This week we asked:
If you were building a new franchise and you could take two players from the current Yankees, who would you take and why?
Lincoln Mitchell – The Yankees have become a deceptively old team with many key players either over 30 or badly injury prone. Therefore, it is not clear that anybody on the Yankees will be an impact player three years from now. The one obvious exception is Gleyber Torres so he would make my list. The second choice id harder. Frazier and Andujar have upsides, but also some real downsides as well. Frazier still have not hit for more than a few weeks at a time and Andujar’s defense limits him. Judge and Sanchez are simply too rarely on the field and hitting well to take either of them. A month ago, Gerrit Cole would have made the list, but his last few starts give me a lot of pause. So, I would take Torres and the whoever is making the least money now.
Paul Semendinger – This is where the Yankees have gone over the last few years. You can’t take Aaron Judge. He doesn’t play enough and his minor injuries keep him out for weeks at a time. That’s not going to change as he gets older. D.J. LeMahieu is 32. He’s too old to build around. I have to have faith that Gerrit Cole will be a top pitcher for many years. (If that doesn’t happen, the Yankees are sunk.) Gerrit Cole would be one. The only other player the Yankees have that would be a core piece on a team looking to be competitive would be Gleyber Torres. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
This exercise gives me pause. I think it indicates that the Yankees are looking forward to a few less than glamorous years as 2009 and the last championship gets longer and longer ago…
Gleyber Torres – he’s a young star with 4 more years of team control.
Luis Severino – he’s a legit ace when healthy and has 3 more years of team control.
Aaron Judge- As long as he’s healthy he’s one of the best hitters in the game, but also one fo the most consistent. His average rarely drops below .270.
Gerrit Cole- I attribute Cole’s recent struggles to having not yet adjusted to Yankee Stadium, arguably the most hitter friendly park in the league. One he gets that sorted and returns to form, which he will, he’s one of the best starters in baseball and a central piece to build around.
Patrick Gunn – I would build my franchise around Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole. Yes, they’re two massive names, but both players play at an incredibly high level and are elite competitors. When healthy, Judge is a top-five hitter in the league while playing an above-average right field. He may be struggling right now, but Cole is as tough of an ace as you’ll find, working through lineups with ease and pushing himself and his teammates to be the best. (Honorable Mentions: Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton)
Ed Botti – In building a new franchise, you need to have a balance of young players to build around for the next decade, and experienced players to help lead the way and provide valuable teaching and leading of the younger players.
Strength and athleticism up the middle of the diamond is where I would start.
Limiting my selections to only two Yankees makes this a little more difficult. There are definitely more than two on this current team that I would want.
In building a team many factors need to be considered.
What type of game do I want to play? What other players do I have already on the team? What type of budget do I have? What positions are developing in my minor leagues system? How does the ball park configuration effect the type of players I need? Etc.
Starting with a clean slate, my team would be built from the middle out with a strong focus on balance, speed and run manufacturing. I am not concerned with flash, I want the game played the right way.
I would focus on ball players, not stars. Using the Yankee roster to select ball players and not stars, makes my selections a little more difficult, as the Yankees love stars.
The first Yankee player, in my opinion is obvious; Gleyber Torres. He’s a young and extremely talented middle infielder (although he is best suited for second base). Players of his pedigree do not come around very often, so I would start with him and he would play second base.
Having a young second baseman with the offensive abilities Gleyber has would set me up to acquire more strength up the middle, a prerequisite for any team that is serious about contending, without having to be overly concerned with run production from my middle infield, as Gleyber will provide plenty. I would pair him with a solid defender at shortstop that can handle the bat and run.
If possible I would continue to build my middle of the diamond. Unfortunately, the current Yankee roster does not have any players at either shortstop, centerfield or catcher that I would build around, so I would have to go for the next player on the team that plays the style I want played, and look elsewhere for my middle of the diamond core players.
So I am left with a dilemma, do I go for the ace of the staff, or do I go with the best player on the team? Since that ace will drain my budget and limit my abilities to fill many positions, my choice becomes easy.
I would select DJ LeMahieu and give him a permanent first baseman’s glove, and have the right side of my infield in place for at least the next 3 or 4 years (DJ is 32), and then continue to build from middle of the diamond out.
Philip Cashier – I’d keep Judge and Torres because if I was trying to build a good team they have some good trade value and I could turn two pieces into at least 3 or 4 pieces.
Mike Whiteman – I would take Gerrit Cole as aces are hard to come by. I suspect as he ages he should be able to adapt his pitching style to a more finesse approach and continue to be successful. I would also take Gleyber Torres, even with his struggles this season. A 23 year old with two All-Star selections already is someone you don’t pass up.
Ethan Semendinger – If you’ve made it to me, you can probably guess that one of the players I’d build around would be Gleyber Torres. He’s a good shortstop and a great second-baseman and I’m going to continue with the notion that 2020 is a fluke year for him and he’ll be back in 2021.
The second player is a much harder pick. Cole is an ace, regardless of how he has done in 2020, but he is also owed $300M (which is a worthwhile investment). Judge is a superstar…if he’s on the field (which is a point we’ve discussed to death). Stanton has both problems. LeMahieu is getting too old to be a player to build around. Sanchez gets worse and worse every year. As has Severino and he has the TJS variable. Is my Clint Frazier fandom going to push him to be the other guy even though he’s a very streaky player? What about a complete wild-card pick like Gio Urshela, who has proven to be good to great recently? Is a 1B in Voit a player to build around?
Long story short, it’s hard to really justify any of them, but going with anybody but Cole feels wrong. I just wanted to demonstrate the many questions about who is worthy for that 2nd spot on this team.