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Yankees Mailbag: Juan Soto, Donaldson concerns, and hypothetical players

The mailbag is all-in on the biggest trade target of the season this week.

92nd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

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.

Willie77 asks: While we all would love to see Soto as a Yankee, I wonder a few things. Can the Yankees really sign Judge and pay Soto, Stanton, and Cole? Would signing Soto eliminate keeping Judge? Would we rather have Soto than Judge? Because keeping Judge instead of Soto also keeps our top prospects. Even if Soto is preferable to Judge, is he preferable to Judge and the prospects?

We’ve debated these scenarios somewhat within PSA, but the consensus on the first question is that they could, but could they do so under their target of staying under the luxury tax? It’s hard to math that out, and it might just not be possible. I think we can all agree that they shouldn’t care about that, but they clearly do so it’s part of the equation that we unfortunately have to consider.

As for signing Soto eliminating keeping Judge around, if we take the last answer to heart than the answer may be yes. Soto, at just 23-years-old, is definitely the better player to bet the future on, but the only argument I could make against that is that Judge is the “franchise guy” and the instrumental figure of the clubhouse — it’s hard to say whether things will stay gelled if they disrupt that. And finally, is Soto preferable to Judge on top of the prospect cost? I would argue yes, just from that longevity point. You have to hope that one of those prospects would ever end up being close to Soto, and you have to hope that Judge could maintain his form through years that you reasonably know Soto will. It’s a closer comparison than the others, and a difficult one to make in the moment, but Soto is simply the kind of guy that shouldn’t be available, and you want to pounce on those guys.

Adam asks: With Gallo’s role being noticeably reduced as of late, and with the potential he might be traded before the deadline, do you think this might start directing attention towards another underachieving starter whose poor performance at bat has been flying mostly under the radar, plus the team’s great start, namely Josh Donaldson?

Donaldson is a tough case to consider, but I’m leaning towards no — at least for this season. Teams have some interest in Gallo because he’d be a cheap rental that they might be able to fix, whereas Donaldson has an extra year tacked on and infamously has left a trail of former clubhouses that aren’t friendly towards him, to say the least. That leads me to believe that they’ll stick it out at third for this year, and reassess in the offseason. They have bigger and more easily solvable issues at the moment.

Michael S. asks: Might as well throw a fictional choice out at you. Who would you rather have on your team and why: a player who is guaranteed to unload the bases if there are ever two or more runners on base, or a player who is guaranteed to hit a double any time he leads off an inning. Both players strikeout in any other case.

This is interesting because both are very situational, you might in fact not want either of them because of all of the other circumstances where they could come up in an at-bat. If you’re forced to have one of them though, I think I would take the latter player. My reasoning assumes that you’re aware of their ‘talent’ and would want to utilize it best, so you pencil them in for leadoff and start every game with a man on second with no outs. Then, you have a good chance of also getting the stars to align a second time in the game, whereas the former player might never have the men on around him consistently enough to be worth it. The latter player would also guarantee a run scored in extra innings because of the ghost runner if they came on.