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Yankees Mailbag: Early trade ideas, spring deviations, and Tyler Wade

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The first mailbag of the regular season is here.

New York Yankees v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

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

Damn_yanks asks: What is one realistic trade that you could see the Yankees doing in-season? What is one unrealistic but fun trade you’d love to see the Yankees do in-season?

It’s obviously tough to project who’s going to be sellers after one game, but projections like PECOTA can give us an idea of who is expected to be out of the running early. Some of the teams that they say will finish near the bottom of the standings are easy to see, like Detroit or Seattle, but others like Atlanta or St. Louis are trickier to predict. Of course, the latter examples have the better players to offer should they opt to sell, but it’ll come down to the wire to figure out if they’re in or out.

Every year, the the most volatile market to watch is the one for relievers. Teams that disappoint often feel comfortable flipping their relievers and trying again next year, while contenders want arms to survive the stretch run and power their way through October. The Yankees current ‘pen as assembled could be fantastic or it could find itself with several holes to fill, which makes it the easiest place to assume that they’ll be interested in trade talks.

For a realistic reliever that the Yankees could get? Tanner Rainey has established himself as an excellent reliever in Washington, and the Nationals are in a highly competitive division where they may just find themselves a bit short this year. A more unrealistic but fun one? Give me Amir Garrett from Cincinnati.

set.builder39 asks: Does the limited variety in teams faced this spring create a greater chance of over interpreting player’s performance?

I don’t think so, at least not to the degree that facing the same two divisions played a factor into parsing through last season’s statistics. Spring training is still a pretty lax environment no matter who you’re playing, and at the end of the day a lot of veterans are using the time more to experiment or get loose than they are going full throttle. It certainly didn’t make for an entertaining spectacle seeing the same four teams on loop, even by spring training standards, but I don’t think enough players were engaged in meaningful competitions to need to worry about what their performance over the past month has been.

Steve H asks: How does Tyler Wade continue to take up a roster spot on this team? Thairo Estrada is clearly the better player, yet there’s 14 again this year. I don’t get it.

Not that Tyler Wade is the epitome of an ideal backup infielder, but I can’t agree with this take. Wade and Estrada are fairly similar in terms of being defense-first players that can cover multiple positions while providing below-average bats. Both have shown glimpses of slashing better numbers down in the minors, but whenever they’ve been on a major league roster they’ve never capitalized on that potential.

Since the bats are a wash, the only impact either one can make is with the glove. Wade and Estrada have both played across the diamond in their careers, covering third, shortstop, and second base. Even in this regard, neither has been particularly impressive — early in his career Wade was a net positive at short but hasn’t been lately, while Estrada has never performed well there. Wade has shown an edge at third, while both have been negligible as second basemen. Overall Wade has been the superior defender, though that is a low bar to surpass in this comparison.

Realistically, Wade is on the roster because the Yankees don’t have many backup options near the majors that can cover the middle infield. Estrada was never really in the spring training competition either, it was Derek Dietrich’s task to provide a race — and he failed to do so. Wade’s the best of a solidly meh bunch, and if the Yankees could snag a small upgrade there before the trade deadline they would likely find it worthwhile. Until then, Wade will get the nod going forward.