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American League

Yankees Have Options To Fill Open Infield Spots

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After coming within one game of the AL pennant in 2017, the New York Yankees have further improved their roster by trading for NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. One of the centerpieces of the deal was All-Star 2nd baseman, Starlin Castro, who was sent to the Miami Marlins for Stanton, along with two minor-leaguers.

Castros’ departure, along with Todd Frazier’s free agency and Chase Headley being dealt to the Padres, leaves two open spots in the New York infield.

The Yankees have one of the best farm systems in baseball with Gleyber Torres being their top prospect. Torres, who missed most of 2017 after having Tommy John surgery, was on the fast track to the majors before his injury and will most likely claim one of the positions out of Spring Training.

The natural shortstop spent time at second and third base in the minors to groom him for his job playing alongside big league shortstop Didi Gregorius. That means he can play either open infield spot, opening up possibilities for Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

The number two prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline started last season with the Double-A Trenton Thunder and in 32 games averaged .273 with 18 RBIs. Torres was then promoted and played 23 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders where he hit .309 and had 16 RBIs with a .406 on-base percentage (OBP).

The Yankees have plenty of players in the organization who can fill the other open role. Utility guy and clubhouse favorite Ronald Torreyes exceeded expectations filling in for Castro and Gregorius when they were out with injuries. Newly acquired Jace Peterson could also earn a place in the starting lineup with a good spring. Peterson has the ability to play anywhere in the infield and can also be utilized in the outfield.

Minor leaguers Tyler Wade, Miguel Andujar and Thairo Estrada could all have opportunities to compete for one of the roles.

Wade is a speedy middle-infielder, but has trouble getting on base to use that speed. Andujar is slated by some to fill the third base position, but may be a liability on defense. There is no question about his talent at the plate, though, and in his major league debut in 2017 he went 3 for 4 and drove in four runs against the Chicago White Sox. Fans were calling for him to fill in at DH late last season with Matt Holiday struggling.

The Yankees could also look outward in their search. The possibility of bringing back Frazier with a team friendly contract has been rumored, but it is unlikely he will accept a one-year deal. Mike Moustakas is another free agent third baseman who may get a look, but will most likely be too expensive for the Yankees who are looking to stay under the luxury tax in 2018.

Trade rumors are also swirling around Manny Machado who will be a free agent after the 2018 season. The Baltimore Orioles third baseman is said to favor the Yankees as a potential landing spot once he is out of his contract. It is unlikely the Orioles will trade their star player to a division rival but there is no doubt that the Yankees have the pieces to get a deal done.

It has also been reported that Castro has asked to leave the Marlins and could want to return to New York. Josh Harrison of the Pirates and Brandon Drury of the Diamondbacks have been reported as possible targets as the Yankees have made contact with both teams in their search for another starting pitcher in the rotation.

Assuming Gleyber Torres is a lock for one of the open positions, I would like to see the Yankees re-sign Frazier on a “hometown” discount or put their trust in the youth and start the season with Andujar at third base.

Putting trust in youth has served Cashman and the Yankees well thus far with Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino and Greg Bird all coming through the farm system to play huge roles with the team recently. These guys along with their veteran teammates have high hopes for 2018 as they look to bring the 28th World Series title to the Bronx.

It is unclear how the Yankees are going to fill their open infield positions, but the myriad of options should make the rest of this offseason interesting and create a good competition in the spring.

 

American League

2019 Trade Deadline Highlights

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In a shocking, last-minute deal, Zack Greinke has a new home (CBS Sports).

This year’s Trade Deadline in the MLB wasn’t as boisterous as previous seasons and might rank as one of the less-exciting ones in history. There was still a good number of high-profile moves, however, and a few big names went on to new homes. Here’s a look at the more notable acquisitions of July 31, 2019 and how they will impact the teams that got the big returns.

Blue Jays trade RHP Marcus Stroman to Mets in exchange for RHP Anthony Kay, RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson

The move that unofficially kicked off trading season was a bit of a head scratcher. It had long been rumored that Toronto was shopping ace Marcus Stroman, but the team he ended up with isn’t exactly a contender. The Mets are currently four games under .500 and may not be vying for the postseason in 2019. The move is likely another part of the Mets rebuilding process, and since Noah Syndergaard stayed put, New York may have a formidable rotation next season.

Indians acquire LHP Scott Moss, OF Yasiel Puig from Reds and OF Franmil Reyes, LHP Logan Allen and IF Victor Nova from Padres, Padres acquire OF Taylor Trammell from Reds, Indians acquire Reds acquire RHP Trevor Bauer from Indians

The literal biggest trade of the day was a this three-team blockbuster. Trevor Bauer firing the ball over the center field wall on Sunday after he was pulled in the fifth inning ended up being the last pitch he threw in an Indians uniform. A day later the Tribe rid itself of his petulance and pulled off a massive trade with intrastate rival Cincinnati as well as San Diego that saw Bauer go to the Reds and Reds top prospect Taylor Tramell go to the Friars. Cleveland received a host of players from both teams, most namely Yasiel Puig, who is ironically also known as a prima donna.

Though Bauer is undeniably talented when he keeps his act together and bolsters the Reds attempts to trend upward, San Diego may have won the trade with Tramell, MLB’s no. 30 overall prospect.

Rays acquire 1B Jesus Aguilar from Brewers in exchange for RHP Jacob Faria

Milwaukee was certainly brewing before the Deadline and made a commendable effort to improve its pitching. GM David Stearns’ most notable move was a straight swap with the Rays that brought back righty Jacob Faria in exchange for power hitting 1B Jesus Aguilar. Aguilar is having a down year but has proven many times that he can be deadly. He gives the Rays the big bat they’ve been seeking in their hunt for a Wild Card berth.

It’s a good move for both sides because it clears Milwaukee’s infield logjam and gives the team another quality starter. Faria never quite broke out in Tampa Bay but a change of scenery always has potential to pay dividends. After having already gotten Jordan Lyles from Pittsburgh on Monday, the Brewers made another move and got Drew Pomeranz from San Fransisco later on Wednesday. Though none of the returns are big name guys, Milwaukee is serious about making another run after coming so close last year.

Cubs acquire OF Nicholas Castellanos from Tigers in exchange for RHP Alex Lange and RHP Paul Richan.

The Cubs made their chances of taking the NL Central back even better with this move. Nicholas Castellanos has been one of the MLB’s more underrated players in recent years, largely because he was on the Tigers after the team’s glory days of the early 2010s ended. Adding him to a lineup that already includes Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras and Javier Baez gives the Cubbies even more firepower, especially given Castellanos success vs. lefty pitchers. It’s also a great move for him personally as he gets to join a contending team at last. The Cubs are vying to appear in the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season, and their chances look pretty good.

Astros acquire RHP Zack Greinke from Diamondbacks in exchange for RHP Corbin Martin, RHP JB Bukauskas, IF Josh Rojas and IF Seth Beer

If Houston was scary good before this trade, they’re terrifyingly good now. The Astros just added Zack Greinke to a rotation that already includes Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in a last-minute deal that wasn’t announced until after the deadline officially passed. Arizona received a package of four minor leaguers in return as the team is now officially in the rebuilding process.

Like Verlander, Greinke is in the second half of his thirties but has not declined at all and owned a 10-4 record with a 2.90 on a sub-par Diamondbacks team at the time of his departure. The six-time All-Star’s presence gives Houston the best rotation in baseball by far and should get the knees of any upcoming opponent knocking. The MLB said it best on Instagram today, “Facing Houston? You have a problem.”

Notable non-moves:

  • After being heavily rumored as top targets, Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard and Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner are still members of their longtime teams.
  • The Boston Red Sox, whose bullpen has blown 18 saves, made no moves to improve its relief core, to the amazement of the team’s fanbase.
  • The New York Yankees were thought to be Syndergaard’s top suitor, but the team did not acquire any starting pitching to aid Aaron Boone’s struggling rotation.

What was the biggest move of the deadline this year? Be sure to let us know on Twitter @HomeRunDaily.

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American League

Athletics Acquire Tanner Roark

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Tanner Roark

The Oakland Athletics have acquired right hander Tanner Roark from the Cincinnati Reds, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

As part of the deal, outfielder Jamerson Hannah will be heading to Cincinnati, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, the Reds will pick up $2.1 million of Roark’s remaining salary.

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American League

Astros Acquire Martin Maldonado

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Martin Maldonado

The Houston Astros have acquired veteran catcher Martin Maldonado from the Chicago Cubs, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

As part of the deal, outfielder/second baseman Tony Kemp will be heading to the Cubs, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome.

Maldonado has posted a .217/.285/.349 slash line this season.

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