Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Bidding for James Paxton Begins...

Photo Credit: The Canadian Press (Fred Thornhill)
Will Paxton join Gerrit Cole in Houston?…

Last year, the Yankees missed an opportunity to acquire top starting pitcher Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Houston Astros swooped in to grab the talented righty. It’s possible that the Yankees could be outdone by the Astros for the second consecutive year. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted this morning that Houston is in on the potential trade  talks for James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners along with the Yankees and other clubs.  

I wanted Cole last winter although a number of Yankee fans did not. Honestly, it’s unlikely Cole would have pitched as well in the Bronx as he did in Houston so perhaps the opposing fans were right. This is a new year, and now the trade speculation is on Paxton, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. My initial desire is to place Kluber at the top of the list, but the more you think about it, the less likely you feel the Cleveland Indians would actually move their aces. The Indians remain a contending team so unless it is a serious overpay, the Tribe is not going to part with Kluber or Carrasco. So it leaves Paxton as potentially the best available trade target assuming the Mariners decide to move him. Seattle GM Jerry DiPoto is, of course, very unpredictable but the Yankees and Mariners have matched up for lesser deals in recent years so there is history of successful negotiations. I have no doubt DiPoto would trade within division for the right mix of players so Houston is a serious threat for the Yankees if they identify Paxton as the guy they want. The Astros may lose Charlie Morton to free agency and they’ve already lost Lance McCullers, Jr for the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery. So the Astros are just as motivated to add top starters as the Yankees.  

As much as I like Paxton, he is not someone I would trade Miguel Andujar for (or Estevan Florial or Justus Sheffield for that matter).  Kluber or Carrasco, yes, but not Paxton. Paxton carries much greater risk with his inability to stay healthy. So, as much as I would hate to get punked by the Astros again and as much as I’d like Paxton on the staff, there is a price I’d draw a line. If Houston wants to overpay, let them.  If GM Brian Cashman can get Paxton at his price, great. I’ll be excited to see Paxton join the Yankees starting rotation…with Miguel Andujar continuing to field grounders at third in Yankee Stadium.  

A pic of a shaved Dallas Keuchel has been floating the Internet with talk about how the “beardless” one would look in the Bronx.  

With no offense to Keuchel, I don’t really want to see him in the Bronx. I know he’s been tough on the Yankees over the years but I cannot find myself with the desire to root for him.  Keuchel will only be 31 when the season begins, however, I think Keuchel and Patrick Corbin are on opposite trajectories for their 30’s. Corbin, like fine wine, stands a much better chance of aging well. If the Yankees miss out on Corbin and others, it is possible they have to make a run at Keuchel but I really hope that’s a potential option which never comes to fruition. Bring me Corbin and J.A. Happ and I’ll be happy.

Trying to brace myself for the possibility the Yankees pass on the big ticket purchases this winter, I think Marwin Gonzalez and Jurickson Profar represent the best options for the infield to help cover for the loss of Didi Gregorius. I’ve liked Daniel Murphy in the past but I don’t feel he really fits the Yankees at this stage in his career. Both Gonzalez and Profar have positional diversity which makes them very valuable with the current group of Yankees. Who knows, maybe this is the year Tyler Wade puts it together to launch his Major League career in full force. It’s not really a bet I’d make but it is not my team or my money. Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner is on record that he is tired of lining the pockets of other owners and it’s his right to make the financial decisions in the best interests of the Steinbrenner Family. I think most of us thought the Yankees were positioning themselves for a big splash into the 2018-19 free agent market but the reality is that we need to be prepared for Team Fiscal Restraint. I am hopeful Hal sees the potential salary relief when guys like Jacoby Ellsbury come off the books in just a couple of years but we’ll see.  

It was tough in years past to see the Yankees pass on the big name free agents. Max Scherzer stands out as one. At the time of his free agency, the Yankees were cited as one of the favorites to sign him. They didn’t and Scherzer moved from Detroit to Washington and has continued to pitch at an elite level. Even if the Yankees weren’t ready to add an elite pitcher at the time of Scherzer’s availability, he’d certainly look fantastic in the starting rotation today. The price would have meant the inability to bring payroll under the luxury tax threshold this year so the decision to pass on Scherzer remains debatable. It’s amazing how the decision to sign Jacoby Ellsbury has haunted the Yankees for so many years. I guess that’s a strong argument for not going hog wild in the current free agent market.  

Before I close, I’d like to send out our prayers and thoughts to all those affected by the wildfires in Northern and Southern California. For some, there will never be recovery. I hope the fires are brought under control soon and we suffer no further loss of life. For those of you in California, please stay safe.

View of Malibu from Santa Monica Pier

Lastly, Happy Veteran’s Day! We can never forget those who served and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to maintain our freedom. Today, and every day, we honor you.

As always, Go Yankees!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Looking Forward to St Patrick's Day...

Photo Credit: AP (Rick Scuteri)
Patrick Corbin should be at the forefront for the Yankees…

So many possibilities, where do the Yankees go? November is always a tough month for the Hot Stove League. Lots of talk but not really much action. There’s always the chance for a major trade but we generally have to get much closer to the Baseball Winter Meetings in December for the flurry of activity, then the quietness returns until the start of training camp. I don’t expect this year to be any different.  

No doubt GM Brian Cashman is laying the groundwork for potential trades. He’s talked with the Cleveland Indians, he’s reached out to the Seattle Mariners, and has surely had talks with teams we’ve heard nothing about. The talks now will hopefully yield fruit later, but rest assured, if the Yankees are successful in obtaining Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco or James Paxton, it WILL hurt. For a team on the cusp of a championship, now is not the time to “prospect-hug”. The team must be prepared to pay the price, whatever it may be, to bring in a top of the rotation arm.  

Of the names mentioned, I probably like Kluber the best. He would immediately became the team’s ace, which we clearly need, and his presence would help take pressure off Luis Severino. Less pressure on Sevy would only enhance the chances for him to become the best he can be. But if the Yanks can’t get Kluber, Carrasco would be a welcome addition. I really like James Paxton and I think his name has been mentioned frequently in the past by TGP’s Daniel Burch. My only concern, like many others, is health. Paxton has not proven to be a durable pitcher. But if the team has the opportunity to add Paxton and the price is reasonable, they should do it.  

Photo Credit: USATSI

Regardless of how the trade market plays out, I hope the Yankees do not lose sight of free agent starter Patrick Corbin. He will be costly but I am very fascinated with how his left arm and pitching arsenal would play in Yankee Stadium. He grew up as a Yankees fan and wore #46 in Arizona out of respect for Andy Pettitte. He is a ground ball pitcher with five legitimate pitches although his deadly combinations are the slider, four-seam fastball, and sinker. He’s been praised for his work ethic and the signs show he will be an elite pitcher in his 30’s. Corbin might slot into the third or fourth spot in the rotation depending upon what the Yankees do on the trade market, but he’d ensure the starting rotation is a strength in 2019 compared to its achilles heel in 2018.  

Despite the rumors of so many names, Corbin remains my number one target this off-season.  I hope the Yankees see it the same way. Paired with an ace acquired via trade, or added along with the return of a guy like J.A. Happ or Nathan Eovaldi, the starting rotation will be better next year with Corbin in it. 

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports (Mark J Rebilas)

The Bryce Harper/Manny Machado talk has reached absurd levels. I am anxious for the guys to get their $300 million plus contracts to end the excessive chatter about the two young superstars. I think the Yankees would be foolish to pass on at least one of the rare “young” superstars but it’s not my money. I see the advantage of Bryce’s left-handed bat in the Yankees lineup and I see Manny’s role in bridging the gap at short and eventually providing a superior defender at third. My personal preference may be Machado as I’ve long admired the player but I would shed no tears with the signing of Harper. Still, the Yankees can win without either so if they go big with the starting rotation and bring in a guy like Marwin Gonzalez or Daniel Murphy to help the infield, it will not be the end of the world. I like the chances better with Harper or Machado, but the 2019 Yankees will contend for the World Series regardless of how this plays out. “Go big or go home” applies now more than ever.  

I want the Yankees to end the reign of the Boston Red Sox next season so I am in favor of whatever moves the team has to make to improve. I’d hate to see Miguel Andujar, Estevan Florial, Justus Sheffield, or Albert Abreu leave, but if it improves the team, so be it. Championship windows do not remain open for extended periods of time. You have to take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves. I am ready for the pain for the greater glory. In Cashman we trust…

Photo Credit: AP (Gregory Bull)

For those keeping score, the Yankees have made some moves this off-season. They’ve re-signed Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia to one-year deals. They re-signed minor league free agent third baseman and defensive-whiz Giovanny Urshela and they signed a minor league deal with former Pirates catcher Ryan Lavarnway. Lavarnway was once a heralded top prospect for the Red Sox, although, now in his 30’s, he has settled into a journeyman role.  He provides much needed catching depth at the upper levels of the farm system. Lavarnway is one of those guys I hope the Yankees don’t need to use but he’s there to help if it becomes necessary. Milwaukee’s Erik Kratz has proven it is never too late to make a significant contribution.  Welcome to the Yankees Family, Ryan!

Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Matt Freed)

The end is within sight for Jacoby Ellsbury. He only has two more years on his contract before the Yankees can exercise their buyout. Ellsbury is owed $42,285,174 for the next two seasons, and the Yankees can then buyout his contract for an additional $5 million. Realistically, I don’t expect Ellsbury to wear the pinstripes again or at least I hope not, but I am glad we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve seen some suggest the Yankees should trade Ellsbury for another dead contract (like Miami’s Wei-Yin Chen, owed $58 million for the next three years, or Seattle’s Robinson Cano, owed $120 million over the next five years). No, thanks. I don’t think the Yankees should take on more money to rid themselves of Ellsbury. I like Cano and he might help but financially it makes absolutely no sense. He is clearly on the downhill slide and he’s entering the really ugly side of his ridiculous contract. If the Yankees can finally move Ellsbury even if they have to pay the bulk of his remaining contract, that’s the way to go. If I was a GM for another team and I was convinced that Ellsbury was finally healthy, I’d take a chance on him for no more than a $5 million per year commitment. That’s a lot of money for the Yankees to eat, but it would be worth the investment (addition by subtraction). I am done with Ellsbury and don’t want to see him pull on the pinstripes again.

Yesterday saw two notable names in the game announce their plans to retire. Hats off to Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins and Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers for long, distinguished careers. Both are names I’d like to see stay in the game in some capacity. I am not sure what their plans are for the future but I wish both the very best as they enter the next phase of their lives. Mauer’s departure certainly opens an opportunity at first base for former Yankee Tyler Austin unless they decide to go in a different direction for new manager Rocco Baldelli. 

Is Sonny Gray still a Yankee? Count me among those who think Cashman will bring a better than expected return for the failed Yankee. I am certain he’ll get at least a strong prospect with upside. We’ll see. Hopefully Gray’s Yankee career is over by this time next month. It would  be great if he could take Luis Cessa and A.J. Cole with him.

As always, Go Yankees!

Monday, November 5, 2018

More Ways To Close The Gap 

The Yankees have several holes we all know. 

The other day I wrote a post detailing what I would do to catch up to the Red Sox and Astros, however as always there is always other ways to do it. Here we will start to look at other ways the Bombers can make up the needed ground, without Manny and Bryce. That being said let’s take a look at what was one of the Yanks biggest holes all season, 1st Base. The Yankees had some of the worst overall production out of the guys manning 1st all season long. Luke Voit stepped in after a late season trade, and torn the cover off the ball. .333 Avg 15 Hrs and 33 RBIs in 132 PA. However no one can be sure he can keep up that production. Greg Bird finally was able to stay on the field and off the DL, but to be nice was horrible. Now I’m not ready to fully give up on Bird just yet. His career numbers albeit over 3 seasons actually add up to one very good season minus the BA. .214 with 97 RBIs and 31 Homers in 569 PA.  The problem for Greg had been staying on the field. So maybe with a full off season of work Bird can turn in to the player everyone expected after his good rookie year. Still with that all being said the Yankees need to close the gap between them and the Top Feeders. (After winning 100 Games, that sounds weird) In Order to do that they need solid and consistent play out of their 1st Baseman all year long. Now we shall take a look at a few options that should be available to them. One thing to keep in mind is the available free agent 1st baseman are not the type of player we would be looking for. Joe Mauer, Matt Adams, Lucas Duda, Chris Carter(yuck), Pedro Alvarez, Tommy Joseph, Chris Parmelee, and Steve Pearce the MVP of the World Series. A real quick look at these guys....Most likely goes like this...... Joe Mauer.....Not leaving Twins unless he retires. Matt Adams.....To inconsistent for me. Lucas Duda, Chris Carter, Pedro Alvarez, Tommy Joesph, Chris Parmelee all big No Thank You!!!! Steve Pearce I would only consider to stick it to the Red Sox other wise I’m also staying say away here. I don’t believe this was some type Of turn around his career type season, rather just him hitting a high. We need more then that. Looks like we need to make a trade stay in house, or have a player switch positions which leads me to the following......

The trade market this is always a crap shoot because who knows how is actually available but the word on the street is Paul Goldschmidt can be had for the right offer. Big Paul has been one of the most productive 1st baseman for sometime now. A career .297 Avg 209 homers and 710 RBIs over 8 seasons.  In 2018 he hit .290 with 33 Jacks and 83 RBIs.  

Goldschmidt Plays a awesome defense as well. He Would add a consistent bat into the Yankees offense, and is only signed for the 2019 season thus the cost shouldn’t be as high. Let’s say one of Luke Voit or Greg Bird, Chance Adams, Kyle Holder, and 1 or 2 lower level prospects? I’d make the deal. Prefer to keep Bird over Voit only because Paul is a Righty as is Voit, so keep Bird who can help keep a balance. Plus as I’ve said I think Bird still has a lot of potential. 

Keeping with the trade market...... Jose Abreu is a player I have always liked and may also be available at a cheep cost. Coming off a season of a .265 avg with 22 bombs and 78 RBIs, is what I view as a down year for him. Would add the production that could help close the GAP.The White Sox totally sucked and looks like they will for a while so they could look to clear house and start anew. I wouldn’t give the farm for this guy, but maybe Chance Adams and a lower level prospect might get the deal done. Cash if you can’t land Big Paul from the Dbacks make a call and see what the White Sox think.  

In house options are sticking with Luke Voit and seeing if we found a diamond in the rough or was this season just another Shane Spencer type years? Going back to Greg Bird who should finally have a normal off seasons and this can show he is what the Yankee’s brass all expected him to be. However the other option is the one I would be interested in seeing. Well that is if we sign Manny and Didi comes back healthy.........Moving Andjuar off the hot corner and seeing if he could play on the other side of the diamond. Thus keeping the doubles Machine in the line up while adding Machado & Then inserting Didi when he is back. That might give the Bombers the best left side of the infield in the majors. The Bronx Bombers could also look at other free agent infielders and see if they would be willing to move to 1st that is if they feel Miguel can get past his defensive struggles at the hot corner. (Again keep in mind for this post we are avoiding Harper and Machado) one name that comes to mind is...... Josh Donaldson – Who turns 33 in December, presents a potential impact bat on a short-term deal maybe only 1 year. Gives him a chance to build up his value again after a up and down season. He’s a late bloomer who played the hot corner and became a star while playing for the A’s in 2013, won the AL MVP award in 2015 after he was traded to the Blue Jays. Josh missed significant time due to a calf injury in 2017, but hit 22 home runs over the final two months of the 2017 season. Donaldson landed on the DL this year in April with right shoulder inflammation and then went on the shelf again May for his calf, that then landed him on the 60-day DL, Donaldson was traded to the Indians before he was activated.  Josh did make a brief but promising return to action late in 2018. With that said, he may be better served to take a one-year pact and re-establish his health and prove he is still the same old Josh. The Yankees should explore this option.   

Also Cash and company could look to another free agent......Mike Moustakas – Royals.  After hitting a Royals-record 38 home runs in 2017, Moustakas’ free agency went terribly for him. Even with a qualifying offer attached, MLBTR predicted a five-year, $85MM contract. That contract never came, instead the third baseman wound up back with the Royals for 1 year at $6.5MM. Moose is a big power low OBP guy, however the OBP May rise in a better lineup. Mike can most likely be had on a 1-2 year deal right now for I’d say 8-10 million per. If all else fails this might just be a guy for the Yanks to look at. Left handed bat power bat in the Bronx could lead to a huge season for the Moose and make Brian Cashman and company look really smart. Anyway you slice it the Bombers need more production from their 1st Baseman in 2019, here’s hoping one way or another they find it.   

As always I can be reached at JamesCPalma@Yahoo.Com 

Let’s G⚾️ Yankees!! 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

No Doubt Today's a "Work Day" for Brian Cashman...

Let the Dialing for Dollars Begin…

Free Agency has officially begun as the team-exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents expired yesterday and the rumors are running rampant. I am never quite sure why they even allow teams a window to talk to their free agents since it almost never results in any pre-open free agency signings. This year, there was more activity with guys renegotiating new contracts due to opt-outs and buyouts. 

Before I get started, I wanted to give a shout-out to Bryan Van Dusen last week for his post entitled Manny Machado vs. Bryce Harper, and The Rest Of The Offseason. Bryan put a great deal of time and thought into his post and of the many, many posts out there about the Yankees off-season and what the team should do, Bryan’s piece is one of the most thorough, logical, and reasonable. It represents a great blueprint for how the Yankees can win the 2019 World Series Championship. Nice job, Bryan!

Well, the World Series didn’t exactly go to plan. Pulling for the Los Angeles Dodgers, I lost a bet with my good friend Julia (@werbiefitz), a lifelong die-hard Red Sox fan. As a result, my FaceBook cover photo has shown a picture of the Red Sox celebrating their championship for the last week. I can’t take it down until a full seven days have elapsed from the end of the World Series. Needless to say, I’ve been staying away from FaceBook lately. I am also reading a Red Sox-related book chosen by Julia. Upon completion, I have to write a 500-word essay about the ten things I’ve learned from reading the book. My goal is to have this finished before Thanksgiving.

Obviously, it is not fun to know the Red Sox have won four championships this century. But if there is any positive about this year’s Boston champagne party at the conclusion of the World Series, it will be so much sweeter when the Yankees snatch the trophy away from them next year.  

Photo Credit: NJ Advance Media for (John Munson)

The Yankees’ off-season got started quickly this year when the Yankees, as expected, declined the $12.5 million option on Brett Gardner’s contract.  After paying the $2 million buyout, the parties quickly announced a new one-year deal for $7.5 million. TGP’s Daniel Burch had pitched bringing back Gardy for $6.5 million so he was very close to the team’s line of thinking. I thought it was a bit of an overpay, but I had mentally prepared myself to move on from Gardner due to the crowded outfield. But upon reflection, I agree Clint Frazier is a huge question mark/uncertainty heading into next year and Jacoby Ellsbury, despite reports of good health, is just buying time until his next DL stint. Regardless of whether or not I think the Yankees should bring CC Sabathia back, I honestly do not feel they will. Certainly things could change, but I think CC gets put on the back burner as the Yankees pursue other pitching opportunities. It increases the likelihood another team, such as the Oakland A’s or Los Angeles Angels, could pitch him an incentive-laden one year deal to return to his home state of California before he rides off into the sunset. Without Sabathia in the clubhouse, Brett Gardner becomes the senior voice and mentor for the younger guys. He may not be the player he once was, but his influence on this team is invaluable so welcome back, Brett!

Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports (Nick Turchiaro)

Every year, I look forward to MLB Trade Rumors and their predictions for the top free agents (teams and contracts). Tim Dierkes is one of the best and I have a great deal of respect for him, but I have to admit that I about fell off my chair when I read his latest offering. He has Bryce Harper going to the Los Angeles Dodgers for 14 years (Yikes!) and, gulp!, $420 million. I am not sure we’ll see a contract break the $400 million mark this year, but if that’s the price tag, the Yankees shouldn’t play. I’d love to have Bryce on the Yankees, but I’d rather spread the money around for the best possible club. Dierkes has Manny Machado going to the Philadelphia Phillies for almost as much (13 years at $390 million). I think most Yankee fans want the team to sign at least one of those guys (with a few ready to spend a billion dollars to sign both as if that would ever happen). If Dierkes is right and Machado and Harper sign elsewhere, I would prefer to see them go to National League clubs. I know, the Yankees don’t need either guy. But it is not often that 26-year-old superstars are available for nothing more than money. So, count me among those who want to come away with at least one. Nonetheless, we need to be prepared the Yankees may not be in play for either.

Third on Dierkes’ list is Patrick Corbin. I saw one writer this week predicting an ‘out of nowhere’ signing of Corbin by the San Diego Padres, but Dierkes stayed with the majority to project Corbin to the Yankees on a 6-year deal for $129 million. Sign me up. If there is one guy I want in this year’s free agency, it is Corbin. He may not be a frontline ace, but he is a very sound option for the starting rotation and would place right behind Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka to give the team a formidable front three. Yesterday, news broke that the Cleveland Indians may be willing to trade veterans so immediate speculation went to a trade to bring Corey Kluber to the Bronx. Regardless of whether or not the Yankees go after Kluber, I’d still sign the left-handed Corbin. He seems like an excellent fit for Yankee Stadium.  Honestly, I think the Indians would be foolish to trade Kluber but if it did happen, he is one of few that are as good as Boston’s Chris Sale. The Yankees should be “all-in” if Cleveland is truly willing to deal, but conversely, it should not stall plans to go hard after Corbin. Getting both would be “greedy”, sure, but losing out on both would hurt.  

Dierkes has Andrew Miller going to the Red Sox and Zach Britton to the Astros. I have resigned myself to the loss of Britton and dread the thought he’ll sign with either the Red Sox or Astros. Miller scares me a bit with his recent injury history, but I loved the guy as a Yankee and I would like to see him come back if the Yankees do not resign Britton or David Robertson. Miller has an infectious team-first mentality that rubs off on others and the talent to match.  

Photo Credit:

Friday was an active day as teams had to make decisions regarding qualifying offers. The Arizona Diamondbacks, as expected, issued a qualifying offer to Patrick Corbin. The one that surprised me was the decision by the Houston Astros not to extend the qualifying offer to Charlie Morton. As such, he represents another option for the Yankees should they lose out on Corbin or simply decide not to pursue him for whatever reasons. If Morton is the best the Yankees can get this off-season, it will be a huge disappointment. Sorry, Charlie. C’mon, I had to do that! With the recent rule changes, the Yankees won’t lose their first round draft pick should they sign Corbin since it’s protected. They would lose their second highest draft pick in next year’s MLB Draft plus a half-million in international bonus pool money. Morton would not cost anything but money but seriously I hope the Yankees can do better.

With the heavy roster activity by MLB teams yesterday, the Yankees picked up a minor league infielder claimed on waivers from the Texas Rangers. Hanser Alberto is a 26-year old shortstop with an ability to play multiple infield positions and even logged some time in the outfield. He hasn’t done much in limited big league opportunities with the Rangers, but he has strong minor league numbers. Last year, in Triple A, he hit .330/.346/.452, with .797 OPS, in 361 at-bats. He doesn’t have much power, but he did drive in 58 runs last year for Round Rock. It remains to be seen if he’ll stick on the 40-man roster this winter. One Rangers blog predicted the Yankees will try to slip him through waivers so that they can outright him to the minors (Alberto is out of options), giving the Rangers an opportunity to grab him back. We’ll find out within the next couple of weeks as the team prepares to finalize its 40-man roster in advance of December’s Rule 5 Draft. I am not really expecting Alberto to stick around.  

I was glad to see Clayton Kershaw sign an extension to remain with the Los Angeles Dodgers. I know he’s struggled with injuries the last couple of years, but I see him as a lifetime Dodger. I know some Yankee fans were hopeful that he’d reach free agency, but I didn’t think the Yankees would have been in play. Knowing Kershaw and how important family is to him, I think he would have returned to his home state of Texas if things didn’t work out with the Dodgers or at the most, would have gone somewhere in the Midwest. There was never a chance he was going to come to the East Coast, in my opinion.  

Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward lost his competition last off-season with Aaron Boone for the Yankees’ managerial gig, but now he’ll get a chance to compete with Boone again as the new manager for the Texas Rangers. The Yankees certainly hold high regard for Woodward given their consideration of him last year. I wish him the best in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.   

Lastly, before I go, I want to say that I am on Team Sanchez. So many Yankee fans have wanted the team to trade Gary Sanchez to the Miami Marlins for J.T. Realmuto. I am not questioning Realmuto is a great catcher, but I am not ready to give up on El Gary. 2018 was not a good year for him but I think he’ll be much better in 2019 with room to improve. If the Yankees are going to give up good, young prospects, it should be for their biggest weaknesses, like the starting rotation for one. Selling Gary low would be a huge mistake in my humble opinion.  

As always, Go Yankees!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Do The Yankees Need To Add Two Elite Starters?

Pitching wins. Just ask an Astros fan.

You've heard the phrase "pitching wins championships" used in multiple sports, many times. Which has led to a plethora of Yankees fans to beg Brian Cashman to somehow acquire a top starter or two every season since... well... the beginning of the franchise? I don't know for sure, but it seems like as long as I've conversed with other Yankees fans I've heard the words "they need pitching" said quite a bit.

Well, how about we take a look at the fWAR (Fangraphs' version of WAR is better for pitching) of a couple of team's pitching staffs from 2018...

Team A 
Starters - 16.9
Releivers - 9.7
Total - 26.6

Team B
Starters - 15.8
Relievers - 4.9
Total - 20.6

Before I go on how about we add offense to the mix? I wouldn't want you thinking that one of those teams above is far and away better at scoring runs, and thus the question was pointless. So here is the bWAR for each team (Baseball Reference's version of WAR is better for batting)...

Team A - 29.5
Team B - 27.3

Looking at thoses numbers you'd probably say that Team A is clearly better. Well, based on which team hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy the other night, you'd be wrong. Because Team B is the Boston Red Sox. And wouldn't you know it? Team A is the New York Yankees.

It's true that championships are not won on paper. On paper, Brian Cashman could construct the greatest team of all time, but they can still fall short when it comes to actually playing the game. And that's what happened last season.

So while it's true that the Yankees don't need Bryce Harper's or Manny Machado's offensive output for 2019, there will come a time when they are happy to have it. Besides, when a talent like Harper and Machado, who are still in their mid-20s, becomes available for nothing more than money, then you go for it. Especially when you're the Yankees and you have plenty of money to spend.

Another reality is that the Yankees don't need to add two elite pitchers to the rotation. Adding Patrick Corbin, and one of CC Sabathia or J.A. Happ, makes it possible for the Yankees to take a chance on a young starter from another team via trade (like Nick Pivetta), or even from their own stock of prospects (Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams, etc.).

If you want numbers to back that up, here you go...

2018 fWAR
Luis Severino - 5.7
Patrick Corbin - 6.3
Masahiro Tanaka - 2.7
CC Sabathia - 2.5
Total - 17.2

As long as the fifth starter doesn't produce a negative fWAR for the Yankees in 2019 they don't need to make a huge trade for somebody like Jameson Taillon, Madison Bumgarner, or Zack Greinke.

Which is why trading Miguel Andujar is unnecessary. Miggy would either be used to get a top starter, who is not needed, or for Paul Goldschmidt, which would be a waste since Goldy is only signed through the next season.

There is one area that the Yankees truly need to improve upon, but I'll save that discussion for another time.

A Fans Questions 

I live in PA, but a big Yankee fan! How do they improve their situational hitting for 2019? 

Average batting averages, leaving runners in scoring position and strikeouts. Read where the Yankees had more strikeouts than hits and had 135 less hits than the Red Sox for the season. Hit a lot of home runs, but leave more than their share of RISP. Is it the hitting coaches? Keep up the good work! 

Well John, 

Thank You for the Email. Some of this is just bad luck. How many times did Greg Bird, and Gary Sanchez hit the ball right at someone? Next year some of those balls will drop in for hits. That is Just a product of luck. Another way to do it is to stay healthy I’m sure if Torres doesn’t get hurt he doesn’t drop off as much as he did when he returned. Also If Judge doesn’t get hurt these numbers are a bit better as well. Yes judge strikes out to but he would have plated some of those runners. Yes they had 135 less hits then the Red Sox but let’s take also take the time to remember when Judge was out the Yanks used Shane Robinson for a good amount of time. So again if Judge doesn’t miss a month plus, and the Yanks use someone other then Robinson that number is closer to 95 rather then 135. If Torres is not hurt for the period of time he is add a few more hits for the time off, plus the fact he most likely doesn’t come back cold and that number is down to 70? Add in the above mentioned Sanchez and Bird the number is most likely down around 45? Now some may say Bird is what he was this year, so then I’d say as Voit or any other 1st baseman and that number is now down to about 10-15 ? I mean the Yankees got nothing out of 1st baseman almost all year until Voit got there. So maybe the answer is just as simple as a productive 1st baseman, and if that’s the case plus everything I mentioned above maybe it’s the Yankees with 135 more hits then the Sox.  Also keep in mind this man lost some time due to injury this year as well......Sir Didi not getting hurt also helps that cause. Anyways we won 100 games wouldn’t worry the Red Sox had 135 hits more then we did. Plus if they add Manny or Bryce if not both that gap is definitely smaller. Also adding one or both of the above what is the HR total then? The Yankees hit more hits then any other team in the history of the game, That number will grow no matter what as long as Judge stays healthy. That being said I don’t think it’s the Hitting coaches as it was just more bad luck. Maybe a contact hitter to add to the lineup rather then another power only hitter? But Bryce and or Manny will also help there. I wouldn’t worry to much again 100 wins and the most home runs ever as a team these young guys are just going to get better with time. Upgrade the pitching and most of the above doesn’t matter anyway. Give up less runs and we would be have won 10-15 more games and people might be asking Boston who? 

Reach me at JamesCPalma@Yahoo.Com and you too may find your Email live here at The Greedy Pinstripes. 

Remember Let’s G⚾️ Yankees!