Are we in or are we out?…
It’s not been a fun start to the 2016 season for the Yankees. While they are playing better (currently in the midst of a three game win streak), the hole may simply be too large to overcome. It’s not like the Yankees have a roster filled with Clayton Kershaw and Bryce Harper types. At the moment, the Yankees are in the AL East Cellar, 6 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles, and 4 games back in the Wild Card standings. This is not insurmountable, especially since it is not yet June. But still, the Yankees will need to make decisions over the course of the next 45 days to buy or sell.
If they sell, I have finally wrapped my head around a potential trade of star reliever Andrew Miller. But if they decide to trade Miller, it is my hope the Yankees will do what it takes to lock up Aroldis Chapman on a new deal rather than letting him walk at the end of the year for draft pick compensation. Maybe it’s Chapman that should be dealt. This is tough. I am a big fan of Miller’s but he is older and Chapman has been electrifying in his short tenure with the Yanks.
Miller is probably at his peak for trade value. He just turned 31 years old, but he is at the top of his game. He can make a difference in the 9th inning for a contender that lacks a frontline closer. Maybe package both Brian McCann and Miller together in a deal with the Texas Rangers. Even the Chicago Cubs, as great as they’ve been, would be better with Miller as their closer.
Miller is probably my favorite Yankee right now. For so many years, my favorite player was Mariano Rivera. Prior to that, it was Don Mattingly. So, it would be painful to see Miller go but if it successfully infused new, young talent into organization, I would be in favor of it.
I wish Mark Teixeira the best in his career going forward, but I am ready for his Yankees career to end. I really hope the Yankees do not try to re-sign him to a new deal after the year is over. Unfortunately, given his injury history and very slow start to the year (again), the Yankees can’t really get value in a trade. Not sure how Greg Bird will perform, but it would probably be beneficial for the Yankees to look for a backup first baseman next year that could spell Bird if he struggles upon his return. I don’t really care to see Teixeira in that role.
Another Yankee that needs to go is Chase Headley. Yet, he is another player with limited trade value. Ronald Torreyes, a player that was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers, released, signed by the Chicago White Sox, released, and re-signed by the Yankees in this past off-season has been more exciting despite his small stature. I am still hopeful that Rob Refsnyder will get a chance at some point, but he’s been on the major league roster for a few days now and hasn’t played. Those ugly games at the end of spring training where Refsnyder was hit by grounders still reverberate in my memory (and apparently in the minds of the Yankees brain trust).
I am fine with Didi Gregorius for now, but I recognize that he is just keeping the seat warm until top prospect Jorge Mateo is ready.
Chris O’Meara/AP Photo
Starlin Castro has been a good pickup. I am glad that the team no longer has the revolving door at the position like they’ve had since Robinson Cano left.
In the outfield, it’s clear that Carlos Beltran is making his final lap as a Yankee. His seat on the roster will be taken by Aaron Judge next year. Jacoby Ellsbury is a Yankee for the foreseeable future, like it or not. Brett Gardner would be the one guy in the outfield that I’d try to trade, to free up a full-time spot for Aaron Hicks. Like Miller, he is another player that is now on the wrong side of 30.
The Yankees may not have the talent to bring in a frontline player or top prospect, but they could package the right deal to bring in players with good potential. I always think along the lines of a Paul O’Neill. Those kind of deals don’t happen very often but it is possible.
So far, this is a disappointing year. I felt like the Yankees could have done more to strengthen their roster in the off-season but I understand the need to reduce payroll and to hang on to the upper level prospects. The Yankees do need to clear the path for Gary Sanchez while retaining Austin Romine so that’s why I would be in favor of moving Brian McCann by the trading deadline.
These are the days that will define Brian Cashman’s GM story with the Yankees…