Good afternoon everyone, it’s time for another edition of the mailbag. Now that the endless offseason is over, we’re back to weekly editions of the mailbag, and we’ve got plenty to discuss! Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.
Henry K. asks: With the way the Yankees are built, it looks like both Voit and Torres are trade bait. Do you think they are both viewed as DH only by the National League teams?
Voit most likely is — and the Padres have reportedly checked in on him (update: done deal) — but I don’t think teams should view Torres as a player destined to be a DH. Yes, his time at shortstop was mostly a disaster, but his play at second base was tolerable and he’s young enough to make it work there. The Yankees currently have him penciled in for just that reason, and while I can see the possibility that he’s traded I don’t think it’s as foregone a conclusion as Voit is. DJ LeMahieu’s contract may play a factor into how the roster shapes up in the coming years, but at the moment it’s certainly viable for them to deploy him as the super utility infielder he was originally signed as.
The Gregorius B.I.G. asks: Right now, what is the direction of this team? What is the guiding principle? Are they actually trying to win? Are they doing a soft rebuild, optimizing the roster in anticipation of Peraza’s and Volpe’s debuts? Is it something else?
The direction of this team is to compete but not go all-in, to play the odds with a solid foundation versus continuously expanding it. They’re well-equipped to be in the hunt perennially for the playoffs, and perhaps snag a few division titles. From there, they’re submitting to the belief that the playoffs are truly random, and given the way that MLB is expanding them they’re not entirely wrong. They’ll occasionally reach for a needed piece like when Cole was right in front of them, but they won’t strive as hard for wants.
In short, they won’t be like the Dodgers, or more recently the Mets. As strange as that sounds, those teams are clearly committed to letting the financial floodgates open while the Yankees aren’t. However, there’s a narrative that the Yankees and Mets have swapped places, and I disagree with that. The Yankees are still spending, they’re not prone to irrational moves just to win the back pages, and they have shown far more consistency than the Mets have over the last decade. We’ll see if the Mets’ fortunes truly change under Cohen’s ownership, but Hal Steinbrenner isn’t like the Wilpons.
Iron Mike asks: Who has a better chance of dropping 35 homers this season and making us miss him: Frazier or Sánchez?
Say what you will about his fielding, but I think this has to be Sánchez. For starters, he’s come far closer than Frazier has to ever hitting 35 out in a single season — Frazier’s yet to crack 30 homers in his career. Also, Brian Cashman sounded like he could envision this possibility when he discussed the trade afterwards, thinking that a change of scenery could do well for Sánchez. It makes sense — the Yankees have been hoping that his bat would come back around and let them live with the subpar defense, but when it wasn’t coming they opted for at least getting the defensive value upfront instead.
Frazier still has a lot to prove, both in terms of his career arc and in getting consistent playing time with the Cubs. Sánchez at the very least should be getting half of the starts at catcher, which could prove the difference maker in getting in a rhythm and producing.
Florida_Yankees_Fan asks: If you could decide unilaterally, which Savannah Bananas rule would you implement in MLB?
From a practical perspective, it would be interesting to watch MLB teams attempt to handle the one-on-one showdown. The open field and race to the finish elements would give greater incentive to teams to have speedy players on the roster, much more so than by expanding the bases slightly or whatever MLB is currently testing. Their rules say this kicks in after two hours of gametime, but for our sake this would be the extra innings.
Otherwise, I’m a fan of how blunt they are in saying if you bunt you’ll get thrown out of the game, so that can get an honorable mention.