Saturday, February 2, 2019

No Harper? Fine, Then What About...?

I don't like talking about trading players because it always seems so unlikely. That's particularly true when I'm not talking about a trade candidate that teams would knock each other over for, like when I mentioned trading Miguel Andujar if the team were to sign Manny Machado. But if this idea were to happen, then somebody has to go.

Honestly, I'm not sure a position player would have to go, but it seems unlikely that the Yankees would go with only seven pitchers in the bullpen. That seems even more clear to me when I look at the bullpen and I don't see a good option for the long man out there.

Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton, Dellin Betances, Adam Ottavino, Chad Green, and Jonathan Holder are pretty much locks. But I wouldn't trust any of those pitchers to go more than two innings. Could they do it? Yeah... possibly. But if I'm Aaron Boone I'm not feeling good about asking any of them to do so. And unfortunately there are going to be times when you're starter gives you next to nothing, and you have to turn to your bullpen for long relief.

As things currently stand when it comes to a long reliever the best bet seems to be Luis Cessa.

Yeah... yeah... I can hear your groans from my couch. Cessa has thrown 151 innings in MLB with an ERA of 4.71. Last season, in 44 innings, Luis had an ERA of 5.24. To be blunt, whenever I saw Cessa come into a game I felt the Yankees chances of winning go way down. He could be described as the human "white flag".

A lot of talk lately has revolved around the Yankees signing a swingman. Guys like Gio Gonzalez, Francisco Liriano, James Shields, and Brett Anderson. Not one of those guys excites me in the least. Hell, I don't see why the Yankees shouldn't just go with Cessa over any of those four pitchers. Especially since those four would end up costing a lot more than Luis would (Cessa is not arbitration eligible until 2021).

So here's my idea... trade either Greg Bird or Luke Voit.

Neither of those guys is going to get the Yankees anyone that's going to make fans stand up and cheer over acquiring. But remember that I'm not talking about someone that's going to be leaned on to start 120+ games as a hitter, or start 24+ games as a starting pitcher. Chances are the guy Bird or Voit is traded for appears in no more than ten games.

Trade Greg or Luke for that swingman for the bullpen. It doesn't have to be anything spectacular, just someone that Yankees fans believe should be better than Luis Cessa. And frankly, I don't think that's asking much.

At this point you must be thinking "so the Yankees are left with just Bird or Voit for first base... yuck". And if I was done then you'd be absolutely right.

Before you roll your eyes thinking I'm going to once again whine about signing Bryce Harper I've got something else in mind. However, this is a guy that I've talked about before too. Not nearly as often, but this isn't the first time I've typed his name...

Marwin Gonzalez.

The Yankees haven't had a guy they could pencil into first base with confidence since Mark Teixeira, and I don't mean to say Gonzalez is that guy. After all, Marwin was merely solid as a hitter last year with a batting line of .247/.324/.409. Steamer projections have him hitting slightly better (.260/.327/.428), but it's still nothing that should make you pump your fist over.

But the fact Marwin wouldn't be a negative as a hitter makes his three best features stand out to me even more.

First, Gonzalez is extremely versatile. In 2018 not only did Marwin play 176 innings at first, but he also played 183.1 innings at second, 269.2 innings at shortstop, and 533 innings in left field. I will note that Marwin is not very good at short or second, but I only see him playing there every once in a while when Boone wants to squeeze another left-handed hitter or two into the lineup. But Gonzalez is a solid first baseman, and that's where he'd see most of his playing time (barring injuries).

Secondly, Gonzalez is a switch hitter, which would be a very welcome addition to the Yankees' righty-heavy lineup. Mind you, he's not going to hit like Bryce Harper as a lefty (or a righty for that matter), but he's a solid bat from that side of the plate. It would be nice if he could get closer to his 2017 numbers as a left-handed batter versus right-handed pitchers (.322/.394/.552), but as long as he doesn't get any worse I think we'd all be happy.

And lastly, Gonzalez is a very healthy guy. Last season he played in 145 games, in 2017 Marwin appeared in 134 games, and in 2016 it was 141 games. Injury history is hard to find (why is that?), but the only disabled list stint I could find for the guy was back in 2012 when he suffered a bruised heel in his right foot. That type of injury history makes me believe the Yankees could hold onto Greg Bird if they want, as they would likely be okay with his injury issues.

By the way, I vote to keep Bird. Not so much because I believe in him more than Voit, but the team could use another left-handed hitter on the roster.

I always like to take a final look at the lineup with a guy in it. I can't say for sure why, but seeing the whole picture always makes me feel better. So here goes...

Regular Starting Lineup
1. Hicks# CF
2. Judge RF
3. Andujar DH (I'm getting on the Miguel to DH train)
4. Stanton LF
5. Sanchez C
6. Torres SS
7. Gonzalez# 1B
8. Tulowitski 3B
9. LeMahieu 2B

Romine C
Gardner* OF
Bird* 1B

* - denotes left-handed hitter
# - denotes switch-hitter

For the record, I can't wait until Didi Gregorius returns. Not only to add a very good hitter to the lineup, but a very good left-handed hitter to the lineup.

1 comment:

  1. With all the young arms mlb ready or about to be with yankees not to mention how slow the market has been on Free Agents, they the Yankees would be stupid to trade Bird or Voit especially Voit on the year he had, what if he improved or just kept up with his production, people wouldn’t be saying we didn’t know, it’d be more like how can you trade him for that when he showed so much promise...Rather take my chance in house or cheap bargain free agent....


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