Early December Perspectives
December has arrived. It is definitely time to (literally) gather around the hot stove. Here in New Jersey, we’re facing our first winter storm. I hope that the cold weather brings out some big trades and some excitement on the baseball front. In the meantime, let’s look at some topics that have come up this winter thus far:
The MLB Winter Meetings will take place next week beginning on Sunday, December 8. I don’t expect there to be much action on the trade front, or in regard to signing free agents until that time. That will make this a slow week as far as Yankees news is concerned. Once next week comes, though, I expect that some teams will participate in a flurry of roster moves. I hope so, at least. Trades and free agent signings create excitement. This excitement helps fans get through the winter as they begin to imagine how the newly acquired players will perform for their teams.
It would be great fun if the Yankees participated in a major blockbuster trade of some sort. By blockbuster, I mean something huge, like when they traded Bobby Murcer for Bobby Bonds, or when they acquired Alex Rodriguez. It was in early December 1984 when the Yankees acquired Rickey Henderson. Or, how about when they supposedly traded Joe DiMaggio for Ted Williams? It would be so much fun if the Yankees went out and just did something huge. I don’t even want to speculate on what that would look like, I just know that it would be great fun. As noted, deals like that create energy and excitement.
If you had to choose one player that would definitely be traded next week, who would that player be? I can see scenarios where J.A. Happ, Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier, and Thairo Estrada are moved. I can also see a situation where all of those players arrive in Spring Training (in just over two months) with the Yankees.
Here at SSTN, we have not commented much on the Jacoby Ellsbury situation. This is mostly because I don’t think anyone truly knows all the facts. I also don’t see this situation being resolved for a long, long time. Without the facts, it is difficult to speculate on which party is in the right and what will transpire. Over the years, we have seen the Yankees in legal arguments with players regarding salaries on numerous occasions. As I recall, the Yankees looked into similar things with Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi. Only time will tell how this plays out.
I have seen articles (we even linked to one) that is calling Aaron Hicks the new Jacoby Ellsbury. I sure hope that’s not the case – that the majority of Hicks’ career is spent with him on the Injured List. One thing must be noted, no player wants to be injured. Athletes take great pride in their ability to perform at a high level. I am certain, if asked, that Jacoby Ellsbury wanted to be in the lineup and playing. I have been concerned about Hicks’ ability to stay healthy for years, but that doesn’t make him Jacoby Ellsbury. Of note as well, Jacoby Ellsbury wasn’t “Jacoby Ellsbury” as he is now remembered – a player that the Yankees acquired who was always injured. In his first year as a Yankee, 2014, Ellsbury played in 149 games. He also played in 148 games in 2016. There’s also another huge difference between the two – Ellsbury was signed right after the Yankees let Robbie Cano sign with Seattle. Ellsbury’s signing seemed like a panic move. He was signed to a gigantic contract that he had no hope of ever living up to. Aaron Hicks, on the other hand, was given a lengthy extension at a less than league average rate for a player of his talent.
It does seem like the Yankees are making noise on the bullpen front – seeking to acquire more high-end talent there. I’m always for adding talent to the squad, but I hope that the plan isn’t again to just make a super bullpen at the expense of the starting rotation. It is time for the Yankees to make a huge free agent signing or big trade. They need at least one (I say two) top of the rotation starter(s). The Yankees’ World Series window is open right now, they need to take advantage of this.
The Astros cheating scandal really hurts. A ton. If they cheated en route to their success (and it sure seems they have), they robbed their fans of the true joys of winning. They also robbed the fans in other cities of the joys of championships. Yankees history would be completely different right now if they had defeated the Astros in the recent post seasons. If found guilty of cheating, MLB has to come down hard on the Astros. The integrity of the game is on the line.
I am happy for Joe Girardi getting a new shot with the Phillies. I expect good things from him. He is an excellent manager. Hey…imagine a Yankees vs Phillies World Series in 2020. I can see it now!