SSTN Weekly Mailbag: A Possible Trade Target and What’s Next!
By Andy Singer
At least to some extent, all of us are creatures of habit. I’ve already talked a fair amount about the extent to which a delayed Spring Training and the seeming hopelessness of Major League Baseball’s labor situation disrupted my daily rhythm, but it’s funny when you realize just how much even the disruption of minor events can upset your sense of time and space. I have a confession to make: I have not watched even one pitch of a Yankee Spring Training game this year. The Yankees’ Spring Training schedule began on Friday, March 18th with a mid-afternoon game. By Saturday afternoon, I was preparing to board a flight for my first international business trip since prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. As I stood on the boarding line, filled with excitement and maybe a touch of nerves, a strange thought and sadness popped into my head: I would miss the first week of Yankee Spring Training games! Now, is that actually the end of the world? Hardly. However, after an offseason of wondering when we’d even get to see the Yankees in 2022, the thought of missing the beginning of Major League play had me an order of magnitude more upset than I ever would have expected. While spending a week in Italy should hardly cause anyone to shed a tear for me (even if it is more work than play…most of the time), it is a fact that baseball is generally a little less than an afterthought in Italy. Any time without baseball upsets me, and Italy hardly seemed to have any promise of baseball.
Those thoughts are almost in my rearview mirror, and life has a funny way of making you feel better if you’re willing to open your eyes and your mind. On Sunday, mere hours after beginning to contemplate a baseball-free existence for a week, I walked out of a train station in Bologna, Italy, and what’s the first thing I saw? No, not ancient buildings, stone streets, or cafés; I heard the sound of an Italian man talking with his friend. When I turned to look at him, he was wearing a Yankee shirt and hat! Two days after that, while driving through a region where industrial buildings and farmland share the landscape in an oddly beautiful way, I saw a well-maintained baseball field with a pristine pitcher’s mound! Though small, finding any connection to baseball was more appreciated than I ever could have imagined. My Spring Training rhythms may be a bit off, but I found my connection to baseball.
As always, thanks for your great questions and keep them coming to SSTNReadermail@gmail.com. In this week’s SSTN Mailbag, we’ll look at a trade target and try to discern what the Yankees’ next move will be. Let’s get at it:
Lance offers the following trade target: Yankees should go after Rafael Machean [Marchan].
Marchan has been a catcher in the Phillies’ system since 2016, and has served as an up-and-down catcher since 2020. Marchan is a switch hitter, though he is a smaller body, so power is not in his repertoire. Marchan gets good marks for blocking and throwing behind the plate, though the numbers are mixed on his ability to frame. The negative? Marchan really can’t hit a lick. He strikes out at a roughly average rate and his walk rate is also roughly average, but Marchan hits the ball on the ground with almost no authority, and though he’s 23 years young, there’s really no projectability remaining in his offensive or defensive profile.
Marchan is someone who might profile as a good defensive backup catcher, but the Yankees already have multiple guys who fit that mold at the Major League level in Kyle Higashioka, Ben Rortvedt, and Rob Brantly. I don’t view Marchan as an upgrade.
Fuster asks: what’s next, Andy?
the team has reinforced the two glaring areas of need, short and first.
do they attempt to find a catcher in an effort to regain some of the lost offensive potential that left with Gary?
do they wait and hope that Story or Correa can’t find a fat contract and settle for a short-time?
do they look to use some of the DH-type and right-handed pitching prospect surplus to acquire lefty pitching?
Well, we know now that the Yankees weren’t in on Story or Correa even on a short-term deal with opt-outs (though we may never know if either player would have accepted such a deal from the Yankees). I said it after the infield-shifting trade with the Twins that I think the Yankees’ next move will be at catcher. I’m not sure whether it will come before the season starts or during the season, but I highly doubt that the Yankees stick with the triumvirate of Higgy/Rortvedt/Brantly all year. The word is that the Yankees have been kicking the tires on Willson Contreras, which makes a lot of sense given the fact that Contreras is a free agent following this season.
In addition to Contreras, there are other possible targets that will/could shake lose in the next few months, so I think that will be the next big move to drop for the Yankees.
I’m not of the opinion that the Yankees are short on left-handed pitching with both Monty and Cortes Jr. in the current rotation, and a decreased need for lefty relievers with the 3-batter minimum rule. The Yankees have Ken Waldichuck and JP Sears on the precipice of getting big league time as well, so there is depth in the left-handed pitching department.
However, you can never have too much pitching; I’m just not sure that the extra Miguel Andujar type bats will bring back real returns that help the team in the near-term.