Fun with Hypotheticals: A Mock Expansion Draft

Not going anywhere

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.

  1. Tanaka
  2. Stanton
  3. Chapman
  4. Severino
  5. Judge
  6. Sanchez
  7. Torres
  8. Paxton
  9. Garcia
  10. Hicks
  11. LeMahieu
  12. Andujar

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2 Comments

  1. I would have liked to see a little more on the people left off the list. I think the only one you really dealt with was Voit.

    I have to imagine a prospect like Deivi Garcia would get on the protected list. Especially over someone in the last year of his contract – like Paxton, Tanaka, or DJL. Yes, I know the Yankees are ‘win now’. But on a dollar to dollar basis, 6 cheap years of controllable Garcia is currently worth considerably more than 1 year of Paxton, Tanaka, or DJL at their current salary. You can make the argument that Garcia gets protected over Hicks too – as his long term contract is probably underwater due to injury concerns.

  2. MikeD

    Hi, Matt. Good to see a familiar name from RAB past posting up above.

    I wonder if the Yankees would consider leaving LeMahieu unprotected in the first round since he only has one year left on his deal? The expansion team knows they would lose him, so they might target an unprotected prospect they could keep for years. Would they rather have a Clarke Schmidt, as example, who could potentially slot right into their rotation on day one? Maybe not. They could also immediately flip LeMahieu for a couple decent prospects instead. I do remember the last two expansion drafts. It’ll be interesting when the next one rolls around considering how the value of prospects have increased. I expect the major league owners will change the rules slightly so they can shield even more of their younger players from the draft.

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