Trading Torres for Scherzer: A Thought Experiment

Trading Torres for Scherzer: A Thought Experiment

Following the posting of yesterday’s Weekly Mailbag, a spirited discussion took place in the comments section regarding who the Yankees should shield in any trade talks for Max Scherzer.  In a short comment within the Mailbag, I expressed my opinion that Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Gleyber Torres are the only players that I consider off-limits in trade discussions should Scherzer hit the market.  Longtime reader, Fuster, asked me to explain why I would not include Torres in talks for an ace like Scherzer.  While I answered the question in short-form in the comments section, I think that this topic is worth further discussion since the Yankees will be on the prowl for a top-end rotation arm to add to the roster via trade prior to the trade deadline in July.

Before I get into it, I want to make one thing clear: personally, I do not believe that Scherzer will hit the market this summer.  The Nationals still have a chance to come back in the NL East race, and this may be the last season of their window of contention.  Anthony Rendon is a Free Agent this offseason, Scherzer and Strasburg, as good as they are, are getting older, and there is not enough young talent in the National’s prospect pipeline to keep the team in contention without high-end veterans.  I just have a hard time believing that the Nationals will sell at the deadline unless they do something horrific like lose 15 of their next 20 games.  Could it happen?  Sure, which will make this article relevant.  If the Nats sell, it is going to take some serious offers to grab Scherzer.

There are valid reasons on both sides of the argument for and against building a trade offer around Gleyber Torres in pursuit of Max Scherzer.  If I were Brian Cashman, and I had a trade offer centered around Torres that I knew would be accepted by the Nationals, assuming money and prospects were agreed upon, I would be rendered an anxious, sleepless wreck.  But in the end, much as I really do believe that Scherzer is the best pitcher in baseball, I would not be willing to trade Torres in any deal for Max Scherzer.  Let’s dig into it.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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The Injured List Yankees Pitching Staff Vs The Active Yankees Pitching Staff

The Injured List Yankees Pitching Staff Vs The Active Yankees Pitching Staff

As we all know, the Yankees have been devastated by injuries this year.  It’s somewhat of a miracle that they are even in first place. While the position players are largely back (cross your fingers that they stay healthy), the starting pitching still suffers from a host of injuries. AS a result, Aaron Boone has had to resort to starting a grab bag of relievers every fifth day.  

The crazy thing about all of this is that the Yankees had quite good pitching depth in the organization.  They’ve actually lost half of their top end starters to injuries.

I thought that it might be fun to compare the current Yankee starters to the ones on the IL.  I’ll be using FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), and a few other indicators as a basis for the comparisons. (FIP is basically ERA with luck and defense stripped out to give only a pitcher’s measure of runs allowed per 9 innings.)

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Looking at the Last Ten Years of First Round Picks (Part 1)

Looking at the Last Ten Years of First Round Picks (Part 1)

With another MLB Draft in the books and Anthony Volpe signed, I decided to look back at the last ten years of Yankees first round picks. A first round pick may ensure that the person signing will garner a hefty bonus check, but it certainly doesn’t mean the draftee will ever see a big league pitch. It is no surprise to see the Yankees have had mixed results with their first round picks lately. Some crashed and burned pretty hard, others are still working their way through the system - and then you have Aaron Judge.

Cito Culver (SS):
Drafted: 2010, 32nd pick out of Irondequoit HS (Rochester, NY)

Yankees career: Culver seemed like an odd first round pick when the Yankees made it, but he had a compelling story that made people cheer for the New York native. His father had started a prison sentence for burning down the family’s house on Easter in 2008 in an attempt to kill Culver’s mother.

Culver worked his way through the short-season leagues, as well as the lower levels, despite rarely having good offensive numbers. A solid defensive player, Culver was never able to adjust to professional pitching and continually struggled at the plate. In 2015, he spent time with both Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Trenton. He was never called up to the majors and bounced between the RailRiders and the Thunder until he became a free agent after the 2017 season.

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The Story so Far, and Yet to Come: The 2019 Bullpen

The Story so Far, and Yet to Come: The 2019 Bullpen

Prior to the 2019 season, many observers (this writer included) thought that the Yankee bullpen had a chance to be historically great. For one reason or another, the bullpen, while good, has not been historically great. I examine how the bullpen has performed to-date, and evaluate what the bullpen might look like for the rest of the season.

(Photo Credit: Bill Kostroun)

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Gio Urshela: Is He For Real?

Gio Urshela: Is He For Real?

There is little question but that the 2019 Yankees would be in the basement of the AL East without the play of all of the depth players that began the year at AAA Scranton. As good as all of those guys have been, one has stood above the rest: Gio Urshela. Prior to this season, Urshela was considered to be little more than a depth infielder. This season has largely changed that perception. In addition to playing good defense at the hot corner (I know that the metrics are mixed - defensive metrics take larger sample sizes to trust, so I am trusting my eyes on this one), Urshela has hit .341/.396/.505 with a .902 OPS, 140 OPS+, and 143 wRC+. Were Urshela to keep up this level of performance over a full season, he would finish with 5-ish WAR, or All-Star caliber production from 3B. Urshela’s current offensive performance is easy to comprehend, but the aforementioned statistics only tell us how Urshela has performed to this point; they say nothing about what we can expect from him moving forward. The question remains: who is Gio Urshela long-term?

(Photo Credit: Kathy Willens, AP)

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Clint vs Bryce

I was a HUGE proponent of the Yankees signing Bryce Harper (because he’s great).

The Yankees didn’t sign Harper (of course) which opened the door for Clint Frazier to play regularly once Giancarlo Stanton was injured. Since that time, Clint Frazier has hit the cover off the ball.

Let’s compare the two players at this moment. (Harper is playing tonight so his numbers were through yesterday while I added Frazier’s numbers through today’s game. Frazier has played in fewer (19-15) games than Harper this year.)


Jonathan Loaisiga Was Different

Jonathan Loaisiga Was Different

Much of the reporting of Jonathan Loaisiga’s first start focused on how similar his results were to his Major League performance in 2018. Loaisiga displayed electric stuff in his first start of 2019, but he struggled to get outs multiple times through the order, and was unable to pitch deep into the game, forcing the Yankees to go to the bullpen after just 4 innings (and admittedly, just 70 pitches). Lost in the analysis of results was the recognition that Loaisiga did not achieve those results in exactly the same way as last season. As a disclaimer, super-small sample size certainly applies in this case, however I would like to highlight some trends that I plan to track when Loaisiga pitches this season.

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Late Sunday Night Super Special: Graig Nettles Deserves the Hall-of-Fame

Late Sunday Night Super Special: Graig Nettles Deserves the Hall-of-Fame

After posting the Sunday Night Special video on DRC+, I decided to investigate more about this new stat, and to my delight, I came across an article that argues that Graig Nettles is one of the best third basemen in history and that he absolutely deserves to be inducted into the Baseball Hall-of-Fame. In addition, Yankees, it is time to add Nettles to Monument Park…

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