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Yankees mailbag: More catching and hypothetical trades

Here are the answers to your latest questions.

American League Division Series Game 3: New York Yankees v. Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Good morning everyone, it’s time for another round of mailbag questions. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Michael asks: Doesn’t it make more sense for the Yankees to keep Sánchez even if they sign Molina so that Molina can tutor/mentor Sánchez and see if he can get him right?

I think that it was a no-brainer for the Yankees to bring Gary Sánchez back, regardless of what other moves they make in the offseason. Obviously Sánchez is coming off of his worst year as a major-leaguer, but for the price tag placed on him this year he’s worth giving another shot. That being said, the noise about potentially non-tendering him was real, and he’ll have to show a real improvement to avoid it again come next offseason.

Now, as for Molina, I do also like the idea of trying to keep Sánchez and add Molina in a sort of platoon, but there’s a couple of issues with the idea. The biggest hurdle remains convincing Molina to leave St. Louis, something that seems unlikely based on how the two sides have been negotiating so far. The Yankees may be the biggest contender to take him away, but they’re still a dark horse compared to staying put with the Cardinals. Given that Molina is seeking a two-year deal somewhere in the $8-10 million per year range, it’s also unlikely that he’ll take a drastically reduced amount of starts wherever he winds up. Mentorship is one thing, but Sánchez can’t improve much if he isn’t playing the majority of the games behind the plate, so I expect Molina to be a lower priority for the Yankees going forward.

The idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: How about a game of who would you rather? If the Yankees were to include one of their three most prized prospects (Martian, García, Schmidt) in a trade, we would all hope it would be for a difference making starting pitcher. Which pitcher would you prefer?

I’m game. The choices given were German Márquez or Luis Castillo, Jack Flaherty or Zach Plesac, Kyle Hendricks or Marco Gonzales, Aaron Nola or Brandon Woodruff and Zac Gallen or Dylan Bundy. Let’s quickly go through each scenario.

Márquez has been impressive in his four full seasons pitching with the Rockies, which is a serious accolade considering how difficult it has been for Colorado to get consistent pitching. That being said, I’ve professed before how much I’d like to see Castillo in pinstripes, and since the two are under team control for the same length of time, I’m going to lean towards Luis.

Between Flaherty and Plesac, we’re looking at a discussion between what’s been established already and the potential for what could be. Flaherty was in the top-five finishers for the NL Cy Young Award in 2019, and had an excellent 2018 building towards that breakout year, but struggled in 2020. Plesac hasn’t been around as long, but looked excellent among a dominant Cleveland staff this year. If the cost is a top prospect I’ll go with what I’ve seen from Flaherty already, though Cleveland is probably more likely to deal Plesac than St. Louis is to deal Flaherty.

Hendricks has been consistently above-average to great throughout his career, and adding him brings a bigger immediate impact to the chances of winning a World Series than Gonzales does. He’s more expensive and has one less year of control, but I go for Hendricks here with no doubt.

The Phillies would be insane to offer Nola up to anyone, but I’m swiping him away before they could second-guess their decision in this exercise. That’s not a knock on Woodruff, who has turned into a pretty capable starter after beginning his career as a reliever and isn’t even arbitration-eligible until 2022. Nola is just one of the best pitchers in the NL, and if he’s available you go for him.

Finally, while I’m impressed with Bundy’s turnaround with the Angels, I’m not going to be sending a top prospect out for him. Gallen is worth a look though, as he’s only 25 and has put up exceptional numbers in an admittedly short stint with the Diamondbacks.