From Sunday, Dec. 9 to Thursday, Dec. 13, all of the baseball big-wig’s gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada to attend the annual Winter Meetings. During this prestigious who’s-who of all 30 teams’ upper echelon of staff, Brian Cashman, the Yankees general manager, made waves by stating, “We’re a fully operational Death Star.”
This comparison may be troubling to any Star Wars fan who knows how vulnerable a Death Star can be, especially to bunch of misfit rebel pilots, but that is neither here nor there.
Cashman’s point was that his team is proud of the moves they have made so far, but are eager to continue ravaging each team and the free agent market looking for new talent to dress in pinstripes.
The Yankees made some moves during the meetings and flirted with a few other deals, but notably, the Happ and Hill deals came to fruition.
The Yankees announced they plan to sign J.A Happ to a two year deal. Happ pitched to a 7-0 record, fueled by a 2.69 ERA after signing with the Yankees late in the season last year. He bolsters a Yankee rotation that has been unofficially dubbed, “The Harlem River Hurlers.”
Happ’s resigning was inevitable after trade talks between the Marlins, Mets, and Yankees fell through. Rumors had Mets’ #2 pitcher, Noah Syndergaard going to the Yankees.
The Yankees also acquired 22-year-old prospect Tyler Hill from Detroit after he spent the last 5 years in the rival Red Sox farm system.
Hill is an outfielder who has played all his pro ball no higher than A+. He has played all three outfield positions, with a majority of his time spent in left field (156 starts).
Hill flashes potential to steal a base and has stolen 93 bases down in low A ball. In 119 games Hill nabbed 42 bags. However, SoxProspect.com critiques his overzealous tendencies and say he gets caught stealing too much.
SoxProspects.com also predicted he will need to “[prove] he can hit upper-level pitching” before attaining any serious attention from the Show.
His 5-year slash line lacks much to be desired at .275/.355/.369. His slugging percentage reveals the lack of power despite being predominately a pull hitter. He has 14 home runs in his professional career.
The young Hill has a lot to prove in the lower tiers of the Yankees system. The stats and scouting reports indicate he will never crack a big league line up, but if can finally catch up to professional pitching and get smarter on the base-path, he may find some time platooning with a big league team when rosters expand in September.
As for future deals the Yankees will make, Cashman is adamant in his trust in Gary Sanchez and will not hear any trade talks that include the pinstriped backstop according to Brian Hoch from MLB.com.
Maybe it is swings like this from Sanchez that Cashman cannot get out his head.
Regarding the Machado sweepstakes, a quote from Bobby Dickerson, a former coach of Machado, Manny would only be willing to man the hot corner if the stars were to align perfectly, including the right dollar amount. (MLB.com)
With Didi only out temporarily, Machado would inevitable return to 3B if he signed with the Yankees this offseason. Do the Yankees have the financial clout to reel in Machado to play a position he does not necessarily want to play?
If the Yankees really are a “fully operational Death Star”, then they seriously should consider dolling out the money for Machado’s exceptional talent on both sides of the diamond. Especially when Machado is statistically a MUCH better third baseman than shortstop.
Get your studious glasses on and get ready to learn. Machado’s skill between SS and 3B can be identified by looking at his Defensive Runs Saved Above Average (Rdrs). Rdrs measures how many runs above or below average Machado was worth.
He scored a 85 at 3B and at SS he earned a -15. This means Machado saves runs at 3B while being liable for runs at short.
Clearly, New York would be doing Machado a favor by plugging him back at third base.
JED LOWRIE WATCH
If the Yankees are not able to land Machado in their eminent meeting with the star infielder, another name they can target is Jed Lowrie.
Lowrie sures up the middle of the Yankee infield with eleven years of experience. He can play 2B while Didi is sidelined and Torres is at short, then when Didi returns, Torres jumps back to 2B and Lowrie can play third. He has played 1076 games in the field and 148 at third.
That is more games than Andjar has played at third…and Lowrie can certainly provide a serviceable glove at third, and it should play better than Andujar’s.
It’s a long offseason and this has been a long post. There is no need exhaust the word count by going through every single possible move the Yankees can make. There will be plenty of time for blog posts about Harper or other free agent pitching arms. But with a plethora of outfield talent both young and old, the Yankee may be more inclined to pursue Machado rather than Harper.
As for the attitude of both free agent behemoths, Harper is a fiery personality and would cause the same media flare ups that Machado would. They both posses too much talent to pass up even if Machado isn’t “Johnny Hustle.” Also, his stint in LA shows how he’ll perform under a microscope and honestly, he acted the way anyone would expect a player to act that has a history of throwing bats at future MVPs.
In the mean time, it is fun enough to fantasize over Machado, Lowrie, and even Hill. And also there is an opportunity for Cashman to tighten up any exposed thermal exhaust ports before Opening Day.
Featured Image: via https://www.visitlasvegas.com/; http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Death_Star Sources Death Star Quote Sanchez is StayingHapp dealTyler Hill Scouting Report