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  • Writer's pictureAndy Singer

SSTN Mailbag: A Trade Proposal, Cubbies Trade Match, And Minor League Success!

This has been a season full of frustrations (whether the owner believes the justification of those frustrations or not is almost a separate matter, except for the fact that it makes this fan even more frustrated by this team). I preface my opening monologue this way because my tone was already going to be moody, at best...then last night happened.

The Yankees lost 10-2 against the Seattle Mariners last night. There's nothing exceptional about that; the Yankees have struggled to score runs without Judge in the lineup, Domingo German has struggled lately, and if the pitching staff isn't exceptional, the Yankees will struggle to win. No, something far different was a breaking point for me.

Domingo German gave up four runs in the first inning. It was beyond clear that he didn't have anything on the mound. However, I understand that 8 innings would be a lot for the bullpen to absorb, so you can sort of argue in favor of bringing German out for the 2nd inning. Immediately, German served up a solo shot to Kolten Wong, who has been atrocious at the plate all season. No one was warming up in the bullpen. At 5-0, then 6-0 by the end of the inning, Aaron Boone had signaled to his players that he was throwing in the towel on the game. Once German gave up the fifth run, players on the field looked defeated and listless. A 4-0 lead is surmountable; 6-0 in the 2nd inning makes playing the rest of the game feel useless. Players on the field embodied Boone's attitude towards last night's game.

Observers on the outside debate the impact a manager has on a team's performance, because much of a manager's job performance occurs outside of the eye of the public. This was the rare instance where fans and observers could see with their own eyes the impact the manager and coaching staff had on the outcome of a game, and it was incredibly telling. After watching last night's game, I don't know how anyone on the coaching staff aside from Matt Blake and Mike Harkey are safe. I generally preach patience, but we have years of evidence that Aaron Boone is not the right guy for this job, and last night for the first time, I thought the team gave up as a direct result of his decisions. I don't think I've ever been more disgusted as a Yankee fan than I was after last night. Boone managed the game like it was a throwaway Spring Training game, or a random mid-summer game with a 10 game lead in the AL East.

News flash: the Yankees are 9.5 games out of 1st place in the AL East. Boone should be managing like every single game matters. His team was a direct reflection of Boone's malaise. Aaron Boone seems like a good guy, but it's time to show him the door if the Yankees have any hope of turning this season and future seasons around. Anything less proves every fan's suspicion correct: Hal Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, does not truly care about winning a World Series.

As always, thanks for the great questions and keep them coming to In this week's SSTN Mailbag, I'll answer questions about a trade proposal, a trade match with the Cubs, and the success the Yankees have displayed in the minor leagues! Let's get at it:

Felix proposes the following trade: Frankie Montas and Harrison Bader to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Ale[k] Thomas.

Were Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart still running the Diamondbacks, I'd say sure, it's a possibility. Unfortunately, that isn't the case anymore, so I don't think the Diamondbacks are going to deal one of their best prospects (even if he's a guy currently trying to find his way at the big league level) for a pitcher with a bum shoulder and a great centerfielder with an expiring contract.

That's not to say there isn't some logic here. The Diamondbacks have been one of baseball's big surprises in the first half of the season, leading the NL West by 3.5 games as of this article's publishing. Despite some serious talent (particularly outfielder Corbin Carroll), I think the Diamondbacks are playing a bit over their heads, so while I think they're a near lock to make the playoffs, I think they'll need reinforcements to make a run. Were the Yanks to go into "sell-mode" at the deadline, I could see them move someone like Bader, and if Montas looked ready to return in September, I could see offloading one or both to a team like the Diamondbacks...but it's not going to net them someone of Thomas' caliber, in all likelihood.

It's a nice idea, but sadly, I think it's wishful thinking.

Fuster asks: Cubs - what do they need?

who should the Yankees offer in exchange for Bellinger?

The sad part of expanded playoffs is that teams that would normally be surefire sellers at the deadline are now on the cusp of making the playoffs, creating a market where there are far more buyers than sellers. This year at least, I think it means the market will be nuts for the few players that are available, leading to a low-octane Trade Deadline season. Additionally, I think the Cubs are going to be close to making the Wild Card, as bad as they've been, and with the fanbase growing restless, I'm not sure the Cubs will deal any of their expiring contracts. If they do, though, Bellinger is the obvious name, and while there are some worrying underlying statistics, Bellinger is certainly a much better player than he's been the last two-three years, plays great outfield defense, runs the bases well, and has a swing tailormade for Yankee Stadium.

I really have no idea what his value will be. pegs his Median Trade Value ($MTV) at 0.5, likely based on his exorbitant 1-year contract. However, come end of season, when a team only has to pay 1/3 of the deal, I'm not sure it matters as much, and I can see his trade value to a team desperate being much higher.

The Cubs need pitchers with years of team control and talent more generally. Just as a general list, these are players I'd ask about if I were the Cubs' GM: Austin Wells, Clarke Schmidt, Randy Vasquez, Chase Hampton (a prospect more of you will know about soon), Trey Sweeney, Everson Pereira, and of course, Oswald Peraza.

Are the Cubs and Yankees a match? Theoretically, yes, but getting both sides the value they seek in a deal will be challenging.

Tom asks: What should we make about all of the guys having success at AAA this year. Is it time to let the minor league coaching staff work with the guys at MLB, or is this an overreaction?

The environment at AAA is very tricky this season. Offensive numbers even outside of the typically offense-dominant PCL has skyrocketed, such that even Oswald Peraza's outstanding season has only been 20+ percent above league average. This isn't getting a lot of press, but I noticed early on that plate discipline stats have improved dramatically this season at AAA, with more guys than I've ever seen produce walk-strikeout rates above 1, something that used to be a rarity at any level. The culprit: the automated strike zone. Since the automated strike zone has been implemented at AAA, walks have increased dramatically. Walks automatically indicate that strike percentages are down across the league, indicating that in addition to walking more, hitters are in more favorable counts, which always leads to better offensive outcomes.

While the Yankees have experienced success in the minors with player development, it is important to note that the Yankees have already promoted from within in recent seasons. Dillon Lawson, Yankee hitting coach and the subject of recent fan ire, was the minor league hitting coordinator when multiple hitting prospects broke out across all levels of the minor leagues, and it's his policies that have been implemented throughout the Yankee farm system.

While I think the coaches down in the Yankee farm system are doing a fine job, I think we should be careful to keep AAA performances in proper context and recognize that a change in coaching won't necessarily make an immediate difference.


Jun 23, 2023

If you listen to Hal ….. he believes that the fans are being unfair to the team… Memo to Hal: You have been listening to your GM for far too long. This team is going thru the motions right now and you look at the lineups and ask yourself one question… is this a championship calibre team? Be honest everyone on this blog knows the answer!


Mike Whiteman
Jun 23, 2023

I was a bit taken aback by the look of casualness in the dugout while being down 10-0 and again going to a position player to close out the game.

I’m not in favor of selling at this juncture, at least not until we get a real indication of Rodon’s health. A Cole/Rodon top two can cause some havoc in the postseason.


Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Jun 23, 2023

Right on Andy.

I agree that Aaron Boone is not the right manager for this team.

Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Jun 23, 2023
Replying to

When and for what period of time? I'd like to have Bob Gibson circa 1968. Bob Gibson circa 2023, not so much.

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