So much for the New York Yankees’ offseason plans.
The Yankees have reached an agreement to trade for outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton won the NL MVP last season. He had a historic year, belting 59 home runs and driving in 132 runs. He hit most of those home runs at Marlins Park, which is bigger than Yankee Stadium. Stanton and Aaron Judge, who hit 52 home runs for the Yankees last year, will be the most intimidating duo in baseball. Yankees fans should be happy about the trade, but there are several negatives that come along with the trade. Here they are:
Judge struck out a league-high 208 times last season. His struck out on 30.7 percent of his plate appearances last season, which was the fourth-highest rate in baseball. His strikeout rate skyrocketed during the playoffs last year, as Judge struck out on 47.4 percent of his plate appearances. Judge was unable to hit the best pitchers in the American League. He has to learn to lay off of the low pitches. Far too often, he swings and misses at off-speed pitches that end up in the dirt.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Stanton also strikes out a lot. Stanton’s strikeout rate was 23.6 percent, which was 27th-highest in the MLB. He has never played in a postseason game, but it is safe to say that his strikeout rate will probably increase in the playoffs. These two players will probably carry the Bronx Bombers through the regular season, only to go into a slump in the playoffs. Yankees fans saw this happen far too often in Alex Rodriguez‘s time in the Bronx. A-Rod was unstoppable in the regular season, but could not get the necessary postseason hits in most of his seasons in the Bronx.
The stolen base is becoming a lost art in baseball as more teams shift toward utilizing analytics. The Yankees, a team that is willing to use analytics, will not have as much speed on the basepaths as a result of this trade. Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Hicks are all going to lose playing time as a result of the trade. The Yankees have plenty of power, but will certainly be at the bottom of the rankings in stolen bases. They will not be able to play small ball, which at times can be a necessity in close playoff games.
No Infield Depth
The Yankees parted ways with All-Star second baseman Starlin Castro in the trade for Stanton. Their starting second baseman is Ronald Torreyes. Torreyes had a solid season in 2017, but he is best utilized in a backup role. The Yankees will have to hope top prospect Gleyber Torres is ready to join the big-league roster at the beginning of the year. If not, Torreyes can fill in for a while, but he should not be the starting second baseman for the entire season.
At third base, the Yankees are virtually guaranteed to lose starter Todd Frazier in free agency. That will leave them with Chase Headley playing at the hot corner. Headley, who is entering the final year of his contract, hit .273 last year and was a great leader in the clubhouse. After the Yankees acquired Frazier, Headley told then-manager Joe Girardi that he was okay with playing first base if that was what was best for the team. Headley does not bring much power to the table, but he is a veteran who knows how to play the game. I don’t think the Yankees will try to trade for Manny Machado or Josh Donaldson this season. I think Headley will be the Yankees’ starting third baseman on opening day, and has the inside track on keeping that job throughout the 2018 season.
Another concern for the Yankees is at first base. Starter Greg Bird, who had a great postseason, missed most of the regular season with nagging injuries. He also missed the entire 2016 season with a shoulder injury. Bird’s lack of durability is a major concern for the Yankees, and it seems that they will not be able to add a quality backup in free agency. If Bird goes down again, the Yankees will need to move Headley back over to first and try to have Torres or Torreyes fill in at third base.
No Starting Pitching Depth
The starting pitching depth is also a concern. After missing out on Shohei Ohtani, the Yankees have four solid starters: Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Sonny Gray, and Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees’ starting pitching situation is better than most teams’ situations. However, their rotation is not elite. The team could use one more quality arm to shore up the rotation. Now, they likely won’t get that arm, at least not in the offseason. The Bronx Bombers will be lucky to get CC Sabathia back to fill the fifth spot. Yankees fans have to hope Sabathia will take a hometown discount. If not, they will have to hope Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, or one of their other young arms can make the leap and become the fifth starter like Montgomery did last year.
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