Author: Steven Tydings Page 2 of 76

The Pros and Cons of keeping Miguel Andújar

(MLB Gifs)

In the summer of 2018, the Yankees had two constants on offense: Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andújar. While everyone else either got hurt, scuffled or some combination of those two, Stanton and Andújar remained solid, giving the Yankees an offensive base to carry them towards the postseason.

A year later, after coming into 2019 with his bat ostensibly cemented in the Yankees lineup, Andújar now appears to be a man without a position or perhaps even a job in the Bronx.

It’s en vogue to come up with Andújar trade ideas. Deal him for Mookie Betts, Jo Adell, Kyle Schwarber. You name a player on the market or otherwise, and they’ve been traded for Miggy at some point.

Yet this all begs the question: Should the Yankees even trade Andújar? Even with Gio Urshela usurping him at third base and Stanton presumably in line for some DH at-bats, Andújar remains an All-Star caliber bat regardless of his other demonstrable flaws.

Here are some pros and cons to keeping the 24-year-old batsman:

Pros: Andújar freaking rakes

Since it’s been more than six months since we’ve seen Andújar on the field, I think it’s worth taking a second to remember just how good he was at age-23 in 2018.

For the season, he hit .297/.328/.527 (130 wRC+) and hit 27 home runs and a Yankees rookie-record 47 doubles, all while striking out just 16 percent of the time. DRC had him at just 20 percent above league average, but that’s still well above the mean for 149 games as a rookie. This also was a slightly tamer offensive environment than the wild west of 2019.

Sometimes, you’ll see a player hit 27 home runs and many fewer doubles, indicating that the player’s power output is less than it appears. Andújar puts that concern to rest as a doubles machine. He serves the ball all over the field and is the type of hitter than can thrive when the baseball has less bounce to it.

It’s no secret that the Yankees have shielded his glove from too much sunshine. That’s part of why he didn’t get an extended run in 2017 and why Adeiny Hechavarria became a needed caddy for the postseason a year later. Regardless, Andújar put up 2.8 fWAR (2.0 WARP) in his rookie season, with even more value than that from his bat. Even without a position, his bat plays.

Cons: Urshela and Stanton make him expendable

When you look at the Yankees’ offensive setup for 2020, it’s hard to see where Andújar fits at first. Urshela is clearly a better fielder than Andújar is and likely ever will be. That was Urshela’s calling card to make the Majors; Now his bat has followed.

Furthermore, Urshela’s 2019 season was as good at the plate as Andújar’s 2018, with his wRC+ and DRC+ a few ticks higher. Urshela has less power and doesn’t have the same Minor League track record of hitting, but those aren’t prerequisites as they once were with players making dramatic swing changes.

If Urshela is planted at third, that mostly leaves designated hitter for Andújar, even if Didi Gregorius signs elsewhere with Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit manning the infield. Brian Cashman spoke about moving Andújar around, which could mean first base or left field, but he also needs to fully recover from his shoulder injury before a positional adjustment can take hold.

Left field, for now, is Stanton’s job, though an injury-troubled 2019 of his own portends more DH days in his future. The Yankees did well spreading the DH days around last season when Stanton and Edwin Encarnacion were out, and that might be the better usage of the spot.

Pros: Depth, depth, depth

Did we learn nothing from 2019? Andújar’s injury could have been a death knell or at least a crisis for the Yankees if Urshela didn’t step up. LeMahieu’s value at first and second base makes the need for another infielder important, particularly one who can handle third.

And what if Urshela isn’t for real? What if he, or Voit, or Stanton, or just about anyone gets hurt? These are less a series of hypotheticals and more the cold realities of baseball. You’re going to have guys go down and miss extended periods, so all the better to have an All-Star backing them up while soaking up DH at-bats.

The Yankees pride themselves on their depth. Quality depth can be the difference between hosting the Twins in ALDS and having to play the Wild Card Game just to make it to Houston. Andújar isn’t ordinary depth and putting that bat as your backup plan is beautiful.

Cons: Top trade piece

Even with all his flaws as a glovesman, Andújar still has significant value. More value for an American League team with the DH available, but, as stated above, his bat plays anywhere. With defensive shifting and the proper infield around him, teams (or the Yankees if he stays) can minimize the damage he does with the glove and maximizes his potential at the plate.

With his bat as a trade chip, the Yankees can get something real in return straight-up or as part of a package.. A veteran pitcher for a team in win-now mode. A young starter with potential. Maybe a hitter who better fits the roster.

Andújar isn’t even arbitration-eligible yet and has four years of team control. Even with the shoulder injury, a significant concern, and his glove, there would be plenty of suitors for the third baseman.

Parting Thoughts

I went into this thinking about Andújar as someone to trade, a chip more valuable cashed in than kept. The more I wrote and the more I looked at his bat, the more I feel he gives the Yankees next season and beyond. If they trade him and can get a significant piece in return, so be it. But at third base, or corner outfield, or wherever he ends up, Andújar looks better in pinstripes than any other uniform.

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Miggy, Bird and Tulo: Living on the Injured List [2019 Season Review]

Aw shucks.

On Opening Day, the Yankees had Greg Bird, Miguel Andújar and Troy Tulowitzki all in the starting lineup. While Andújar had plenty of optimism surrounding him, both Bird and Tulo were wild cards after missing most or all of 2018.

Setting the stage for the Next Man Up, these were the men who went down and stayed that way, seeing their seasons end prematurely.

Miguel Andújar

Miggy Two-bags doubled his way into Yankee fans’ hearts in 2018, finishing a Shohei Ohtani away from New York’s second straight Rookie of the Year. While he wasn’t much for walking, he hit 74 extra-base hits, set the Yankees’ rookie doubles record and absolutely mashed, all while playing minimal defense.

So expectations were high. He was set to man third base from the start of the year, get a fair number of DH days to offset his porous glove and continue hitting the snot out of the ball at age-24.

Andújar got hits in his first three games. On Opening Day, he had a sacrifice fly that would have been a grand slam in warmer weather. Two days later, he struck out swinging as the potential winning run to end the Bombers’ first loss.

Disaster struck in his third game. Orioles catcher Pedro Severino attempted to back pick Andújar at third base. The try went unsuccessful, but the second-year third baseman injured his shoulder diving back into the base.

Andújar would miss the next month with a tear in his labrum. He retured on May 4 for a nine-game stretch where he went 3-for-34 with a walk and nine strikeouts and no extra-base hits. With his power siphoned off by the nagging shoulder injury, Andújar underwent labrum surgery that ended his season.

Greg Bird

Bird remains the king of Spring Training. After being left off the 2018 postseason roster, the first baseman had a full offseason to prepare for 2019 and raked in the Grapefruit League. That created some hope that he could finally put injuries aside and return to the Greg Bird that raked in his 2015 debut and 2017 postseason. The “Swatting an Andrew Miller home run into the darkest recesses of the Indians’ psyche” Greg Bird.

His Grapefruit League fooled fans once again. Bird elicited boos on Opening Day after striking out in his first three at-bats, but he turned things around with a solo shot to cap the victory. That went down as his lone homer and RBI for the season.

Bird singled in five of his first six starts and walked twice in the other, but the strikeouts also racked up quickly. After his 10th game, coming on April 13, he had to go on the injured list with a torn plantar fascia, an injury Eli Manning has helped make famous in recent years.

That was it for Bird’s season. He never got close to returning to the field and finished the year with a paltry .171/.293/.257 line after striking out 16 times in 41 plate appearances.

Troy Tulowitzki

If you were going to predict the two people to get injury from the Yankees’ Opening Day lineup, Bird and Tulowitzki were the obvious choices. Tulo’s season-opening start was his first appearance in a Major League game since July 28, coming before bone spurs eliminated a season and a half for him.

The Yankees signed Tulowitzki to man shortstop with Didi Gregorius out for the first portion of the season. Brian Cashman reportedly considered Freddy Galvis as an alternative, but the Bombers chose to sign Tulowitzki for the league minimum instead.

Tulo homered in Spring Training against his old club and showed enough with four Grapefruit League dingers to get the start on March 28. The team basically stated he wouldn’t start back-to-back games in the early going with DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres set to fill the middle infield when he could not.

The first two games went swimmingly for Tulo. He doubled in the opener and then homered and walked twice in Game No. 2. As with Bird, that’d be his lone homer and RBI for the year and, in Tulo’s case, the final of his career.

Playing just his fifth game in pinstripes, Tulowitzki left after four innings on April 3 against Detroit. He had suffered a calf injury and would have a setback in his rehab, never returning to the club.

At midseason, he announced his retirement. He got the brief chance to play for his favorite childhood team, but that’s little solace as Tulowitzki’s potential Hall of Fame career was torn apart by injuries.

What’s Next?

While Tulowitzki is done with the game, Andujar and Bird persist. Either could be finished with the Yankees as teams have inquired about Andujar in trades while Bird represents a prime non-tender candidate.

One of Andújar and Bird should make the Yankees’ 2020 Opening Day roster, the former being the more likely one. Andujar is just 13 months removed from a remarkable rookie season, while Bird’s tantalizing accomplishments are more than two years in the rearview mirror.

Missing Rings: Reexamining the 2010 Postseason

Welp.

This offseason, I’m doing deep dive into the Yankees’ postseason runs since the 2009 World Series and examine why the Bombers fell short for a title. First up, the title defense of 2010.

The Yankees didn’t fully reunite the band in 2010 as Brian Cashman and co. said farewell to Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Melky Cabrera, among others. Brought in to fortify the World Series defense were Marcus Thames, Nick Johnson, Chan Ho Park and Javier Vazquez, the latter of whom came over with Boone Logan to extend the rotation and bullpen.

The big acquisition of the offseason was Curtis Granderson. The 29-year-old center fielder cost the Yankees Austin Jackson, Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy, but he had the potential to add left-handed pop to the top or bottom of their order.

That eclectic group complemented a strong core. Through in their 30s, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira formed the heart of a powerful lineup, while Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher were no slouches. On the pitching side, CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte and A.J. Burnett returned from the 2009 squad in front of the ageless Mariano Rivera.

2010 Regular Season

What Went Right

Robinson Canó turned into a superstar. The 27-year-old was the Yankees second-youngest everyday player and had hit .320 in 2009, but he put together both outstanding hitting and glovework to finish third in MVP voting.

Nick Swisher, meanwhile, gelled in his second season with the Bombers and became an All-Star, turning into a better all-around player. Those contributions complemented a rotation with three All-Stars — Sabathia, Hughes and Pettitte — to give New York perhaps the AL’s best top-3 on their staff.

At the deadline, the Yankees made a key addition with Kerry Wood, who would then allow just two runs over 26 innings over the final two months of the season.

What Went Wrong

The bullpen outside of Rivera and Wood wasn’t fantastic. Both Logan and David Robertson were good, but D-Rob’s leap to fireman came a year later while Joba Chamberlain scuffled in his bullpen return.

At age-36, Jeter declined sharply from his resurgent 2009, while A-Rod missed brief time with a calf strain and was good, not outstanding. Granderson could not hit lefties until August.

Meanwhile, the back-end of the rotation wasn’t cutting it with Burnett and Vazquez not panning out. The Yankees could have shored up that issue, but …

The Inflection Point: The Cliff Lee trade

On July 9, the Yankees were reported to be nearing a deal for Mariners ace Cliff Lee after Seattle had fallen out of contention. The deal apparently was set to include top prospect Jesus Montero as well as infielder David Adams and pitcher Zach McAllister.

It all went wrong. Reports said the M’s raised issues with Adams’ medicals and requested either Eduardo Nunez or Ivan Nova in his place. The Yankees then countered with Adam Warren, but Seattle wouldn’t accept the deal.

At the same time, the Mariners had re-opened (or perhaps never stopped) negotiations with the Rangers, who had suddenly become willing to part with their top prospect, Justin Smoak. That swung the deal as Lee went to Texas as part of a six-player deal.

In retrospect, it’s obvious the Yankees would have been wise to deal Nova, Nunez or any of the players in that deal for Lee, but that might not have been on the table. The Mariners may have simply been playing the Yankees off Texas to get Smoak and never actually planned on accepting the initial deal.

The Obligatory Twins Sweep

Even without Lee, the Yankees cruised to a postseason berth. They ceded the division to the Rays and were rewarded with a matchup against an overachieving Twins squad, who had homefield advantage in the series.

I’d do a “What went right” and “What went wrong” for this, but it all went so well. The Bombers trailed in the first two games at Target Field but won on the backs of heroics from Granderson, Teixeira, Posada and Lance Berkman, another deadline acquisition.

Hughes then got the start back at Yankee Stadium for Game 3 and picked up the win in his first postseason start. The Yankees didn’t have to push anyone and avoided going to Sabathia on short rest in Game 4. Meanwhile, the Rangers needed five games to beat the Rays and needed Lee in Game 5, an all-too-familiar scenario to the present day.

Falling Behind in the ALCS

In terms of which games the Yankees won, the 2010 ALCS looked exactly like the 2019 series. The Yankees took Game 1 on the road, Game 5 at home and nothing else en route to defeat.

Game 1, however, was a wild ride. The Rangers had homefield advantage despite an inferior record in the regular season, but Sabathia struggled and the Yankees found themselves in a 5-0 hole. Dustin Moseley (remember him?) kept the Yankees in the game with two scoreless frames with Canó hitting a solo shot. From there, the first seven Yankee batters reached to start the eighth inning as the Bombers scored five and overtook Texas.

The series appeared all set for a Yankees victory and potentially a rematch of 2009 with the Phillies hosting the NLCS with the Giants. However, New York’s lack of depth in their rotation as well as the non-trade for Lee struck hard and ultimately swung the series.

The Yankees flipped Hughes and Pettitte in their rotation and Hughes was battered in Game 2. It was revealed after the fact that Petitte, who missed a swath of the second half with a groin injury, was dealing with hamstring and back issues and needed the 11 days between ALDS Game 2 and ALCS Game 3 to start.

While Pettitte made just one mistake in Game 3 — a first-inning two-run homer to Josh Hamilton — Lee made none and fired eight scoreless frames to give Texas the series lead.

AJ Burnett’s Big Mistake

Game 4 started out well in a duel between Burnett and Tommy Hunter as the latter lasted just 10 outs and gave up three runs. The Yankees’ first run came via a controversial home run as a Canó blast to right field was perhaps interfered with by fans.

Nothing was called and the best gif in recent Yankees history was born.

via GIPHY

The Yankee bros. They summed up a fanbase, one that cared not for lackluster franchises such as the Rangers and had the bird prepared for all challengers. A salute to said bros, who were basically the Laker bros but across the continent.

Stringing together a couple runs, the Yankees led going into the fifth inning. Burnett allowed three men to reach base but persevered unscathed. The Yankees, meanwhile, got their first two men on for Tex and A-Rod, just for a groundout and double play to foil a rally.

And then the fateful sixth inning. Joe Girardi stuck with Burnett with a thin bullpen. The right-hander put a man on before getting two outs. He intentionally walked David Murphy to bring up Bengie Molina. On the first pitch, Molina hit a series-changing homer to put Texas up for good.

The bullpen faltered later, which might absolve Girardi and AJ slightly in a 10-3 defeat. The now 3-1 deficit in the series was compounded by a severely strained hamstring for Teixeira, knocking him out of the series.

The Final Loss

The Yankees rebounded a day later with a 7-2 win behind Sabathia and plenty of offense, including three homers. Back in Texas, the Bombers turned to Hughes with hopes of keeping them alive for a Game 7.

With the Yankees tying the game at one in the fifth inning, Hughes trotted out and, like Burnett, got two outs and a man on before issuing an intentional walk, this time to Hamilton. The final pitch for Hughes on the evening went to Vlad Guerrero Sr., who lined a two-run double. Robertson came in and promptly allowed a two-run homer to Nelson Cruz, just about ending the series in a two-batter span.

Afterward

The Lee deal truly swung everything and might have hung over the Bombers for a couple seasons. Not only were they unable to repeat without the veteran southpaw, they then couldn’t reel him in during free agency. His wife said she was harassed at Yankee Stadium during the postseason, and he ultimately chose to accept a smaller offer to return to Philadelphia. (Reports also put the Rangers’ offer above the Yankees’ deal, but the mystery team Phillies made that moot.)

The Yankees were one or two pitchers short of a title. With another reliever or just a quicker hook, they could have afforded to take out Burnett earlier in Game 4, or they could have held tight in Game 6. Another starter would have bumped Burnett entirely, even if it wasn’t Lee joining the Bombers.

Compounding the issue was the Yankees’ inability to get a big hit against Colby Lewis in Games 2 and 6. The journeyman put 16 men on over 13 2/3 innings but allowed just three to score, earning two victories over Hughes. Perhaps with the games in the Bronx, the Yankees could have poked across more runs, but the wild card team can’t claim homefield there.

That closes the 2010 retrospective. Coming soon will be Missing Rings: 2011. If you have a key moment I missed from 2010, or something you think we could forget from 2011, mention it in the comments below.

Yu Darvish and Accepting Failure

Yu know it. (MLB Gifs)

If you’ve seen a lick of baseball news this week, you’ve certainly heard about the sign-stealing allegations against the Houston Astros.

To sum it up, the Astros are accused by both one of their former players and opposing pitchers of using a video camera to steal signs, then relay those signs by banging on trash cans. All of this allegedly occurred during the 2017 regular season, though we don’t know if it extended into the postseason or into the subsequent pair of seasons.

Immediately, you might think, “They’re not the only ones doing this. They’re just the ones that got caught.” That’s likely true, but also beside the point. The Red Sox and Yankees were each punished after Boston’s Apple Watch incident in 2017 and New York’s own questions involving their bullpen phone. The Brewers and Rangers have also been accused.

Yet it appears to the Astros may have both been more sophisticated and more willing to break the rules and norms. It might ultimately be unfair to punish them if many teams are doing the same, but this is something Major League Baseball ultimately wants to eliminate, particularly as technology only gets more sophisticated.

Over the course of the last three years, the Astros were not only successful but historically so. They struck out less than any other team and posted offensive numbers far above league averages in ways not seen in decades. Their individual players became household names and took home prestigious awards.

And, of course, they won the 2017 World Series while coming darn close to taking the 2019 crown as well. In both of those seasons, they beat the Yankees in the ALCS. To clinch the 2017 title, they beat the Dodgers, a 104-win team that ran through the National League.

Now there’s a cloud over all of their success. That’s what cheating allegations do. It still hangs above the Patriots’ dominance of the 21st Century after they were implicated in Gates of the Spy and Deflate variety. Even though it wasn’t about cheating, Saints fans are still in an uproar over a missed call in last year’s NFC title game. When a championship is seemingly stolen from you by artificial means, it’s infuriating on another level than an average loss.

If anyone has a gripe with the Astros, particularly the 2017 edition, it’s Yu Darvish. His reputation was sullied in the Fall Classic that year as the Astros tagged him for nine runs across just 3 1/3 innings in two starts, including the decisive Game 7. After striking out 14 batters in two prior postseason starts, he failed to fan one batter in the World Series.

At the time, the Astros intimated that Darvish was tipping his pitches. Now, there’s speculation that Houston was instead stealing his signs and gaining an unfair advantage that swung the series. If the veteran hurler wanted to cry foul and blame the Astros’ supposed cheating for his lack of success, he’d have plenty of justification. However, Darvish refrained from doing so when speaking about the issue with the Los Angeles Times.

“I feel that if I absolve myself and say it was the Astros’ fault I was bad in Game 7, in the World Series, I can’t develop as a person,” Darvish told Dylan Hernandez. “In life, I think huge failures are extremely important. I’ve had a few up to this point. The World Series was one of them. I think it will remain a point of reference for me. I’ve already learned a lot from it. So regarding that, I can’t view myself charitably. I think I have to continue to accept the results.”

Darvish’s sentiment here is remarkably healthy and potentially instructive for Yankees fans. Losing to Houston in 2017 and ’19 remains painful and won’t be undone, no matter what MLB’s investigation of the Astros uncovers. While the Yankees went 1-6 in Houston over those two postseasons, they scored just three runs in four games during the first ALCS, which can’t be blamed on signs. Suing the Astros won’t bring you any happiness.

We’ll never know what affect the alleged sign-stealing had on the past three seasons in baseball. That’s life, unfortunately. You can play with what-ifs and if-onlys forever and you still return to the same reality, the one with events in the same exact order. (I’m also a hypocrite: I’m going to have a post examing the 2010 postseason next week.)

Instead, we should take a page from Darvish, learn from our failures, even if they aren’t entirely ours. Personally, I’ll never forget running for a position at my college newspaper and losing. I dwelt upon that and blamed everyone but myself for months, wallowing in perceived slights. Moving past it and looking inward was the only way I could learn and gain anything positive from the admittedly bitter experience.

As for the Yankees, it’s hard to not to develop hatred towards an opponent that not only beat you but may have cheated you. However, New York has to plan how to improve its 2020 roster regardless and find a way to get over the hump. Living in 2017 and studying videotape for bangs of a makeshift drum won’t get the Yankees a title. You can feel however you want about Houston, and 2017/2019 won’t become positive memories any time soon, but the Yankees’ role in that drama is over, and Yu Darvish has the right of it.

So You’ve Decided to Trade for Mookie Betts

Bowl on over to the Bronx, why don’t you? (MLB Gifs)

Leading off for the Yankees, the center fielder, No. 50, Mookie Betts, No. 50.

The Boston Red Sox reportedly are considering trading their franchise centerpiece. Teams including the White Sox, Padres, Mets or just about anyone would be interested in the former MVP, but the Yankees are the one team you really can’t imagine him playing for in 2020.

There’s a good reason for that; Brian Cashman has spoken in the past about how he’s talked to 28 teams, obviously excluding the Red Sox even when his frequent trade partner in Dave Dombrowski was at the helm. The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry sits on an emotional faultline which makes any trade of non-scrub players untenable in the current environment.

Furthermore, the Yankees have budgeted themselves under the top luxury tax tier in the past season and one would assume they’ll do so again. If they’re going to pursue a top starter, adding Betts without shedding salary doesn’t quite work. We, for example, apportioned $30 million in AAV for Gerrit Cole, and that is on the low-end of projections. Boston, meanwhile, would mostly consider trading Betts to get under the lowest luxury tax year.

But let’s ignore rational thoughts for a second and a few hundred words. What if the Red Sox actually make Betts available and are willing to sell him to the highest bidder, rivalry or otherwise? What would a package for Betts look like?

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe put together the following hypothetical trade in a column recently:

Red Sox trade: Mookie Betts and MiLB LHP Jay Groome
Yankees trade: Miguel Andújar, Clint Frazier, Luis Gil and Michael King

On the surface, that checks out. Run that deal through Baseball Trade Values and the site finds it fair on both sides. While Betts is far and away better than anyone else in that deal, he’s also only under contract for one season. The Yankees would be giving up one of their top pitching prospects, a pitcher in the upper Minors and two right-handed hitters who could thrive at Fenway despite their defensive limitations.

(I have thought that Frazier would be a particularly good fit for Fenway Park. Playing the Green Monster would take time to learn, but once he got used to it, it would allow his arm to play up while making his lack of range or first step a secondary concern. Any right-handed pull bat also gets to hit off the Monster.)

However, Boston isn’t going for just fair. They want to extract their pound of flesh. That might not apply just to the Yankees — You can’t give up Betts for just a fine set of prospects — but it’s especially pertinent with the Bombers.

The situation makes me think of Roy Halladay back in 2009. The Blue Jays entertained offers from the Yankees, but they reportedly expected a premium to acquire the veteran ace in-division. That’s fair; Can you imagine what it would have been like to watch a franchise cornerstone like Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera thrive in Toronto while you were mired in fourth place? That’d be an ordeal.

So the Yankees would have to give up something that hurts. The Red Sox would ask for Gleyber Torres and Brian Cashman would threaten to hang up before Chaim Bloom beckoned him to stay on the call. Aaron Judge, too, is off the table, even if Betts is arguably the better player.

Therefore, I’m not sure a deal is workable without Deivi García. The Yankees would still have to give up at least one of Andújar and Frazier, and perhaps a fourth prospect as well. García, though, would be the piece that would hurt, the player Boston could hail as the future to their rotation and as the centerpiece of a retooling rather than a rebuild. New York doesn’t have another MLB or near-MLB ready player to headline the package.

So I kept the basic framework of Abraham’s deal and changed it into the following:

Red Sox trade: Mookie Betts
Yankees trade: Deivi García, Clint Frazier, Jonathan Loaisiga and Mike King

This deal still provides the Red Sox with an outfielder to replace Betts and exchanges Gil for García, giving Boston a player closer to the Majors. While Andújar has more value than Loaisiga, the Red Sox could use the pitcher more than a likely DH who overlaps on defense with Rafael Devers.

I’ll remind everyone that your trade proposals suck, and my trade above is certainly included. I accept all of your critiques, though I remind you that a Betts-to-the-Yankees trade is just not in the offing. Baseball Trade Values has my proposal as an even deal, which means New York would likely have to give up even more and include someone such as Andújar instead of King.

(Baseball Trade Values)

The Yankees could, however, look to acquire Betts in free agency a year from now, making him their center fielder and moving Hicks to left field. This is nearly as much of a pipedream, but they’ll have plenty of money coming off the books. In that hypothetical, New York would avoid what Cashman often mentions as paying twice for a player, giving up both prospects and an extension.

Even if it’s entirely unrealistic, the dream is fun. Maybe one day, with one of the teams or both out of contention, we’ll get a Yankees-Red Sox blockbuster with reputations on the line. Until then, all we have is frivolous speculation and hypotheticals on which the offseason thrives.

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