Yankees Perspectives – January 25, 2020
Yesterday I wrote a great deal more about the Astros cheating scandal. I encourage all readers to take a look at that post.
Today I’d like to focus on Yankees specific topics:
It seems that in Spring Training that Miguel Andujar will see time at first base and the outfield in addition to third base. I think that’s a smart move. Andujar has obvious defensive concerns as a third baseman. Any time a team can take a talented played and find multiple avenues to get him in the line-up is a plus. I believe that Andujar has the talent to be a plus, if not elite, hitter in the Major Leagues. The Yankees should be applauded for finding creative ways to get him in the lineup consistently. I believe the yankees are a better team when Andujar’s bat is in the lineup. I also believe he’s far too young to be a full time designated hitter and that the Yankees need to use the DH spot to rest a host of fragile players including Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez.
All that being said, I think the Yankees need to pause, just a little, in crowning Gio Urshela the starting third baseman from the start. Gio was fabulous last year. He was amazing with the bat- and especially with the glove. He is head and shoulders above Andujar defensively, and if he can hit like he did last year in 2020, he’s a force with the bat as well. But, baseball history is littered with hitters who seem to put it all together for one season only to lose it the next year. I think the jury is still out regarding Urshela’s bat. If he doesn’t hit like last year, I’d rather take my chances with Andujar as the starting third baseman. As I wrote about at the end of the season in my “If I Were the GM” series as I looked ahead to 2020, I’d consider Urshela for the utility guy role – in the mode of what the Yankees did with D.J. LeMahieu in 2019. I think Urshela could shine in that role. What would be even better would be if Gio Urshela was primed to play third base, second base, and shortstop and if Miguel Andujar were primed to play third base, first base, and outfield. Rather than having one or the other as the super-sub, these two players might each be quality super-subs as they split the time at third base.
I have also been banging the drum for J.A. Happ from the start of the off-season. I have written countless times that I see him as a Jamie Moyer type that can shine in his late 30’s and into his 40’s. J.A. Happ knows how to pitch. 2019 was a transition year for him as he started to put it all together. I think he’s going to be a solid pitcher as the Yankees #5 starter. I don’t think there is a #5 starter out there as good as Happ. I can see him winning a ton of games and ending up with a ridiculous looking win/loss record. I could see something like 16-5, or 14-6, or something like that. Trust me on this, he’s going to pitch well and win a lot of games. This will be especially true with baseball taking the juiced ball out of the game in 2020.
I do not want the Yankees to trade J.A. Happ at this point, at all. In fact, I would love for him to go year-to-year with the Yankees as C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte did. If the Yankees and Happ do that, I can see that relationship continuing for another five years. I also think the Yankees would get the best of that deal.
While I don’t want the Yankees to trade Happ, I do want them, still, to get a huge lefty bat. Who? I don’t know. I have said Carlos Santana. I was willing to trade Happ for salary relief to get Santana, but that wasn’t in the cards. If the Yankees could insert a true high quality batter between or among Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez, the line-up would be tremendous.
Over the coming weeks, the new Strat-o-Matic cards (representing the 2019 season) will arrive. Pre-orders are taking place right now. I have ordered my “new guys” every single year since the early 1980’s. It’s always an exciting day when they arrive in the mail.
The 2020 Topps Series 1 baseball cards will also be coming soon. Look for features here as we preview that set in “real time” as we did last year. I love when we get closer and closer to baseball and there are all those little things that start happening to create interest in the game.
Each day the days get a little longer and we get ever so much closer to baseball.
Let’s Go Yankees!