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Pinstripe Alley's top Yankees stories of 2015

The new baseball season is inching closer now that 2015 is firmly in the rearview mirror, and soon it will be fairly pointless to think back to the stories that were instead of the new stories that are occurring. That being the case, I thought now would be a good time to look back at the biggest Pinstripe Alley posts of 2015 in terms of page views in reverse order. Enjoy this small trip down Yankee memory lane.

Yankees potential trade target: Martin Prado and other Marlins infielders

This was when we had some faint glimmer of hope that the Yankees wouldn't let Stephen Drew play second base right up until he was physically unfit to do so. We would have literally taken pretty much anyone as a replacement, and our old buddy Martin Prado seemed like a decent idea. The Yankees didn't get to enjoy Prado's versatility for long after he was brought to New York at the 2014 deadline. A ruptured appendix prematurely ended his season, and then he was shipped off to Miami in the Nathan Eovaldi trade. Thanks for that, Martin.

Yankees promoting Aaron Judge to Triple-A, calling Nick Rumbelow and Diego Moreno up to MLB

Top prospects being on the move is always a big story, and Aaron Judge getting promoted one step closer to the Bronx certainly turned heads last June. Nick Rumbelow and Diego Moreno were getting promotions too, obviously, but the draw here is clearly Judge. Jacoby Ellsbury was injured and outfielders were getting moved around to try and fill the vacancy, which ultimately led to both Mason Williams and Slade Heathcott making their major league debuts and their first major league trips to the disabled list. It was always a long shot for Judge to get such a chance, and not being able to hit breaking pitches at Triple-A didn't help his cause any. Maybe we'll see him at some point in 2016.

Yankees potential trade target: Troy Tulowitzki

Sometimes we like to dream a little, okay? The Yankees had already acquired Derek Jeter's replacement in Didi Gregorius, but some shaky fielding and not-great hitting at the beginning of the season made the transition a little bumpier than some were prepared for. Tulowitzki and the Yankees have been connected on multiple occasions, helped by the fact that Tulo seemed super done with Colorado and showed up at a Yankees game during Jeter's farewell tour. Tulowitzki did ultimately end up in the AL East, just with the Blue Jays instead of the Yankees. His injuries and salary combine to be a bit scary, but there is no denying how good Tulowitzki is when he is healthy. Thanks for sticking us with that in the division, Rockies.

A trade between the Yankees and the Mets makes perfect sense

Before the 2015 season ever got started, Jason wrote a post about how the Yankees' crosstown rivals would make excellent trading partners. The Yankees needed a pitcher and the Mets could use a left-handed reliever that the Yankees had to spare. It wasn't to be, though. Adam Warren stepped into Chris Capuano's shoes in the starting rotation, and did much better than anyone could have really hoped a healthy Capuano would do. The Mets went on to play in the World Series without the help of any Yankee relievers. It's hard to imagine these two sides working out a deal now that both teams are competitive, but never say never. Just don't hold your breath or anything.

The Yankees' youth movement comes with risk and reward

The Yankees seem pretty dedicated to a new movement of letting top prospects have a chance to take over where possible, and choosing to pursue young players on the trade market instead of going after older, more expensive free agents. It was true when the Yankees pulled the trigger on a deal for Eovaldi instead of pursuing Max Scherzer or Jon Lester. It remains true now with them bypassing Ben Zobrist in favor of Starlin Castro. There's risk here, of course, but there is also plenty of benefit if those gambles pay off. A more cost-controlled team is clearly what the Steinbrenners are after so that they can reset their luxury tax penalties when big contracts expire in the next few years. Hopefully the farm continues to produce big league talent that the team can lean on while supplementing with smart moves for young players instead of the over 30 crowd.

Are the Yankees setting themselves up for another opt-out clause disaster?

The third-highest trafficked post of 2015 just snuck in at the middle of December. Jason wrote this time about how the Yankees could be looking at another uncomfortable opt-out clause adventure with Masahiro Tanaka in the near future. Tanaka will either opt-out of his contract, possibly leaving the Yankees without their ace, or will most likely be too injured to exercise his opt-out clause. Both options are pretty bad for the team. The Yankees have been through this before with CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez. Both the original contracts were great, but both extensions have left a lot to be desired. Hopefully the team has learned from their mistakes of the past in order to avoid that with Tanaka going forward.

MLB trade rumors: Yankees in trade talks with Marlins about Jose Fernandez

Like the previous post, the post receiving the second-highest traffic of 2015 came just before the close of the year. This rumor came to us during the Winter Meetings, teasing us with hopes of Jose Fernandez that would not come true. There have been reports that Fernandez and the Marlins front office have experienced some tension, possibly leading to the team being willing to trade away their ace. The Yankees were among the teams said to be in discussion with the Marlins about Fernandez, but nothing came of it. Miami has every reason to ask for the world for Fernandez, even despite his injuries, and the Yankees haven't been shy about keeping their top prospects out of trade discussions. That's going to make it pretty hard to find a deal for a young, Cy Young-caliber pitcher like Fernandez. It would have been amazing, though.

MLB Trade Rumors: Yankees rejected Cole Hamels deal involving Severino or Judge

Finally, Pinstripe Alley's most trafficked post of 2015 was a rumor at the deadline that involved Cole Hamels. The Yankees could have certainly used a pitcher of Hamels' caliber at the trade deadline to get them over the hump on their way to the Wild Card game, but Brian Cashman wasn't going to deal Judge or Luis Severino for him. This lines up with how the Yankees are doing business these days, favoring youth over all. Severino ultimately ended up in the big league rotation himself, performing as well as anyone could have hoped. His future likely means more to the team, if he continues to pan out, than the short term boost that Hamels could provide. Passing up these opportunities may mean that a division title is lost or a Wild Card game is settled for, but hopefully the eventual product of keeping prospects around and not giving them away for a year or two of a veteran will prove to be the correct move in the long run.

Thank you all for sticking with us throughout the last year and into the new one. We do what we do because you all are there to read it, and we appreciate all of your support. Here's to bigger and better things in 2016, both for us here at Pinstripe Alley and for the Yankees in general. We've added a great group of new writers for the upcoming year, and we're all fully prepared to tackle the Yankees' march toward the World Series. No better time to think positively than January, right? Thank you for reading!