Being a Glutton the Day After Thanksgiving: Can the Yankees Trade for Top Talent?
It should come as no surprise that whenever a top talent is rumored to be traded, especially those who are going to be paid well (see: Betts, Mookie) that the New York Yankees are always connected to them.
Just this offseason they have been connected to players such as Mookie Betts (although a Red Sox-Yankees trade would never happen), the Indians’ Francisco Lindor, and the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson.
Here, after the day of filling my stomach with two separate Thanksgiving meals, I think it’s appropriate to be a little extra gluttonous as I attempt to come up with some possible ways the Yankees could acquire some of the top trade targets across the MLB.
And, yes, I know, these trade proposals stink. This is mostly to see the relative values some of these top trade targets have, and seeing what value various Yankees players have.
Regardless, let’s see what we can do:
In order to find a match that might make good sense I’m going to be using BaseballTradeValues.com as my reference about approximate player values.
It is a very good website for trying to quickly see how players are valued, taking into account years of control, approximate salary remaining (including arbitration years), and their surplus value.
For example, a player like Gleyber Torres is ranked as a +112.7 on value, while a player like J.A. Happ is at a -9.1 value. (Giancarlo Stanton is the Yankees lowest ranked player with a -116.9 value, because of his grand contract.)
However, there is one major flaw with websites like this in how it is easy to make some trades look even by sending lots of players with small values to one team for a superstar. The Yankees wouldn’t trade Gleyber Torres for 5 players with low average value, that wouldn’t make any sense.
So, I’m going to avoid trying anything like that. I’m not going to be filling trades with Quad-A players with little value to make things seem more fair. However, adding solid players that fill needs and/or top prospects
Remember: all MLB teams have a luxury tax, 40-man roster, and positional needs to think about.
I also feel like it’s important to remind everyone about what Mike Axisa had wrote about for years about how we should handle coming up with our own trade proposals. He said something (as referenced above) to “Your trade proposal stinks.”
That being said, let’s see what I can do:
Trade One: Taking Francisco Lindor from the Cleveland Indians
Now, this was the first trade I had put together and it did take a fair amount of time to shift through the Indians roster in trying to find some holes that they could look to want to fill. It also helps that MLB.com has their own post about the Indians’ Biggest Needs for the 2020 season, so I used this as a basic framework for a deal.
From here, and using the framework our Editor-in-Chief Paul Semendinger has been laying out in his “If I Were the GM Posts”-specifically First Base – I was able to come up with a basic framework for a trade.
Why This Works:
The Indians’ three biggest needs, according to Indians Beat Reporter and MLB contributor Mandy Bell revolve around three positions on the field: 2B/3B, Corner OF, and Relief Pitching. The Yankees just so happen to have talent at all three positions that can easily be dealt with, hitting those needs for the Indians while providing solid talent that has decent floors and high ceilings:
-Miguel Andujar has shown his bat is MLB worthy while still providing value past his terrible defense. His recent surgery does leave a BIG question mark about his value, but the lack of news about it to me means that everything should be good for him going into 2020. Plus, he is cheap and under control for 4 more years.
-Clint Frazier is similar to Andujar in that his bat is proven at the MLB level while his defense could use work. It’s positionally better than Andujar and he has shown improvements after going back to the minors this year. Plus, he is cheap and under control for 4 more years.
-Jonathan Loaisiga is also in this book of being a potential great arm for a bullpen setting, but just needs to stay healthy. There’s a reason he was a Top-100 prospect in 2018 even after missing the prior two seasons due to injury. With the two above others, all three were prior Top-100 prospects which means they have great potential.
-Finally, Luke Voit would be added to the deal to offset the Yankees acquiring of the left-handed Carlos Santana. Voit is more valuable than Santana because of the money that the Indians would save, while the Yankees would be filling in a much-needed left handed bat into the line-up.
-Finally, the Yankees would get Francisco Lindor to play shortstop for them. A top talent in the MLB’s each year he’s been around the league. This allows them to field an infield of Gleyber Torres at 2B, Gio Urshela as the 3B, and DJ LeMahieu as the utility infielder playing each of first, second, and third bases.
Trade Two: Mookie Betts – Bringer to the Red Sox another 80 Year Curse?
We all know the things that Babe Ruth did to the Boston Red Sox with his curse that kept them from a World Series title between the years of 1918 and 2004.
We also know that the last Yankees-Red Sox trade was back in 2014 when the hugely important Stephen Drew for Kelly Johnson trade went down. Oh my, how that changed the tide of the MLB.
That being said, almost anything we put here would be rejected flat-out. But, it’s still fun to look anyway:
Why This Works:
There are three major things that the Red Sox would need if they were to trade Mookie Betts: a new MLB outfielder, MLB relief help, and some prospects for the future. All of that is sent over to the Red Sox in what seems to be a pretty fair trade.
-Mike Tauchman is a very solid outfielder defensively, and was a break-out player for the Yankees in 2019 with keeping them going when they were without Judge, Stanton, and Hicks for long periods of time. He’s obviously no Mookie Betts, but he’d be a good piece that’d provide value while keeping them away from the top of the luxury tax.
-Tommy Kahnle would also help the Red Sox be much better in 2020 because he’d be easily slot in as one of their best relief arms in a bullpen that was absolutely terrible last season. He also comes with multiple years of control and is relatively cheap.
-Estevan Florial, Clarke Schmidt, and Everson Perreira, are three of the Yankees Top-10 Prospects (according to MLB Pipeline) and all three could be legitimate contributors at the MLB level, with one of each expected to make their debuts over the next three years. (Schimdt in 2020, Florial in 2021, Perreira in 2022.)
-Mookie Betts to the Yankees would also provide them their 3rd OF for the 2020 season, alongside Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge which would easily make this the best OF in the MLB.
Again, this would never happen. But, it wouldn’t be the most ridiculous thing ever when it comes to subjective value.
Trade Three: Joc Pederson, Because Mookie Betts Isn’t Coming to NYC
So, now that we messed around with the Red Sox, let’s see how the Yankees would stack up with getting a different outfielder that could help them in 2020 and beyond: Joc Pederson.
First connected to the Yankees from our Editor-in-Chief Paul Semendinger in his Outfield post about what he’d do in constructing the Yankees in 2020.
This one actually surprised me:
Why This Works:
Because the Betts trade would never happen, the Yankees could still use an Outfield upgrade, so acquiring Joc Pederson- a solid 2/3 WAR per year player who is healthy and a left-handed bat- makes all the sense in the world for the Yankees.
I also think that Pederson is underrated by this website, so even though a 1-for-1 trade with Schmidt would’ve made sense on it’s own, I figured that adding Matt Sauer would make this trade more even.
But why would the Dodgers do this? It’s because Joc Pederson could fetch them great future talent without much of a dent to their 2020 roster. They’d still have a tremendous outfield of Cody Bellinger, A.J. Pollock, and Alex Verdugo.
This would also save them approximately $9 million or so given current arbitration estimates, and would be important for a team like the Dodgers who may need to start worrying like the Red Sox about their luxury tax hit. (Plus, if they were to acquire Mookie Betts as many rumors have it currently going, then they really wouldn’t need Pederson- provided he doesn’t go to Boston in the deal.)
Again, this was an exercise mainly for fun.
While I think that some of these trade ideas could be good platforms for revisions to be made, I don’t think that any of the Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, or even Yankees, would make a trade work like this.
I also remember this post from 2009 on RiverAveBlues that perfectly described trying to come up with trades, referencing an article by Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. (Unfortunately, it seems the article is no longer linked to online, but the quote is still there.)
“Once, in a casual conversation a few years ago, a member of the Royals’ front office gave me a homework assignment. He wanted me to come to him with a doable trade idea that would make the Royals better.
“And realistic,” he said. “Don’t have us trading Jimmy Gobble for Albert Pujols.”
The next few days or so, I wore out Baseball-Reference and Baseball Cube and all the other nerdy sites even more than usual. I came up with something, I can’t remember exactly what, but I vaguely recall suggesting either DeJesus or Teahen to the Cubs for a deal involving Ryan Theriot and other parts.
The Royals’ executive considered it for a few seconds, acknowledged that it made sense in the obvious ways I pointed out, then listed two or three reasons it didn’t make sense, reasons that I hadn’t considered and most likely never would’ve known without that conversation.
If an MLB front office were to look at these, they might agree that would potential help their team hitting ‘needs’ and providing value for the future, but like Mellinger said above, would probably find hundreds of reasons as to why none of these three trade ideas make any practical sense.
That being said, I highly recommend messing around with the trade simulator tool on BaseballTradeValues.com. It’s an enjoyable way to come up with some trades and see what others have come up with on their own trade board.