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  • Writer's pictureAndy Singer

SSTN Mailbag: A Trade Proposal, Stanton's New Stance, My Batting Order, And A Shining Rookie!

So are all of you in the best shape of your life?!? After all, it is Spring Training, so we must all be in the best shape of our lives! I'm kidding, of course, but we hear five million stories at the start of every Spring Training about all of the players who came into camp with radically different bodies, and normally it's for players who made positive transformations. The only way negative body stories make the news is if it's so bad that it can't be ignored...Pablo Sandoval at Spring Training with the Red Sox close to a decade ago now comes to mind. Already this Spring Training, we've had novels written about what great shape the Yankees are in this Spring Training. My initial reaction is that a.) Getting noticed for being in good shape beats the alternative, and b.) None of it matters until we see if it impacts how guys look when they go to actually play baseball.

However, EJ Fagan got me thinking about something else that we discussed on last weekend's Bronx Beat Podcast. We didn't hear many stories about what great shape the Yankees were in at Spring Training last season. We heard a lot about Nestor's hamstring, DJ's toe, Rodon's slow build towards his normal velocity, Trevino's aches and nicks, and a slew of other health and conditioning related storylines. EJ iterated something that has been brewing in my head for a couple of weeks: the Yankees came to camp out of shape last season. The Yankees are an injury prone roster, about that there isn't much question, but I am beginning to believe that was exacerbated by numerous guys not being in shape for one reason or another. Some were likely behind on conditioning because they were managing off-season injuries, but I also wonder if there was a real leadership vacuum last off-season. Think about it: Judge was a free agent, as was Anthony Rizzo. It has been written that the Yankees have struggled to replace the veteran leadership that Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia brought to the table, and the Yankees spent a chunk of last off-season without a couple of very significant clubhouse leaders pushing guys as they might normally.

Contrary to popular belief, while guys check-in with team trainers and coaches in the off-season, most are left to their own devices for training and conditioning until Spring Training. I can't help but feel that we're seeing the difference leadership makes in how guys look at the beginning of Spring Training. All that matters is what happens when guys hit the field, but I think this is something that bears watching this year.

As always, thanks for the great questions and keep them coming to In this week's SSTN Mailbag, we'll evaluate a trade proposal, Stanton's new swing/stance, set the lineup, and pick a rookie to shine! Let's get at it:

Oscar proposes the following trade: Everson Pereira, Carlos Rodon and cash to the Diamondbacks for Alex Thomas.

You mean World Series hero, Alek Thomas?!? This is a guy with significant prospect pedigree who finally seemed to breakthrough during the Diamondbacks' surprising postseason run last season. Could Arizona use more power? Yes. Could they use another starter? Also, yes. Would they gladly accept cash? Who wouldn't?!?

However, this trade has almost no shot at happening. Just a cursory look at, which is far from perfect, but not a bad starting place, tells us that we're terribly far apart on a trade for Thomas before we even consider the PR of trading a young player who was part of the core of last season's run. The Yankees would be trading both Pereira and Rodon at the floor of their respective values.

Pereira still has tantalizing tools, and was likely called up too early last season, but he also clearly has some significant flaws that showed in his cup of coffee last season. I don't think we need to rehash Rodon's 2023, but when you combine last season's dumpster fire with his contract and injury riddled history, there's very little surplus value there, even if cash goes the other way in a deal.

Realistically, the Yankees would be better off keeping both guys around this year while hoping for a significant rebound. Hopefully, Rodon starts the year on a better foot and can perform more like the guy we saw in Chicago and San Francisco, and Pereira has the space to work on some very specific flaws down at AAA. Rodon, at least, can be part of the solution in bringing a championship back to New York in 2024, while Pereira can rebuild his prospect stock to either help the Yankees either on the roster or in another trade.

I love Alek Thomas, but this isn't happening.

Michael asks: What are your thoughts on the new batting stance and swing Stanton showed in spring training so far? You've evaluated other players swings in the past so I'd be curious to know what you think about this.

This is going to sound like a bit of a copout, but we don't really have any good angles of the stance or the swing yet. We also don't know how it works in a real game scenario yet, which is where mechanical work done in batting cages and live ABs tend to breakdown. Here's the new swing that Michael is referencing:

The two camera angles are wildly different, so it is really difficult to tell if his stance is more/less closed, and just how upright he really is. From a cursory look though, I like that Stanton looks more relaxed in the box as the pitch is delivered. His hands are a bit lower, which should theoretically help his load, and regardless of how much of a difference it really is, he does appear to be standing taller with a slightly narrower stance. I think starting more upright might help Stanton's timing and vision on high, hard fastballs that have given him fits for two years now, as will loading a bit lower. I also like the angle at which his bat is resting, as it seemed to compliment the swing path I saw in video, leading to him being a bit shorter to the ball.

Again, it's all really meaningless until we see his swing at game speed. I would very much like to compare the end of last season to this season's swing once we have game video. I am cautiously pleased so far, but nothing more until I see it in game action.

Max asks: What is your ideal batting order for this team?

Right now, here's how I'd begin the season against RHP:

  1. 3B DJ LeMahieu

  2. RF Juan Soto

  3. CF Aaron Judge

  4. 1B Anthony Rizzo

  5. 2B Gleyber Torres

  6. DH Giancarlo Stanton

  7. LF Alex Verdugo

  8. C Austin Wells

  9. SS Anthony Volpe

And against LHP:

  1. 3B DJ LeMahieu

  2. LF Juan Soto

  3. RF Aaron Judge

  4. DH Giancarlo Stanton

  5. 2B Gleyber Torres

  6. 1B Anthony Rizzo

  7. CF Trent Grisham

  8. C Jose Trevino

  9. SS Anthony Volpe

If after a month or two DJ looks diminished against RHP, I'd flip DJ and Verdugo in the order, but otherwise, I think these are pretty close to optimized against each handed pitcher.

Sam asks: If you had to pick one surprise rookie to make the roster (and I don't mean Austin Wells) who would it be and why?

I am not 100% sure this player is rookie eligible, and if he's not, it's a close thing. The Yankees have plenty of homegrown rookies who could serve valuable purposes on this roster, but the guy who I think is most likely to have an impact is relief pitcher, Nick Burdi.

Stuff has never been a question with Burdi; he's been as banged up as any pitcher in baseball since he was drafted. 2 Tommy Johns, Thoracic Outlet Surgery, and a host of other arm trouble. That's not a recipe for success. What is, though, is a 100 MPH fastball with rise paired with an absolute wipeout slider. Burdi's stuff is intact even after all of these injuries, and he supposedly feels as healthy as he's been in a long time. Anecdotally, he has also changed his arm slot a bit, dropping it a few inches, which he has noted feels like it takes a lot of strain off of his arm. If Burdi stays healthy, he will make an MLB roster and be an incredibly effective relief arm.

My bold prediction: Nick Burdi makes the Yankees out of camp, and by mid-season, he's so electric that he effectively takes the closer role from Clay Holmes, freeing up Holmes for fireman work to which he's well-suited.

11 commentaires

Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
23 févr.

I would not trade Carlos Rodon as proposed in that trade. Because of his awful season last year, he is being undervalued by many. The biggest problem last year is that he missed most of Spring Training, so when he finally was ready to start his season, which wasn't until the second half, he was basically "going through Spring Training" in the middle of the summer, and at the same time, coming back from an injury that occurred while recovering from another injury. NOT a recipe for success. Players NEED a full Spring Training, and that is why I am concerned about Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery for whoever ends up signing them, and how effective they will be a…


23 févr.

I believe Verdugo should be the lead off hitter and LeMahieu can set the table for the back end of lineup ahead of Wells and Volpe. He's 36 and injuries should be a concern at this stage of his career.

23 févr.
En réponse à

...unless Torres was driving the bus


Alan B.
Alan B.
23 févr.

I really don't want to hear about leadership, or lack of it, if why a team filled with highly paid veterans come into camp out of shape. The Yankees have a strength & Conditioning group. They have a rehab group as well. Too many times we take these groups off the hot seat. I remember when the Mariner in Spring 2013 were 'shocked' that Jesus Montero showed up to Camp 40 lbs heavier. He had knee surgery at the end of 2012, was allowed to go home to Venezuela for all the off season, and they admitted at the time they never checked in with him all winter. And they blame him solely? These guys are under contract and I'd…

Alan B.
Alan B.
23 févr.
En réponse à

But like it or not, teams cannot just be hands off, and have to check in with a call, a text, an email, or even an in person visit, and rely on the pro athlete to be a professional. I do believe there are clauses in the CBA that allow the check in for any injured or recovering player.

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