SSTN Weekly Mailbag: Coaching And A Trade Proposal!
By Andy Singer
As we sit and wait for the rest of the league to finish their games, the Yankee offseason is already starting off with a bang. The question that I’m sure is on everyone’s mind is the first question of today’s SSTN Mailbag, but I will say that the early offseason is already more intriguing that offseasons of recent memory. This week will be a short mailbag, but I think a good one.
As always, thanks for the great questions and keep them coming to SSTNReadermail@gmail.com. In this week’s SSTN Mailbag, we’ll discuss the Yankee coaching staff and a trade proposal! Let’s get at it:
Brad asks: The Yankees have now fired all of the MLB hitting coaches and Nevin which we all wanted to see. Does this change your opinion of Boone’s safety as manager? What percentage chance does he have to stick around? Do you agree with the moves and what else should happen.
Let me start by saying that as deferential as I’ve been to the Yankees generally, I have consistently pointed out that Phil Nevin was one of the worst 3B coaches in all of baseball. He may very well be a great coach behind the scenes, and I often liked what he had to say publicly, the Yankees just lost too many runs between 3B and home plate over his tenure. The time came to replace him long before his decision to send Judge home in the Wild Card game.
Marcus Thames and P.J. Pilittere were tougher calls. Both coaches came up through the Yankee farm system as both players and coaches and had ties to the organization going back over a decade. Both had also previously been praised for their work with Yankee hitters in 2017-2019 and were reportedly well-liked in the clubhouse. However, I also can’t imagine how either could have kept their jobs after the offensive implosion we saw over the last two seasons. Multiple players regressed offensively, and whatever you believe about the Yankees and roster construction, little argument can be made but that this year’s offense should have been better with the pieces that were already in-house at the start of the year. It was clearly time for a new voice at the big league level.
Despite what I say above though, I did not expect to find out that these 3 coaches would not be renewed in October. That was a surprising development from a decidedly deliberate organization. Based on the stories that leaked out regarding Hal Steinbrenner’s hesitance to fire Boone, the reorganization of the coaching staff in the same week is genuinely surprising. Prior to yesterday, I would have put Boone’s chances of returning at 50/50, maybe 60/40 in favor of returning. Now? I’m not so sure.
Aaron Boone appears to be a very loyal guy, outwardly at least. There has been minimal change to the Yankee coaching staff during his tenure, besides the seismic shift at pitching coach (more on that this offseason). I have never bought into the idea that Boone is a front office puppet; I simply think that the front office picked a guy who matched with them philosophically. I really have a hard time seeing Boone returning if he doesn’t have as much say over his coaching staff.
Right after the Wild Card, my gut told me that Boone would be gone, even as my opinion shifted this week. I’m back to my gut. I think the odds of Boone remaining as Yankee manager next year is roughly 25/75. In the words of Bob Dylan: “The Times They Are A’Changin’”.
Oscar provides the following trade proposal: Aroldis Chapman and Joey Gallo to the Padres for Juckinson Profar and Ethan Elliott.
I know that everyone is hot to deal Gallo this offseason, and it’s well known that Chapman has never been my favorite player (even if we just stick to baseball), but this is just far too minimal a return for both of these players, even when money is considered.
Jurickson Profar was once the best prospect in the sport prior to significant injuries, most critical of which was a rotator cuff injury that has sapped his power and ability to play SS. He was an interesting reclamation project coming into the 2021 season; nothing he did this year indicates that he will be even a bench bat at the MLB level going forward.
Ethan Elliott is an interesting prospect, and reminds me a lot of Jordan Montgomery as a prospect, only older. He’s already 24, going on 25, and only just reached AA. I would want to see some performance in the upper minors before I buy that the fastball plays. His fastball sits in the high 80s, low 90s, and he’s given credit for excellent command of 3 pitches, including a good change-up, something the Yankees now covet. However, Elliott still profiles more as a back-of-the-rotation arm without much likelihood for more. He’s an interesting trade target, but I think too much value is being traded away in this proposal.
Trading Chapman and Gallo would be pure cost-saving moves. I’m not interested in cutting costs. I want to see the Yankees field the best team possible, and both guys are possible solutions to lineup and bench gaps unless and until other moves are made. I’m not opposed to moving Chapman or Gallo, but this trade doesn’t move the needle for me.