Mailbag: Gallo trade, matching free agent signings, and more

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Good morning everyone. I hope you all had a great weekend and an enjoyable Thanksgiving. If you haven’t worked since Wednesday, this is one of the tougher Mondays of the year to get through. If that’s the case for you, at least the MLB hot stove is ablaze with plenty of news to keep you distracted. The Mets made a bunch of signings and may be near a deal for Max Scherzer. The Rangers just inked Marcus Semien. Kevin Gausman is headed to Toronto. And other big names could agree to deals before the CBA expires this week. Whew.

Hopefully, a new CBA can be hammered out in reasonable time. Otherwise, the inevitable lockout will really stink. So for as long as there’s little to no MLB news after this week, we’ll need some of your most creative questions to keep the mailbag fresh week-to-week. Send them to viewsfrom314 at gmail dot com. We’ll pick and answer our favorites each Monday. Here are this week’s:

Christopher asks: Just saw the Yankees are fielding calls on Joey Gallo. If traded, what return can they expect and who fills in at LF?

Gallo is a year away from free agency, so let’s look at a couple of recent offseason trades of players in similar situations.

Andrew McCutchen

The Giants acquired the former NL MVP from Pittsburgh in exchange for outfielder Bryan Reynolds and right-handed pitcher Kyle Crick in January 2018. McCutchen was entering the final year of an extension he signed with the Pirates and had authored a .279/.363/.486 (122 wRC+) batting line with +3.7 fWAR in 2017. Things didn’t work out so well in San Francisco, as the Giants eventually dealt McCutchen to the Yankees that August.

The return for McCutchen didn’t seem too noteworthy at the time. Reynolds had never made a top 100 list, and although he had some strong minor league numbers, he had yet to surpass High-A. Of course, he’s now a lifetime .290/.368/.490 (127 wRC+) hitter for the Pirates. Crick was an erstwhile top prospect, making Baseball America’s top 100 in 2013 and 2014, but fell off thereafter. He had a couple of good seasons out of Pittsburgh’s bullpen, but is now out of the organization.

Paul Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt moved from Arizona to St. Louis in December of 2018, with the final year of his extension signed with the Diamondbacks expiring after the 2019 season. The Cardinals signed him to a long-term extension a few months later, though he was initially acquired with just one year remaining. In return, St. Louis sent right-handed pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, and infielder Andy Young. Goldy had just completed a big ’18 for Arizona, by the way: .290/.389/.533 (144 wRC+) and +5.1 fWAR.

This was a pretty big haul for the first baseman. Weaver had become a major league rotation piece in St. Louis with just over a year of major league service. He ranked in the leaguewide top 100 prospects in 2017 per BA and MLB Pipeline. Kelly littered top 100 lists in 2017 and 2018, but was blocked by Yadier Molina. Young was never a significant prospect, but rather, a guy with utility infielder upside.


I considered including the Mookie Betts trade too, but he’s in a different stratosphere in terms of talent. Plus, there was a lot of money involved in that trade, making it a difficult comparison. So, I think Cutch and Goldy are decent deals to look at when considering a potential Gallo swap.

I think we’re looking at something in the middle of the McCutchen and Goldschmidt trades. Arizona got a pretty big haul, essentially receiving two major league ready top 100 guys as the headliners. Pittsburgh’s return has certainly worked out well too, but I don’t think that was necessarily expected at the time.

Perhaps the Yankees can nab one (current or former) top 100 guy in exchange for Gallo. And I’m going to guess that Seattle is the team potentially involved. I wonder if shortstop JP Crawford is attainable, especially if the Yankees are seriously considering not making a big splash (meanwhile, the Mariners may sign a big shortstop — go figure). I’d also try to get catcher Cal Raleigh or right handed pitching prospect Matt Brash. Odds are the Yankees could only get one, if any of those three, in a deal for Gallo. My trade proposal sucks, of course.

Now, as for who replaces Gallo in New York? Giancarlo Stanton is poised to play more outfield next year after playing a good amount in the second half of this season. And if we’re to assume that the Yankees do wind up getting a center fielder, Aaron Hicks could always slide to left and play a fair amount. Last, it’s inevitable that Brett Gardner will be back, right? Right.

Jesse asks: Do you think the Yankees should have matched/exceeded the offer for any player signed so far?

First and foremost: this isn’t my money. As such, I’m inclined to say that the Yankees should be matching or outspending everyone on any given player. But, since we are well aware that Hal Steinbrenner always has his eye on the luxury tax, I’ll try to look at this through that lens. I expect him to exceed the tax this year, regardless of where it sits in the new CBA, but I’m positive he’ll try to reset again in the not so distant future (ugh).

Let’s start with the two $100+ million contracts thus far: Marcus Semien ($175 million for 7 years) and Kevin Gausman ($110 million for 5 years). I’m going to say no to both: my eyes are set on bigger fish in free agency. I’d much rather give a long term deal to a shortstop still in their mid-20s (Carlos Correa or Corey Seager) rather than 7 years to a 31 year-old. As for Gausman: I’m worried about his fly ball tendencies leaving San Francisco back to the AL East, so it’s a no for me. I’d prefer the younger Robbie Ray.

The next largest deal is the one the Mets gave Starling Marte (4 years, $78 million). But as I wrote before, I’m not keen on signing him through age 37, so he’s out.

None of the other multi-year deals make me feel like the Yankees missed out, either. On the pitching side: Steven Matz, Anthony DeSclafani, Justin Verlander, Eduardo Rodríguez, and Jon Gray just don’t get me going. Ditto for the other bats: Avisaíl García, Eduardo Escobar, and Mark Canha aren’t what the Yankees need.

Really, there’s just one guy I’d have and matched so far: the Angels deal for Noah Syndergaard, who signed for just one year and $21 million. He’s pitched in New York and had success, his stuff is nasty when healthy, and the Mets fell behind the rest of the league in pitching strategy in recent seasons. I think there’s a ton of upside there.

There’s bigger and better still out there, and I fully expect the Yankees to make the big splash (at least at shortstop — they better). But so far, there’s not much that’s been done that makes me feel any regret. I reserve the right to change that depending on today’s activity (Max Scherzer?), but otherwise, I’m not concerned. Yes, it’s been a pretty boring offseason for the Yankees to date, but let’s save our anger for when (and if) they don’t make a big move.

Adam asks: Bigger black eye: Don Mattingly not in the Hall of Fame or Bobby Murcer not in Monument Park?

I was too young to remember Mattingly, and even if I was cognizant at the time, I would have caught Mattingly’s tail end. In any case, it’s pretty clear to me that Mattingly doesn’t belong in Cooperstown. From my viewpoint, he needed at least a few more years like his 1984-1987 stretch when he hit .337/.381/.560 (155 OPS+). That’s an absolutely dominant peak, albeit a brief one. ’88 and ’89 were pretty good too, but overall, he posted just a 112 OPS+ from 1988 to the end of his career. That’s just not going to cut it. JAWS has him as the 39th-best first baseman, for what it’s worth. Again, not Hall-worthy, nor a black eye at all in my opinion.

Murcer’s playing days ended under a half decade before I was born, but his prime with the Bombers came well before that. There’s no doubt he was terrific player in his prime, especially during a not-so-great era for the Yankees, but he was more than just an outfielder for the Bombers. I remember him best during his time in the broadcast booth where he was a joy to listen to. When accounting for his playing and broadcast career, he was a Yankees staple for three or four decades. It’s pretty bizarre that hasn’t earned him any sort of honor in Monument Park, especially since it’s a much easier bar to clear than the Hall. So to answer Adam: No Murcer in Monument Park is bigger black eye than Mattingly not in Cooperstown. I think that’s a pretty easy conclusion.

Jim asks: Thoughts on trading bad contracts for Eric Hosmer?

No thanks, I want no part of Hosmer. He’s signed through 2025, and even though he could opt out after 2022, that’s not happening. He has a 99 wRC+ since 2018 and is a pretty bad defender per Statcast. The Yankees can do a lot better at first base.

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12 Comments

  1. Wire Fan

    I am clearly in the minority, but i’d like to see the Yankees keep Gallo. We saw him at his worst, but at his best he is an MVP caliber ceiling. We know Hicks will get hurt and either Judge or Stanton (or both) will get dinged up. The Yankees could use a durable outfielder with huge upside.

    The one signing I liked was Graveman. If the budget minded Yankees want to compete going forward they can’t be paying multiple relievers 13-15mil/yr so Boone has a simple 7-8-9 formula he can follow. Use some of that money on depth (bullpen, bench, SP)

  2. MikeD

    The Yankees “are” fielding calls on Gallo and the Yankees as written in the question and the “have” fielded calls on Gallo as written in the tweet suggest different things. The first more implies they’ve told teams they’re open to shopping him; the second implies teams have called on their own. The more passive version, the second one, is what was in the tweet, so I’m not reading too much into this. The Padres are likely the west coast team since Preller has had Gallo on his list for some time. What exactly the Padres can and will offer is another story.

  3. Scout

    We (fans and media) just don’t understand. The Yankees like their players more than we do, just like the NY Giants liked their offensive linemen more than their fans and the media did. And that’s worked out fine for the Giants. Oh…wait.

  4. Steve

    You’ll get Simmons and Matt Harvey. A small market team like the Yankees just can’t financially compete with the big guys.

    • Bartholomew Meshir

      Steve gets it. Gone are the days of kids dreaming to be Yankees. Frankly I’m tired of the media treating every player that is traded here like it’s some rite of passage to a higher level of play. Can he handle New York!? Has he had his Yankee moment yet?!?! If they struggle like Galo did it’s just some mystical force that NYC puts on players lol

  5. dasit

    correa will now be asking for stupid money
    my bet is they re-sign rizzo, sign a stopgap ss, bring back tanaka, and call it a day

  6. Feliz Navideddard

    The wealthy Rangers and Mariners just got Seager and Ray. Hal fiddles while Rome burns. Luis Rojas will be the biggest FA acquisition the Yankees make this offseason.

  7. Eric S.

    Well maybe the best thing is for the Yanks to crash next year and thereafter until Hal realizes he needs to use the resources the team possesses in terms of money. But if he doesn’t care why should the fans – think of all the free time and money that can be put to other purposes if one doesn’t watch the Yanks.

  8. Feliz Navideddard

    And it was just announced that the Mets get Scherzer. My God they’re the new toast of the town. And Hal fiddles while Rome burns. That loud sound you just heard was George rolling in his grave.

    • Bartholomew Meshir

      Scherzer is a mad man who wants to win and can’t stand the namby pamby Aaron Boone.

      • Feliz Navideddard

        It’s gotta be something, Bartholomew. The excuse people always gave for why we couldn’t get Scherzer was that he didn’t want to play in New York. That was obviously a lie. He’ll play in New York for the right price. With DeGrom and Scherzer the Mets have the best 1-2 punch since Johnson-Schilling. Cohen is what George used to be in the good ol’ days when we used to win things.

  9. Feliz Navideddard

    Christopher asks: Just saw the Yankees are fielding calls on Joey Gallo. If traded, what return can they expect and who fills in at LF?

    Is a bucket of used condoms too much to ask for, Christopher? Gallo hit .100 with us and wasn’t even good in the outfield as he dropped too many fly balls. I don’t think we’d get much for him but he’s one of those guys that trading him would be addition by subtraction. Stanton can play a better LF and open up the DH for Judge to rest or Voit if we keep him or we can do the unthinkable and sign a better hitter that can actually hit the ball once in a while.

    Jesse asks: Do you think the Yankees should have matched/exceeded the offer for any player signed so far?

    I woulda signed Semien, Jesse. I hope by not getting him it means we’ll sign Seager or another top SS but I doubt it. All we’ll hear about is that the Yankees are “monitoring the market” and at the end of the FA period a journeyman backup will be signed and Cash will say they have all confidence in Gleyber Torres. Anyone else notice how every other club is wheeling and dealing and we’re doing absolutely nothing? Not even a peep. Even the Mets are pulling out the check book. Marte’s too old but at least they’re trying. When they asked Hal what he was thankful for this Thanksgiving he said all of his piles of gold that he slides down every morning. Yankees won’t be signing any FA this offseason unless Jay Bruce comes out of retirement.

    Adam asks: Bigger black eye: Don Mattingly not in the Hall of Fame or Bobby Murcer not in Monument Park?

    Both, Adam. Donnie Baseball shoulda been in the HOF a long time ago and the veterans committee needs to vote him in already. A bad back forced him into retirement, otherwise he’s there for the late 90’s dynasty and Tino never has a plaque in monument park. And if Tino has a plaque then Bobby should too. They can give Bobby one next year along with CC, Gardy and Eduardo Nuney.

    Jim asks: Thoughts on trading bad contracts for Eric Hosmer?

    Jesus Christ Almighty, Jim. What is with all these people that want to trade for bad players that cost $20 million a year? At least Hosmer did hit .270 so that’s better than the .200 guys that people usually want to trade for. But he has no power and you need that at 1B. We saw this year what happens when you don’t. We need a Freeman or an Olson or at the very least a healthy Luke Voit. Rizzo is a nice player but I don’t think he has enough pop in the bat and Hosmer is a poor man’s Rizzo.

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