There is scuttlebutt out there about teams checking in with David Stearns about the availability of Josh Hader. The same thing happened back in December, and nothing came of it.
The same is likely to happen this time around unless David Stearns and Company are blown away with a package that would amount to an overpay on par with an Aroldis Chapman-like, or at least, an Andrew Miller-like trade. Heck it might even take more to get the yet to be scored upon reliever out of Milwaukee. Per reports, the Brewers are asking for a “bananas price” for the best reliever in the game.
At just 26 years old, the reason is not only about his dominance, but also about three years of team control beyond 2020. That means any team would be interested in pursuing his services. Yet not every team has the player resources nor the will to pay the “bananas” price tag the Brewers want. Nonetheless let’s see how many teams we can cover with this line of thinking before the trade deadline expires or I do. One team with the player resources and possible will to overpay would be the New York Yankees.
I wrote a similar piece back in December when trade rumors were swirling about Hader, and the Yankees being one of the teams interested. The Yankees have a deep farm system with major league ready talented blocked at the major league level by some combination of high-priced, high-profile, and high-performing players.
While they have tremendous depth, there is a point where the value of some of these players will go down as they age without significant playing time. For Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier, that point in time is coming quickly. The Milwaukee Brewers would likely listen to a package that included one or both of these players. Let’s take a closer look at both.
Miguel Andujar is 25 year old. He is under team control until 2024, and his salary for 2020 would have been $632,500 if the season were played in full. He isn’t getting a lot of opportunity in Yankee pinstripes, so that price tag is not likely to grow a lot in 2021 arbitration.
In 2018 Andujar burst onto the scene with a fantastic rookie campaign. He slashed .297/.328/.527 while collecting 76 extra base hits (27 home runs) and posting a 130 wRC+. Unfortunately a shoulder injury derailed him in 2019. During that year, he barely played. In his absence, Gio Urshela took over the position he manned in 2018 with similar offensive output but much better defensive acumen. The result for 2020 is a struggle for playing time.
The Yankees have tried Andujar in the outfield, but there are some big names roaming left and right field. Andujar is not going to displace Aaron Judge in right field and Giancarlo Stanton at DH and left field. He cannot play center field.
He is competing in the outfield with the likes of Mike Tuchman (.835 OPS), and soon to be written about, Clint Frazier (1.067 OPS), for playing time. While first base would be an option, he is third in line behind Luke Voit and Mike Ford.
In 22 plate appearance so far in 2020, Andujar has struggled slashing .095/.136/.095. That is concerning since he is coming off a shoulder injury. Could the shoulder injury be impacting his ability to hit?
Several hitters have come back from labrum surgery only to struggle mightily. Matt Kemp, Greg Bird, and Melvin Upton Jr. come immediately to mind. Others have performed well coming back like Adam LaRoche and Coco Crisp. The key difference between the two groups is what shoulder the torn labrum took place on. In the Matt Kemp group, the injured shoulder was the front-side shoulder in the hitting stance. In reference to Adam LaRoche, the injured shoulder was the back-side shoulder in the hitting stance. With regard to Coco Crisp, his 2010 splits (the year after surgery) were significantly better from the right side of the plate than the left side (wRC+ 159 vs. 98). In virtually every other season the splits were reversed. The one correlating factor was that the injured shoulder he had surgery on was the right one, which would have meant his back-side shoulder while hitting right handed.
Miguel Andujar had labrum surgery on his right shoulder, which is his back-side shoulder while hitting. While anecdotal, it might be something to consider if looking at a potential trade.
Even with that, he has struggled in his limited opportunities. He would come with risk if he were part of a package. Yet he has proven himself to be an offensive force as recently as 2018.
Clint Frazier is having a difficult time getting on the field, but it is not about performance. Right now he has a 184 wRC+ over the eight games he’s played. In 246 plate appearances in 2019, he hit 12 home runs and slugged .489. Frazier was once the #1 prospect in New York’s system according to MLB Pipeline, ranking ahead of the likes of Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and Andujar. He also headlined the trade that sent Andrew Miller to Cleveland.
When the outfielder was still a prospect, MLB Pipeline lauded his potential with the bat — “Frazier’s bat speed and raw power are among the best in the Minor Leagues and suggest the ceiling of an All-Star.” In an interview with Frazier, Joe Rivera covered his frustrations with being called up and sent down as well as his electric bat speed.
To me Clint Frazier offers the most immediate impact. He can play all three positions in the outfield. He can immediately take over in right field for Milwaukee. He needs an opportunity to play everyday, and Milwaukee would give him that chance. He will turn 26 in September, so he is entering his prime. Unfortunately he is riding more pine than he should in New York. Clint Frazier could be a difference maker in Milwaukee, and he would be a must addition to any return package in my opinion.
The Yankees farm system has some interesting pieces that might get the attention of David Stearns. To get Hader, the Yankees would have to include at least one of their top rated prospects if the price tag is truly “bananas.” The top three prospects in the Yankees system according the MLB Pipeline are Jasson Dominguez, Clarke Schmidt, and Deivi Garcia.
Mike Trout, Mickey Mantle, and Bo Jackson are the comparisons being made of the very young man. At just 17 years old, Dominguez is being placed on a pedestal of unreasonable expectations that lend to disappointment even if he is really good. And New York is not the place to have those type of expectations unless you are able to be Mike Trout or Mickey Mantle.
He is called the “Martian” for his other worldly physical gifts. Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen did say that his package of tools brings to mind the names mentioned.
At 5’10” and 190 lbs, this teenager hits from both sides of the plate and can play center field. The Yankees paid him $5 million to sign. MLB Pipeline grades his tools all between 55 and 60.
Baseball America sees Dominguez’ upside even more optimistically. He grades out at a 65 OFP and his tools grade as follows:
Scouts have stated that he regularly has exit velocities at 110 mph or above from both sides of the plate. Evidently he is very fast, as well. He ran 6.3 seconds in the 60 yard dash. For comparison, Billy Hamilton ran 6.2 seconds. If the Yankees actually think this kid is Mike Trout-like there is no way he is in any trade package, no matter the player coming back in return. He is currently ranked the #56 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline. That does not speak to a Mike Trout-like player until you recognize that no one else in the top 100 is 17.
Clarke Schmidt is knocking at the proverbial MLB door. Right now he doesn’t have a spot on the Yankees 40-man roster while other younger pitchers do; such as Luis Medina, Luis Gil, and so-to-be written about Deivi Garcia. So he is not quite there yet. However that might be because the Yankees see Schmidt as a starter and want to keep him stretched out.
Schmidt is 24 years old and was once lauded as one of the best collegiate pitchers prior to having Tommy John surgery just before the 2017 draft. That still did not keep New York from taking him #16 overall. MLB Pipeline states the following about him:
Schmidt has three pitches that grade as plus at their best, and his slider did as well before he scrapped it to focus on his curveball. He uses two- and four-seam fastballs, ranging from 92-97 mph with heavy sink on the former and cut and carry on the latter. His tumbling changeup bottoms out at the plate and his low-80s curve features good depth.
Schmidt has mid-rotation starter written all over him. He would be a quality get if he were part of a package for Josh Hader.
Deivi Garcia has an elite pitch: the curveball. MLB Pipeline and Fangraphs give it a 65 future grade. Baseball America is a little less generous giving the pitch a 55 grade. Baseball America indicated that Garcia added a slider to his pitching repertoire midway through 2019 and placed a 60 grade on the pitch. His fastball is rated well too, earning grades of 55-60 depending on the scouting publication.
Spin rate has scouts a flutter as his fastball and curveball rate very high in that regard. His fastball plays up because of outstanding spin even though his cruising speed is just 92-93 mph. He can touch 97 mph. Garcia gets compared to Pedro Martinez. He is just 5’9” and 163 lbs, which is even smaller than Martinez. There are not many starting pitchers that perform at a high level with his size. For that reason, his inclusion in a trade for Hader would concern me a great deal.
Nonetheless, he has three pitches that grade out at 60 or above depending on what scouting publication you look at. Couple that with a change up that grades as an average offering and control that grades 50-55, Deivi Garcia has the tools to pitch at the major league level. Does he have the frame?
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