Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Plan for the DH Position & The Youth Movement

You guys know me by now, I don’t go into anything without a plan. Now whether my plans are good plans are not is another discussion for another day but rest assured, I have a plan. My plan for the DH position is simple, cost effective and it fits in with the current Yankees youth movement as it involves relying once again on the Yankees farm system. In a rotation the Yankees young hitters should go in and out of the DH position but one man should be listed as the “every day DH” and that man is Aaron Judge. So who plays right field you ask? Well between Tyler Austin, Aaron Hicks and/or Mason Williams the Yankees should have that covered but just in case it may be a good idea to call up the Yankees top prospect Clint Frazier as well.

I know what you’re thinking, I’m nut. Well, I am but that isn’t the point. I know Frazier is young and has less than a full season at the Triple-A level and believe me that I am well aware that he struggled some in his limited time there. I get it. I also get that Judge has struggled with MLB pitching, again in a small sample size, but Judge focusing on hitting only can only help him in my eyes. Frazier on the other hand is talented and would step into a right field that doesn’t come attached to a “World Series or bust” type expectation level. The Yankees aren’t planning on competing in 2017 so why not let Frazier get his feet wet?

Frazier is the Yankees top prospect and the 15th best prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com and he comes with raw power and the ability to play any of the three outfield positions and do it well. That’s the kind of versatility and talent the Yankees need at the MLB level. Frazier could slowly get his feet wet and get acclimated to the Major Leagues by the team having that outfield rotation we discussed earlier while gaining invaluable experience and knowledge at the MLB level. Plus I think Judge would be helped as well as he can work with Marcus Thames, one of the Yankees hitting coaches, more one-on-one this winter.

It likely won’t happen because the Yankees are seemingly against rushing their prospects but it makes a bit of sense in my eyes so I presented it. What say you? Leave it below, thanks. 

What About Steve Pearce?

So the New York Yankees just acquired Zack Greinke, I’m calling it so go ahead and just play along with me, so now the team is going to have to get creative and get a bit frugal to fill out the roster. The team needs versatility, and they need it cheap which brings me to the idea of adding Steve Pearce to the fold for the 2017 season.

Steve Pearce knows the American League East and knows the pitching after spending time with the Baltimore Orioles and he knows how to simply mash the baseball. Pearce would add some right-handed pop to the middle of the Yankees lineup while also adding a ton of versatility in the field. Pearce can handle third base, hello Chase Headley backup and potential replacement if he were traded this offseason, first base, hello Greg Bird insurance card, second base, because every offseason Starlin Castro’s name will come up in trade rumors, and has even dabbled in some outfield from time to time throughout his career. Aaron Judge, I’m looking at you here bud.

The Yankees have already made it clear that Chase Headley and/or Brett Gardner could be traded this winter and if the Yankees need a talented infielder to replace the former then Pearce may be their man. Headley is solid defensively but he adds very little unfortunately in the offensive categories, especially in the power department, and could be easily upgraded on with Pearce in my opinion. Would Pearce be the number one choice if I were the Yankees GM? No, surely not. Todd Frazier of the Chicago White Sox would be or even Ian Kinsler would fit the mold but those players are going to cost more than I am probably comfortable giving up if I’m being honest while Pearce could be had for relatively cheap in terms of years and dollars.

One must remember that throwing money at the problem just doesn’t work anymore in this day and age. You have to plan for not only one injury but a slew of injuries and you have to do it all six months in advanced. It’s hard, maybe one of the hardest jobs in the game, but having players like Pearce who are cheap and versatile surely makes that job a whole lot easier. Pearce may even open up the potential for a Robert Refsnyder or Ronald Torreyes trade. Hey, you never know. Stay tuned.

The Yankees Should Not Trade For Trout

Although no deal is imminent, and few even think a deal as possible, there has still be a lot of talk about the Yankees trading for American League Most Valuable Player, Mike Trout.

I like to think he's smiling about the idea of being a Yankee.

Many Yankees fans are drooling over the idea of Trout wearing Yankee pinstripes, and for good reason. Mike is only 25 years old, just won his second MVP award, and was the runner-up for the award in his other three years in MLB. Mike Trout may be the best baseball player any of us will ever see in our lifetimes.

So it's quite easy to see why anybody would want him on their team. Whenever he comes to bat people stand, not expecting good things to happen, but knowing good things will happen. But do me a favor and answer me this...

Where did the Angels finish in the standings last season, and in 2014 (the other season Trout won MVP)?

In case you don't know, or didn't go check, I'll fill you in...

Last season the Angels finished in 4th place in the American League West, and in 2014... while they won the most games in the AL during the regular season... got swept by the Royals in the AL Divisional Series.

Want more proof that one guy does not make a winner? In 2015 Josh Donaldson won the AL MVP, and his team the Toronto Blue Jays lost to the Royals in the AL Championship Series. The 2013 Detroit Tigers, with AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, lost in the ALCS. And the 2012 Detroit Tigers, again with AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, got swept in the World Series.

Those aren't bad finishes, but just making the postseason is not the goal. The goal should always be to...

"Win the whole @#$%ing thing."

So I don't care about whether or not Mike Trout plays for the Yankees. What I care about is the Yankees winning the World Series. And while having an MVP caliber player like Trout certainly helps, it doesn't guarantee anything. Especially in a game like baseball, where the Most Valuable Player in the game gets the same number of at bats as the majority of all batters in the game.

To further drive home my opinion let's look at a recent trade proposal brought forth by Randy Miller of NJ.com...

Randy believes that the Yankees could trade the following six players for Trout...

Didi Gregorius
Luis Severino
Dillon Tate
Jorge Mateo
Dellin Betances
Clint Frazier

I'm not going to get into whether or not either team would accept such a deal, I just want to point out the ramifications of this for the Yankees.

For starters, it would mean banking on Gleyber Torres to develop into a strong MLB player, which is certainly no guarantee. Just ask those that thought the same thing about Brien Taylor, Todd Van Poppel, Ruben Rivera, Greg Miller, Joel Guzman, etc. There's a chance that Torres doesn't make it, and the Yankees end up reaching for somebody like Stephen Drew or Brian Roberts again. And nobody that wants the Yankees to win would wish for that.

Secondly, the Yankees' starting rotation future is very up in the air. While they have a number of prospects that could be strong contributors in the future, is it smart to take any away? Instead of a future rotation that could be filled by Severino, Tate, James Kaprielian, Justus Sheffield, and Domingo Acevedo, the Yankees could find themselves reaching in trades or free agency to fill their rotation even if all three of Kaprielian, Sheffield, and Acevedo work out. Which is not a good bet, as at least one of those three will probably become MLB relievers or fade away completely.

The third reason to be concerned about making such a trade is the bullpen. While it's true that the Yankees have been good at developing relievers, Dellin Betances is not just any reliever. While the Yankees could have Aroldis Chapman, who would they have to pair with him? Adam Warren? Jacob Lindgren? Who? Having a great closer can be big, but if the team struggles to get him the ball with the lead then does Chapman matter? Just ask Orioles fans, who just watched one of the greatest seasons by a closer ever, but still missed the postseason. Or ask Reds fans about when they had Chapman. Or Phillies fans when Ken Giles was wrecking it for them in 2015. Or Braves fans in 2014, when Craig Kimbrel was killing it.

"At least there was no pressure when my team finished 17 games back from first place."

Here's one more final thought... 

While the Yankees have outfield prospects like Aaron Judge and Blake Rutherford, they are not Clint Frazier. Judge had big problems with a large strike zone in MLB last season, and has had trouble keeping his strikeout total down at any level. Blake Rutherford is just 19 years old, and a ways away from MLB. And I can't say it enough... look again at the number of former top prospects that went nowhere. The Yankees outfield could very well be left with Jacoby Ellsbury, a right fielder that strikes out a ton while running into the occasional home run, and a third outfielder that is no better than replacement level.

While I would love to see Mike Trout wear a Yankees' uniform, I do not want them to pay the price to acquire him. I think many fans would agree that the Yankees will have plenty of chances to win in the near future without him. 

Shock the World & Make THIS Trade

Hello again Yankees family. This morning we are coming to you live from the land of the crazies again as I bring you another trade that the Yankees could and possibly SHOULD make this offseason. Now remember when reading this that I was also “crazy” when I discussed the possibility of the Yankees making a huge splash this winter acquiring Mike Trout, well until Sweeny Murti “had the idea” and it was all of a sudden a great idea, and I’m back at it again with another off-the-wall trade proposal that would not only shock Major League Baseball and turn the game upside down but it also might just work for the New York Yankees.  

Brian Cashman, pick up the phone and ask the Arizona Diamondbacks what they want for Zack Greinke. The Arizona Diamondbacks almost need to trade Greinke this offseason in order to push the franchise forward and do really anything this winter. His contract is an organization buckling type deal for a team like the Diamondbacks and the team in the desert is already talking about trading him. Who could blame them, Zack Greinke is in no way, shape or form a $34 million pitcher in my opinion, especially through the 2021 season, but because of that not many teams besides the Yankees can and will take on a contract of that magnitude. For that reason the Yankees have their bargaining chip.

The Yankees have a ton of money coming off the books this season and next and while this could also hamper the Yankees for quite some time, especially if Masahiro Tanaka does not opt-out after this season, with the influx of youth the team could remain competitive while still getting under the luxury tax threshold. Remember, the team only has to get under the cap for one reason to reset all penalties which is something that can easily be done with the Gary Sanchez’s, Aaron Judge’s and Tyler Austin’s of the world on the roster. The Yankees have over $50 million coming off the books this season alone so $34 million for Greinke plus $16 million for Aroldis Chapman, for example, and the team adds minimal salary through arbitration while being better than their 2016 version tenfold. 

If the Yankees take on the entire contract the prospect demand would be minimal, extremely minimal. Greinke had a down season in 2016, and truth be told most free agents do after signing contracts like he did before last season, and should bounce back in 2017. He didn’t lose velocity on his fastball and he was relatively healthy last season, he just didn’t have the defense, the run support or whatever else he was missing from the Dodgers on the Diamondbacks last season. Simple as that, it happens. If the Yankees can get Arizona to pay down some of that deal and send a pitcher like Brady Lail, who was not protected from the Rule 5 Draft, Chad Green or Luis Cessa and a smaller prospect package I think the deal could ultimately get done. Quite easily actually. -

Oh and before anyone brings up his anxiety and inability to pitch in the big markets like New York let’s remember how long ago Greinke actually fought anxiety and depression and let’s remember how he has pitched on the biggest of stages, i.e. the playoffs, the All-Star Game etc. He’ll do fine. Trust me. Famous last words I know but do it anyway, Greinke will be fine in New York or wherever he goes. Let’s just hope Brian Cashman has the balls to make sure where he goes in 2017 is New York. 

Will MLB Really Lock Out?

I was eight years old, soon to be nine. The Montreal Expos were the best team in Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees were well on their way to snapping a long postseason drought in the American League. It was the first year I watched a MLB season from start to finish and it’s when my true MLB fandom began. The year was 1994 and it was also the last time there was a work stoppage in MLB and the last time the World Series was cancelled due to the collective bargaining agreement not being agreed upon forcing the players to lock out. Could we really be gearing up for another lockout just a couple days before the current CBA expires? I sure hope not, let’s explore.

The major hang up reportedly is the inclusion of the International Draft in the new CBA. Some like the current system where players can ultimately choose where they want to go from the international market while others want a standardized and formalized draft much like the June Draft every season giving the power and control more so to the teams and organizations. This is actually a major hang up for some teams, especially those big market teams who are willing to blow past the spending restrictions every chance they get in order to rake in a haul of young talent every three or four seasons, and may actually cause a lock out in my opinion.

This would come down to pure greed if a lockout was to actually happen. There is so much money in the game right now with new television deals, merchandising and attendance that this would be about three steps back to lock out. Even if the MLB Players Union and the league worked out the new CBA before the beginning of the season and it was business as usual by spring training this will leave a bad taste in many people’s mouths if a lock out occurs and that’s scary because the International Draft is definitely something to lock out over, don’t be fooled. It’s the future.

1994 was the first season I ever watched Major League Baseball religiously and I got a bad taste in my mouth when the season and World Series was cancelled. Do not leave another bad taste in my mouth before the 2017 season or the 2016 season may ultimately be my last. I know this is irony at its best when the guy who owns the Greedy Pinstripes starts harping on the MLB owners and/or players about greed but enough is enough. There’s plenty of money to go around and there’s plenty of players to go around. If you lock out because of it there will be one less fan to go around though and I’m sure I probably won’t be alone.

You can bet on that. Bet. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 11/29: Drinks, Prepared to be Stirred

On this day in 1976 the Yankees got their drink stirred when they signed Reggie Jackson to a free agent contract worth five years and $3.5 million. Reggie would help the Yankees win four division titles, three American League pennants, and two World Series championships in his tenure thus becoming Mr. October.

Also on this day in 1966 the Yankees traded third basemen Clete Boyer to the Braves for outfielder Bill Robinson and a player to be named later.

Finally on this day in 1965 the New York Yankees traded Phil Linz to the Phillies for infielder Ruben Amaro. Over the next three seasons Amaro got famous for playing the harmonica on the team bus and playing in only 165 games before retiring after seven major league seasons.