Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A New Plan, And A New Dream

I just can't bring myself to believe the Yankees will have anything close to resembling a fire sale. Mind you, team management is not the same as it once was, but this team has never given up on a season.

And don't talk to me about 1989, either. Rickey Henderson was having his worst offensive season since his rookie year in 1979, and wouldn't have another season that bad until 1994 (to be fair, he did finish the season very strong with Oakland). Furthermore, the Yankees received Luis Polonia in the trade to fill in for Henderson, and Luis actually hit better for the Yankees than Rickey had.

If you squint really hard, and ignore the signature, he kind of looks like Rickey Henderson.

This doesn't mean that I think the trade deadline will come and go without the Yankees doing anything. The possibility of the Yankees trading Aroldis Chapman are stronger than ever. Even if this team has playoff aspirations, you don't need the vision of a hawk to see that upgrades need to be made.

And at least in my mind, the Yankees' biggest area of concern is the starting rotation.

Yes, the offense has problems. Their 388 runs scored is 4th worst in the American League. However, there isn't a clear spot on offense that they could improve on outside of the designated hitter. That is, if you see Alex Rodriguez getting a decent amount of plate appearances from that position.

Second Baseman Starlin Castro has allegedly figured something out thanks to the help of Carlos Beltran. Since May 1st third baseman Chase Headley has actually been a solid hitter, slashing .279/.344/.455. Despite a rough July so far (.200/.275/.257), Rob Refsnyder had a very good June (.296/.371/.370) and could handle first base for the rest of the season.

So what is it about the starting rotation that bothers me? Well, it's mostly about the future, since the current roster has zero starters signed past 2017 (Masahiro Tanaka could opt-out of his contract after next season). Yeah, the team has a nice prospect in James Kaprielian, but it's kind of hard right now to pencil him into the starting rotation. Then there's another possible rotation filler in Luis Severino, but he's had some trouble so far, making his future at least questionable.

As for what's happening with the rotation this season, the Yankees' starting rotation has some real problems...

CC Sabathia has been getting shelled lately, giving up 25 earned runs over his past five starts. I don't think there's a person on this planet that would use the word "confidence" when speaking of Michael Pineda. Nathan Eovaldi got rocked in all five of his June starts (0-3, with an ERA of 8.65), and hopefully he figured something out while spending time in the bullpen (he had a good start last night against Baltimore, going 5.1 innings while giving up just one run on four hits). And Ivan Nova had just two quality starts in his last ten games.

So here we are, 12 days from the trade deadline. So what do the Yankees do now?

Hop into one of these and either go back 7 years, or go forward 3?

First of all, we must realize that the Yankees can't get MLB players in exchange for Aroldis Chapman. Aroldis is a rental, so any team acquiring him would do so to win this year. Therefore they aren't going to trade away a good MLB player. That would be counter-productive. So the Yankees should look to get a top prospect for Chapman, with some other good prospects thrown in there.

I can see the Yankees trading Chapman to the Washington Nationals for Lucas Giolito. While Giolito was called up to Washington not long ago, he was recently sent down to AAA. That move shows me that the Nats do not plan on Lucas being in their rotation this season. At least not regularly.

Lucas Giolito is only 21 years old, and had a strikeout rate of 9.7 per 9 innings in the minors. In his debut against the Mets on June 28th, Lucas gave up just one hit over four innings. He did get roughed up nine days later against the same Mets team, though. But that doesn't change the fact that he was #4 on Baseball America's Top 100 Midseason Prospect list.

Yeah... #4 out of all baseball prospects. That might mean the Yankees would have to part with Andrew Miller instead of Chapman. If that's the case, then I might be for it, as long as the team can re-sign Chapman to team with Dellin Betances in the bullpen for a few more years. But for right now, I'm going to dream that Aroldis gets it done.

The Yankees could plug Giolito straight into their rotation. But one thing to keep in mind... Giolito's never thrown more than 117 innings in a season, and if he were to start every five days from now on he could be looking at throwing around 170. Is that too much? Would the Yankees have to push back a few starts? The old school thought is "yes", however I personally don't believe in being that careful with simple inning counts.

Now, since the Yankees are getting a top prospect and a couple of good ones for dealing Chapman, they can deal away some of their prospects to get a starter. This is where Daniel's sell and buy idea comes into play.

The Atlanta Braves have some catching issues, and they go far beyond the fact that their current starting catcher, Tyler Flowers, is currently on the disabled list.

Flowers is only signed through next season, and I doubt any Braves fan is excited about him anyway. His OPS+ this season is actually more than a hundred points higher than during his previous three seasons (108 vs. 83).

The Braves won't be getting any catching help from the minors, either. Their top catching prospect, Lucas Herbert, is actually only ranked 18th in their farm system. Besides, even if Herbert were higher he won't be in the Majors for a few more years, as he's still playing in single-A ball.

So I'm positive Atlanta would be very interested in an upgrade there, especially one that would be under team control for six years.

If you've been paying attention to trade rumors, then you'll know that Julio Teheran's name has come up quite often. Julio's current ERA of 2.79 is lower than it's ever been in MLB, but it's not like that number comes out of nowhere.

Last season Teheran's ERA was 4.04, while it was 2.89 in 2014, and 3.20 in 2013. What's better is that he's made 115 starts since 2013, throwing over 200 in both 2014 and 2015, showing some very nice durability.

"'Durable'. Unlike every part of my entire body."

Oh, and I should mention that Julio is just 25 years old, and signed for the next three years at just $25.3 million. When you take into account that JA Happ is 33, was a below average pitcher in the 5 seasons leading up to last year's offseason, yet got a three year contract worth $36 million, you'll see that Teheran is quite the bargain.

So here's my awful trade prosposal...

The Yankees trade Gary Sanchez, Michael Pineda, Luis Cessa, and Jake Cave to the Braves for Julio Teheran. I've read that the Braves are only interested in getting MLB players in return, as opposed to another crop of prospects. That makes sense, as any team should look to get MLB players when dealing away any player from their active roster. Thankfully, all but Cave have MLB experience, which could very well fit into what Atlanta would like.

In the end the Yankees would get two good starters in Lucas Giolito and Julio Teheran, improving their chances of having a good enough second half to make the playoffs, and they do so without doing much harm to their farm system. At the same time they're helping their future by having Giolito and Teheran under team control for three to four more years.

I would like to see the Yankees then promote one of Ben Gamel or Aaron Judge to handle right field duty regularly, while Carlos Beltran becomes the regular designated hitter. That would leave this team...

C - Brian McCann
1B - Rob Refsnyder
2B - Starlin Castro
SS - Didi Gregorius
3B - Chase Headley
LF - Brett Gardner
CF - Jacoby Ellsbury
RF - Ben Gamel/Aaron Judge
DH - Carlos Beltran

SP - CC Sabathia
SP - Masahiro Tanaka
SP - Nathan Eovaldi note: if he can cut down on home runs, he can still be a nice starter
SP - Julio Teheran
SP - Lucas Giolito

RP - Andrew Miller
RP - Dellin Betances

Is that a World Series contender? I don't think so. But those trades appease the fans by getting something good to great for the future, while appeasing team management by not giving up on this season.


  1. Bryan, that trade is great but, could it get done? We wouldn't have to give up too much for the pitchers and have them young and good is a bonus!
    My only concern is they are NL pitchers, pitching to an 8 hitter team not against the Beast of the East with all the DHs' we have.

    1. I didn't think about the NL thing, but that's a good point.

      I actually don't think that's enough for Teheran, but that's where the "dream" comes into play. Lol

    2. Why not dream, some do come true! lol

    3. You don't worry about the NL to AL switch when it comes to aces and pitchers ripe with talent like Teheran. You worry more about that with pitchers like Nathan Eovaldi.

      Teheran could face two DH's and eight positional players and still hold his own. I see a lot of him living in Atlanta.

    4. You think he is that good Daniel? I don't know much about him so I will take you and Bryan's word for it...thanks!

  2. By the way Bryan I think you're giving up an awful lot for Teheran. He's a good pitcher but Sanchez, Pineda, Cessa and Cave seems like an over-payment to me. Take out Pineda and add a Brady Lail and I think that deal hurts a little less.

    Maybe that's just the fan in me talking, and I admit that it could be because Pineda would be traded because of raw talent and not performance, but that seems like a lot for Teheran.

    1. Although it could just be posturing, it seems like it'll take a lot to pry Teheran from the Braves.


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