Should the New York Mets Go for Kris Bryant?

The New York Mets are in on the sweepstakes for Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. Let’s face it, the New York Mets AND the rest of baseball is in on the Kris Bryant sweepstakes. But should the Mets pull the trigger on a trade for the former World Series champion and former NL MVP?

Space is Already Tight on the Roster

Jed Lowrie is coming back from injury. Then you got JD Davis and Jeff McNeil also duking it out for the spot at third base. Lowrie is expected to get enough reps in Spring Training to be the starting third baseman next year, meaning you have to figure out where to find playing time for McNeil and Davis, both offensive forces in the lineup last season. Davis and McNeil will undoubtedly find time at other positions, as they did last season as well. But will you trade Bryant just to have him, platoon, with the older Lowrie?

The Mets Won’t Make the Trade Based on Marte Trade

The Cubs will make offers similar to what the Pirates asked for Marte. Bryant has better numbers and a better future than Marte does. Marte is on the wrong side of 30, and Bryant is just entering his prime as a player. Trading away key players like McNeil and Davis for Bryant, on top of prospects, just to make room for Bryant, is a terrible gamble for the Mets to make. Bryant is the third baseman by trade, who the Cubs have given starts to in the outfield. The only sensible thing for the Mets to do would be to start the man at third. Should injury befall the Mets at places McNeil and Davis could fill in, and they trade both for Bryant, then the Mets have shot themselves in the foot.

I, honestly, would pass on Bryant for now until next season. And I think Van Wagenen will do the same as well.

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.

Why the New York Yankees Should Brace for Andujar’s Comeback

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

Gio Urshela put up impressive offensive numbers for the New York Yankees last season, while his defensive numbers suffered. According to FanGraphs, Gio ranked 16 out of 17 qualifying third basemen in overall defense last season, with Matt Chapman and Nolan Arrenado taking the top 2 spots. Gio has so much pressure on him, a wide door is open for Miguel Andujar to come back.

What About Andujar’s Defense?

Obviously, as a man who’s played professional baseball since 2015, Gio Urshela’s defensive stats are skewed more in his favor than Andujar’s. And according to the same statistical source, Andujar’s defense in 2018 ranked in dead last, I’m not blind. But if Andujar can eliminate his double-clutch problem, even make 10% more throws eliminating that issue, Andujar’s defense will be better than Urshela.

What About Urshela’s Offense?

Gio Urshela HAS to prove, unquestionably, he HAS to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke offensively. Remember Brandon Drury? In Drury’s injury-shortened 2018, he was a drastic defensive improvement over Miguel Andujar. But guess what? Drury was hitting better than Drury. Urshela, in his career, never hit above .235 before last season. If he doesn’t hit between .270 and .290, and Urshela picks up right where he left off in 2018, Urshela will get benched for Andujar.

What About Andujar’s Injury?

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a throwing program can begin at around 4 months post-surgery. This means that Andujar would be able to restart improving his defense in September. Urshela, would not be able to have started working on improving his poor defense from 2019 until after the team got bounced by the Astros in October. But, obviously, it would be until about November until he got to do anything.

Plus, we have no idea quick Andujar recovered from the injury. Remember when Didi came back earlier than expected from Tommy John? Maybe Andujar got cleared for baseball-related activities in August, maybe even July.

What About Urshela’s Recovery Time?

Gio Urshela never played more than 90 games in a season before last year. Gio Urshela was never an everyday player until last season. Gio Urshela never played that deep into October before. If Gio Urshela is STILL recovering from last seasons toll on his body by St. Paddy’s Day… Miggy got his job back.

I’m calling it. Miguel Andujar win’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2020.

New York Yankees: Can Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar avoid the “sophomore slump”?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Toress, Miguel Andujar

In 2018, New York Yankees youth products Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar burst out into the scene in New York with Tyler Wade struggling and newly acquired Brandon Drury injured.

Once they came, they made immediate impacts including multiple walk-off hits and big home-runs. Both players had WAR’s over 2.0. Many baseball fans always worry about the dreaded “sophomore slump” that many players go through after a successful first season in the big leagues.

With Didi Gregorius out with an injury, the Yankees are relying on Torres and Andujar to pick up the slack on both the offensive and defensive end.

So many extra-base hits for the Yankees:

Combined between Torres and Andujar, the two had a total of 95 extra-base hits last season. Miguel Andujar brought more power between the two, but Torres could put one out or get a double when he needed to.  In 2018, Andujar tied the record for most doubles by a rookie in the American League with 47.

As he continued to go through the season, people began to compare him to Manny Machado who early in his career had a lot of doubles, and as he developed he turned them into home runs.

Machado had 51 doubles in his first full season. His first time up was long enough to count him as a rookie, so if he was a rookie in 2013 when he had all of those doubles, Andujar wouldn’t have a share of the rookie record. The Yankees are hoping that Andujar put enough muscle onto his body this winter to do the same thing Machado did with his hitting.

Fielding was a weakness:

Once the end of last season rolled around, Andujar had the worst third base fielding in the MLB, with his fielding percentage less than 95 percent. His glove wasn’t the issue, most of the mistakes he made were just throwing and judgment errors, including his baseball IQ. Andujar has been working hard during the winter to improve his fielding so he can continue to have a starting spot.

Last year at times, Andujar would be removed late from the game and replaced with Neil Walker or Ronald Torreyes. With both players gone, he doesn’t have much of a backup, DJ LeMahieu being the most likely.

Torres’ fielding percentage was just a hair over 96 percent, with his shortstop fielding percentage under 93 percent. That number is slightly concerning, as he likely could be the opening day shortstop with LeMahieu at second. The hype on Torres was his strong defense, and he did make several great plays last season but booted some of the easier ones.

Poor play on defense sometimes leads a player to have poor hitting, and if their poor defense continues in 2019, they may have some trouble at-bat. They need to keep that same mindset at the plate, and more strength may lead to more home runs. Hopefully, Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres can avoid the “sophomore slump” in 2019 and make an impact on both sides of the ball.