With four days remaining until the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline, it appears as if Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is playing deep undercover. While he has not officially been granted power to sell off assets by ownership, New York’s recent winning streak makes the notion of selling all the more complicated.
Could the Yankees be a legitimate playoff contender, or is this latest run setting up an inevitable relapse? With that said, here’s my first mini-mailbag piece. Luckily, there were enough contributors who were happy to play along. For that, hats off to you.
Just remember: If you have any questions regarding the state of the Yankees, send your tweets to myself (@tomhanslin) and @BronxPinstripes, and your questions could appear in another mailbag. If your question is clean and written in the English language, it should be there.
So, here we go.
Question 1: @BrendanX99 via Twitter: How serious is the Sale inquiry? And will they budge from 5 prospects?
The rumors circulating around Chris Sale’s name are serious, but not necessarily for the Yankees. Considering that teams such as the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox have reportedly expressed strong interest in Sale, New York may just look to throw a wrench in someone’s plans. No one can dispute how talented Sale is, but the return for the 27-year-old is steep, and Chicago isn’t willing to negotiate. Brian Cashman has been reluctant to part ways with most prospects, especially Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, and Luis Severino, so the Yankees’ odds of assembling a decent package for the White Sox seems very slim. It’s fair to assume that at least two of those three prospects mentioned above will have to go, along with three others who are not major league-ready. Luckily for Cashman, the haul of young players just acquired for Aroldis Chapman makes the future even brighter, and that’s how a new cycle begins. Sale’s contract ends after 2017, but club options for 2018 and 2019 are also in effect. Even if Cashman wants to become a buyer this weekend, it most likely won’t be for Sale.
Question 2: @MikeMortic2 via Twitter: What are their long term plans with so many high end shortstops in the system?
Many fans were shocked and confused on why the Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman for another shortstop prospect in Gleyber Torres, but it’s important to remember that when making deals, acquiring the best available talent is the goal, regardless of position. The good news for New York is that a team can never have enough shortstops, the most important fielding position, and with Torres now sharing the farm spotlight with Jorge Mateo and Tyler Wade, the competition should be healthy.
Although Mateo has received more praise than Wade, the Yankees are hoping to get Mateo accustomed to second base as well, which is where he will play in Trenton while Torres remains at short. With young talent, there is always time to move players to different positions, which can only make them more valuable to the major league club. We’ve seen this year that versatility can go a long way, so keeping all three at middle infield roles should be the plan. Didi Gregorious has made huge strides in his second season in the Bronx, and Starlin Castro has played exceptionally well, but the tandem may not be the long-term solution. Having an influx of middle infielders is a high-class problem.
Question 3: @Ad_Man_NYC via Twitter: Let’s have your top 5 Yankees who could be on the move in order of how likely it is?
It doesn’t seem like Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, or Brian McCann will be moved this week, so it’s hard to think of five players. But the list would start with Andrew Miller, who would bring back a pretty penny. The Nationals and Indians need Miller’s services the most, and could certainly overspend. The next name would be Carlos Beltran, who becomes a free agent at the end of the season. For a 39-year-old, Beltran’s offensive numbers are ridiculous, and for teams such as the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians who are in need of outfield/designated hitter help, Beltran would be a great fit. It seems hard to believe that Beltran will match these statistics if brought back to New York in 2017. The last name that comes to mind would be Ivan Nova, who also becomes a free agent in the winter. Earlier in the week, there were reports of the Miami Marlins expressing interest in Nova, but it appears that New York is selling high on him, and Miami elected to trade for Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner instead. Selling low on Nova isn’t the end of the world. To play along with the question, place Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Pineda at the end of the list, but they’re not going anywhere.
Question 4: @unclemarknj via Twitter: Are the Yankees finally ready to release Arod this winter? He is not worth a spot on the 25 man roster.
The only reason why Alex Rodriguez is still on the active roster is because of money. After this season, A-Rod is still due $21 million, and both the Yankees and Rodriguez haven’t hinted at parting ways. Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner isn’t fond of eating money, and A-Rod doesn’t want to leave the game while he has an opportunity to play. However, Yankees manager Joe Girardi hasn’t found a place for him in the lineup, which essentially makes him a waste of a roster spot. A-Rod’s numbers are mediocre, but don’t except an early retirement, even though the simplest answer is staring right in front of them.
Question 5: @BJ_Davis23 via Twitter: With so many high end OF prospects ready or near ready, isn’t it time for the Yankees to move Brett Gardner?
Brett Gardner’s name has been mentioned in trade talks for several seasons, but unfortunately, the window to deal him closed a while ago. Yankees ownership has always appreciated Gardner’s professionalism and hustle, which has made him a fan favorite, but his pedestrian numbers from the plate are unattractive. With three years left on his contract, it’s possible that some team could take on Gardner, but he appears to be on the wrong side of 32, and with Aaron Judge and Ben Gamel soon to be promoted, Gardner’s role could drastically change. It’s always time to trade Gardner, but the bar will be set low – the relationship has run its course.
Well, that’s all the mail. If you made it to the end, congratulations. We should try this again sometime.