Good afternoon everyone, it’s time for another edition of the mailbag. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.
NYCKING asks: O/U 4.5 Yankees named to AL All-Star team?
Let’s see. At this point I would have three locks in Nestor Cortes, Aaron Judge, and Gerrit Cole. Then you have a few candidates with competition at their positions in Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Jameson Taillon, and Jordan Montgomery. And to top it off, the Yankees also have the two most valuable relievers so far in Michael King and Clay Holmes. Even if you account for King’s bad May and assume his play will be somewhere between that and his stellar April, that’s a lot of potential All-Star caliber players. I think it’ll be close when the initial rosters are announced, but once injury replacements and depleted starting pitchers get taken into consideration, the over is looking good.
Andy K. asks: Comparing Gio Urshela and Josh Donaldson, in performance and salary, how much additional offensive and defensive performance per million dollars are we gaining from Donaldson? Of course, clubhouse and negative distractions cannot be quantified.
If you’re looking at this from a pure financial-performance outlook, then you won’t be pleased with the Urshela/Donaldson swap. Donaldson has been the better player overall, hitting to a 128 wRC+ with a 1.4 UZR compared to Urshela’s respective 111 and -0.2 marks. However, Urshela is going to cost the Twins $6.55 million this year compared to Donaldson’s $25 million this year. That being said, this is the Yankees — even if they’re more concerned about the luxury tax than they should be, overpaying for the better player should hardly be a concern of theirs.
Looking back at this trade a quarter of the way into the season is a strange look. The Yankees bet on Urshela and Gary Sánchez’s production trending downward and Donaldson’s holding serve for another year or two. They look right on the latter point, but so far the former hasn’t been the case — both Urshela and Sánchez have been above-average for the Twins, while Isiah Kiner-Falefa has proven to be the stopgap shortstop he was advertised as and Ben Rortvedt allegedly doesn’t even exist. Finding Jose Trevino has made this less of a concern, and the team has been dominant enough to warrant the upgrade at a single position versus the overall value, but it seems like this trade is leaning towards being a loss for Brian Cashman.
Michael S. asks: I don’t have any idea about what happens to Hicks or Gallo, but how about Benintendi from Kansas City? That team is pretty clearly not competing, and he’s probably trade bait this summer. What could it take to get him?
Before this year, if you were to ask me if it would be costly to pick up a high-contact gap-power corner outfielder on an expiring contract at the deadline I’d be certain that it wouldn’t be. After two months of a stagnating offensive league, however, I’m less certain that will be the case for this deadline. Don’t get me wrong, it shouldn’t cost anyone in the Volpe/Dominguez/Peraza tier to trade for Benintendi, but the Royals could definitely get something nice in return for Benintendi’s final few months of play in 2022. If the Yankees want in on the bidding, it could end up costing a top-10 organizational prospect or multiple prospects just outside of that tier.