Perspectives: Many Thoughts...
by Paul Semendinger, Ed.D.
December 2, 2022
Here are my scattered thoughts and such...
The Winter Meetings are just about ready to begin. Regardless of the Aaron Judge decision, I hope the Yankees make some big trades, or, at least a big trade. I'm hoping for a blockbuster. A "Holy Cow! What?! They traded who? And got who?" type of trade. I won't predict who it might involve, because I have no clue, but I'm hoping for a big trade like that - especially if it involves players on no one's radar. Trades like that are fun and exciting and they help to make the winter pass more quickly.
I wrote about the Bobby Murcer for Bobby Bonds trade in 1974 the other day. That was the type of blockbuster I would love to see from the Yankees. "Not only did the Yankees resign Aaron Judge, but they just traded for _____!"
As I also wrote in that piece, most fans (and experts) today cite the Catfish Hunter free agent signing as the first big move George Steinbrenner made, but the Bonds trade occurred two months before Hunter was signed and it was, I'd argue, just as big, if not bigger. That trade signified that the Yankees were playing big, that they were serious about winning. I'd love to see that again.
Don Mattingly is going to the Toronto Blue Jays as a coach. I have mixed emotions on this. I am a huge Don Mattingly fan. I love Donnie Baseball. He was one of my favorite Yankees ever. That being said, I never wanted him to manage the Yankees. I didn't want to ever get frustrated with his managerial decisions. I don't ever want to see him booed. I'd never want to see him fired (as all manager eventually are). But...
I've always felt that Aaron Boone needs a long-time baseball mind next to him (assuming he makes the decisions) to give other perspectives and such. Boone isn't the greatest decision maker. We have seen that time and time again. (We've seen that far too often.) Joe Torre had Don Zimmer next to him - and it worked great. I would like to think that Don Mattingly would have helped Boone. But, I also know that Mattingly would have cast a huge shadow over Boone and there would be constant talk and pressure each time Boone made a poor decision or if the Yankees went into a deep slump for Boone to be fired and Mattingly hired. A situation like that could have become dysfunctional very quickly. Because of that, it's probably best for all that Don Mattingly went somewhere else.
All that being said, I'd trade Aaron Boone for Don Mattingly right now. That's not quite the blockbuster I discussed above, but...
I do love that Don Mattingly seems to love the game of baseball so much that he stays so involved in it. I also still feel that tomorrow night Donnie Baseball will be a Hall of Famer.
As EJ Fagan pointed out on the SSTN Podcast the last Monday, if the Yankees sign Judge and also go out and get a top pitcher (let's say Justin Verlander), the fans have nothing to complain about. That would mean, absolutely, that the Yankees are going for it. It's time the Yankees went all-in, completely.
I am very glad that the big pitcher the Yankees are hopefully getting isn't Jacob DeGrom. DeGrom has been injured far too often. Far too often. The Texas Rangers now have a great pitcher who I believe will be on the Injured List more than he is on the field over the next five years. The Rangers went big. And they have been going big, but this was a huge risk for them.
I am surprised the Mets got outbid on DeGrom, unless they were unwilling to pay past a certain point in years and dollars. Maybe the Mets know that DeGrom is a poor risk to stay healthy.
The angst that Mets fans feel right now if the same feeling Yankees fans will have if Aaron Judge signs with another team. BUT, the moment DeGrom (or Judge) gets injured or misses significant time, fans will whisper, "We dodged a bullet."
The Mets now have lots of available cash to spend on other pitchers or... players.
Does that make Aaron Judge a target for the Mets?
I believe Aaron Judge will sign with the Yankees soon. Might a predict that it's all wrapped up by Wednesday. It'll be for 9 years at $37m per year ($333m in total).
Teams have to go big, BUT, the biggest free agent pitching deals haven't worked out all that well. Take a look at the following from MLBTR:
"The $185MM guarantee significantly tops MLBTR’s three-year, $135MM prediction at the start of the offseason. It’s the sixth-largest deal for a free agent pitcher in MLB history, trailing those of Gerrit Cole ($324MM), Stephen Strasburg ($245MM), David Price ($217MM), Scherzer ($210MM with the Nationals) and Zack Greinke ($206.5MM). The deal contains a $37MM average annual value that ranks second among any deal in big league history. Only Scherzer’s three-year pact with the Mets — which came out to $43.333MM per season — is higher.
Looking at that list, I think it's fair to say that Gerrit Cole has been one of the better of the gigantic free agent pitcher signings. (Scherzer would have to be the best of that bunch.) Some of those other pitchers were injured or less than great for much of their contracts. Gerrit Cole can be frustrating at times, but give the man credit, he goes out there and pitches game after game after game. A great player is great only if he's on the field performing. Cole gets out there. And he wins. (Of course Scherzer and price were on World Series winning teams also...)
From Compton to the Bronx, is now available for pre-order. The feedback I have been receiving on this book has been tremendously positive. Here's one great review:
"Roy White is as dignified a Yankee as there has ever been, one of the many reasons a generation of fans (myself included) grew up imitating his stance. Paul Semendinger does a masterful job capturing the essence of the great left fielder. This is a must-read about the most underrated Yankee of all time."
Four-time New York Times bestselling author of "The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter"
Let's Go Yankees!