The Yankees, most likely, have made their final moves for 2017…
Granted, we only have a couple of days left but it’s been all quiet in the Yankees Universe. Rumors continue to swirl and the Yankees are always linked to, seemingly, everybody.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported today that the Yankees continue to eye free agent pitcher Yu Darvish. Regardless of the cost, that one makes no sense to me. The money it would take to sign Darvish would erode the remaining dollars under the luxury tax threshold of $197 million. There’s no way that Darvish will settle for $5-$10 million in annual compensation at this point in his career when he should command more. The pitcher needs to rebuild value after his disastrous World Series performances for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but at the end of the day, teams look at his body of work and not a couple of ill-fated starts with accusations that he was tipping his pitches.
|Credit: Associated Press|
Yesterday, TGP’s Bryan Van Dusen made the argument that the Yankees should stand pat with their starting pitching staff. To a degree, I concur but ultimately GM Brian Cashman is on record saying the Yankees want to acquire another starting pitcher. There are questions about every starter in the Yankees rotation and Cash obviously has more information and insight into each pitcher that we are not privy to. So, from my perspective, while I may believe another starter is not necessary, the powers-that-be feel otherwise so our opinion is irrelevant.
I don’t really want to give up Clint Frazier, Chance Adams, and/or Miguel Andujar in a trade for Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole. I am a little frustrated that Frazier’s current predicament is a direct result of an outfield glut hurt by the presence of Jacoby Ellsbury and his massive contract. In a perfect world, I’d trade away both Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to make way for the younger guys. I want to see room made for Frazier but equally I’d like to see Billy McKinney and Jake Cave get opportunities. McKinney can hit and he showed last year why he was once a top draft pick.
I am a fan of Chance Adams but the presence of Justus Sheffield and Albert Abreu give me comfort the Yankees have other young viable starters on the immediate horizon.
I recognize that not every Yankees prospect has a future in Pinstripes. There is great value in prospects as trading chips for contending teams. I am prepared for a trade for a proven Major League starting pitcher. I may not like it, but it is the cost of doing business for a team that is prepared to win NOW. I am not sure who will be the fifth starter for the Boston Red Sox at the start of the upcoming season since Edwin Rodriguez is recovering from knee surgery (Steven Wright perhaps?) but the Red Sox still have arguably the best staff in the division with a front four featuring Chris Sale, David Price, Drew Pomeranz, and Rick Porcello. The Toronto Blue Jays are probably not too far behind with Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada and Joe Biagini. Admittedly, both of those teams have injury concerns. With the Red Sox, it is David Price who has struggled both mentally and physically in Boston. For Toronto, it is Aaron Sanchez who missed most of last year with right middle finger issues. Sanchez is the latest example of a young starter who threw a career high in innings pitched the preceding year, only to follow up with an injury plagued season. I am not saying that Luis Severino is going to get hurt but he did pitch a career high with innings pitched last year including the play-offs. Many experts have forecasted some regression in his 2018 performance. If either Boston or Toronto are able to overcome their injury concerns, they will be very formidable. If the Red Sox add a power bat like J.D. Martinez, they’ll be tough to beat. So, if Brian Cashman feels that we need to add starting pitching, I am not going to argue with him.
For what it is worth, Bob Klapisch is currently reporting that the Yankees are “nowhere” on a possible deal for Gerrit Cole and have never been close in talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As Klapisch tweeted today: “NYY rotation is set for now”.
My biggest concern heading into 2018 is second and third base. I am ‘all in’ for making Gleyber Torres the starting second baseman or going with Tyler Wade/Ronald Torreyes to start until Torres is ready. Third base troubles me the most. I am not convinced that Miguel Andujar is ready (offensively, yes, but I feel that his defensive skills are lacking). I prefer Torreyes as the utility player and not in a dedicated starting position so he is not really who I want at third base day in and day out.
I’d love to see the return of Todd Frazier but I am not optimistic at all. Everyone talks about the Yankees signing Manny Machado after the 2018 season as a free agent, but I really feel that if the Chicago Cubs or St Louis Cardinals make the investment to acquire Machado this off-season (which could very well happen), they’ll make very strong efforts to sign Machado to a new deal. It is easy to say the Yankees should just sign Frazier or Mike Moustakas to a one-year deal, but in reality, the market will dictate otherwise. The Yankees need a hedge for 2019 if Machado (or someone like Josh Donaldson) is not an option. I’d be a proponent for a two-year deal for Frazier. I really like what he brings to the team with his play and attitude. It is infectious. He may not hit for average, but he’ll give you some bombs and will play a great third base. Plus, he’ll keep the clubhouse loose in the pressurized New York environment. Trade him next year if the team is successful in signing Machado. But regardless of my preferences, I’d like to see the Yankees get experienced help at third base to ease the transition we’ll face at second. Poor Didi Gregorius if he has to play with rookies on both sides.
|Credit: Seth Wenig, AP|
All indications are that 2017 will end quietly for the New York Yankees. We’ll soon see what 2018 has in store for everybody’s favorite team. Exciting times in the Bronx.
BOOKS ARE ON THEIR WAY…
I received the e-mail from Amazon that the two books I ordered are on their way (Joe Torre’s The Yankee Years and Jane Heller’s Confessions of a She-Fan).
After Joe’s softball interview with Larry King on Friday, his book tour gets underway this week. I agree with those who say that Joe is backpedaling, and his “clarification” of his A-Fraud comments is case in point. In the book, he does not reference that it was in jest, but now he supports Larry Bowa’s comments that it was a fun-natured comment that was made to A-Rod directly.
Bob Klapisch of The Record (newjersey.com) interviewed Mike Mussina last week, and I thought Mike had some very insightful comments:
“it’s not just what goes on in the clubhouse, it’s sitting on the bus, or if you’re out having lunch. As a ballplayer you need to know who you have to watch out for and who you can trust. First and foremost, you should be able to trust your manager.”
Mike went on to say several statements of the obvious:
“I mean, people knew that Brown was out there, and that Randy was ornery all the time. And Pavano is whoever he is. But if you’re their manager, you can’t go out and write about them like that.”
It’s unfortunate that Joe Girardi has to learn on the job, but in the end, I think the Yankees will be much better off with Mr. G. than Mr. T. I personally wanted Donnie Baseball to get the job after Joe T. left, but for personal reasons, he clearly wasn’t ready. Although I am hopeful that he gets his opportunity one day, I believe that the time is now for Joe Girardi, and he deserves every opportunity to lead the ship to battle.
As much as I am looking forward to reading Torre’s book, I have to admit that I am more excited about Jane Heller’s Confessions of a She-Fan. Clearly, her book will get preferential treatment upon receipt. I can relate to her story first and foremost as a fellow Yankees fan. But I can further relate to her story. The Minnesota Vikings have been my favorite football team since 1972, and I was so upset when Fran Tarkenton retired and they gave the QB job to Bob Lee (I hated that guy!). As a product of my frustration, I wrote a letter to the Vikings organization informing them that I had resigned as a fan. I came back around with Tommy Kramer, but admittedly there are incredible highs and lows when you are passionate about a sports team. I have thoroughly enjoyed every blog Jane has written, and I am very excited about the book. I will provide my review after I have received my copy.
I have been a Yankees fan for over 33 years, and I met the first Yankees fan that I am proud of during the 2001 World Series. I attended Games 2 and 6 in Phoenix, and during Game 6 I encountered a very knowledgeable Yankees fan from New York who made me realize that the World Series was beyond anything short of a Yankees championship. He had attended the games in New York, and the magic and inspiration that he shared that day were incredible. Of course, the Yankees then got shellacked by the D-Backs, but it was still an experience I’ll always remember. Jane sharing a story that is so engrained in our hearts is incredible. That places her among the top two Yankees fan I’ve encountered. Considering that the Yankees are THE most storied franchise, she has written a book about us, among us, with us…
Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers and their record 6th Super Bowl championship. Perhaps we can put an end to the talk of the Cowboys as “America’s Team”. I want to say that the TD catch by Santonio Holmes was one of the greatest acts of concentration and attention to detail that I’ve seen in a Super Bowl in a long time. It was a incredible catch, and certainly deserves placement up there with the likes of the “Immaculate Reception”.
The latest rumors have the New England Patriots placing the franchise tag on QB Matt Cassel and then trading him to the Kansas City Chiefs (due to the Scott Pioli connection). I think that the Chiefs and Vikings rumors will run rampant until a trade actually happens, but I do hope that Cassel is wearing purple and gold when all is said and done.
As Kevin Millar says, the Orioles aren’t going to win this season, but they have quietly been making some very sound acquisitions…
If the Dodgers are down to making a one year, $25 million offer for Manny Ramirez, why don’t the Yankees enter the game? Trade Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher (there is significant interest in both), and ensure YES ratings with Manny in right field. Sorry, I just can’t let go of my totally gluttonous dream!
Adding a Jim Edmonds to platoon in center with Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera is probably not a bad idea…
I hated to hear that Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers will miss 8-12 weeks due to a tear in the medial collateral ligament of his right knee, but at least it wasn’t a season-ending injury. I wonder how much different last year’s NBA Championship would have looked had Bynum been healthy and available to play.
Bobby Knight at the University of Georgia? C’mon, Bobby, give it up. I am sure that ESPN will provide for a very comfortable life in your remaining years. But you are like the guest who stayed too long, we’re ready for you to leave…
Just 10 days until pitchers and catchers report…