The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

NYDN: Yu Darvish still waiting to see if Yankees, Dodgers can clear enough salary: report

Yu Darvish is waiting to see if the Dodgers or Yankees can clear enough salary to add him as a free agent, according to a report.

On MLB Network Monday morning, Ken Rosenthal said: “(The Yankees) would need to trade a big salary, probably (Jacoby) Ellsbury to get this done. What are the odds of the Yankees or Dodgers doing such a thing? Probably somewhat slim, but that’s why this thing isn’t over just yet.”

Other teams connected to Darvish have been the Brewers, Cubs, Twins, Rangers and Phillies.

The Dodgers are reportedly Darvish’s No. 1 choice, but, like the Yankees, they also want to stay under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold.

Maybe the Yankees could forget about the stupid Hal-Cap™ and get him?

--Posted at 11:02 am by SG / 54 Comments | - (0)


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I still think they should trade Gardner, given their OF depth, but I know it won’t happen.

I’d rather trade him a year too early than a year too late. He’ll have 10 and 5 rights after this season anyway, if they exercise his option.  So it’s trading him now or never.

It makes way too much sense to trade Gardner instead of Frazier.  Gardner must have incriminating pictures of Cash.  That’s the only explanation.

Or Gardner’s really good and they value his contributions in the clubhouse?

Is Oscar Gamble’s Afro ok?

I rather not trade Gardner for rational and some irrational reasons.

I wonder if they should have signed Avila to back up Sanchez. If they are going with rookies to fill the IF and they are set on the roation I think that having a good catcher behind Gary is very important

[4] - I think a smarter way to look at it is he had an atypically good year both offensively and defensively (2 wins of his value was in defense in 2017) and hes about to enter his 34 year old season.  It’s a prime time to trade him.

As Cashman always says (and Just Me reiterated), better to move on from a guy a year early than a year late.

[7] The offers for Gardner should not be very good and I think that’s why he hasn’t traded him yet. It’s basically a salary relief and that’s more likely with so many OF not signed in the FA market. Would you trade Gardner for some non prospects or a mediocre SP? I think that’s a bad idea

I’d be cool with keeping him as well, but have to acknowledge that this is the last, best chance to trade him for value. 

I think he would bring back something of value.  He has one undermarket year plus a team option for another undermarket year.  On a one year contract (with an option,) age doesn’t matter thaaaat much as long as he hasn’t dropped in performance. 

Would a return similar to Brian McCann be out of line?

I like Gardner and I think some of the intangible value there is very real. Still, I’d like to try and chart out the logic of the choice.

One thing: we don’t know whether they’re aggressively marketing Gardner. Perhaps they should be - but perhaps they are, we wouldn’t know.

Second thing: if they are, they may be finding him undervalued, and obviously we’d want them to get the best return possible, one that matches our own assessment of his value (to make sure we’re at least maintaining team value).

Third thing: if they’re not getting good offers, the question is - do you maximize value for a Gardner transaction for the team? We’re up against salary-cap logic. The factors then would be:

A.) If offers for Gardner are lower than we’d expect, are they likely to ever be higher? The market may not be inclined to view him in our terms, and if it isn’t so inclined now, will it be in a year when he has his veteran rights?

B.) If they have X amount of money and they trade Gardner for little, they do get the value of not paying him. If allotting that money to a front-line pitcher makes the team better, do you swallow an under-market return for Gardner?

Right now, the Yankee OF/DH looks like this:


Their rotation looks like this:


Is this better?




I don’t think there’s much, if any, difference there.  Trading Gardner forces them to play Ellsbury almost full-time.  Does anyone really want that?

My question is- do we think the return for Gardner in a trade, or the open payroll by moving his salary is worthwhile? In other words, would it only be a marginal upgrade where it would be better to keep a defacto team captain/leader? Or do we think moving him would up the WS odds enough to justify the trade?

[8] - It depends on what you expect out of Darvish, what you could get him for, or what else you are doing with the salary relief.

[11] - Have they said they plan on playing Garnder as the starting CF over Hicks?

I assumed it was

LF - Gardner
CF - Hicks
RF/DH - Judge and Stanton.
PH/PR/extra OF - Ellsbury.

If Gardner goes, Judge or Stanton moves to LF, DH is freed up for Sanches/revolving half days off/ and Frazier with Ellsbury’s role being pretty much unchanged.

[14] No, I wasn’t putting them in positions.  I’m assuming Gardner would play LF 50% of the time, CF maybe 30% of the time.  Stanton would play LF like 30% of the time and RF like 40% of the time.  Hicks would play CF as much as he can, Gardner and Ellsbury filling in.  Then DH would be whomever from Judge or Stanton is not on the field with some Gardner/Hicks/Austin? mixed in.

You probably don’t want to bet on Hicks playing more than 120 games.

What about a series of moves that ends up replacing Gray with Darvish?
It seems like that ought to be possible. And it eliminates the issue of pushing Montgomery out of the top five.
How much would that add?

I think it’s important not to knock Monty out of the top 5, by the way. Establishing his value is too obvious a way to increase the teams assets.

[17] Yeah, anything that doesn’t involve Montgomery in the rotation is a non-starter for me.

[16] I’d trade Gray for Mateo, Fowler and Kaprielian.

I really don’t like the idea of trading Gardner’s bargain of an 11 million dollar salary to clear room for another player when the Yankees probably can move Ellsbury if they eat enough of the money. For instance if the Giants have designs on contention this season they need to upgrade their putrid bullpen. Adding Holder into an Ellsbury deal while assuming 50-60 percent of the contract probably puts that trade over the top. Gardner is a really good player on a bargain of a deal, why move him?

(20) Again, I’m totally fine keeping him, but the answer to the question is because the Yankees already have two of the top 5-ish corner OFs in the game already.

[20] just like everyone else in baseball, the Giants want to stay under the LT. I’m not sure they can absorb even discounted Ellsbury.

Why the mad rush to take the drop from Gardner to Frazier ? That’s 3-5 WAR you’d have to make up somewhere.

And no, you can’t just waive your hands and say Frazier is going to put up Gardner numbers this year, if only he gets a chance.

[15] - How does that get Ellsbury to almost full time?

Gardner is projected at 2.3 WAR and Frazier at 1.0 WAR according to zips.

(Jabari Blash is at 1.2 WAR and Ellsbury is at 1.3 WAR.)

Last 5 years of WAR for Gardner are 4.4, 4.0, 3.4, 3.4, 4.9.

ZIPS is out of its mind.

Yeah, but now Gardner is a gross old person of the ripe old age of 34.

I’ll believe Gardner it TFC when I see it, or when SG tells us to believe it.

I swallowed a bug…

[24] No Gardner means somebody has to play LF time.  Whether it’s Judge or Stanton, now DH opens up.  Who is the next option to DH full-time?  Maybe it’s Frazier, although right now he doesn’t project to be as good offensively as Ellsbury.  So Ellsbury either becomes your primary DH or he plays the OF while you roll the starting OF through DH.

Maybe he’s not quite full-time, but a Gardner trade means Ellsbury gets at least 500 PA.  And yeah, that’s not necessarily a horrible thing, but I’d rather have 500 PA of Gardner.

Also, Hicks hasn’t demonstrated the ability to stay healthy.  Once he gets hurt, no Gardner means Ellsbury as your starting CF.

They could sign a DH (like Duda) to alleviate that scenario.  Plus, Birdsurance.

Ellsbury would only have to play when Hicks cant man CF.

[31] And Ellsbury hasn’t exactly been a model of health either.

What the hell is going to happen to us when Ellsbury gets traded, comes off the books, or gets viciously Giloolied by a mysterious basement-dweller in a Cairo jersey?

[34] We can complain about Sonny Gray.

Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, CC Sabathia and Sonny Gray. These are just a few of the Yankees that have showcased their offseason conditioning routines for all the world to see.

And though it’s hard to argue that watching the mighty Stanton backpedal a sled up a driveway with two men standing on it, all the while holding two 50 pound dumbbells, not being the most viral of the bunch, would you expect anything less from the reigning National League MVP?

Instead, a new fan favorite, one that isn’t shy about posting to Instagram and Twitter has arguably been the most impressive specimen to-date.

Clint Frazier, aka Red Lighting, stars in a video that showcases his “legendary bat speed” as he takes rips in a batting cage.

Obviously, hitting BP fastballs is entirely different than facing Justin Verlander in the ALCS, but we need to keep things in perspective.


Still just 23, there are bumps in the road to be expected from Frazier, including questionable pitch selection (30.3 percent strikeout rate) and poor hitting mechanics that leave him susceptible to breaking balls.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at the tape from last season. Focus on Frazier’s back foot and how frequently it bails out of the batter’s box.

But this is why I’m so impressed by Clint’s Twitter page. The majority of the hacks showcased in these clips detail his violent swing to be much more compact.

Getting the bat head out front as quickly as Frazier does, can expose the upper body, and therefore make it more difficult to keep both feet planted long enough to sit back on a curveball or slider. Hence the large swing and miss numbers.

Although we won’t know until game situations this spring, whether or not Frazier has officially quelled what ails him, he looks to be on the right track — driving through the ball with a polished steadiness that should result in a more considerable success rate against the world’s best shooters.

About Hicks - several times people have suggested that he’s likely to plummet relative to last year. Is that a consensus here?

I don’t think we’ve reached groupthink on Hicks yet.  He remains as controversial as Gardner.

Hicks’ evolution was driven by great plate discipline. If he had gone out there and had a .BABIP of .400 then of course skepticism would be in order. But in the beginning of the year before he got injured he was basically having the best AB’s with Judge. And he’s always put the bat on the ball, even in 2016, when that basically meant a lot of ground-balls to second base. But when you have a guy with his talent who can keep his strikeouts well under control and showed improved plate discipline, there’s at least reason to be excited about his potential, though we have no real idea if he can put everything together for a whole season. Peak Hicks would probably be something like a .880 .OPS.

edit: Weirdly Carl Everett, another switch-hitting centerfielder, is probably a best case offensive scenario for Hicks with the mid-twenties breakout. I think Hicks is a better fielder than Everett but I could also see him settling into a corner in his thirties.

[32] Yeah take the savings from Gardner and spend it on a lower value player, defeats the benefit.

If we wanted DH depth and Birdsurance, we should take Todd and get 3B covered too.

People are trying way too hard to get rid of Gardner.

[41] The guy has put up 19.9 bWAR over the last five years and people still treat him like he’s a replacement level scrub who is going to crash and burn any minute.

Keep Gardy, dump Smells, eat cash and throw in Frazier if necessary. 2019 looms without luxury tax anyway. We’ll be better this year, have more flexibility to get even better next year. That’s how I see it.

If that were easy, they’d have done it.

I’d like to trade my smellsy old socks for the reputed content of Fort Knox. I’ll throw in a few thousand dollars.


Their rotation looks like this:


Is this better?




There’s also something like:



Severino/Tanka/Gray/[cost-controlled starter acquired by trading Frazier]/Montgomery

I really don’t know.

I do think there’s something to having a veteran leader position player.

Re: Hicks, I’m honestly not sure.  Cautiously optimistic he can be above-average CFer (all round game).  Hopefully he stays healthy.  But I also think there’s real crash potential there.  He’s been good for like 1/2 a season.

This is the thing with the trade Gardy stuff… somebody’s gonna get hurt (or Hicks could revert to sucking).  Possibly multiple somebodies.

I get the idea of dumping Ellsbury, but that contract is BAD.  He’s not entirely useless, but he’s maybe a 1 win player… owed a ton of money.  I figure they’d have to eat most of it, so the savings won’t be much.  Plus, who even needs him?

I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re just stuck w/him.  Maybe they get lucky and some team has multiple OF injuries and they can swing a mid-season trade.

I think Hicks’ 2017 is more for real than not. Maybe he’s not going to hit .270/.375/.475 again. But I think a .250/.350/.450 like is very possible and VERY valuable out of a plus CF.

[47] Yeah, what I like about Hicks is that he gives you a lot of value just out of being a great defensive center field, so he has to just not be a shitty hitter to help you.

So he can drop off a lot from last season and still be valuable, so I’m quite happy with Hicks. Now, if he surprises and actually replicates his offensive season from 2017 (including that sparkling OBP), then wow.

Even if we’re about here:
15% Hicks crashes
15% Hicks is at 40-50% of last year, which is tolerable
40% Hicks is at 60% of last year - and that’s pretty valuable
20% Hicks is just where he was last year
10% Hicks is better than last year

...that seems like a keeper to me, to say the least.

I say keep Gardner.  You just can’t rely on Hicks and Ellsbury to be healthy.

People seem to forget, he was the third most valuable Yankee last year.  Only Judge and Severino created more value.

Hicks last arb year this year, yes?

[47]/[49] I also don’t think you can overestimate the value of a high-OBP player on a team that has a chance to break the record for homeruns in a season.

God salary caps are such an absurd pro ownership mechanism. I wish our government wasn’t so corrupt and wouldn’t allow them.

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