres is unlikely going to be ready for a role in the Majors on Opening Day, but he could force his way into the discussion by June. And Miguel Andujar is ready for the big time as well.

So how do you open up spots for those guys? By getting rid of guys in their ways, of course. That means we're bound to see two or more significant trades this offseason. And with that in mind, I wanted to go over the position players and their chances of getting dealt away.

I'm going to start with the guys that are not getting dealt...

Gary Sanchez - Arguably the #1 offensive catcher in the game making near the league minimum on a team looking to cut payroll? Sure, his defense could use some work, but you're not going to find any catcher as valuable as Sanchez.

Didi Gregorius - One of the most well-liked players on the team, coming off the best offensive season of his career, an excellent fielder, won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season, and the team doesn't have a good replacement for Opening Day (Torreyes is not a good replacement for Didi and Torres will not be MLB-ready on Opening Day or soon after).

Greg Bird - While I'd bet that a number of teams would be interested in a young first baseman with a high ceiling, who won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season, Bird isn't going anywhere. That youth, salary, and potential is what makes him so attractive to the Yankees. Plus he'd be a sell low right now since he wasn't great offensively and suffered a significant injury this year.

Aaron Judge - Let's see... an MVP candidate that plays Gold Glove defense, who is not eligible for free agency until after the 2022 season. He has the best-selling jersey in Major League Baseball, and an entire section of Yankee Stadium is named after him (oh, and those that sit in that section wear judge's robes). Aaron, along with Gary, are absolutely not getting traded.

Then we come to Brett Gardner...

While I'm on the fence when it comes to trading Gardner, I lean towards "no". This time last year I was all for trading him, particularly because I saw no way the Yankees could deal away Jacoby Ellsbury, and they needed to open up an outfield spot for Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier. But after seeing what he did this year, both as a player and as a role model for his teammates, I hope Brian Cashman can find a way to keep Gardy and make room for Hicks and Frazier.

Which leads me to the guys that I can see being traded this offseason...

Jacoby Ellsbury - 2011 was a very long time ago, and Ellsbury has proven that he's not the player we
saw then. That year he hit .321/.376/.552 with 32 home runs and 39 stolen bases, but he never again hit that well. He may have had a solid season in 2017, but teams are not going to be fooled by it. Sorry... GMs are not dumb. He's owed a little less than $64 million over the next three years, which means the Yankees would have to include nearly $30 million to facilitate a trade. But saving $10+ million a season (the difference between what they'd be paying to trade Jacoby and Frazier's salary) would be a big deal next year, so I hope Cash can find a taker.

Chase Headley - While it seems like the Yankees overpaid for Chase, if you look at Fangraphs Dollar Value for the guy you'll see how untrue that is. $13 million is just not as much as it once was. Headley's value last season was $15.3 million. Now, would the Yankees get a top 100 prospect in return for him? No. Would the Yankees get a good prospect in return for him? Probably not, unless they included some money in the deal. But here are two reasons why this really should happen... 1. I'd love to bring back Todd Frazier (more on him later), and 2. it'll make room for Gleyber Torres.

Starlin Castro - If Cashman can not find a taker for Chase Headley, then this is the next place he should look. The reason I'd move Headley first is because Castro is a slightly better hitter, and Starlin will make about $2 million less than Chase next season (not to mention he's on a team-friendly deal for 2019 as well). Either way I'd be happy to see either man go, though. Castro's defensive woes and poor at bats during the postseason drove me and many other Yankees fans crazy. The big downside to trading Castro instead of Headley would be that Todd Frazier wouldn't have a spot on the team. But having a spot for Gleyber Torres should be the main goal.

Before I wrap this up I should mention Aaron Hicks.

I believe Hicks has earned the right to play regularly. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen with the Yankees unless both Gardner and Ellsbury were traded away (don't count on that). But I'm not broken up about that. Yes, Aaron's batting line of .266/.372/.475 with 15 home runs (in only 301 at bats, mind you) was very good, but I can't ignore how bad he was the previous four seasons. Could those years have just been growing pains? Absolutely they could have, and the Hicks we saw last year (at age 27) was the real one. But the development of Clint Frazier takes precedence over Aaron's playing time. Besides, there's a good chance that the DH spot will be a revolving door next year, meaning Hicks will still get plenty of playing time. And sadly injuries will happen.

And some of those injuries are sadder than others.

I know what I want to see happen, and chances are I'm going to let you know about all of that relatively soon, but I'd like to hear what you guys think.


  1. If you look at Aaron Hicks this year you will see when in the rotating OF position he hit great.
    When playing every day ( Ells got hurt) he was below .175 hitter.
    He started in the playoffs and did great in the WC game but was down hill from there playing everyday.
    Same with Red Thunder. He also did well in the rotating OF play but when forced to play everyday he slumped.
    Ells was hitting decent when he got hurt , I think he was rushed back when Hicks went down and didn't find his stroke until Hicks went down a second time.Finished strong but instead of playing the hot OF ( by the way Ellsbury stinks when he is a DH compared to playing the field)he went with Hicks.
    Trading either one wpuld help Red Thunder , trading both would open up time for Austin in RF and Red Thunder in LF and CF.

  2. We have an infield problem fans...
    Some writers have been suggested moving Castro to 3rd, but I would trade him!
    Why: Arm not strong enough, not quick with first move...ok for 2nd. Gleyber Torres fits in nicely, with some work at AAA for about 20 games or so...having Torreyes play until Gleyber is ready.

    Headly is history, make room for Miguel Andujar/Frazier, both of whom can play 3rd and DH.

    Infield for 2018...
    Sanchez-C, Bird 1st, Gleyber 2nd, Frazier 3rd/DH, Andujar 3rd/DH, DiDi at SS is the best we have had in 30+ years!

    Outfield...we need to cut Ells, Brett and Hicks.
    Why...Ells is not good enough...Brett played well but, it is the hill before the cliff! Hicks is not bad but we have about 3-4 guys that could do his job and be consistent!

    Outfield...Fowler LF, Frazier CF, Judge RF...4th OF Trey Amburgey!

    Pitchers; I have to work on that one, too many variables!

    1. Well, Fowler is in Oakland's system now, so I don't see him starting in LF. I agree with trading trading Gardner and Ellsbury, but I don't see Hicks going anywhere. How about four outfielders of Judge, Frazier, Hicks, and McKinney? McKinney had a great year last year, and is currently tearing up the AFL. If he doesn't work out, we can give Jack Cave a chance.

    2. Thanks for the catch Jeff, I forgot about Fowler. I like McKinney very much, right now he is playing over his Ranking! The experts ranking his talent as a 4th or 5th outfielder, Yup, the same ones that said Brett would be no better than the same.
      Trey Amburgey has been going strong for a while, I have never seen him play but his stats and outlook are good as for Cave, he deserves a shot!
      Have a good day and thanks again!


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