The Yankees will soon have a decision to make. Brandon Drury is on his way back to the majors, but Miguel Andujar has stepped in nicely in the interim. Now the team has to decide whether to stick with the hot hand or go back to their original plan. If they do plan to keep Andujar as the everyday third baseman, it might be time to move on from Drury. It’s never too early to consider a potential trade.
Drury vs. Andujar should be an easy decision for the Yankees to make because they don’t actually have to make one. There are currently eight pitchers in the bullpen, so Drury will fit in just fine if they send the extra one down. If the team decides they don’t want two third basemen, they could option Drury just as easily as they can option Andujar, so it’s not like there’s some kind of roster crunch going on. A decision just needs to be made. However, recent injury problems with the Dodgers have presented a better way to figure this problem out: what if the Yankees traded Drury to Los Angeles?
Right now the Dodgers are in trouble. They are 12-16 after the first month of the season and currently sit in fourth place in the AL West. On top of that, the team has been hit with some devastating injuries. Third baseman Justin Turner is out with a broken wrist and their star shortstop Corey Seager was just diagnosed with a UCL tear and will need Tommy John surgery. It might be early, but LA already has a decision to make. Do they try to plug the holes now, or do they simply tread water and wait to see what happens over the next few months?
If Andrew Friedman decides to go out and try to get someone, it might be a good idea for Brian Cashman to call and offer up Drury as a potential fit. Drury has some decent power and can play multiple positions for the Dodgers. The biggest plus is that he’s just 25 and still has not hit arbitration yet. This is not a matter of trying to ditch a worn out veteran on a bloated contract. Instead, the Yankees could be offering them a potential key to their future.
Why then would Cashman be giving him away so soon? Because this team doesn’t really need him anymore. His defense has never been impressive, and it seems like he’s already out of a job. Drury has only played in a handful of games so far, and as long as everything comes back ok following his trip to the DL for migraines, it’s not like he’s damaged goods. He’s a piece the Dodgers could need now and in the future, and the Yankees can get back something of value when they are already kind of set.
I hate to offer a concrete trade proposal here, because trades often happen as an organic process instead of a set list of instructions. That being said, there are a few names on the Dodgers’ list of prospects who could be fair game in this instance. The Yankees gave up both Nick Solak and Taylor Widener in order to get their hands on Drury. According to Jim Callis of MLB.com, those two would have been considered the no. 10 and no. 15 prospects in the Yankees system, if they had not been dealt.
Back in February, FanGraphs pegged Solak at 45 Future Value and Widener as 40 Future Value. This metric attempts to place a single player on the 20-80 scale of scouting in order to determine how valuable a player might be in the future. Both are expected to be average to below average in future value, so keeping that in mind, there are two names that speak out to me on the Dodgers’ top prospect list: right-handers Dennis Santana and Dustin May.
As the no. 10 and no. 11 prospects in the system, they both have a 45 FV, making them compatible as the return. Santana is currently pitching in Double-A and has a 2.35 ERA with an exciting 12.13 K/9. May, on the other hand, is expected to pitch in High-A after he gets over an undisclosed injury. That’s definitely something to watch, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is serious.
Santana has an explosive fastball that can reach up to 98 mph and has enough movement on the pitch that he generates plenty of strikeouts and ground balls. He also has a plus slider and a changeup as well. The 22-year-old’s value is ultimately sunk by the fact that he suffers from control problems that could see him moved to the bullpen. He’s definitely someone the Yankees would love to have and hope they can figure out. Worst case scenario is they have another high-leverage arm.
May, on the other hand, might have the higher floor. The 20-year-old is six-foot-six, which the Yankees like to see, however, his fastball needs to improve from 89-92 mph. That being said, much of his success comes from his conversion to a ground ball pitcher. May now throws a two-seamer and has a hard curve that should generate plenty of grounders. He would be an optimal weapon in the confines of Yankee Stadium, even if he’s only a mid-rotation arm in the end.
Before we all get ahead of ourselves, let’s remember that this is all just a hypothetical exercise. It’s too early to trade anyone, and the Yankees would be better off keeping as many options they can for as long as possible. Simply getting rid of Drury to get rid of him might not be smart because you never know what can happen. The Yankees will eventually have to deal someone, though. Greg Bird is due back in a few weeks, so one of Neil Walker or Brandon Drury will likely get the boot. If the Dodgers ever do come knocking, there are pieces in the picture that can line up well for both teams. In the meantime, we’re just daydreaming.
What do you think? Would you deal Drury for the right package, or should they keep him?