Us Yankee fans love to talk about which players Brian Cashman should go out and get. Every day on Yankees Twitter, the likes of Francisco Lindor and Trevor Bauer are mentioned as potential targets. For good reason, those guys are great players. However, this blog won’t take into account “external” players. I’ll be talking strictly about players who either are currently on the team, or played for the Yankees in 2020. Additionally, I won’t be listing every single player on the roster. So if you clicked on this to find out what I think about Jonathan Holder, you’re out of luck. Okay fine, I like Holder, keep him around. Here goes nothing.
Keep at all costs: Gerrit Cole, Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu
To me, these are the four most important players the Yankees have. Cole is our ace and just one season into a nine-year deal. he’s not going anywhere. Neither is Torres, who I believe is the future of this franchise. Whether or not he’ll remain at shortstop is a question that needs to be answered, but regardless Gleyber should be in Pinstripes for a very long time. I know a lot of Yankee fans have started to turn on Aaron Judge after another year of injuries, and a poor performance in the Tampa series. But you don’t trade Aaron Judge. He’s one of the best players in baseball when healthy, and has a massive clubhouse presence. Just look what Cole said about him.
"Superhero-like." That's how Gerrit Cole explained Aaron Judge's impact on the Yankees' clubhouse. https://t.co/4pKQtO3fdB
Cole, Torres and Judge will all surely be Yankees in 2021. LeMahieu is the one with a question mark. I hope that the Yankees realize how much DJ means to this team and give him the contract he deserves. But until that happens, I’ll be uneasy thinking about the alternative.
Britton and Green have proven to be extremely effective relievers over the past few seasons. They’re so valuable to the Yankees’ success that I nearly put them in the “keep at all costs” category. However, I decided I couldn’t put them on the same level as the other four guys. Garcia showed a ton of promise in his rookie season, and I have no interest in moving him whatsoever. Hicks is someone who takes a lot of heat from certain Yankee fans, and I somewhat get that. His numbers aren’t always sexy, and I admittedly don’t love him near the top of the lineup. But he gets on base a ton, switch hits, plays a great center field, and is on a team-friendly contract. Unless somebody blows you away with an offer, you keep Aaron Hicks. Urshela has been an absolute treasure the past two seasons. No reason for him not to be a Yankee in 2021.
Immovable: Giancarlo Stanton, Aroldis Chapman, Luis Severino
Let me preface this by saying that these are three great players, and I probably wouldn’t trade any of them if given the chance. Stanton’s contract is obviously not great, but the dude is special when he’s right. We saw that in the 2020 postseason.
I sincerely hope Stanton can stay healthy in 2021, because man is it fun watching him play baseball. Chapman’s contract isn’t nearly as untradeable as Stanton’s, but it’s hard for me to envision the Yankees moving him. I’m far from Chapman’s biggest fan. Either way, he’s an extremely talented reliever, and it would be stupid for the Yankees to get rid of him. They need to add to their bullpen right now, not subtract from it. Luis Severino isn’t going anywhere because he’s barely pitched since 2018 due to injury. On top of that, he has an extremely high ceiling that we’ve seen flashes of in the past. Hopefully, all three of these players are making huge contributions to the 2021 Yankees.
Trade, but only for the right return: Luke Voit, Clint Frazier
Before you come at my neck for this one, just hear me out. I love both of these guys. I have absolutely no issue penciling them into the first base and left field spots respectively for the next five years. I’m not looking to actively shop them. Some fans have been tossing around the idea of Voit for Josh Hader, and I would hate that trade. You don’t trade great position players for relievers. My one exception for both Voit and Frazier, however, is I consider trading them for the right starting pitcher. If the Yankees can get a controllable starting pitcher that slots into the #2 spot in the rotation behind Cole, then I consider trading Voit or Frazier to get him. If the Cubs dangle Kyle Hendricks, or the Indians offer Zach Plesac, it’s something the Yankees have to consider. Anything less, and Luke & Clint better stay in the Bronx.
Give ’em a chance (at the right price): Masahiro Tanaka, Gary Sanchez, James Paxton
I love Masahiro Tanaka. His seven-year contract was absolutely a successful one. I’d definitely like to have him back, with the caveat being that he takes a significant pay cut. When he first signed in New York, Tanaka was a 25-year-old slated to be the team’s ace. Now 32, he’s more of a third or fourth starter. If he’s willing to accept less money, definitely keep Tanaka a Yankee. My post last week was on why the Yankees should give Sanchez one last chance in 2021, and I really do believe that. Yes, he’s been frustrating, but I think his potential warrants one more opportunity. As far as Paxton, I don’t know what to make of him. He battled injuries throughout 2020 and barely pitched. Paxton also showed flashes of dominance in 2019. If he’s willing to take a cheap, one-year prove it deal to show the league he’s healthy, then I’ll give him that chance.
Get out of here: JA Happ, Adam Ottavino
I could write six blogs worth of material on why I don’t want Happ back. But I’ll leave that alone.
Friday the 13th 2020 doesn’t scare me. I already watched JA Happ relieve Deivi Garcia in the second inning of a playoff game. It doesn’t get worse than that
As far as Ottavino, he’s just not worth $9 million. He fell off badly at the end of 2019, and has been unusable in each of the last two postseasons. The Yankees desperately need to improve their bullpen, and moving Ottavino could free up space to do so. The issue is that I have no idea who would take Otto, but maybe if the Yankees were to attach a prospect or eat a portion of the salary, someone would give him a shot.
What did I get right, what did I get wrong, who didn’t I mention that you would’ve liked me to? Tweet me @ncostanzo24, and have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!