New York Yankees Analysis: Is the Yankees’ hot corner the “hottest?”

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela

I have written over a dozen New York Yankees top 10 articles dealing with everything from the top 10 Yankee first baseman to the top 10 Derek Jeter moments, but I have never done one across all of baseball. Today I am going to give my top 10 third baseman in baseball. These are just my humble opinions based on what I have seen and actual baseball stats;  a novel approach to the stats, and some other baseball writers’ opinions. My stats are weighed heavily on fielding percentage, batting average and are averages for the 2019 and 2020 season.

I also tried a novel but non scientific way of rating the third baseman. I placed them one through three on the below stats. I gave 9 points for first, 6 points for second, and 3 points for third place. This formula places the players in this order.  Anthony Rendon (21) points, Nolan Arenado (18), Josh Donaldson (12), Gio Urshela (12), Rafeal Devers (6). Receiving 3 points each were Alex Bregman, Matt Chapman, Justin Turner, and Jose Ramirez. Yoan Moncada received no points for not placing in any of the categories.

Best batting average (BA) 1. Gio Urshela, 2. Anthony Rendon, 3. Justin Turner.

Most RBI’s: (RBI) 1. Anthony Rendon, 2. Rafeal Devers, 3. Nolan Arenado

Most home runs (HR) 1. Nolan Arenado, 2. Alex Bregman, 3. Matt Chapman

Most walks (BB) 1. Anthony Rendon, 2. Josh Donaldson, 3. Jose Ramirez

Fielding percentage (FP) 1. Josh Donaldson, 2. Nolan Arenado, 3. Gio Urshela.

Here is my finalized top 10 third baseman in baseball today, be reminded that stats are averaged for the last two seasons:

10. Yoan Moncada – Chicago White Sox.

(BA) .270 (RBI) 51 (HR) 15.5 (BB) 31 (FP) .963.

Moncada is part of a budding core in Chicago that has the White Sox thinking they could become the most interesting teams to watch over the next few seasons. Moncada in his age 24 season batted .315 with 25 home runs with .915 OPS, and a 5.7 fWAR. That got him a $70 million paycheck for five seasons. The White Sox were one of the most active teams in baseball during the offseason and are pretty well set up for the next many years. During the next decade they will be one of the most successful teams in baseball, and Moncada will play a big part in that success.

9. Matt Chapman – Oakland Athletics

(BA) .240.5 (RBI) 58 (HR) 23 (BB) 23 (FP) .962.

Over the last three seasons  FanGraphs says that Chapman has been the third most valuable offensive third baseman in baseball, one spot above Arenado where Chapman falls over is in his fielding ability, of the top ten he is third to last for that valuable stat. Chapman, who will turn 28 in April, has helped the A’s to win 133 games in the last two seasons. He will look to substantially improve his batting average and fielding percentage in 2021.

8. Rafael Devers – Boston Red Sox.

(BA) .287 (RBI) 79 (HR) 22.5 (BB) 29.5 (FP) .920.

Devers is just 24 years old and has probably not reached his prime yet. Devers slashed .311/.361/.555 with a 5.9 fWAR in 2019 and exposed for 32 home runs. He like many players didn’t have a good 2020 season. The Red Sox are going to need the young man to play like he did in 2019 because the Red Sox have dimantled their lineup. Mookie Betts went to the Dodgers last season and they have recently traded away Anthony Benintendi to the Kansas City Royals, and there are plenty of rumors out there that Jackie Bradley Jr. could be traded as well. At this moment the Red Sox and their fans have little to look forward too. Devers needs to improve his play at the hot corner as he is last in that category.

7. Gio Urshela – New York Yankees

(BA) .306 (RBI) 52 (HR) 13.5 (BB) 21.5 (FP) .973.

There are many that will say the Giovanny Urshela doesn’t belong on this list, but I say he does.  He has the highest batting average of the last two years of anyone on this list. He also has one of the best fielding percentages of those on the list. A third reason is that when so many players had lousy seasons last year, Urshela maintained his excellent play. He also came in second in Gold Glove voting in 2020. The New York Yankee’s Urshela’s has a reputation for game-saving grabs, while working to improve his range.  As the incumbent starter in 2020, Urshela’s near replication of his stats from his first year with the New York Yankees seems to have proven he’s here to stay as one of the better hitting infielders in the both leagues. For the Yankees he was only second to DJ LeMahieu the 2020 batting champ.

6.  Justin Turner – Los Angeles Dodgers

(BA) .298.5 (RBI) 50 (BB) 34.5 (HR) 15.5 (FP) .962.5

Turner continued to man the hot corner for the Dodgers, but now as a free agent the Dodgers are trying to keep him in Los Angeles. Meanwhile the Milwaukee Brewers are trying to pry him away from his favorite landing site. He has averaged around 500 plate appearances over the past three seasons, but has still been remarkably productive. He needs to cut down on his strikeouts. He has one of the better batting averages on this list, but second to last in home runs.  Another good year from Turner looks to be in the offing, but a precipitous drop at his age wouldn’t be out of the question, either. Turner will turn 38 at the end of the season.

5. Josh Donaldson – Minnesota Twins

(BA) .240 (RBI) 52.5 (BB) 59 (HR) 21.5 (FP) .984.5

The former Athletics, Blue Jays, Braves, Indians third baseman received $92 million to upgrade Minnesota’s offense. Donaldson is now 35, but a slightly younger, 33-year-old Donaldson put up a five-win season for the Braves, so while age-related decline is a concern, his recent performance is a little more relevant. Since 2013, Donaldson’s 40.6 WAR is second to Mike Trout among position players. 40.6 WAR over eight years is quite excellent. Of the entire grouping on this list even at his age he has the best fielding percentage of third baseman.

4. Jose Ramirez – Cleveland Indians

(BA) .273.5 (RBI) 64.5 (BB) 41.5 (HR) 20 (FB) .954

Ramirezs started out the 2019 season real slow but after the All Star break he finished the season at a torrid rate slashing .327/.365/.739 with 16 home runs, 48 RBIs and a 1.105 OPS in 44 games. He continued in 2020 with a .292 batting average and hitting 17 home runs. That in a normal 162 game season is the equivalent of 45 long balls.

Perhaps he’ll never top the historic production that he put up in 2018, but the Indians would probably be content if Ramirez had a full season similar to what he did in 2017 when he finished third in the MVP voting. The 2021 Cleveland Indians hope to put together a better season;. They lost in the 2020 Wild Card by being swept by the New York Yankees.

Anyone can argue these top three, they could be in any order, Most in baseball feel Bregman is the number one third baseman, but based on 2020 performance I have them in this order.

(BA) .269 (RBI) 67 (BB) 32.5 (HR) 23.5 (FP) .972.5

As much as I hate to admit it, the Houston Astros have a really good third basemen in Alex Bregman. In 2017 when the Astros cheated the New York Yankees of a World Series berth. Bregman played well and was even better in 2018 and 2019 when they faced the Yankees again. In 2020 Bregman like many players had a down season. Bregman’s biggest problem in not reaching number one is his relatively low batting average and high strike out rate.

Bregman is an odd player in that he hits better away from Minute Maid Park – Bregman finished second in American League MVP voting in 2019. Many believe his the best in MLB. The fact is that Nolan Arenado, Matt Chapman, Gio Urshela and especially Josh Donaldon are far superior fielders than Bregman. He also is an adequate shortstop.

(BA) .284 (RBI) 72 (BB) 38.5 (HR) 24.5 (FP) .981

This seven time Gold Glove recipient is one of the greatest fielders of third baseman with a high batting average and superb fielding percentage. That is why I believe he is better than Alex Bregman. He also has more home runs in the last five seasons than Bregman.  Arenado will be a Hall of Famer due in part to the fact he played at Coor’s Field and not the New York Yankees Yankee Stadium.

It is indisputable that Arenado has benefited from playing at Coors Field, as his batting average in home games in his career is 59 points higher when playing at the old Mile High Stadium. Simply put Arenado is one of the most complete players in the sport. Now away from Coors Field as a Cardinal we will see if he can maintain his excellent stats.

(BA) .302.5 (RBI) 80.5 (BB) 59 (HR) 21.5 (FP) .972.5

Now we finally come to my number one third baseman in baseball. He led the Washington Nationals to their first World Series in 2019. That alone got him a $245 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels in free agency. He is second only to the New York Yankee’s Gio Urshela in batting average; he is forth in home runs and fifth in fielding percentage. In my belief he is the most valuable third baseman. In 2018 he finished third in the MVP voting.

Along with being excellent at the hot corner, Rendon is the complete player that hits well, fields well and is durable. In 2019 he played in all but 14 games on the way to his World Series ring. In 2020 he played in all but eight games for the Angels. And FanGraphs agrees saying the he is the most valuable offensive third baseman in baseball.

Here’s my case for Rendon being the best there is: Reliabilty— his durability remained in place throughout the early stages of his big-league career. In recent years, however, Rendon has developed into a reliable quantity in multiple senses — he’s been physically able to perform, and he’s consistently played well. Rendon is a well rounded hitter that sees the ball well and has a relatively low strikeout rate. Rendon is more than just an above-average hitter, he’s also a defensive asset at the hot corner with quick hands and good instincts. He also adapts well to changing situations.

Rendon although led by one of the best managers in baseball in Joe Maddon and playing beside the best player in baseball in Mike Trout, Rendon will likely not win another World Series ring playing for the Los Angeles Angels.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Sanchez “horrible,” Ottavino surprised and more

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez was tendered this offseason and given a slight raise to avoid arbitration. But earlier in the offseason, general manager Brian Cashman had described his last season as “horrible.” Sanchez is a baseball enigma as he can be one of the best hitters in the game at times, but he can also be one of the worst. Last season he was the worst, hitting only .147, striking out almost half of the time, but hitting a respectable ten home runs. Yesterday in a Zoom call, Cashman, however, continued to support the catcher:

“The fact he’s still with us shows how we feel [about him],’’ Cashman said on a Zoom call Friday. “I know he’s looking forward to proving last year was a fluke. We look forward to him justifying our continued commitment to him. We do believe in him.’’

What puzzles Yankees fans is that, at times, he makes mental mistakes running the bases and missing passed balls. It sometimes makes you think that he doesn’t understand the fundamentals of the game. To reinforce that, after the postseason, when he was allowed to only catch in two games, he publically said he didn’t understand why he was benched. It’s concerning when a player that isn’t contributing doesn’t understand why he has been benched in favor of the better hitting and better catching Kyle Higashioka.

“Whether you were told directly [about being benched], I don’t really care,’’ Cashman said. “You’re pretty self-aware at that point. You had a horrible year on both sides of the ball. You lost your job in the most important time of the season, which is October baseball. I’m not sure an explanation is necessary.”

I’m sure that Sanchez’s bad play is still in the back of his mind, but publically, he has put it behind him with a new contract for the upcoming year. He has both been training at the George M. Steinbrenner training complex in Tampa during the offseason and playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. For the Toros, he had 62 plate appearances, with 2 home runs an improved batting average of .245, but still struck out a quarter of the time.

The Yankees still have to solve the problem of having only two catchers. After the season ended, backup catcher Erik Kratz caught in Deivi Garcia’s Major League debut, hung up his cleats, and retired. The Yankees can’t operate with just two pitchers. If Sanchez or Higashioka are injured, they then have no backup catcher. It is unclear if they will sign or trade for another catcher before the season or use someone from the minors if necessary.

Ottavino surprised by the trade

Adam Ottavino is a smart guy and basically one of the best relievers in the game but after his poor performance, he always knew being traded was an option for the Yankees. However, he was surprised by how it happened. On the day that he was traded he was at Yankee Stadium throwing from the mound when he was informed of the trade. It’s unclear who actually informed him, but manager Aaron Boone was on hand at the Stadium at the time.

Ottavino was probably more surprised than anybody when he found out the trade was with the rival Boston Red Sox; now, he could be facing his formal team as many at 19 times in the coming season. As far as the trade goes, it is only the second time that the two teams have engaged in a trade during this century.

The Yankees have still not forgotten the cheating Houston Astros

It’s been over two years since the Houston Astros won the World Series, possibly by cheating. During the year and possibly beyond, the Astros used illegal electronic means and other means to let hitters know what pitches were coming. Major League Baseball investigated and found it to be true. They suspended the manager A.J. Hinch and the teams’ general manager for a year, but the Astros owner immediately fired both of them.

Something that still sticks in the craw of the New York Yankees and its players is that no individual player was reprimanded in any way. In particular, it cost Aaron Judge the Rookie of the Year Award. The cheater, Jose Altuve, beat him out for the reward. However, the cheating hurt the records of other players and pitchers alike from all the teams they played against.

Another instance that proves that bad feeling still exists against the Astros came up yesterday when Brian Cashman spoke of what Masahiro Tanaka has meant to the Yankees during his seven-year stint with the team. Cashman mentioned that Tanaka worked really hard to get us to a World Series, but it never came to fruition. He mentioned that his best chance was in 2017, but he hit the “shenanigans” of the Astros, depriving him of a World Series appearance.

Possible targets disappearing by the day

Although the New York Yankees have been very active during the last two weeks improving the team, many have criticized Brian Cashman for the slow start in his wait-and-see strategy while waiting to sign DJ LeMahieu. Even LeMahieu has said since the signing that the negotiations could have been completed in two weeks. Meanwhile, possible targets have been being signed by other teams.

Notably, several healthy pitchers and relievers have signed with other teams. More recently, the Yankees had to decide if they would bring back outfielder Brett Gardner or acquire Joc Pederson or another outfielder. That choice is now gone as Pederson has signed a deal with the Chicago Cubs.  J.A. Happ has signed with the Minnesota Twins.

The Yankees were considering an upgrade at shortstop; their two targets would have been Altrelton Simmons and the Colorado Rockies Trevor Story. Simmons signed with the Twins. Now that the Rockies have traded  Nolan Arenado and as much as $50MM to the Cardinals, they won’t consider a story trade. Previously another target, the best shortstop in the business, Francisco Lindor, went to the New York Mets. You get the point, every day that the New York Yankees don’t act, their options become fewer.

MLB insider reports the Rockies want the Mets to trade for Nolan Arenado; proposes idea

New York Yankees, Nolan Arenado

The New York Mets have been very active in the offseason, adding reliever Trevor May, catcher James McCann, owner Steve Cohen, president Sandy Alderson, general manager Jared Porter, and plenty of depth arms, most recently starter Jerad Eickhoff. They still have holes to fill, though.

The Colorado Rockies, in turn, may be looking at a different approach to the offseason. Star third baseman Nolan Arenado still has six years and more than $190 million remaining in his mammoth contract, and they would like to move him this winter. The problem for potential suitors is that he has an opt-out clause after 2021.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Paul Morosi, the Rockies want the New York Mets to be involved in trade talks. They know that Cohen, who recently took over the Queens’ team, has loads of money and isn’t afraid to spend if it means improving the roster.

“The team that I am watching very carefully — that I was told even this week is the team the Rockies want to engage with — is the New York Mets,” Jon Morosi reported Wednesday morning on MLB Network (link to SNY article here.)

The Mets may not be that interested

The Rockies would like to free up some salary to extend shortstop Trevor Story and to receive a couple of quality players from any potential suitor. They see the Mets as an attractive trade partner. However, the sentiment may not be mutual.

Morosi suggested that Robinson Cano could be part of a transaction, and it would help offset the massive amount of money still owed to Arenado. In addition, the writer speculated that Brandon Nimmo and a prospect could seal the deal.

The Mets, however, may not be interested in the deal. Sure, it would improve the infield defense and shore up the lineup, but they would be taking a massive contract and give up valuable players for a player that may opt out after next season. If Colorado accepts Cano, like Morosi suggests, maybe there would be some kind of interest from the Mets, but that’s highly unlikely.

The Mets have options to plug at third base, anyway. They can play Jeff McNeil, Andres Gimenez or JD Davis there.

MLB Analysis: A deeper look into Blake Snell’s refusal to play

New York Yankees, Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado, in an interview with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, let his feelings regarding the MLB proposed plan and his reactions to the Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blakes Snell’s video in which he said he wouldn’t play for less money with the health risks being so high.  Arenado was very thoughtful in his responses to Rosenthal’s questions.  There isn’t very much writing on my part in this article as it’s pretty much straight from the Rosenthal interview.  I guess that many New York Yankee players are more in line with Arenado’s comment than Snell’s.

Many players like Trevor Bauer of the Indians and a host of other players in the past several weeks have let their feelings be known.  But on Wednesday night Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Black Snell took it to a new level.  Snell went on his Twitch channel and unloaded on the MLB.

The players already agreed to a 50% pay cut due to the season that will be reduced by 50% of the games.  In the latest plan, the owners want to limit player compensation because the COVID-19 pandemic will force games to be played without ticket sales and concessions revenue.  The owners consider it revenue sharing the players consider it a salary cap, something they have rejected since the 1970s.  Snell, who originally was to earn $7 million this season in the second year of a five-year, $50 million contract, was having none of it.

This interview with Ken Rosenthal was edited by me for interest and clarity.

  • Let’s start with Snell’s comments. He said, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine.” When you heard about that, what did you think?

I think he was being honest, just being real. He made a lot of good points. There are some points he made that were true, that are facts. A lot of it gets misperceived. Trying to get the public to understand us, it’s not going to work very well in our favor.  We’re baseball players, right? We make great money. Regardless if we don’t make the money we want, we’re still making great money. A lot of people in this world are struggling a lot harder than us.

I guarantee if you read the comments, you’re probably thinking, “You don’t have to work 12 hours a day. You’re not the one without a job. You’re still getting paid.” Those people have a right to say that.

  • What do you say to the public? What would you want the public to know about your position?

I know some people think, “They just want to play if they get all their money.” We’re not going to get all our money regardless. We understand we’re not going to get paid everything we thought we were getting this year. But we still want to go out there and play and earn our contracts and put on a show for the fans. It’s important for us to play, important for free agency, everything. Players understand that. It’s pretty sad now what’s going on in our country. It would be great to bring joy. And I think baseball is a great sport to do that.

  • Snell said, “The risk is through the roof.” Do you agree with that?

It’s hard to say. People are risking their lives in a lot of bigger ways than we would be. It’s a risk, but I don’t think it’s as risky as what other people are doing to make ends meet, to try to earn money.

Arenado was referring to health care workers, first responders, and those that have to go out every day and face the public like grocery store workers.

“I understand what he’s trying to say. It’s a risk, yeah, but I don’t think MLB would approve of this if the government or whoever is in charge of making sure we’re good to go didn’t approve of it.  I feel like that wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t going to be OK to play.”

  • Some players also have said, “We’re taking all the risk. That is why we are so adamant about not taking an additional pay cut.” How do you view that?

I get that. And I agree. It is a risk. We did negotiate a deal. I think that’s the thing: We negotiated a deal. Now let’s go play. Let’s get to work. That’s where we as players are coming from. Obviously, there are discussions about revenue (sharing) and changing it up a bit. But we already discussed that. Let’s get to work now.

Arenado did not make it clear as to if he was willing to accept revenue sharing to get to play this season.

  • The league will propose a series of protocols about health. What do you want to see most in those protocols? What is your biggest concern, health-wise, about playing?

In a very long response, Arenado said he was aware of the CNN program that Commission Manfred was on where he detailed all the steps that MLB would take to assure player safety, and he was happy with those steps.  He also added: “They wouldn’t approve of this plan if those questions weren’t about to be answered.”

  • An AP story today said the union asked the owners for their financial records. If the owners did that and you saw the clubs were in distress, would you be more open to hearing what they have to say?  

I’m going to listen to our (Players Association). I believe our PA is looking out for our best interests. They’re trying to get us back on the field. We want to play baseball. Don’t ever believe that we’re not trying to get back out there, or (union chief) Tony (Clark) doesn’t want us to get back out there. He wants us to get back out there. But it’s gotta be right.  Paraphrasing he said, I don’t know if seeing the books would change my mind if there is a deal to be made it will be made.

  • How much does it bother you when fans think and say, “The players are greedy. They don’t get it. The players don’t have a clue?”

The fans have the right to say and believe what they want. I get that it’s frustrating. Baseball players get paid a lot of money and then to see us not be able to come to a deal yet, they’re probably like, “You get paid all this money, and you’re complaining about this and that.” It’s not really about that. We want to put on a show for them. That’s our whole focus as baseball players. But there are a lot of things that have to get done first. But if you ask us as baseball players, we look at it as a job. We want to go back and do our jobs as soon as we can.

When he was asked how it would look if a deal couldn’t be reached, he responded:  It would look bad, it would be disappointing. We hope it doesn’t come to that.  We don’t feel guilty. We want to go out and play. The people of this country and fans deserve to see the greatness of some of these players we have in the game.

I thought Nolan Arenado’s responses were very thoughtful with a full understanding of the issues affecting both sides.  But at the same time, he also called for the Players Association to stand their ground and not give away the ship just to get to play.  I think he truly believes a deal can be reached because he and many other players just want to play some baseball this season.  It’s too important not to get a deal.

If you would like to read the entire interview, you can find it here.

Nolan Arenado is not a fit for the New York Yankees

New York Yankees, Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

The New York Yankees have had links to Nolan Arenado since the last offseason. With talks really staying with the Cardinals and Dodgers mainly, the Yankees haven’t been in the trade talks this offseason. The Yankees seemed to be ready to gear up for 2020 with no major trades or signings anywhere in sight until the gambling ods came out recently. At +300, the Yankees were surprisingly the favorites to land Nolan Arenado for Week 1 of the MLB season. Does this mean that us Yankees fans should get excited and start pushing for Arenado? No, no you do not want an extra $30+ million dollar contract for a man who has a sub-.800 OPS outside of Coors Field.

Overrated Star

Nolan Arenado is a top 5 3B in baseball, but he’s not the type of player you trade your entire future for. He’s going to be 29 in April, and he has definitely benefited from Coors Field. He has an issue being above average outside of Coors Field, with 516 games outside of Coors and was mediocre:

Away
2169 PA
.265/.323/.476
98 HR
.799 OPS
71 tOPS+
20.031 AB/HR
6.01 PA/SO

Home
2188 PA
.324/.380/.615
129 HR
.995 OPS
121 tOPS+
15.295 AB/HR
7.22 PA/SO

You realize that the Yankees would pay a fortune for someone who’s below average outside of Coors Field right?

The Price is Not Even Close to Right

The New York Yankees would have to most likely have to use their farm system to get Arenado. He’d cost either an Andujar, Frazier, or Florial. That’s not even the worst part, the Yankees would need to give up guys like Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, or Michael King for him. Those are top prospect talents to give up and that’s without the contract even being brought up. There would be $32.5 million to pay every single year until he is 35. Are there opt-outs? Of course! A player option though, meaning after 2021 he can say “Good Bye!” and go and get a more ludicrous deal somewhere else while your traded prospects go and have nice careers and you realize you’ve burned money you could’ve spent on some depth. No way should the Yankees do that.

Lineup Isn’t A Concern

The New York Yankees can quite literally have 10+ guys with a .800 OPS in 2020. From Aaron Judge to Mike Ford, the Yankees don’t have any shortage of talent in that lineup. If you’re going to trade away the future, do it for a gaping hole, something the Yankees do not have. They shouldn’t hoard prospects, but they shouldn’t just throw them away either. A good farm can be crucial for trade at the right time. When you hit 300+ home runs while setting the record for most injuries, your team is fine.

The need for a Nolan Arenado isn’t there, and overpaying for him is a mistake the Yankees should let a more desperate team make.

New York Yankees: How likely is Nolan Arenado to the Yankees?

New York Yankees, Nolan Arenado

It was released last week that Nolan Arenado is not happy with his current club, the Colorado Rockies. It’s upsetting to see that after signing a huge contract, someone who’s as talented as Arenado is not happy with his franchise.

There’s been a storm in Yankee Twitter that Arenado is likely to come to the New York Yankees through a trade. @OddsShark even posted a tweet of the betting lines on where Arenado will be for Week 1 of the 2020 Major League Baseball season. The Yankees came out on top as the favorites, sitting at +300.

To me, Arenado coming to the Yankees reminds me a lot of the last offseason with Manny Machado. It’s a good thought in fantasy land, but extremely unrealistic. The Yankees just landed the top pitcher in all of baseball and gave him a record-setting contract. I understand that Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankee front office said they’re not holding back with money this offseason, but I think that was meant just for one player: Cole.

I think the New York Yankees offseason is pretty much complete. There’s a possibility that Brian Cashman lands a small trade or signs someone to a small deal, but for the most part, I believe the roster is set and the rotation is ready to go. Just last week, Cashman and Boone made it clear that third base is Gio Urshela’s position to lose and Luke Voit has first base locked down too. There are a few questions remaining on who’s going to play where and have what role, but I think there will be no additions to the roster heading into Week 1 of the season.

New York Yankees linked to Nolan Arenado, but how true are the rumors?

New York Yankees, Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

With Nolan Arenado on the fringe of being traded, of course, the New York Yankees are linked to the All-Star third baseman. There’s no need for GM Brian Cashman to even consider trading for Arenado considering his massive contract that would further push them into the luxury tax threshold, which they already surpassed after the Gerrit Cole signing.

So, now that we’ve got the reasons Arenado to the Yankees wouldn’t make sense out of the way, is there any legitimacy to these rumors?

As of now, only one so-called “source” has mentioned the two teams in the same sentence. A Twitter account called “MLB Marathon,” so take everything with a grain of salt.

Arenado to the Yankees seems to be the highest probability up to this point, but Manny Machado also topped that list in 2019. The reality is, the Yankees don’t need him with Gio Urshela and Miguel Andujar, both able to slide in and provide starting-level reps. However, Arenado is one of the best players in baseball, logging a .315 batting average and 41 homers in 2019.

The New York Yankees infield would be insane:

Plugging him into a Yankees infield consisting of DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, and Luke Voit would be borderline unfair, and that’s not even mentioning their overall offensive efficiency. The biggest turnoff for the Bombers and Cashman would be his contract, let alone the capital they would have to forfeit to gain his services. A preemptive deal would have to include Andujar, Deivi Garcia, Clint Frazier, or other prospects.

Nolan’s bloated eight-year, $260 million deal he signed before last season is a deterrent for the Bombers, who already host Giancarlo’s $26 million and climbing contract per season. Factor in the $35 million they just dished out to Cole and Aaron Judge’s future deal, and we can all but kiss the Arenado dreamscape goodbye.

Jim Bowden of The Athletic released an article on Monday that viewed the Bombers as one of eight teams willing to negotiate, but it would cost them a boat-load of assets. The deal seems to be fair in stature, though.

Yankees News/Rumors: Nolan Arenado to the Yankees? Did Pettitte make it happen? And what to the Yankees do with an abundance of pitchers?

New York Yankees, Nolan Arenado

A Daily look at a summary of News and Rumors of interest for New York Yankees fans!

Nolan Arenado:  There is not much going on in the New York Yankees rumor mills, so idle minds have come up with Nolan Arenado’s displeasure with the Colorado Rockies and how the Yankees need the third baseman, and that the Yankees should come up with a trade package that would send Arenado to the Yankees.  Those that suggest this must be unaware that the Yankees already have a logjam at the hot corner.  Would Nolan be an upgrade, yes, of course, he is one of the best players in the game.  The question is, do we need him, and is it worthwhile and responsible to add a $35MM a year player that would skyrocket the Yankee payroll far beyond the highest luxury tax threshold?  The simple answer is no. The trade would most likely send Yankee star Miguel Andujar to the Rockies and reduce break out player Gio Urshela to a utility backup role.

Another reason to forgo the thought of an Arenado trade is that his contract extension last year will allow him to opt-out of his massive contract at the end of 2021 when he is 31.  As a free agent, he will undoubtedly look for an even bigger payday with a deal similar to Manny Machado.  Where would that leave the Yankees?  It would leave them without a 3rd baseman that they had paid so much to get, and they would have lost a future superstar in Miguel Andujar that they traded away to the Rockies.  The whole trade discussion doesn’t make sense for the Yankees.

Andy Pettitte:  On December 3rd  of last year, the Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, Manager Aaron Boone, and new pitching coach Matt Blake made the trip to California to try to convince the best pitcher in baseball to become a Yankee.  Cashman also had in tow special advisor Andy Pettitte who was a childhood idol of Gerrit Cole.  Yes, they gave him and his wife gifts, and Cole the largest in baseball contract for a pitcher in the amount of $324MM over nine years.  But was Andy Pettitte the real tipping point bringing Cole to the Bronx?  According to reports, Cole had a gaggle of questions for Pettitte as to what it was like to pitch at Yankee Stadium.  The two had a private 20-minute conversation when the formal talks were over. Pettitte told him that if he wanted one or more World Championship rings, New York was the place to be.   Cole was signed, and when he was introduced to the New York media a few days later, he made it clear that Pettitte had a lot to do with his decision.

Andy speaking to the YES Network’s Hot Stove, said “It’s crazy for me to realize that I had that kind of impact, I’m glad that I could help him. I’m glad that I was able to be there, and the Yankees wanted me to be there to have, kind of a player’s perspective on it.” Pettitte told him, “If you want to win championships now, I feel like this is the spot for you.” Pettitte also revealed that “he had a lot of good questions. I was glad to be able to be there and answer the questions that he had about New York, playing there as a player, also raising a family there. There was a lot of stuff that he fired at us … every question you could imagine.”  Andy also when talking about Cole said,  “he’s a guy that doesn’t look like he’s fazed by October, which is a very important thing, especially playing in New York. And what we’re planning on and wanting to do over the next decade … hopefully, he gets us a few championships by then.”

Gerrit Cole, when speaking about Andy, said: “When Andy pitches anything, whether it be coming to the Yankees (for a meeting with a free agent) or a game in the postseason, he usually gets the W, and he did again this time.”

Yankees abundance of pitchers:  The Yankees certainly has no shortage of starting pitchers.  Last year the Yankees had the opposite problem with Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery on the IL.  This year both of them are back and healthy.  Add to that, the Yankees went out and got arguably the best starter in baseball with the acquisition of Gerrit Cole to lead the rotation.  Having an abundance of pitchers is most certainly a good problem to have.  But it also creates a logistical challenge.  As it stands now, Cole will lead off, followed by Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and as reported by General Manager Brian Cashman J.A. Happ at the bottom of the rotation.  That leaves Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loaisiga, and a returning Domingo German in June out in the cold.

Some are suggesting that the Yankees go to a six-man rotation.  That has pros and cons.  It would give all pitchers more rest and allow them to go into the postseason fresher.  It would be particularly helpful to a tiring Tanaka that pitched once a week for much of his career.  Some pitchers would like that, and some not.  One massive con to the equation is that the six-man would minimize the Cole effect, giving him fewer starts for the season.  The five-man rotation leaves Jordan Montgomery available should Happ not perform well.  Once German returns, after his 18-4 season, the Yankees will surely want to insert him in place of any pitcher that is struggling or possibly go to a six-man rotation after the All-Star break.  Whatever the case, if the extra starters are sent to the pen, the roster will surely be bulging, which will result in the availability of bench players due to the 26 man roster.  Some players we expect to be at the Stadium will find themselves at Scranton Wilkes/Barre.

The New York Yankees Should Not Go After Nolan Arenado

New York Yankees, Nolan Arenado

New York Yankees fans are greedy. Their team goes after the big names for the prospect of a championship. It’s something George Steinbrenner popularized back in the ’70s/80’s, and it resulted in a full 15 years between World Series appearances, and closer to 20 years between championships. It just doesn’t work.

But that didn’t stop Yankees fans clamoring for Manny Machado and Bryce Harper last season. The fact remained, the Yankees didn’t need either. Miguel Andujar doesn’t do what Machado does defensively, but you’re not gonna bring in someone like Machado to “get Andujar to improve his defense if he wants a shot.” You bring in someone like Machado to REPLACE Andujar in the lineup, period. And Bryce is only valuable for his power. Hits a ton of home runs, has only driven in 100 RBI’s twice and has an “eh” batting average for an MVP caliber player. Judge doesn’t have an MVP, and HIS career batting average is only .003 points off from Harper’s career average. “Oh, but we need a lefty to balance out the line up!” (Sigh) No, we didn’t then, and we don’t now.

And this is why we can only viably get Nolan Arenado, rumored to be a target of the Yankees for years if we trade Andujar AND Urshela to the Rockies for him.

Not… Worth It

As I’ve documented so many times, Andujar and Urshela (based on their small sample size as starting, everyday players) are the same. Both had amazing offensive numbers (Andujar has better power numbers with less than 100 strikeouts, but Urshela has a better average) with subpar defensive seasons (according to FanGraphs, Andujar was the worst defensive third basemen amongst those who qualified in 2018, Urshela was the second-worst in 2019, representing the likely improvement Andujar realistically could have made). They’re going to duke it out this March for the starting job. 

If you trade for Arenado, you can’t keep both on the team. You have to trade them both.

Urshela’s career dWAR is 0.1 for his career, Andujar’s is -2.5. Arenado has a career dWAR of 14.4! His oWAR of 26.5 also dwarfs both men (4.0 for Andujar, with a career WAR of 1.5, 2.9 and 2.3 oWAR and WAR for Urshela). Oh, and can we talk about how Arenado has a career WAR, going into his age 29 seasons of almost 40? It’s better than Harper’s! (Baseball-reference.com)

“Wait,” some of you are asking “how is trading Urshela and Andujar not worth Arenado?”

The simple, elementary deduction, my dear Watson. Arenado has spent his entire career playing in… Denver, Colorado.

Countless offensive studs have passed through Denver, putting up great power numbers. Then, they leave the Rockies, and they don’t come close to the same season. Arenado has spent his entire career as a Rockie. What makes you think his numbers won’t take a stark nose dive after his first season leaving Denver?

Yes, he is different than DJ. DJ spent most of his career in Denver but was a batting champion. Always a high batting average, with an average of 10(ish) home runs and 50(ish) RBI’s. And we all saw what a career contact hitter in Denver could do, once he got out of Denver.

We also know that New York doesn’t always mean an all-star will succeed there. Sonny Gray was an All-Star in Oakland, was terrible as a Yankee, and became an All-Star again last year pitching in Cincinnati. Robinson Cano, prior to his injuries, was having a real lackluster season in his return to New York, albeit in a different burrow. And while Todd Frazier isn’t a perennial MVP candidate, his worst offensive seasons came… in New York.

Urshela and Andujar have their issues, but we KNOW they can succeed in playing 82 games in the Bronx. You trade for Arenado, those three aren’t fighting to see who gets the job in Spring Training. You trade for Arenado, he’s your starting third baseman, you trade Urshela for Arenado (because he’s out of options), and then you send Andujar to the minors to trade him by the deadline. You got Wade, you got Estrada, and you have DJ to give Arenado his days off in the field (which come few and far between as he averages 150 games played per season).

I’m excited as anyone to see who wins third base. But, please baseball gods, don’t ad Arenado to the mix.

Mets unlikely to bid on Rockies’ Nolan Arenado

Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado might just be the quietest superstar in all of Major League Baseball. At age 28, he’s already benn a five-time All-Star, seven time Gold Glove Award winner, led the National League in home runs three times and in RBIs twice.

Arenado is currently being shopped around by the Rockies who are looking to cash in their top chip to rebuild their roster.

That being said, Arenado, although an infielder, would be the perfect compliment for the Mets to match with Pete Alonso, their stud first baseman. But, don’t get your hopes up. A del with the Mets is the longest of long shots at the moment.

From Danny Abriano of SNY.tv:

Arenado is signed to a megadeal through the 2026 season, but has an opt-out after the 2021 season. It’s fair to believe that any acquiring team would want that opt-out waived before sending key pieces to Colorado in exchange.

 

When it comes to the Mets specifically, what Arenado will earn in 2020 could be an issue since they’re already bumping up close to the $208 million luxury tax threshold. That should change after the 2020 season, when a bunch of high-priced players come off the books.

Arenado has seven years and $234 million remaining on his contract which includes an opt out after the 2021 season, but as Danny mentioned, the Mets don’t have the financial bandwidth at the moment to to take that contact on without getting slammed for eclipsing the tax threshold.

And what would it take to pry him away from the Rockies? Think young and cheap. The Rockies might want Alonso and/or Jeff McNeil or Michael Conforto plus a pitcher. Noah Syndergaard is still under control for two more seasons. Then there would be the prospects and that could include one or more of the following: SS Ronny Mauricio, SS Andres Gimenez, RHP Matthew Allan and 3B Brett Baty.