Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Yankees Are Stacked!

I don't know about you, but I'm always thinking of ways the Yankees can improve. More particularly, I'm thinking about what the team could do before the trade deadline to make their last big push for another title.

However, unlike just about every season before this one, I don't see what this team needs.

The one area the Yankees seem to always have a need, like almost every team in Major League Baseball, is in their starting rotation.

Although he just landed on the Injured List, James Paxton and his ERA+ of 145 will be back helping lead the rotation soon. By the way, Paxton isn't even the team's top starter. That title goes to Domingo German, with his team-leading win total (6), ERA (2.35), and ERA + (192). Then you have CC Sabathia, who has been a rock in the rotation and is having his best season since 2011. Then there's Masahiro Tanaka, who hasn't been stellar this season, but his sub-4.00 ERA and ERA+ of 115 is still pretty darn good. The only weak spot is J.A. Happ, and I believe he's going to get better.

That's five starters and I haven't brought up Luis Severino, who's expected to rejoin the team sometime in July. And while I wouldn't expect anything out of him this season, Jordan Montgomery should make his return to the team sometime this season too.

I suppose you can say the Yankees could move on from J.A. Happ, and while I wouldn't be totally against it, I don't think it'll happen after they just signed him to a two-year contract worth $34 million (not counting his vesting option for 2021). But, for the sake of argument, let's go with it. Furthermore, you could say the Yankees should write-off Severino and Montgomery for 2019. That would leave a spot for the Yankees to add a top starter such as Trevor Bauer (the Indians looked into trading him and Kluber this offseason, so it's not totally unlikely).

But without an obvious need or any good reason to make a big trade like that, I feel confident in saying nothing will happen on this front.

Okay, so what about the bullpen?

I'll just give you this list of relievers and their ERA+...

Aroldis Chapman* 215
Zack Britton 122
Adam Ottavino* 232
Tommy Kahnle 331
Jonathan Holder 116 (only five hits and one earned run in last 9.1 innings/7 appearances)
Luis Cessa 135
* - indicates left-handed pitcher

The team should get back another reliever who should contribute well to the bullpen... Dellin Betances.

I know about the old saying "you can never have too much pitching", but I really think this team is well beyond any need. You can't even say "move Happ to the bullpen" because there's no place to put him. The bullpen is already stacked.

The offense has been a big topic of conversation, and it's not because it's been bad this season. Currently, the Yankees are third in runs scored in the American League this season, and fourth in fWAR. I don't think I need to remind you of all the hitters that have missed a good chunk of time this year, either. But what the hell? Here...

Didi Gregorius - has yet to appear to play at all this season
Aaron Hicks - has yet to appear in a regular season game
Aaron Judge - has missed 14 games
Giancarlo Stanton - has missed 31 games
Miguel Andujar - missed 28 games
Clint Frazier - missed 15 games
Gary Sanchez - missed 13 games

Meanwhile, the Yankees have gotten more than expected out of projected regular Luke Voit, projected utility infielder DJ LeMahieu, and fill-ins Clint Frazier (before his injury) and Gio Urshela (two guys that should probably keep playing regularly).

By about mid-June I think the offensive part of the roster will look something like this...

LF - Clint Frazier
CF - Aaron Hicks
RF - Giancarlo Stanton
3B - DJ LeMahieu
SS - Didi Gregorius
2B - Gleyber Torres
1B - Luke Voit
C - Gary Sanchez
DH - Miguel Andujar

C - Austin Romine
3B/SS - Gio Urshela (I see him getting plenty of playing time to give Didi and Miguel regular rest)
OF - Brett Gardner

That's before Aaron Judge returns to the team sometime in July, which would still be before the Trade Deadline. Oh, and I never mentioned Troy Tulowitski, who will most likely get some playing time once he returns from the IL. And how can I forget about Thairo Estrada, who will go to the minors unless the team actually goes with a 12 man pitching squad?

The fact is this team is incredibly deep and simply has no holes to fill. Beyond another significant injury, I don't think we're going to see any big moves. Hell, I'm not sure we're going to see any moves at all.