Friday, June 2, 2017

Outfielders, outfielders, we are neck-deep in outfielders... what do we do?

Any day now, any way now, Jacoby Ellsbury shall be released - (no he won't! I just felt a burst of Dylan) - he shall return, unleashing a chain reaction throughout the Yankiverse - that is, unless somebody tweaks a gonad for the team. No disrespect to Saint Jacoby of the Wall, but frankly, I wish he could take a week of "me" time - you know, rev up the Truckster, reconnect with his cousins in West Virginia, visit Wally World, re-read "Gravity's Rainbow," whatever. Blink, and the kids are in college. He's missing so much. He should go on vacation, just keep the cellphone charged.

Fact is, the Yankees don't need another outfielder. In fact, when the annual June amateur draft happens next week, all the stupid "mock drafts" ought to take one matter into account: We don't need no stinkin' outfielders. The thorniest question in the Yankiverse is what do we do with the ones we have? Should we trade a few for some pot-bellied junk-baller? Because let's face it, unless you're trading an elite prospect, outfielders just don't bring huge returns on July 31. If they did, we would have gotten something for Slade "the Trade" Heathcott long ago. Nope, if you're peddling outfielders, you'll have to deal the top prospects in your system, and that's when you'll hear Yank fans muttering "Jayyyyy Byooooooo-nerrrrrrrr." 

So... spoiler alert here: I dunno w.t.f. to do with all our outfielders, outfielders, outfielders. But I'm like Silas Marner, counting his coins at night. So let's go into the bedroom, lock the door, grab a bath towel and the old Street and Smith's, open to the centerfold of Ruben Rivera and count our personal pleasures. Here are the outfielders who right now are threatening to clog our system like Asian carp on the Erie Canal. I've ranked them according to current value.

The starters
Aaron Judge, maybe the MVP?
Aaron Hicks, Jeeze, maybe second in the MVP?
Brett Gardner, career year?
Jacoby Ellsbury, solid player, nothing wrong but the contract.
Matt Holliday, technically an OF, pushed out by the glut.

The MLB hangers-on at Scranton
Mason Williams, 25, looked good last year, got hurt, not hitting (.237, no HRs), surely demoralized by current situation. 

Rob Refsnyder, 26, went 2-4 the other night, then was benched. Once Greg Bird or Tyler Austin returns, Brigadoon will vanish for another 100 years. What did this guy do to piss off the Yankees?
Tyler Austin, 25, rehabbing from bad foot, rapidly facing a career crossroads - will he get a shot at 1B before Bird returns? Or does he go back into the Scranton discard pile and rot on the vine?

The super prospects at Scranton
Clint Frazier,
22, RH, hitting .257 with 9 HRs, draws walks but still strikes out too much. He has been heating up - hit .224 in April, .277 in May. Still draws hype. They say he has the fastest bat in the system, whatever that means.

Dustin Fowler, 22, lefty, hitting .309 with 9 HRs and 7 SB, plays CF, has blossomed in last two years. Hot lately. Might be at top of his trade chip value. 

Dying at Trenton
Jake Cave,
24, lefty, repeating Trenton, where he hit .288 last year and won a promotion to Scranton. Was drafted by Reds in Rule 5 two Decembers ago, but didn't stick. Was hurt in spring training, is now hitting .290 with 4 HRs, totally outclassing Double A, but is stuck here.
Zack Zehner, 24, righty, hitting .306 with little power. He's in his first incarnation at Trenton, still proving himself, but if he keeps hitting, will he ever get promoted? He's never gotten much of a buzz; he's just doing the job, that's all. 

Rashad Crawford, 23, hyped-up throw-in from last July El Chapo trade, was hailed as toolsy lottery pick, and hit well at Tampa after coming over. Not cutting it thus far, hitting .217.
Billy McKinney, 22, a former top prospect at Cubs, came in the El Chapo deal. Had a big spring training, generating hype that he was going to bust out this season. Hasn't done squat, hitting .199.

The way-down there
Jorge Mateo, 21, a SS who - after we obtained Glyber Torres - was going to be moved to CF. Now, he's back in the infield because of the OF glut. Repeating Tampa, hitting .245 with 18 SB. Got off to slow start, heating up lately.  
Blake Rutherford, 20, former 1st round pick, golden boy with massive hype, (guys claiming he was "steal" of draft; how many times have we heard that line?) He crushed Pulaski last year, now at Charleston, hitting .281, but no power (1 HR).
Estevan Florial, 19, five-tool guy, creating buzz at Charleston. Last year at Pulaski, hit .225 with 7 HR. This year at Charleston, .277 with 6 HR. They're pushing him and Rutherford as a tandem.

Carlos Vidal, 21, was heavily talked-up after hitting .303 at Pulaski two years ago. Missed most of last year due to injury, but now hitting .277 at Charleston. Speed but little power. They like to include him in the Rutherford-Florial fantasies. 
Jhalian Jackson, 24, big guy, looks good coming off the bus, but hitting .226 with 5 HR at Tampa. Getting old for his league. Needs a good season, isn't having one. 
Trey Amburgey, 22, another guy at Tampa who is repeating his level and, frankly, not showing progress. Hit .277 last year at Tampa. Now stuck at .220 (but with more power.) But seriously, when guys are repeating levels, where they did well last year, they are not being challenged. They are rotting on the vine.

Sometimes I wonder if the Yankees shouldn't do something crazy - like add a second Double A team? Take all these raw kids and challenge them, even if it takes a season or two to get their bearings. Keep the system brimming with talent, and let Double A be the defining level. It would put the Yankees above every other team in baseball, and comparatively speaking, it wouldn't cost much more than a Jacoby Ellsbury pact.

So there you have it. There will be more names when the rookie leagues open, and every one is a future Hall of Famer. But if the Yankees are going to deal this July, let's not kid ourselves. To pull anybody worthwhile, we probably must trade Frazier, Fowler, Rutherford, Mateo or Florial... and maybe two of them. How badly do you want to feel the pinch? And how sure are we that the Aarons are true MVP candidates, or that Jake and Brett will stay healthy? It's a long season. It all depends on the deal, I guess. But anybody who goes will create whispers... Willie McGee... Jay Buhner... Mike Lowell... 

It's our Trouble with Tribbles. What do we do with all of them?


John M said...

For every Byooner out there, there are a score of beer distributors who never got more than a month in the majors because they just weren't good enough. And you never know which of these bright young things will turn into Cinderella and which will be pumpkins, which is most of them.

So...I dunno. Maybe the best way to think about it is, who could we trade that would never make it in the Yankees organization? Because you know how Brigadoon works. There are doubtless a couple of people on this list who will look at someone cross-eyed and never get a fair chance with us, but could blossom somewhere else.

It should be relatively easy for the org to spot those. Although they'd probably trade them for a can of beans.

DutchFan said...

One day the Yankees will have to pay Judge, Bird, Sanchez, Didi, Hicks(!) and Castro astronomical salaries, just to keep them on board. Add some pitching -Pineda, Severino, Adams?, Gio (...because I like the name; sort of a Levon who will probably be selling cartoon balloons in town one day, but for now he is goes to Venus) and there is no money left. So you need a truckload of Brigadoons. Adequate to adequate+ players that will not break the bank.
And every year some new talents will knock on the door and every 3/4 years we need new Judges.

So, I say trade a few talents but not at the expense of bloated contracts for pot-bellies. Maybe another 3rd starter type. Basically that is all we need as long as they keep hitting.

Disclaimer: I am Dutchfan, currently of Rotterdam. I know nothing.
Heineken anyone?

Alphonso said...

Pulaski? Pulaski? Did I go to sleep in the Hudson valley and wake up to a new reality?

Is Pulaski like being President?

There once was a sky-way named Pulaski. Do they play baseball there?


Anonymous said...

The solution is simple.

Step One: Photoshop a picture of Ellsbury rocking a hipster beard.
Step Two: Make sure he sees it.
Step Three: Send him fan e-mail and tweets saying how cool he looks.

This will get him to really want to grow one and as we all know the only way to do that is to ask for a trade.

Step Four: Accede to his request.

Log Jam solved!

Doug K.

Leinstery said...

A live look at the Yankees outfield

Anonymous said...

Agree with Dutchfan on two fronts: try to trade a bit of the glut (probably with one that will hurt) for a number three starter; and, yeah, I'll have a Heineken - - they have the BEST advertising agency of any beer - - even better than Dos Equis.

And, Pulaski, anyone?? Chicago's got Pulaski up the waz: Pulaski Skyway (last I remember), Pulaski Blvd., perhaps even Pulaski Forest Preserve....match that.

I also hereby rue my 2016 harsh assessment of Aaron Hicks...sorry, guy, I might have been wrong - - not used to that - - and I don't like baked crow...but.... LB (No J)