Hot trade! The Yanks are rid of Chasen Shreve and dealt Giovanny Gallegos too in a deal for STL 1B Luke Voit per Brendan Kuty.
HERE'S WHAT I WROTE TOO SLOWLY TO FRIGGIN POST:
Bad News: Aaron Judge's wrist is all chipped n shit :(
Now, not only does that mean that this fella's out of the lineup for 3 weeks, but chances are he's not going to immediately return to typical Judge production upon his return. As many writers have pointed out, wrist injuries can linger. Who'd have thunk we'd be in a spot where we could actually use Brandon Drury right about now?
There are so many interesting things about this injury:
1. If it's just 3 weeks, it really shouldn't be the end of the world -- generally, you would never think about getting a replacement player for just 3 weeks -- but, because every game matters in this AL East division race, and the Yanks are back 4.5, they might end up making a move. But since it's only 3 weeks (or is predicted as such) they really have to move now, cause waiting even 'till the deadline is a significant portion of our Judge-less time in this situation.
2. The Yankees backup right-fielder was the National League MVP last year hahaha. The Yankees outfield is still Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, and Giancarlo Stanton which is pretty damn good considering they just lost one of the best players in baseball. Because Stanton plays the same position as Judge, it means that if the Yankees want to import a bat they needn't find a new outfielder, they can just bring a DH into the picture. That certainly widens the scope of who they can go after (i.e. any hitter) and also enables them to consider some options who will likely cost less because of their lack of defensive versatility.
3. I mean, the JA Happ trade was a good move, I stand by my support of it. But it is insane that if this happened 48 hours earlier they could've inserted Brandon Drury no problem. Definitely, the Happ trade was a good move and even with the injury I support it and would make it again post-injury to Judge, but the Yanks go all year trying to find somewhere to put Drury and the opportunity pops up right after he moves to Toronto? Pretty wacky.
4. The Yankees outfield depth was supposed to be historic this year. Judge, Stanton, Gardner, Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Clint Frazier. Ellsbury, however, remains injured and Frazier's fighting post-concussion symptoms, so instead you've got Shane Robinson (who had a .296 OBP at Triple-A) on the roster as their 4th outfielder.
5. A .188 hitter named Gary Sanchez is also out until early September. Bad as he's been this year, Gary's still a potent weapon in the lineup and the Yankees are missing the threat of his bat in the lineup. Austin Romine is a stud with a pretty solid line for a backup catcher at .261/.318/.470. Backing him up in the interim will be Kyle Higashioka who had a fun little "I only hit homers" intro to the big leagues earlier this season, but is .152/.222/.452 over 33 MLB ABs this year and .198/.269/.337 over 187 ABs in Triple-A. One potential option for the Yanks would be to find somebody who they might be able to play at both C and DH. While you don't often see teams putting their regular catcher at DH with their backup starting, since an injury would force them to lost the DH if they move the regular catcher behind the plate, it might at the very least be a way to keep Higgy's bat out of the lineup, even if they kept him on the roster. That said, it also is generally pretty unlikely you'll run into an injury in a given game, but if it happened the Yankees could get 2 or 3 pinch hit ABs from the other players on their bench without worrying to much about taking pitchers out too early, given that they have so many top-notch arms that they could bring in after each pinch-hitting situation. Anyway, just something to think about!
Alright, now onto trying to figure out how to deal with the situation rather than just, you know, thinking about the uniqueness of it.
Given that Judge is expected to be back before the end of August, and hopefully rid of lingering effects come next season, it'd make the most sense to go after a pure rental, unless they can bring in someone who still fits the team's construction after this season. For instance, if the acquisition can serve as a utility infielder (Neil Walker's contract expires at the end of the season), then it might be worth bringing in someone with a multiyear deal. But if they get another outfielder, they're likely to deal with another crunch come spring presuming Jacoby and Frazier are healthy once again and Gardy's option gets picked up. Of course, the Yanks could also just acquire a player who can sub in for Judge for a few weeks and provide value from the bench through October, then flip 'em to recoup some of the prospect value they'd cost come winter.
One more note, the Yankees typically run with a 3-man bench (back-up catcher, back-up infielder, back-up outfielder) plus their DH. Sometimes they'll go up to 4 men on the bench if there's a transaction or two that allows them to go a day or two with one less pitcher on the roster. If Brian Cashman wants to get creative, he could try to create a DH Platoon, so that rather than 3 bench players plus a DH, he would have a left-handed DH, a right-handed DH, a back-up catcher, and either a back-up infielder or outfielder (whichever the better defending DH doesn't play).
Alright, with all that in mind. Here are 5 potential ways the Yankees could upgrade the roster during young Aaron's absence.
1. IF Jurickson Profar & OF Curtis Granderson.
My favorite option for the Yanks would involve pulling off two trades: one for a former Yankees fan favorite and another for a long-time target of Brian Cashman's who's controllable through 2020. Texas's former top prospect has proven to be a top-notch hitter against lefties this year, with a .289/.366/.511 line to date. Our old pal Grandy, on the other hand, has been holding his own against left-handers (.241/.341/.443). If the Yanks used four roster spots on Profar, Grandy, Higashioka, and Neil Walker - that'd be a pretty damned good bench situation. Add in the fact that Profar and Grandy (though less so than in his prime) are both speedy enough to use as pinch-runners for the likes of Romine, Higgy, Bird, and maybe even Andujar, they'd provide some versatility that the Yanks aren't getting from the bench now (except on the days where Tyler Wade's with the big league squad).
What I like most about acquiring a guy like Profar is that he is good enough to play a lot, versatile enough to play all over, and young enough that he's controllable for two more seasons. I felt bad for Brandon Drury never finding a spot in NYC, but what makes Profar different than him is that in his professional career he has played 27 games at 1B, 66 games at 2B, 55 games at 3B, 99 games at SS, and 31 games in LF. That means that you could have an injury to Bird, Gleyber, Didi, Miggy, Gardner, Judge, or Stanton in the next couple of years, and you could immediately pop Jurickson into place to cover during their absence. While he's a switch hitter, his numbers against lefties have been significantly better this season. Last year, at Triple-A, he knocked lefties around hitting .388/.440/.622. When he turned around to face righties, .252/.363/.358. While that's not wretched, I think that employing Profar as part of a platoon is the most productive way to take advantage of him on your roster.
Grandy meanwhile, is a known New York quantity and is a low-risk, short-term solution who you can drop when you need to since his contract ends at the end of the season.
My guess is that the acquisition cost for Granderson can't be too high, maybe a top 30 organizational prospect plus another outside the top 30. Profar's an interesting case because he's young enough (25) that he still has potential to fulfill and two more years after this in his prime under team control, but he doesn't really have anywhere to play in Texas right now, and the squad they've got assembled down there doesn't look like it's going to be competitive in 2019, and probably not even in 2020. The Yanks could send some of their younger arms (22 of their top 30 prospects are pitchers), namely their righty arms (21 of those pitchers are right-handed) to the Lone Star State. Prior to the season, Keith Law ranked Texas the 22nd best farm system in baseball, noting that most of their prospects are fairly far away from the bigs and that the system is light on starting pitching. By dealing from an area of strength, the Yankees could bring the versatile Profar to the Bronx, which it seems like they've tried to do once or twice a year since his "star prospect" star began to fade.
2. OF Corey Dickerson. NOTE: This dude is on the DL now so everything here is double-moot. Man, wasn't it weird when the Rays DFA'd Corey Dickerson last fall? After hitting .282/.235/.490 in 2017, the Rays sent him to Pittsburgh for Daniel Hudson, Tristan Gray, and a million big ones. Gray, a 13th round pick in last year's draft, is hitting .245/.300/.433 at high-A ball. Daniel Hudson was released by the Rays before the season even began. And despite that hot million bucks, Tampa still seems to be cutting payroll as much as possible. Dickerson, meanwhile, is hitting .318/.351/.517 in Pittsburgh. His strikeout rate is a career low 12.3% (it was 24.2% a year ago) and he's making contact significantly more often with a career-high 82.9%, a significant increase from the 73.6% rate that he produced in Tampa last season. Anyway, suffice it to say - dumb move by Tampa Bay. His splits are nothing to worry about (.310/.364/.423 v. L, .320/.348/.542 v. R), so Boone wouldn't have to worry about platooning him. You just plug him into Judge's spot in the lineup for a few weeks, then use the extra bat to keep the team's best hitters (Judge and Stanton) and their grittiest player (Brett Gardner) well rested so they're not too banged up come October. In the playoffs, you want every extra bat you can get, and having Dickerson available to pinch-hit in a big situation (or, frankly, to start - making Hicks or Gardner the pinch-hitting candidate), could be a big difference maker.
The issue here is that A. The Pirates are 14-3 in their last 17 games, which has them now 3 games out of a playoff spot in the absurdly competitive National League where only 4 teams are more than 5 games out. That said, they'd have to climb over multiple teams to make it in. If they stay competitive, the team may look to prepare for a competitive run in 2019 (Jordy Mercer and Sean Rodriguez are their only free agents at the end of the year), and thus Corey Dickerson may be an important part of that picture. So maybe he's not a realistic goal now that we're investigating, but I mean -- can you believe Tampa just let him go for next to nothing?
3. 1B Mark Reynolds & 1B Matt Adams.
Here's something fun: acquire a platoon of two players from the same GD team! I've got a feeling the Nats are going to hesitate to sell until Tuesday, but then they're going to just be sending away pending free agents left and right. Two of those free agents are Mark Reynolds and Matt Adams. Mark's a righty. Matt's a lefty. Mark's hitting lefties .292/.364/.458. Matt's hitting righties .285/.369/.581. Aaron Judge's overall line is .285/.398/.548. This DH platoon might be the Yankees best shot at replacing Judge's production for the next few weeks.
Adams is making $4 and Reynolds signed a minor league contract, which has him making the league minimum, so fiscally, these two wouldn't cost much. Imagine Reynolds, Adams, Romine, and one of Torreyes/Walker/Wade on the roster. The Yankees could keep some thump in the lineup on a daily basis, and once Aaron gets back, they could go with a platoon of Reynolds and one of Adams or Greg Bird at 1B, with the other serving as a powerful left-handed pinch hitter to contrast the big righty bats that will define their lineup late in the season with Judge and Gary back aboard.
I have no idea what the Nationals would want in return for two impending free agent corner infielders. I mean -- players like that sure didn't seem to be in high demand last winter, but now that we're midseason and in the midst of the playoff hunt, everybody's value seems to be amped up a little. My guess is that we'd once again be looking at a situation wherein the Yanks would be best served dealing from their RHP prospect strength, but this time I anticipate Washington being more interested in players from the upper levels. Even if Bryce Harper leaves in November, the team has a lot of cash invested in their co-ace combo of Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, and they're going to want pitchers who can be plugged into the rotation in 2019 and 2020, either at the back end or as injury replacements for the aforementioned duo. They've got an offensive core anchored by Trea Turner, Juan Soto, Adam Eaton, and Anthony Rendon with about $60mm coming off the books in the form of Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson, and Shawn Kelley -- Mike Rizzo can easily keep this team competitive over the next few years, especially if Victor Robles graduates to the bigs and delivers as expected. Young MLB-ready arms who can contribute next year like Domingo German, Domingo Acevedo, Luis Cessa, and Chance Adams might be the place to start. I also could see Washington taking an interest in a guy like Tommy Kahnle who isn't a necessity for a historically talented bullpen in the Bronx this year, but has a history of delivering at a high level in the bigs and is controllable through 2020. Maybe Kahnle, Cessa, and some international slot money or some other sort of throw-in would be the answer here. If the Nats throw in the towel on this season, Kahnle's a good first step towards replacing the relievers who are currently in their walk year's down in the city on the swamp.
THERE WERE OTHER IDEAS BUT THEN WE GOT LUKE VOIT AND NOW ALL MY THOUGHTS ARE IRRELEVANT CAUSE CASHMAN DID SOMETHING ELSE.