Weekly Mailbag: Dominguez’s Trade Value, a Conundrum at SS, and Bring Back Gardy!
We’re back, and sorry for the hiatus during Thanksgiving weekend – there was just no way for me to answer questions on Thursday night. I missed answering your questions, and you all gave me some great stuff to work with this week, so thanks! We’re one week out from the Winter Meetings, so things are going to get really interesting soon.
For now though, let’s get at it:
Mike S. asks: Crazy question for yet another slow start to the offseason… as impossible as it would be to actually predict, what could jasson dominguez fetch right now on the trade market before even making his stateside debut with all the hype around him?
(No, i wouldn’t actually want to see him traded, Not even a little)
As you correctly state in your question, pinning down Dominguez’s trade value is nearly impossible in this scenario. Dominguez is the most hyped signing out Latin America that I can remember. While Dominguez is 16 years old and has yet to play in a single game in a professional league, mainstream fans already know his name – this is not normal! I expect sensationalism when mainstream sportswriters attempt to evaluate prospects, but Dominguez has garnered absurd praise, even by sensationalist standards. As ridiculous as it sounds (and it is a bit ridiculous), Dominguez has been routinely compared to Mike Trout and Mickey Mantle. Despite that seemingly impossible praise, the Yankees, who are typically very measured in their public statements about prospects, have added to the hype. The Yankees’ Director of Latin American Operations, Mario Garza, was quoted in Baseball America as saying, “It’s almost like taking the best of anybody you have, and then it’s all in one guy.” In short, I don’t think Jasson Dominguez could be hyped any more than he is right now by the media, fans, and even baseball insiders.
We don’t even have realistic trade comps for someone like Dominguez. Some might try to compare the Fernando Tatis Jr. trade to a Dominguez trade scenario, but that really doesn’t compare for a couple of reasons. For one, the White Sox got fleeced, taking on significant salary and horrendous performance by acquiring James Shields as the sole return. More importantly, while Tatis Jr. would eventually become the consensus #1 or #2 prospect in baseball, Tatis Jr. was not yet an upper echelon blue-chip prospect at the time of the trade. So, that trade doesn’t work.
The only other comp I can come up with is the trade that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston in exchange for, among others, Hanley Ramirez. Hanley Ramirez was one of baseball’s top prospects at the time of the trade, and became an MVP candidate for Florida soon after. This trade has its issues as well, though. For one, I can’t think of a modern team that would sell-off its entire team at all costs the way the Marlins did in 2005, so finding a similar trade partner in today’s day and age seems remote. This trade also had other major pieces coming back to Florida, namely Annibal Sanchez, so it is tough to pin down just how much value Ramirez had on his own in this trade. Most importantly, Ramirez had already reached AA at the time of the trade, so comparing his value to a 16-year-old who hasn’t played pro ball yet doesn’t make a lot of sense.
So, unless I’m missing a historical trade that is ripe for comparison (and if I am, let me know!), we have no comps to use for a Jasson Dominguez trade. The Yankees are in win-now mode, so any trade involving Dominguez would be for someone (a starting pitcher or shortstop, possibly?) that could help the Yankees win the World Series in 2020. Let’s try to lay out what that trade could look like.
Dominguez, despite the hype, is a legitimately good prospect. Most outlets have ranked Dominguez as one of the Yankees’ top-3 prospects, and some have even gone as far as to include Dominguez in their top-100 prospect lists. That tells us that Dominguez clearly would have real value on the trade market, but due to the fact that he is so far from the big leagues, the high ceiling his skillset would typically fetch in a trade is tempered somewhat.
For that reason, I think that in order to trade Dominguez, the Yankees would have to package him as part of a larger deal that includes multiple prospects. Michael, this is a lot of fun to think about, and as much as I don’t see the Yankees trading Dominguez this off-season, our next question deals with exactly the type of trade of which I could see Dominguez being a part.
Lionel asks: do you remain convinced that Lindor won’t be traded and, if so, how do you suggest the Yankees fill the shortstop position?
Paul is certain that Gleyber will be the shortstop but I worry about his lack of ideal range and notice that he seems to be “filling out” in a way that suggests that his range won’t be lengthening
I have a very hard time seeing a Lindor trade this off-season, despite the smoke surrounding his status. Despite the fact that multiple people have used baseballtradevalues.com to show a path to a Yankee trade for Lindor, I think that particular algorithm is underrating Lindor’s value to the Indians. Most of the trade scenarios that I have seen for the Yankees-Indians on the internet would be palatable to me as a Yankee fan, which tells me that we haven’t yet found a workable trade for Lindor.
However, Michael’s question above gets to the heart of the Lindor debate: the trade would have to hurt more than a little to get the Indians to budge. Miguel Andujar is an obvious trade candidate, but the Yankees are selling way low with regards to his current value. Andujar is coming off of a significant injury and may really be a 1B instead of a 3B, which significantly hurts his value. However, he still has some shine from his prospect status and rookie success, and he remains a controllable asset that could stick around even after the Indians finish rebuilding or re-tooling.
Beyond Andujar, I think that the Yankees need to include 2 blue-chip prospects (one close to Major League action, and one further away), and 1 solid prospect. Again, this would hurt, but I think that to round out a reasonable trade offer, the Yankees would have to offer someone like Deivi Garcia as the near-ready blue-chipper, a lottery ticket in Jasson Dominguez, and a guy like Clint Frazier. Some might balk at that price, but I think that type of trade is what it will take to pry Lindor from the Indians this off-season.
As far as how the Yankees fill the SS position in 2020 is concerned, I am somewhere between where you and Paul sit on the spectrum. I think that Paul is correct in thinking that the Yankees would be okay with Torres starting at SS, and I agree with you in thinking that playing Torres at SS everyday is not an ideal defensive configuration. The small-sample-size metrics from 2019 say that Torres played a very good SS. I really don’t have a ton of faith in any defensive metrics that haven’t been accumulated in multi-season sample sizes, but the eye test told me that Torres was adequate at SS: his arm is plenty strong for the position, he showed good feel moving around the 2B bag, and he was relatively sure-handed in a small sample. However, I agree that Torres’ range average at best, and is likely to diminish as Torres continues to fill-out. Based on that assessment, I think I could live with Torres playing SS everyday on a trial basis this season, but I have a hard time seeing him stick at the position long-term.
In lieu of a trade for a big-time SS, I really want to see Didi Gregorius back in pinstripes. I think that Didi has handled SS admirably since Jeter’s retirement, and his defensive abilities do not appear diminished following Tommy John Surgery. I also don’t think that it will take a long-term commitment to retain Didi’s services, as I do not see significant demand on the Free Agent market for a SS. I want to see the Yankees find a 2-3 year pact that is palatable for both sides so that a reunion can occur. I think the Yankees would miss Didi if they let him get away.
Stephanie asks: Will the Yankees re-sign Brett Gardner? I’m getting worried that we haven’t heard any news yet!
I wouldn’t worry just yet! The Yankees have moved slower than I anticipated towards a reunion with Gardy, but I think that has more to do with the fact that the Yankees have had other priorities early on in Free Agency, particularly with reports of the full-court press the Yankees are executing on Gerrit Cole. I think that the Yankees and Gardner will eventually work out another 1-year deal. The Yankees need a CF, and Gardner doesn’t really seem interested in playing elsewhere. I hope Gardy gets to finish out his career in pinstripes.
That’s all for this week! Great questions, as always! With all of the new readers we have hanging out around here, I just want to reiterate that you are always welcome to send in questions for the mailbag, even if you’ve never done it before – just send your questions to SSTNReadermail@gmail.com. Until next week – enjoy the weekend!