Ellsbury to the Brewers?

Word began to circulate on Twitter last night, notably from the same person who predicted the Giancarlo Stanton trade and Joe Girardi firing, that Jacoby Ellsbury could be headed to the Brewers.

The Brewers are in need of an outfielder and the Yankees could be willing to throw in a good prospect, such as Albert Abreu, to make the deal work.  In exchange, the Yankees could get back someone like Travis Shaw, the 27-year-old former Red Sox prospect who hammered 31 home runs last season for the Brewers.

The Brewers have also been linked to Yu Darvish and Mike Moustakas.

We’ll see.

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Cole Traded to Astros; Yankees Remain in on Darvish

Gerrit Cole was traded to the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros this weekend, ending months of speculation that Cole was going to the Bronx.  The package for Cole was, in the opinion of most experts, less than what was offered by the New York Yankees.

The Yankees reportedly offered Clint Frazier and some lower-end prospects, but refused to part with Miguel Andujar, possibly an indication that Andujar has the inside track for the 3B job.

The Yankees remain interested in Yu Darvish but continue to wait for the price to fall, or to be able to move Jacoby Ellsbury’s contract.

Various reports have the Brewers interested in Mike Moustakas, which could open up Travis Shaw for a potential trade. Shaw, the 27 year old former Red Sox third basemen batted .273 with 31 HR and 101 RBI and posted a .349 OBP in 2018.

The Yanks Reportedly Offered Yu Darvish 7 years, $160+ million / Update: No, they Didn’t.

Darvish has some of the most electric stuff in baseball, but at 31 years old it is unlikely this report is true.  The Yankees have, in recent years, balked at giving long contracts to players in their 30s.

In the post-steroid era, players are not remaining dominant into their early 40s, as they did during the first part of this century.  Players now seem to begin their decline around 32-33 years old, and by the time they are 36 or 37 they are no longer worth the investment.

However, if the Yankees could somehow get Darvish to agree to a 1-year deal for about 20 million dollars, it could be a good fit.  He would provide one more durable starting rotation option, will miss a lot of bats (which is always good in Yankee Stadium), and would be a nice fit for a team that has a legitimate chance to go to the World Series in 2018.

 

UPDATE: From Yu Darvish himself https://twitter.com/faridyu/status/951874179200102402

Do the Yankees NEED Another Starter?

There has been much talk about the Yankees possibly adding Gerrit Cole or Yu Darvish, but do the Yankees really need a starting pitcher?  Let’s take a look at the rotation and current available options.

 

Current 5-man rotation with 2017 stats:

Luis Severino (24) – 14-6, 2.98 ERA, 193.1 innings, 230 K
Masahiro Tanaka (29) – 13-12, 4.74 ERA, 178.1 innings, 194 K
Sonny Gray (28) – 10-12, 3.55 ERA, 162.1 innings, 153 K
Jordan Montgomery (25) – 9-7, 3.88 ERA, 155.1 innings, 144 K
CC Sabathia (37) – 14-5, 3.69 ERA, 148 innings, 120 K

Clearly the Yankees have five pretty solid pitchers, seeing as how the only pitcher with an ERA over 4.00 is Tanaka, who has historically been much better.  One thing that IS concerning is that none of the current five threw 200 innings in 2017, meaning the Yankees will likely need to dip into AAA for spot starts.

Here are their most likely candidates:
Luis Cessa – 0-3, 4.75 ERA at the MLB level. Cessa has good stuff, but struggles with command and is homer-prone

Chance Adams – 15-5, 2.45 ERA in 150 innings between AA – AAA.  Adams is an extreme flyball pitcher, and doesn’t have particularly overpowering stuff.  However he could succeed in the big leagues if he can keep the ball out of the air.

Justus Sheffield – 7-7, 3.12 ERA in 98 innings between rookie league and AA.  Many scouts think he is ready right now, but obviously his innings are a concern (having never thrown more than 125) and he has never pitched above A-Ball.

How Valuable is Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner is going to be 34 years old for the 2018 season, and one might think he is set to decline.  However, if you look at the trends in his production, he seems to be improving with age.

 

His On-base Percentage in 2016 and 2017 were .351 and .350, respectively. Those mark the 2nd and 3rd best marks over a full season for his career.

In 2018, he smashed 21 home runs, a career high (previous high was 17 in 2014).

Gardner’s 4.9 WAR was the second highest of his career, behind only his 2010 campaign (7.4!)

Gardner struggled at times in the postseason, but had perhaps one of the most important at-bats of the Yankees 2017 run when he battled off several tough pitches before singling to right field to add two tack-on runs in game 5 of the ALDS against the Indians.

How will Brett Gardner fair in 2018, batting ahead of Aaron Judge?

 

The Yankees Remain Interested in Manny Machado and Yu Darvish

The Yankees, so far this offseason, have only improved on a team that won 91 games, defeated the #1 seed Indians, and nearly went to the World Series.

But they may not be done.

John Heyman reports the Yankees are still continuing to check in on both Manny Machado and Yu Darvish, but can they acquire either player (or both, for that matter), and stay under the Luxury Tax threshold of $197 million?  It is unlikely, unless they can make some other deals.

Jacoby Ellsbury has an AAV (average annual value) of $21.85 million and a full no-trade clause.  Surely no team would be willing to take on the entire contract, but if the Yankees could dump at least half of the deal, it would fee up money for just one of the aforementioned players.

The Yankees have other options, mind you, should they decide to move players.

Dellin Betances is likely to make at least four million in 2018 and could easily be traded for a less expensive (and less dominant / erratic) bullpen piece.

Brett Gardner, though a fan favorite, is due $13 million and entering his age-34 season.  Moving Gardner would allow the Yankees to plug Frazier or Stanton into Left Field, though it’s unlikely the Yankees will move Gardner.

Currently, the Yankees have about $10 million left to spend (they must also leave room for in-season call ups and medical packages for each player).  To add both Darvish and Machado, the Yankees would need to clear about $28 million additional dollars, which seems unlikely without a major roster overhaul.

The most likely scenario is that the Yankees simply use Tyler Wade and Miguel Andujar to start the season, with Gleyber Torres arriving some time in late spring or early summer.  The Yankees can use their remaining 10-million to take on salary for a mid-season pitching acquisition, if needed.