Sunday, November 3, 2019

Offense Trade Targets

As the offseason begins, there is a feeling of opportunity for the Yankees to improve. We will all be refreshing twitter to see the next big deal unfold. Of course the most important thing to focus on for the Yankees is starting pitching. The Yankees should of course try to sign Cole, Strasburg or trade for a big name ace. That is a topic of discussion for a whole other day. On the offensive side the Yankees should look to acquire at least one of Lindor, Marte, or Bell, and ideally two of the three. All three of these guys are switch hitters which I absolutely love and they make a lot of contact. They also have good power potential but what player didn't in 2019 with the juiced ball. Here are some reasons why to acquire each of the three players stated above.

Francisco Lindor
I don't have to say too terribly much about Francisco Lindor. Signing him would obviously mean an end to Didi Gregorius's time in New York. Lindor is a switch hitting short stop with a lot of pop. He is a perennial MVP candidate and he just won another golden glove. He makes contact with the ball and would be very good for breaking up the big righties in the middle of the Yankees' lineup. 2020 will be his age 26 season as he approaches free agency. He will cost a lot to extend but he is a great player to build around for the future. His personality and smile would flourish in New York and he would be a absolute fan favorite.
Mock Trade:
Yankees Get:
Indians Get:

Ketel Marte
Marte had a breakout year for the Diamondbacks in 2019. He broke out with 32 homeruns, .329 batting average and .981 OPS. He is very versatile playing CF for the Dbacks right now while he played short stop previously. He could fill in for Aaron Hicks in centerfield while he is out and either shift to the infield or to left field when Hicks returns. He would be a good player to bat in the first three in the Yankees lineup to break up the righties. He had only 86 strikeouts last year while taking 53 walks. He puts the ball in play which is super important in the postseason.
Mock Trade:
Yankees Get:
Ketel Marte
Dbacks Get:

Josh Bell
Since Mark Teixeria retired the Yankees have not had a mainstay at first base. There has been a lot of injuries (Greg Bird) and no one has really taken the job and ran with it. To solve this problem the Yankees could get their big lefty bat in the middle of the lineup while getting their first basemen for the long haul. Josh Bell bring huge power and contact to the table and also another switch hitter. Another breakout player in 2019, he became an all star for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had 37 homeruns, walked 74 times, and struck out 118 times. He would finally bring stability and a big left bat to the middle of the Yankees lineup.
Mock Trade:
Yankees Get:
Josh Bell
Pirates Get:
Luke Voit
Luis Gil
Luis Medina

Potential Lineup
1. Lemaiheu 2B
2. Marte CF
3. Judge RF
4. Bell 1B
5. Stanton LF
6. Mike Ford DH
7. Torres SS
8. Sanchez C
9. Urshela 3B

This is a couple of moves the Yankees could potential look into and a few players I would love to see in pinstripes and who would really help. They are similar to Le Machine as they put the ball in play as well as having some home run potential. I'm not a GM so I don't know exactly how the players would work out, If you have any trade ideas, predictions, or trade targets, let us know in the comment section.

The Cuban Missile Fails to Launch…

Photo Credit: Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Chapman Agrees to Extension w/Yanks…

Aroldis Chapman had the right to opt out of his contract on Saturday night but in the end, he agreed to a one-year extension worth $18 million (in addition to the remaining 2 years/$30 million left on his current contract). So, the opt out did not happen and the Cuban Missile, thankfully, did not launch into Free Agency.

As I wrote yesterday, I was prepared for Chapman to leave. I felt the Yankees would be fine with or without him but you can argue the Yankees would be better served by using Chapman’s money toward a frontline starter. Prior to the news of Chapman’s extension, word spread that Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg had opted out of his contract. Strasburg gives the Free Agency Market two top starters and frankly, I’ll be disappointed if the Yankees do not try to sign either Strasburg or Gerrit Cole.

Honestly, the realist in me knows that the Yankees will not sign either Strasburg or Cole, and the Chapman extension has nothing to do with it. But until they sign, I’ll carry hope that one of them is a Yankee before the next season starts. Supposedly, agent Scott Boras and the Nationals are set to begin negotiations today but we’ll see. The Lerner family is capable of making Strasburg a very rich man but the question is will they? I thought they’d do what it takes to keep Bryce Harper last year rather than let him walk away to a division rival but I was wrong. Granted, they didn’t need Harper to win the World Series, but in Strasburg’s case, he is one of the game’s best and as we know too well, pitchers do not grow on trees.  

Photo Credit: Thomas B Shea, USA TODAY Sports
Last year, the Yankees lost out on Patrick Corbin because their offer was blown out of the water by the Nats. It would be very ironic (and poetic) if the Yankees snatched Strasburg away from Washington. Pitcher to pitcher, I’d much rather have Strasburg over Corbin. So it is possible that this could work out to the best possible case scenario for everyone who wanted the Yankees to sign Corbin last year.  

Anyway, sorry for the digression, let’s get back to Aroldis Chapman. I am glad he’s a Yankee today. I don’t blame him for the ALCS exit on the walk-off homer by Jose Altuve. Losses never come down to a single play. There are plenty of other things the Yankees could have done differently to change the outcome. You can’t pin the blame on one guy. Even the great Mariano Rivera was human at times. Chapman turns 32 in February so he’ll be a free agent again at age 35. I suspect that’s when the Yankees and Chapman part ways but for now, he’s the team’s closer and I am happy about the outcome. In a way, I do feel bad for Zack Britton who deserves the opportunity to close but he represents great insurance for the health of Chapman. Chapman, to go with Britton, Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, and Chad Green, ensures the Yankees will have a top bullpen in 2020.  

Welcome back, Chappy! We’re glad you decided to stay with us for another run or two or three at October. 

Stephen James Strasburg turns 32 in July. In 2019, he was 18-6 for the Nationals with 3.32 ERA. His K/9 was 10.81, HR/9 1.03, and WAR 5.7. He made 33 starts, good for 209 innings of work. It’s easy to salivate about a potential starting rotation of Strasburg, Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and Jordan Montgomery (sorry J.A. Happ, don’t let the door hit you on the way out).  

I probably still want Gerrit Cole over Strasburg. He’s a little younger (won’t turn 30 until September). He had a brilliant 2019, going 20-5 with 2.50 ERA which should pay off with the AL Cy Young Award. His K/9 was a career best 13.82, HR/9 1.23 and he had the higher WAR at 7.4. The number of starts and innings were similar to Strasburg’s totals…same number of starts with 3 1/3 more innings. But regardless of whether it is Cole or Strasburg, either would look fantastic in Pinstripes.  

All of this just means that I should probably begin looking for my Zack Wheeler Yankees jersey.

Photo Credit: Twitter via @Wheelerpro45
There’s a name that Bryan Van Dusen of The Greedy Pinstripes has been pushing for months. German Marquez. He’ll only be 25 heading into next season and he has a wealth of talent and potential. He regressed in 2019 (like the entire Rockies team) but remains arguably the best pitcher on Colorado’s starting staff. I’ve long admired Jon Gray but at this point, there’s no question Marquez is the better pitcher.  He was 12-5 last season with 4.06 ERA (give the guy a break, he pitches at Coors Field). His K/9 was 9.05, HR/9 1.50 (again, Coors Field), and WAR 3.4. This guy is on clear path to replicating the numbers produced by Cole and Strasburg, and he’s five years younger than Cole. I didn’t think the Rockies would be willing to part with their young ace, but after a very disappointing season in the Mile High City, they need more than just help in the rotation.  The Yankees have the pieces that could help a Rockies rebuild and Marquez would fit nicely in the Bronx. Rumor has it that former Rockies do very well in the Bronx. If the Yankees do acquire Marquez, Van Dusen deserves much credit for continuing to shout his name. Marquez is one of a select very few number of pitchers that I’d consider giving up Deivi Garcia for. Luis Castillo of the Cincinnati Reds is another.

If the Yankees are looking to add to the bullpen, particularly if Dellin Betances leaves (I hope not), it won’t include Tony Watson, who has long been a Cashman target. Watson exercised his player option with the San Francisco Giants yesterday which will most likely keep him in the City by the Bay for another year.  Granted, he had a disappointing 2019 season but he remains one of the better lefty relievers around. I know, he’s 34 and he’s recovering from a broken wrist suffered in September but he’s a good guy to have in the pen.  

On the same day that Strasburg opted out of his contract, the Nationals dropped the hammer on two guys that helped bring the first World Series championship to Washington since 1924 yesterday (the same day as their victory parade). The team declined the options for first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and catcher Yan Gomes. While Zimmerman was expected (he’s simply not a $20 million/year player anymore), I was a little surprised about Gomes even if he didn’t have a great season statistically-speaking.  I’ve seen more than a few people suggest the Yankees should go after him to back up Gary Sanchez. While I am comfortable going into 2020 with Kyle Higashioka as the backup, I’ll admit that it would be intriguing to have Gomes. He did very well with the great pitching staffs in Cleveland. As much as I want Gary Sanchez to have a healthy, monster season next year, the hard truth is that whomever backs him up will see plenty of playing time. Gomes should be given consideration, in my opinion, if the price is right.

Are the Mets really considering their former manager, Terry Collins, as Carlos Beltran’s bench coach? That’s funny. No disrespect to Collins, who I think is an excellent baseball guy, but it just seems odd that he’d take a coaching position with the Mets after being fired as their manager a couple of years ago. Carlos Beltran recently said that Collins was the best manager he had played for, a group that includes Joe Girardi, Bruce Bochy, and A.J. Hinch.  

The five-day exclusive negotiating period for teams and their own free agents will officially end tomorrow so let the Hot Stove League begin! For Yankee fans, we’ll see the names of Cole and Strasburg ad nauseam until we don’t (meaning they sign somewhere).  

Buckle up, this should be fun.

As always, Go Yankees!