Saturday offered a flurry of updates on the Gerrit Cole negotiations, but none of them really added much clarity beyond pointing out that said negotiations are ongoing. So while we all chew on that, let’s dive into a fun hypothetical and imagine this scenario, pointed out by Twitter user Jeremy Siegel:
Luckily for our wildest fantasies, we don’t have to worry about protecting 16 year old phenom Jasson Dominguez, whom the Yankees signed this past summer. Let’s jump into it otherwise.
The No-Trade Brigdage
The first requirement of the challenge is that we have to protect the no-trade clause players first. For the Yankees, that means we have to protect Masahiro Tanaka, Aroldis Chapman, and Giancarlo Stanton. The implications for this are mostly good. These are three players any team would want and each has the potential to be among the best at his position. As far as forced keepers go, you could do a lot worse.
(Players Protected: 3/12)
The No Brainers
Protecting the Yankees’ core is the next obvious move. There’s no need to further explain keeping Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Luis Severino.
(Players Protected: 7/12)
The Final Five
At this point in the game, we might want to start thinking about long-term ramifications, but my approach is different. Here, I’m just going with straight up talent. The original tweet didn’t specify the rules for how many players could be taken and how often, so I’ll be taking some risks leaving people unprotected. However, in putting the most talented players on the protected list, I’m confident in my gamble.
First up would be James Paxton. As the latter part of the year showed, he’s got ace potential and needs to be protected. Sticking with the pitching side of things, I’ll go with top prospect Deivi Garcia.
Moving to position players, I go with Aaron Hicks and DJ LeMahieu. Both are quality hitters–for different reasons–and good to great defenders. DJLM also offers positional flexibility, which would help hedge against losing other infielders.
The final spot comes down to, in my mind, Luke Voit vs. Miguel Andujar. And I choose Andujar. He’s got the higher upside than Voit and Voit might be more replaceable if lost than Andujar.
With 12/12 done, let’s look at the list.