Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It's My Turn To Judge The Situation

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, I really am writing again. I can't tell you for sure why I've been gone for so long, all I can say is that this team has not inspired me at all. And to be honest, I don't know when I'll write again. Perhaps not until some news and/or rumors start pouring in during the offseason (Jose Fernandez? Hmm....).

"Nice foreshadowing, bro."

It's great watching young players like Gary Sanchez play regularly, seeing Didi Gregorius look like a long-term solution at shortstop, and rooting for Starlin Castro to finally "get it". However, I've also watched every non-Tanaka pitcher disappoint me day after day. Hell, after a busy few days I finally got to watch the Yankees last Thursday night, only to go to sleep feeling ill after Hanley Ramirez won the game with a three-run bomb off of Dellin Betances.

Yankees pitching isn't the only area that's disappointed me lately, though. I've been all about Aaron Judge, and had him penciled into the Yankees 2018 lineup that could make a strong push for the World Series title. But a batting line of .179/.263/.345 in 27 games with the Yankees this season has left me a bit disillusioned.

Now, I understand it's just 27 games, and plenty of hitters have a hard time early in their MLB careers. But Judge struck out in exactly half of his at bats (42 Ks in 84 ABs). And at 6'7" tall, there are plenty of holes in his swing for MLB caliber pitchers to exploit. In summary, it wouldn't surprise me if he never reaches his ceiling... metaphorically, of course.

So where does that leave things? Well, if you read Daniel's article on Sunday about the possibility of the team dealing away Jorge Mateo this offseason, you'll know where this is going.

As hard as it may be, let's forget Aaron's poor debut and look at the team's outfield situation.

Brett Gardner
Brett is signed through the 2018 season, and looks to be firmly entrenched into the regular lineup. At one point he looked like a great trade piece, but after a below average season with dwindling stolen base totals, I'm not sure another team would truly be interested in acquiring the guy.

Jacoby Ellsbury
I think Ellsbury will be a Yankee through 2020... the end of his contract. Unless he's somehow able to hit 20+ home runs a season, the guy is pretty much done. His value was all in his legs, leading to very good defense and a nice stolen base total, and both of those things have declined.

Clint Frazier
We probably won't see Frazier in the Majors until late next season, and more likely sometime in 2018, as he has some work to do in AAA before being truly ready for the Show. But it's only a matter of time until he's pounding on the Yankees' door to be called up.

"Which one's mine, dude?"

Blake Rutherford
He's just 19 years old, so there's a ways to go before he'll possibly wear Yankees' pinstripes. But there's plenty of reason to think he could be a key player for the Yankees by 2020. Hell, reports that some scouts liken Rutherford to a more athletic version of David Justice. Not bad.

Dustin Fowler
While his ETA is probably sometime in 2018, Dustin has turned a few heads at AA Trenton. His 12 home runs, to go along with 25 SB, has some people believing he could evolve into a 20-20 player in MLB.

Mason Williams
Not long ago Williams was seen as one of the Yankees' better prospects. Unfortunately, that shine wore off after lackluster 2013 and 2014 seasons. But Mason has been able to turn things around putting together a stellar 2015 season, and followed that up with a nice 2016 that saw him finally make it to the show.

Billy McKinney
McKinney followed up an incredible 2015 at the plate with a not-so-great 2016. At least part of that is due to suffering a hairline fracture to his kneecap last August, but the fact remains that Billy has some areas to improve (mainly on defense) to truly make a push for the big leagues.

Tyler Austin
The "Tyler Austin" we've seen in 2016 is not the same "Tyler Austin" we saw in 2015. Just compare his '15 batting line of .240/.315/.343 between Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to his '16 line of .294/.392/.524 between those same two teams this season. Oh, and let's not dwell on what he's done in just 23 games with New York. Besides, if Greg Bird can come back as the regular 1B, Austin will need a spot and the OF could be it.

Rob Refsnyder
If the Yankees ever decided to give this guy some regular player time perhaps he'd have a future with the team, but for the time being Refsnyder looks to be a bench filler for the team. But he's not totally out of the picture yet, so when talking about possibly outfielders you have to bring up Robbie here.

Aaron Hicks
While Aaron is a 4th outfielder at best, the fact remains that he can fill-in when needed in the outfield, So he must be included when talking about the outfield depth that the Yankees currently have or could have soon.

Wow! That's ten guys that could are already MLB regulars, or could be MLB regulars very soon. And the Yankees have only three spots to fit them into on their lineup cards. And no, the DH spot will likely have the name "Brian McCann" or "Gary Sanchez" filling it for the next two years.

And that list of ten players did not include Aaron Judge. So make it 11 guys for three spots through 2018. Add a logjam like that in the outfield along with the need for starting pitching, and I think you have the makings of a blockbuster deal.

Say... Jorge Mateo and Aaron Judge leading a package of players for Jose Fernandez?

Think about it... Giancarlo Stanton's salary will jump from $9 million in 2016 to $14.5 million next season. Then, once 2018 hits, Giancarlo's salary will reach $25 million a year or higher for the next ten years. You don't think Miami would like to unload that gigantic contract, and get a hitter that could take his spot in the lineup?

"Sure, I may be made of money, but I'm not going to spend it."

While I agree that thanks to Gleyber Torres we could see Mateo dealt away this offseason, I think the chances of the Yankees dealing away Aaron Judge are just as good.

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