In recent interviews, Brian Cashman has made it known that the Yankees are most likely done making big moves this off-season. This means that the team probably will not be trading Chase Headley or Brett Gardner until at least the start of the season, and probably until at least the middle of the year. The Yankees apparently felt that the trade offers they were getting weren’t worth executing, and seem content with keeping both players.I feel that keeping these players is a wise decision, as the team isn’t equipped to replace either player. The Yankees farm system has a lot of prospects and is probably the deepest in baseball, but in my opinion that depth won’t help them that much at either position in 2017.
I feel that keeping these players is a wise decision, as the team isn’t equipped to replace either player. The Yankees farm system has a lot of prospects and is probably the deepest in baseball, but in my opinion that depth won’t help them that much at either position in 2017.
This is particularly the case in-regards to the third base position. If the Yankees trade Headley, there starting third-baseman would be the Ronald Torreyes. While Torreyes is a decent backup, he isn’t nearly as good as Headley on offense or defense. To make matters worse the Yankees best prospect at the third-base position-Miguel Andujar—will probably need to spend significant time in AA next season.
The Yankees lack of depth at the position is one reason why another contributor on this site proposed moving top-prospect Gleyber Torres, over to third. But not only do I feel such a move is premature, but I also don’t think it helps the Yankees move Headley. After all, it’s not like Torres is on the verge of playing in the majors, he’s not even in AAA yet.
In AAA, the Yankees options to replace Headley would be Donovon Solano, and maybe Rob Refsnyder. So, in a sense, I
would have to say that Headley might be one of the most important Yankees. If the Yankees want to remain competitive next season, they really shouldn’t entertain any Headley offers, because they don’t have a solid plan B.
Gardner is seemingly in a disparate situation as the Yankees have plenty of players that can play left-field. If you were to look a top-30 Yankees list, you would certainly see a significant amount of outfield prospects that can play left-field. I’m not going to say the Yankees don’t have good outfield depth, they certainly do.
Right now, the Yankees two solid outfielders in Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, and a potential star outfielder in Aaron Judge. Beyond those three starters, they have two former top prospects in Mason Williams and Tyler Austin. Both players have had their fair share of struggles in recent years, and they certainly don’t have the same amount of hype that they used, but I feel like both players could have major-league careers.
Beyond that, the Yankees have several noteworthy outfield prospects in AA and AAA. They have Jake Cave who is major league ready; they have Clint Frazier who could be ready at some point next year, and they also have guys like Billy McKinney, Mark Payton, and Dustin Fowler, who are all capable of playing left field. Lastly, the Yankees have also begun playing Tyler Wade in the outfield, and with some practice, he could also be a decent depth option.
So yes, they have plenty of outfield depth, but I still do not think they have enough to make Gardner expendable.
To demonstrate this, I will simply write-out how their outfield will look if they trade Gardner. Their left fielder would probably be Aaron Hicks, their centerfielder would be Jacoby Ellsbury, and their right fielder would be Aaron Judge.
Going into a season with that outfield is precarious. I know that people don’t love Ellsbury, but he’s only outfielder there that I would trust. And that’s a problem because he does have a history of getting injured. And if he does get injured his replacement would probably be Mason Williams; he is the only other centerfielder on the depth chart.
So, if Ellsbury gets injured the Yankees would need to rely on Mason Williams. Which is also a problem because Williams himself has question-marks surrounding both his health and his overall hitting ability. But the Yankees wouldn’t have another option because while the Yankees have plenty of outfield depth, that depth isn’t focused in centerfield.
After Williams, the Yankees next best option to play center would have to be Jake Cave, a guy that every MLB team could’ve taken in the Rule-5 draft, but elected not to; that’s not exactly encouraging.
So, while the Yankees do have depth, it could disappear quickly if Gardner is traded.
So, in my opinion, the Yankees best option is to hold on to both Headley, and Gardner. They’re both serviceable players with a good contract. Neither player is that easy to replace, so the Yankees should only consider trading one of them if another team overpays, or if another player proves himself to be an adequate replacement. Right now, I don’t see a good replacement for Headley. And while Gardner could be replaced internally I don’t see who would replace his value as both a left fielder and as a centerfielder.