Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Trade Brett Gardner or Chase Headley?

Over the weekend, reports surfaced that the Toronto Blue Jays may be interested in Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner.  Not that I really expect the Yankees to trade with a division rival, but it did make me wonder if I’d prefer to see Gardner or the other speculated trade possibility third baseman Chase Headley go.

Ideally, the team should keep both but from a financial standpoint and for a team that is potentially posturing for a major free agent signing after the 2018 season while looking for luxury tax relief, it makes too much sense to move one of the higher priced veterans.

As a Yankees fan, my immediate preference is to keep Gardner.  However, that does not necessarily make the most sense.  With the nearest third base prospect, Miguel Andujar, still a few years away, there are more options for left field.

Any way you slice it, the Yankees are stuck with centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury…whether you like it or not.  Durability-wise, moving Ellsbury to left field is not a bad idea.  It would then open center field for a young, nearly ready prospect like Mason Williams or Dustin Fowler (for some reason, I always want to call him Dexter but it would just be a slip of the tongue or rather finger as I do not have any desire for the Cardinals new centerfielder).   It is inevitable that top prospect Clint Frazier will make an appearance in the Bronx at some point in the 2017 season so if neither Williams nor Fowler prove capable, Frazier will have his first opportunity at the main stage. 

If Ellsbury stays in center, then Aaron Hicks should be given every opportunity to take the left field job.  I know it is tough given the uncertainty of Aaron Judge in right and whether or not he’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments at this level, but the Yankees have no shortage of outfield prospects.  Plus, you can still pencil in Matt Holliday’s name for occasional outfield start or two.  Tyler Austin will also be in the mix assuming that Greg Bird takes first base as expected.  It would be fun to see a dark horse like Jake Cave have a tremendous Spring to claim a spot.

The Yankees enter the 2017 season with expectations that place them no higher than third place in the rejuvenated AL East.  It is the time to take chances on the young guys.  It’s why I am not a proponent for packaging a few of the top prospects for someone like Chicago White Sox newly anointed ace Jose Quintana.  Some will fail but it is very possible that a few can succeed.  But we’ll never know if they are not given the opportunity.

Brett Gardner has been a good Yankee but his trade value will never be greater than what it is today.  He should be the one to go, especially if it provides help for the back end of the starting rotation.

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/3: Nick Swisher Starring in Gone Girl

On this day in 2013 the Yankees lost a fan favorite in Nick Swisher to the Cleveland Indians via free agency. Swish was let walk and signed a four year deal worth $56 million that included a $14 million option for a fifth season with the tribe.

Also on this day in 2005 Bud Selig approves the trade of Randy Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the New York Yankees for Javier Vazquez, Dioner Navarro, Brad Halsey, and $9 million in cash. This trade came about three or four years too late and would lead to Arizona then flipping Navarro and the cash to acquire Shawn Green from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Also on this day in 1974 the Yankees sign Bill Virdon as the team's manager. The former Pittsburgh Pirates manager will manager for two years in New York but will finish his tenure never winning a game at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are playing their home games at Shea Stadium these days due to the renovations happening in the Bronx.

Also on this day in 1973 Lester Crown, John DeLorean, Nelson Bunker Hunt, and George Steinbrenner purchased the New York Yankees from CBS. The Boss will become a well known owner due to his pursuit of talent at any cost, feuds with players and managers that were well documented in the media, and his frequency of firing his employees. He is also the reason this blog was started so thanks are in order.

Also on this day in 1943 Yankees 37 year old pitcher Red Ruffing is drafted into the Army. As a 15 year old the future Hall of Famer lost four toes on his left foot in a mining accident in Illinois.

Finally on this day in 1920 the secret deal made on December 26 to sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $125,000 is announced to the public. This amount was twice the amount every paid previously for a player when Harry Frazee made the sale. Frazee also put up Fenway Park as collateral on a $300,000 loan.