Mailbag: Clint Frazier trades, revisiting the Miguel Cabrera trade with Juan Soto

Good morning, everyone. Hope you all had a great weekend. It was an extremely quiet one in terms of hot stove news, and it’s going to remain that way as long as the lockdown remains in effect. Brian Cashman did rappel off buildings in Stamford, Connecticut, as he does each and every offseason. He couldn’t answer any questions about major league transactions, though.

The Yankees did address some coaching staff vacancies, at least. Dillon Lawson will take over as hitting coach, with two assistants to be determined. He had been in the system for a few years now, and considering the widespread success down on the farm, he makes a lot of sense. Meanwhile, Desi Druschel will be the assistant pitching coach to Matt Blake. Druschel has been in the organization since 2019.

Without further ado, let’s get to today’s mailbag. But first, here’s a reminder to send your questions to viewsfrom314 at gmail dot com. We select our favorites every Monday.

Iron Mike asks: With my favorite Yankee now set to wear another shade of pinstripes, what was the biggest trade that the Yankees didn’t do because they weren’t willing to deal Clint Frazier years ago?

I was able to pull a few potential trades by going through MLB Trade Rumors archives.

Remember when Brian Cashman put his foot in his mouth about Marcus Stroman during the 2019 deadline? Well, had he included Clint, he might have had a deal for the now Cubs right-hander:

“And this year, when the Blue Jays were demanding Frazier be included in a deadline deal for Marcus Stroman, Cashman refused to let the promising but erratic young outfielder go.

“We were interested in Stroman but we didn’t think he would be a difference-maker,” he said. “We felt he would be in our bullpen in the postseason.”

Whoops. Probably take a do-over on that one.

That same deadline, the Yankees were apparently willing to move Frazier in a trade with the Diamondbacks for Robbie Ray. However, the Yanks and Arizona could agree on other names in the deal.

Going back further: Frazier nearly took Gerrit Cole out of the Astros hands. The Pirates supposedly preferred Clint over everyone they actually received from Houston. Meanwhile, the Yankees were willing to include Frazier or Chance Adams, but not both according to Jerry Crasnick. Oof.

Lastly: the White Sox reportedly wanted Frazier or Gleyber Torres to headline a deal for Jose Quintana in 2017.

There may be other reports I’ve missed or forgotten, plus trade discussions that never saw the public eye.

Daniel asks: This weekend marks the 14th anniversary of the Miguel Cabrera trade. Two top-50 players and more went to the Marlins. In that spirit, what would it take (hypothetically) for the Yankees to trade for Juan Soto? And could it work?

The two top-50 prospects Daniel cites are Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller, two former Yankees. In fact, they were ranked sixth and tenth, respectively, on Baseball America’s 2007 top 100 list. Detroit sent a handful of other players, but none of nearly the significance of Maybin and Miller.

Cabrera, then 24, had a .313/.388/.542 (139 wRC+) career batting line and was still nominally a third baseman. An incredible start to a Hall of Fame career, indeed. And yet, amazingly, that offensive line pales in comparison to what Soto’s already done in his young career. The Nats’ outfielder, who just turned 23, owns a .301/.432/.550 (156 wRC+) triple-slash thus far. There are six players ever — ever — with a better wRC+ through their age-22 season than Soto. They are: Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Mike Trout, Jimmie Foxx, and Ty Cobb.

So, while the return for Cabrera was a haul at the time (Miggy was two years from free agency, by the way), it’s hard to imagine anything satisfying the Nationals in a trade for Soto, who’s still three years away from free agency.

The Yankees could offer everyone: Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez, Oswald Peraza, so on and so forth, and it would not be remotely enough. Maybe when Soto approaches free agency something would be feasible, but right now? Forget about it.

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6 Comments

  1. MikeD

    Yankee fans have a confusing narrative when it comes to Frazier. Some will equally say 1) the Yankees didn’t value him and wouldn’t commit to him; and 2) they hugged him too tightly and wouldn’t trade him.

    I expected Lawson to get the hitting coach position, or at the least I would have been surprised if he didn’t. He was brought in to change the approach across the minors and had very good success. Thames made reference as he was leaving that the Yankee didn’t believe that Thames and the major league hitting coaches had effectively embraced the new approach. That pointed to Lawson being the man. Surprised it took as long as it did to name him.

    I was both hopeful but also cautious of the Matt Blake hiring as pitching coach at first, but the Yankees ranked 4th overall in the majors (by Fangraphs WAR) and 2nd in the AL last year. He certainly worked magic with Nestor Cortes, and it’s with younger, fringe types like Nestor where I’d hope and expect to see results, as well as more raw but talented high-end pitchers like Gil and Medina. Interested to see what he’ll do with Sevy next year, who should also benefit from having Cole around. Let’s hope Lawson can do the same with the hitters. Outside of Judge’s success, the Yankees have brought some talented young hitters to the majors during this recent run who made a big splash on arrival but then regressed, including Gary, Gleyber and Andujar. Let’s get a new team in place before Volpe and Peraza and The Martian arrive. It’s not too late for Gleyber. How annoyingly funny would it be if Gary suddenly reverts back to being good in his walk year.

    • John

      They hug too tightly then, once the player is not an immediate All Star, they bury them on the bench or in the minors until any trade value has gone.

  2. dasit

    dumb question: could the yankees offer volpe + 500M dollars for soto?

    • MikeD

      No. The Commissioner has to approve any cash transactions in trades above a certain amount. This dates back to when Charley Finley sold Vida Blue to the Yankees and Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers to the Red Sox mid-season 1976 for $3.5MM. It was the last season prior to free agency taking effect. (He also traded Reggie Jackson to the Orioles prior to 1976 knowing he was going to file as a free agent). Finley was obviously pissed at the changing nature of the game, and he literally decided to blow apart a legitimate dynasty in a hissy fit. Why he didn’t try to trade Blue, Fingers and Rudi as he did Jackson instead is a mystery.

      Anyway, Commissioner Kuhn stepped in and voided the deals. The players actually were kind in limbo for a couple weeks, never playing for the Yankees, Red Sox or A’s until he made a decision. The correct one, btw, even though I would have liked Blue on the Yankees pitching staff. Kuhn and MLB instituted a dollar limit on deals, or more accurately, the Commissioner has to approve any deals above a certain amount. Even if the Yankees included Volpe and Peraza, Manfred would block the deal because of the cash involved.

  3. The Original Drew

    So everyone at VF314ft just wanted to hurt me today huh?

  4. Dan

    Baseball Trade Values doesn’t even have a trade button next to Soto’s name 😀

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