Thursday, February 22, 2018

Do You Choose Trade Number 1, Trade Number 2, Or Trade Number 3?

The acquisition of Brandon Drury has not only created many possibilities for this season, but it also creates many opportunities for the future. Brandon's only 25 years old, and won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season. And although his numbers don't suggest he's a long-time solution (.275/.323/.453 with an OPS+ of 95 in his last 269 games for Arizona), his youth and the hype surrounding him (Brian Cashman has been chasing Drury for a while now) makes it a definite possibility.

Look at it this way... Didi Gregorius hit .241/.314/.368 with an OPS+ of 88 in 183 games for the Diamondbacks before being traded to the Yankees, and now we're happy to have him as the regular shortstop for the team, at least through 2019 when he's scheduled to hit free agency.

So where do the Yankees go from here? Cashman has been after another starter this entire offseason, and I see a great opportunity to make it happen now. Let's look at the possibilities...

1. Brian Cashman can trade Miguel Andujar in a package for a starting pitcher, while Drury handles third base this season. However, I don't think Brandon isn't good enough to keep the Yankees from going after Manny Machado in the offseason.

2. If Cashman and Company aren't convinced Drury is good enough, they can hold onto Andujar to take over third base. In that case trade Clint Frazier in a package for a starter. Then, in the offseason, let Brett Gardner go and bring in Bryce Harper to play left field.

3. Nobody knows how good a pitcher the Yankees could get in a trade including Andujar or Frazier. However, a trade including Andujar and Frazier could surely net the Yankees an incredible return. So perhaps that's the way to go. In this case, the Yankees could go with Drury at third base regularly and sign Harper, or sign both Harper and Machado.

As for what I would choose...

First of all, let me say that I would rather see the Yankees sign Bryce Harper than Manny Machado. It's not that I don't like Manny, but Bryce is clearly the better hitter. Not to mention that another big lefty bat to hit around righties Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez would be great. And can you imagine how many home runs Harper could hit at Yankee Stadium?

So you can eliminate scenario 1.

Although Didi Gregorius has been a big hit for the Yankees, I don't have the confidence in Brandon Drury doing the same thing. I'll fully admit that I could be wrong here, after all Drury does make very good contact, but keeping Miguel Andujar around would be ideal.

And I'll go ahead and say this now... signing both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper would be insane. It would be hard enough having Harper signed for the next 12+ years, along with having Giancarlo Stanton signed for another eight (assuming Stanton doesn't opt-out). But throw in another guy signed for 8+ years? No thank you.

So you can eliminate scenario 2.

Yes, and it's not the first time I've said it... put Clint Frazier in a package along with Chance Adams and trade for a good/young starter. You might think that's not enough for somebody like Michael Fulmer, but after reading that Cashman was offering Frazier and Nick Solak for Gerrit Cole, as well as seeing some recent trades, I think it very well could be. Even if he traded for a guy that's not a future ace, but a top of the rotation guy under team control for a while, that would be great. Especially having Luis Severino around through 2022, Masahiro Tanaka signed through 2020, Sonny Gray being around at least through 2019, and prospects like Justus Sheffield and Albert Abreu.

So to reiterate, trade Clint Frazier, Chance Adams, and whatever smaller pieces (maybe flip Drury, as teams love guys that have as much MLB experience as Brandon does at such a young age) for a starter. Which could be done right now, instead of waiting to see what things look like at the trade deadline when so many other teams will be hunting for pitching. And in the offseason decline the team option for Brett Gardner, and sign Bryce Harper.

You think the current lineup looks like a monster? Check this out...

1. Gleyber Torres - 2B
2. Aaron Judge - RF
3. *Bryce Harper - LF
4. Giancarlo Stanton - DH
5. Gary Sanchez - C
6. *Greg Bird - 1B
7. *Didi Gregorius - SS
8. #Miguel Andujar - 3B
9. Aaron Hicks - CF (note: *Estevan Florial could make his MLB debut in 2019)
* - denotes left-handed hitter
# - denotes switch-hitter

And by being able to juggle Judge, Harper, and Stanton at designated hitter, you can keep them healthy longer (especially in regards to Harper and Stanton who would be under contract for a while longer).

Just for the heck of it, the possible starting rotation...

1. Luis Severino
2. Masahiro Tanaka
3. Sonny Gray
4. Michael Fulmer (or somebody like him)
5. Justus Sheffield

And there's still Jordan Montgomery hanging around, while Albert Abreu could make his MLB debut next season.

I'd love to hear what you have to say in the comments or on Twitter. Which scenario from above do you like? Or maybe it's none of those, as you would pass on trading for a pitcher while keeping both Frazier and Andujar instead of signing either Machado or Harper?

The Official 2018 Brian Cashman Appreciation Post

May I have your attention please, thank you. Can we have a quick moment of silence for all the opposing pitching staffs that have to face the New York Yankees here in 2018.

Thank you.

Now as we move on this morning, this winter and into this spring I wanted to take a second to give my true appreciation to the General Manager of the New York Yankees, Mr. Brian Cashman. Not only did Brian Cashman build up an amazing farm system from the ground up, but Cashman showed a willingness to use those prospects not only in trades, but at the Major League level too. Cashman and his Baby Bombers made it all the way to the American League Championship Series in 2017 and were one win away from heading to the World Series. While most GM’s and teams would be happy with this, especially given the fact that the Yankees weren’t expected by many to even compete until the 2018 season, but Mr. Cashman obviously was not.

Cashman, with the plans and orders to get under the $197 million luxury tax threshold in hand, went out and improved the team this offseason the best way he knew how, like a ninja on the trade market. Not only did Cashman bring in the reigning National League MVP in Giancarlo Stanton for essentially Starlin Castro and a couple table scraps, but he also unloaded Chase Headley’s contract on the San Diego Padres to essentially even out the financial commitment the team took on with the Stanton trade. Cashman then went out and acquired an extremely useful and versatile Brandon Drury from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a pair of prospects that would never reach the Major Leagues as it stands today with the Yankees, I call that highway robbery.

It wasn’t just his trades that were seemingly unreal at times, but his ability to bring back a veteran like CC Sabathia on a team-friendly deal will never get enough publication or praise in my opinion. The 1990’s Yankees Dynasty was great, but it wasn’t just the likes of Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera that made it special. It was also the acquisitions of Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius and others with a little bit of magic from the farm system sprinkled in from time to time in players like Chad Curtis, Shane Spencer and Alfonso Soriano that really made what those teams did magical. Build a core from within, build up the middle and fill in the cracks via free agency and trade. That’s the blueprint, and Brian Cashman has done that to a “T” lately, this offseason especially. Cashman has just been masterful, and I don’t think he receives as much praise as he should, so here it is…the official Brian Cashman appreciation thread for the 2018 season.

Haters, leave your things at the door. You’re not welcome here. Enjoy the day.

The Boston Red Sox are AL East Champs...

Photo Credit:
Until the Yankees reclaim the Throne…

Many Yankees fans are quick to anoint the Yankees as the AL East champs, but yesterday, GM Brian Cashman, in interviews, echoed my beliefs. The Boston Red Sox are the AL East Champions until proven otherwise. We may like the 2018 Yankees but until they dethrone the Red Sox, J.D. Martinez and the Red Sox are the hunted. Sure, the Yankees made it further in the post-season in 2017 but it does not matter. The Yankees may have taken the Astros deeper into their series than the Red Sox did against the same opponent but the truth is that the Yankees and Red Sox both lost to the eventual World Series Champions.

Photo Credit: Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Zuma Press (Keith Birmingham)
I would argue that Martinez helps his team’s lineup more than Giancarlo Stanton helps his. I am not saying that Martinez will be a better slugger than Stanton, but it terms of how the player affects his own team, I think Martinez can have the bigger impact. The Red Sox were clearly missing something last year with the retirement of future Hall of Famer David Ortiz. Martinez brings power to his club and he’ll help those around him. The Yankees are destined to hit a lot of home runs with or without Stanton.

Photo Credit: Associated Press (Ross D Franklin)
Courtesy of The New York Post, Cashman told reporters on Wednesday, “They are the American League East Champs so we are not on equal footing. We were a wild card. They are the American League East champs and we are not. We are not on equal footing until we take it away from them.”  

ESPN writer Marly Rivera reported that David Price (with a big smile on his face) gave the following response when asked about the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry with the Stanton/Martinez acquisitions: “You guys want it, let’s do it, we hate the Yankees. You guys want it, yeah we hate the Yankees. We hate them.” Price has a lot of work to do rebuild his image in his own city, but I do expect him to be much better this year than last. It gets lost but the Red Sox have two excellent relievers coming back this year from injury (Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg) which will make their bullpen much stronger in front of elite closer Craig Kimbrel.

There's no doubt it is time to end Boston's reign.  Let's do this.

Oh yes, I know the Muffin Man who lives in Drury Lane…

The song I repeatedly sang to my son when he was an infant has been going through my head lately, for some reason.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, via The Athletic
it’s funny but J.D. Martinez signing with the Red Sox may have led to the arrival of Brandon Drury in the Bronx. Cashman told the YES Network’s Michael Kay yesterday that the Yankees have been trying to acquire Drury from the Arizona Diamondbacks since back in the days when the late Kevin Towers was the team’s general manager. Cashman didn’t have any success in finding a match with Towers or the subsequent GM, Dave Stewart. He was finally able to get his man when he identified that current Arizona GM Mike Hazen was having trouble matching up with the Tampa Bay Rays in an effort to acquire outfielder Steven Souza, Jr. He stepped in to offer help through a three-way trade, and it resulted in both Hazen and Cashman getting their men. If the D-Backs had been successful in re-signing Martinez, their desire to get Souza would have been diminished and the odds are that Drury would still be working out in Phoenix.

The Yankees website hasn’t been updated with Drury’s new number yet but his Instagram account was sporting Todd Frazier’s number 29 yesterday (identifying the Yankees as his team). Drury wore 27 in Arizona so a number change was inevitable.  

Cashman indicated that Drury will play third base which they feel is his best position although many have given strong reasons for why Drury should start at second. He wasn’t handing the third base job to Drury (it must be earned) but I have no doubt that the Opening Day Lineup will feature Drury at third base, barring injury. I do feel that if/when Miguel Andujar proves that he is ready, he’ll have every opportunity to compete with Drury for the job.  May the best third baseman win. I like competition. It tends to draw out the best in everyone.

The Arizona Republic, in an article about their new outfielder, cited that you have to give up good players to get good players. They acknowledged that Drury, returning to his natural position at third, could blossom in New York.

Project Gleyber Torres at second base continues in full force. With Drury at third, Torres continues to be the favorite at Starlin Castro’s old position regardless of whether he starts Opening Day or a few weeks later to delay his service time. Many of you may be upset the Yankees most likely will not be starting rookies at both second and third bases, but I feel much better breaking in one rookie at a time for a team with high expectations. I do feel that both Andujar and Torres will be making contributions by late summer (assuming that Andujar does not get shipped elsewhere at the Trading Deadline).  

I am anxious to see the first images of Drury at Yankees camp. He is excited to be here and it's infectious. His all-out style of play is going to make him a fan favorite. A lot of guys know how to play, but not everyone is a winner. I think you can easily put Drury in both categories.  

Go Yankees!