I don't know why I've been so frustrated with Greg Bird. I don't know if it's his .223 AVG, his .313 OBP, or the fact that his eyebrows have more depth than any part of the Yankees' roster. You would think his .265/.337/.458 July might've helped my opinion of him, but after he biffed the pick last night on a CRUCIAL play, I just find myself extraordinarily frustrated yet again. Last week I saw him go to the plate in the bottom of the 9th after Gleyber Torres had put us back in striking distance, only to end the game with a deflating disappointment. NOTE: I understand that some people are blaming Andujar for the throw. Okay, sure. But, watch the play. That ball should be caught. Also, Andujar leads the team in AVG and is an XBH machine, so I give the guy a free pass.
Now, there was a whole lot of chatter about Manny Machado this summer. Could the Yankees bring him in and send Andujar down? Would they do that? What I didn't understand is why you would remove Andujar from the lineup instead of Bird. Just seems a little dumb, no? Why not slide Andujar over to 1st and keep his bat in the lineup. He's a bigger asset than Bird, regardless of what we've been projecting Bird to be for years. This is not to say that Bird won't ever figure it out, or that he hasn't had big hits, or that I'm not overreacting because I'm a big, impatient baby.
Anyway, the Yankees were just swept by the Red Sox, they look like a bunch of little leaguers out there, and I'm angry and frustrated and, you know, not happy! So, I want to just escape the season for a few moments and think about 2019. I'm not giving up on this year (I am giving up on the division though, I mean -- c'mon), but I just think it's mentally safer to focus on the future for the moment rather than bathing in the sadness that has emanated from the wretched reality that Fenway has pushed upon us over the past few days.
So, 2019! Ah, fresh off a (TK) October! What's the Yankee roster look like?
Could it be Bird-less? I'm not saying it SHOULD be, but just like go with me?
Yankees sign Manny Machado to a 10-year, $325mm deal. This is a total guesstimate. Bidding could go higher, or it could go lower - I DON'T KNOW. Regardless, imagine this reality where he puts on a pinstriped jersey over a suit.
Manny Machado plays 3rd base and Miguel Andujar moves to 1st.
The Yankees sign Patrick Corbin. He's going to be the best starter on the market, his family wants him to be a Yankee, he wants to be a Yankee -- I really can't imagine an off-season that doesn't end with him training with the team in Tampa come February.
The Yankees take Clint Frazier, Greg Bird, Domingo German, and some spare pieces and shop around for a SP. Look, we're sick of hearing it: the Yankees need starting pitching. Ugh. WE GET IT. Even witha Corbin signing, it's still an area of need. I have a feeling that Sonny Gray doesn't start 2019 with the Yankees -- I think he gets dealt to Milwaukee or Pittsburgh for a notably less impressive package than the one the team sent to Oakland a year ago (Jorge Mateo, Dustin Fowler, and James Kapriellan). Jordan Montgomery is going to be fresh-off Tommy John Surgery and figures to be less than his full self for at least a decent portion of the season (during which time he could be sent to triple-A and work his way back). CC Sabathia wants to play another season, presuming his knee holds up, and I'd be surprised if the Yankees didn't give Justus Sheffield a chance to make the rotation out of Spring Training. So that gives you Severino, Corbin, Tanaka, Sabathia, Sheffield, and Montgomery vying for 5 spots. Not wretched. Not particularly impressive/resassuring given the injury histories of CC, Masahiro, and Montgomery, plus the lack of experience of Sheffield and Montgomery.
The Yankees don't have a spot for Clint Frazier (Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner - whose option definitely gets picked up - make up an insane outfield/DH quartet) and if they wait any longer the kid is going to lose his value as a trade asset.
Machado + Andujar > Machado + Bird > Andujar + Bird. So, Bird's the odd man out there. Also, those brows.
The Yanks have ~ 1,000 RHP in their farm system, so using somebody like German to sweeten a package is still dealing from depth. Now, what the Yankees need is to find a team that's got a SP to deal and could use some MLB-ready young talent. Unfortunately, most teams don't particularly want or need a young first-baseman, no matter how bullish they are on Bird. The Mets are a fit in many ways, but Peter Alonso should ascend to the 1B thrown next season. The Twins have Mauer leaving at the end of the year, but don't have much to offer in terms of valuable pitching. Kansas City would love Bird and Frazier, but Danny Duffy's not worth either. Maybe the Nationals would like Bird at 1B over Zimmerman and could deal someone like Joe Ross or Tanner Roark, but the former is recovering from Tommy John and the latter isn't exactly a blow-you-away type of talent.
One trade partner could be the Indians. Trevor Bauer, Danny Salazar, Mike Clevinger, and Shane Bieber could all be potential targets. Cleveland could benefit from Greg Bird replacing Yonder Alonso. Clint Frazier would be a welcome addition to their outfield mix. And with Cody Allen and Andrew Miller both presumably leaving after the season, some depth bullpen arms could make a deal even more appealing for them.
I wonder if the Yanks could blow Tampa away and deal for Blake Snell. Bird and Jake Bauers could switch on an off between 1B and DH, Frazier would add to an interesting OF picture, and some multi-inning arms could fit well into the Tampa Bay "opener" and "bullpen game" strategy that has made them a remarkable success this year, given all the changes they've undergone.
The Tigers' Michael Fulmer might make the most sense. They could have Miguel Cabrera DH (V-Mart's a free agent at year's end), put Bird at 1B, and add Frazier to the OF alongside Jones and Castellanos. This is the scenario I think is most likely to happen. I don't know if the package will necessarily include Bird and Frazier, but I think Fulmer is the likely target.
Anyway, if a deal like that panned out along with the rest of what I've outlined we'd see a roster that looks something like this:
1. C Sanchez
2. 1B Andujar
3. 2B Torres
4. 3B Machado
5. SS Gregorious
6. LF Gardner
7. CF Hicks
8. RF Judge
9. DH Stanton
10. SP Severino
11. SP Corbin
12. SP Fulmer
13. SP Tanaka
14. SP Sabathia
15. CL Chapman
16. SU Betances
17. SU Green
18. MRP Holder
19. MRP Kahnle
20. LR ?
21. LS ?
22. C Romine
23. IF Torreyes
24. OF ?