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Ask Pinstripe Alley 10/27/18: Signing Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, Sonny Gray’s trade value, postseason structure

The first mailbag of the offseason is here!

Ask Pinstripe Alley

Last week I put out a call for Yankees mailbag questions. We got a bunch of submissions, several needing longer answers and more thought. I have a few response here, but expect another post in the coming days!

chef_mikeh asks: Harper or Machado…do the Yankees really need either one of these guys?

The vibe around here lately has been firmly against the Yankees adding Manny Machado or Bryce Harper this offseason, and I find that totally perplexing. You’re overthinking things if you believe the Bombers don’t need one of these two impact bats. Harper carries a career 140 wRC+ into free agency, while Machado is fresh off his best season at the plate yet. They’re both just 26 years old, too. The upside here is the Yankees can infuse a potential seven-win bat into their lineup, and at worst have themselves a very good player.

The Yankees should be in the business of adding elite talent by any means necessary. This winter two of the game’s best hitters happen to be available just for cash. It would be a major disappointment if the team came up empty-handed.

Njb45 asks: Sonny Gray — What is his worth in the trade market?

The Gray trade didn’t work out as the Yankees hoped, did it? After a serviceable run in 2017, he became downright unplayable in 2018. The right-hander pitched to a 4.90 ERA (4.17 FIP) over 130.1 innings. Brian Cashman made it clear that he is going to trade the struggling right-hander.

Usually when a pitcher performs so poorly, his trade value craters. I don’t think the Yankees will just give Gray away, though. In fact, I believe they may get something nifty in return. Consider the fact that he’s just 28 years old, still has good stuff, and posted a 3.17 ERA on the road. Some team will take a chance on him.

Will Gray fetch what the Yankees surrendered for him? No, but he might land someone interesting. It will be fascinating to see how this plays out.

jjpf asks: The 2018 Baseball Winter Meetings start on December 9th. Any chance there will be a discussion about changing the current postseason structure?

The Yankees won 100 games in 2018 and had to play in the Wild Card Game. That’s intense, especially when Cleveland won only 91 games and went right to the ALDS. Fans are understandably frustrated.

That said, there’s no way any MLB will make any changes to the format. Having covered the last two Wild Card Games, I can say that they are a great for baseball. They’re terrible for my blood pressure, but the content is fantastic. The ratings are killer, too. Maybe something about seeding can be changed, but the one-game playoff is here to stay.