Saturday, October 26, 2019

Predicting The Offseason & 2020 Active Roster

One of my favorite things to write is my predictions for the offseason, along with the following season's active roster. That's not because I'm good at it, although I don't think my ideas are bad, it's just a fun exercise.

There's no need for a long introduction, which you're probably not reading anyway ("Just tell me what you think!"), so here goes...

I'm planning the 2020 season without Domingo German. Even if he's innocent he's going to be suspended for a significant period of time. So when you don't see him listed below don't be like "what the hell?"

I find it hard to believe that the Yankees will make a serious push for Gerrit Cole, as they have seemed more concerned with saving money than spending it the last few years. It's more likely that they sign someone like Zack Wheeler or Madison Bumgarner, but I can't give up hope. So here are reasons why I think the Yankees will sign Cole (aka "how I'm talking myself into believing they will sign Cole")

1. Thanks to his father, who is from Syracuse, Cole grew up a Yankees fan. I know him being a Yankees fan when he was young means little to nothing, but it's still something to keep in mind. Plus, that photo of him with the sign during Game 7 of the 2001 World Series will be shown over and over again.

2. The Yankees drafted him in 2008, only for him to go to UCLA instead. But they liked Gerrit long before he was a Cy Young candidate.

3. Unlike Corbin, Cole has pitched in and had massive success in the AL... and against them.

4. With the expensive contracts of Tanaka and Ellsbury (by the way, Jacoby's not being traded. Who in their right mind would pay Ellsbury ANYTHING to sit at home?) coming off the books after next season, perhaps the Yankees will be more likely to bit the bullet by having a huge payroll for one season.

The Yankees would probably look to save as much money as possible at this point, so I'm also predicting that they trade JA Happ. While the Yankees would likely have to eat a decent chunk of Happ's $17 million salary, they should be able to save a decent amount. Furthermore, I think the Yankees will not tender contracts to Greg Bird, Tyler Lyons, Luis Cessa, and Jonathan Holder.

Even though I wouldn't want to see Happ starting for the Yankees in 2020, anyway, there's still a rotation spot available. They'll have Cole, Luis Severino, James Paxton, and Masahiro Tanaka. Therefore, I think Cashman trades for one more starter.

Cash has a lot of bullets to choose from, most notably Clint Frazier. And I wouldn't be surprised to see Thairo Estrada used as trade fodder too, seeing as how the Yankees infield looks set for years to come. I took a look at pitchers that may be acquired via trade, who wouldn't cost a ton, and someone that stood out to me was German Marquez. German has a good ground ball rate, good strikeout rate, and throws the ball hard. Not to mention Marquez is just 24 years old and will be entering his first year of arbitration eligibility. The fact he's arbitration-eligible means he won't be cheap, which may be something Colorado likes as they're unlikely to compete before German is a free agent in a few years. German's home run rate is kinda high, but before pitching at Coor's Field (meaning in the minors), he wasn't nearly as prone to the long ball. So hopefully that home run rate comes down in New York.

Since I'm talking about Yankees pitchers I'm sure some people out there are waiting for me to bring up Deivi Garcia. That or they think I've forgot about him. Well, I didn't forget about Deivi. But I don't think he's ready, and could do with a little more time in AAA before possibly taking a rotation spot (Tanaka and Paxton will be free agents after next season) in 2021.

Moving onto run production...

I'm going to start with Cameron Maybin. For the record, I really like the guy, but there's no need for him on the roster. I think he's earned a starting gig somewhere, but it certainly won't be for the Yankees.

It's not easy to let Edwin Encarnacion go, either. But, like Maybin, I just don't see a role for him in New York. I think Edwin's option is too much, especially when the team will be looking to cut payroll to make room for Cole. If Encarnacion hit for a better batting average that might make me think otherwise, but we already have too many guys that depend on the long ball for value.

Then we come to Didi Gregorius. I really like Sir Didi, but the Yankees have to face facts... the guy is an average hitter. Sure, Gregorius plays very good defense, but the Yankees can fill the infield and get good defense without him. The only way I see Didi returning to the Yankees is if he gives them a big discount, and will accept a part-time role. But I can see many teams that would offer him more money and a regular starting gig.

I have to say that I'm not totally sold on Thairo Estrada. If he were to start the season on the bench, in the role as backup middle infielder, I'd be perfectly fine with that. But if he's used as trade fodder, like I mentioned earlier, then the Yankees would probably try to find a diamond like they did last year with DJ LeMahieu. Although I'd like Tyler Wade to get some more playing time in MLB to see for sure what we have, or don't have, in the kid. I would say his lefty bat would be welcome on a righty-heavy roster, but the bench I have in mind already has a couple lefty bats. I guess another wouldn't be bad, though.

It's also time to let Austin Romine go. Besides the fact that I think it would be unnecessary to pay for a backup catcher when I believe Kyle Higashioka could do a fine job in that role, I can see some team in the league giving Romine a shot as a starter. Sort of like how Francisco Cervelli was able to land a starting gig in Pittsburgh when he left the Yankees after the 2014 season.

How about batters to sign? Well, this isn't anyone new, but after the news of Aaron Hicks getting Tommy John surgery and being out until August or later, the Yankees pretty much have to bring back Brett Gardner. Some Yankees fans may want the Yankees to spend big on a new centerfielder, be that with money and/or prospects, but it's not happening. They've committed to Aaron Hicks for six more years, and while that contract didn't start off well, they aren't going to abandon that so soon. With that said, I'm not sure Gardy starts the majority of games in centerfield for the Yankees, as I think Mike Tauchman will earn the Opening Day nod there.

Gio Urshela has earned the third base job, not only with the bat (he hit .314/.355.534 in 132 games in 2019), but with his defense as well (the fielding stats don't like him, but the eye test adores him). That leaves Andujar without a position. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as he returns from Tommy John surgery, since his throwing arm can rest. Besides, Miguel wasn't good at the hot corner anyway. I think he could learn to play a solid first base, though. Andujar's used to hard-hit ground balls coming his way, so poorly thrown balls likely wouldn't be that big a concern. However, changing positions isn't easy, so having Voit start there most of the time would be ideal (hopefully he improves his defense, though). But don't be surprised if Andujar is the regular first baseman by the All Star break.

There's one more free agent signing that needs to be made, and it won't come as any surprise to those that paid any attention to the Yankees this season... Dellin Betances.

If it wasn't for suffering multiple injuries this season, and not insignificant ones, bringing Betances back might not have been possible. The guy was in line to get paid to be the closer for somebody, but at this point I have to believe that's no longer the case. For his sake that really sucks, because at 31 years old he's running out of time to cash in. So, for that reason, I can see Dellin taking a one year contract with a player option, that way if he has a healthy season he can test free agency at 32 years old. Otherwise, he can at least get paid for that second season and try again at age 33.

Starting Lineup
1. DJ LeMahieu 2B
2. Aaron Judge RF
3. Gleyber Torres SS
4. Giancarlo Stanton LF
5. Luke Voit 1B
6. Gary Sanchez C
7. Miguel Andujar DH
8. Mike Tauchman* CF
9. Gio Urshela 3B

C Kyle Higashioka
OF Brett Gardner*
IF Thairo Estrada (or Tyler Wade* if Estrada is traded)
1B Mike Ford*
NOTE: It is a very righty heavy lineup, so I see Ford and Gardner getting plenty of starts.

Starting Pitchers
Gerrit Cole
Luis Severino
James Paxton*
Masahiro Tanaka
German Marquez

CL Aroldis Chapman*
SU Zack Britton*
MR Dellin Betances
MR Adam Ottavino
MR Tommy Kahnle
MR Chad Green
LR Jordan Montgomery*
LR Jonathan Loaisiga

* - left-handed hitter or pitcher


  1. I don't see the Yankees trading for a starter if they sign Cole , they would have Montgomery and German if not cut loose .
    My roster would be
    Chapman ( if he doesnt opt out)

    Higgy( Though I prefer Romine)


    Frazier ( if not traded )
    Gardner ( if he doesnt ask for more than last year)

    Now I would try and sign Didi because he handles the pressure of replacing Jeter but would only offer like a 3 year contract with an option 4th year at about 10 million a year.

    Frazier makes the club as 4th OF

  2. Replies
    1. Where did I say anything about cutting him loose, or something along those lines? I said I'm planning the season as if he's not there, because that's what smart people do... plan for the worst instead of expecting the best.

      That way, if German comes back and can do something close to what he did last season, then it's icing on the cake. But to go into 2020 counting on him to be a part of the starting rotation, especially at this point when we know nothing about what actually happened and what's in store for him, is incredibly stupid.

      Now, if you want to say you don't think it's a good idea to use the necessary trade fodder to acquire another starter, particularly if you think Montgomery can be a good starter right out of the gate... fine (Domingo will be suspended for the start of the year, it's just a matter of how long). German can return then and the Yankees will have plenty of starters, which is a very good problem to have.

      But don't give me that "cuckoo" BS.


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