To Buy Or Not To Buy, That Is The Question For NYY? Soriano Deal Looks Imminent
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013
By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent): Follow @nross56
The dog days of summer have arrived. Every team has played in excess of 90 games, and the All-Star break has come and gone. At this point, it seems only right that we discuss the Yankees as either buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.
Going into Sunday, the Yankees were 6 games behind the Red Sox for first place and were 8 games over .500, which is good for fourth in the uber-competitive American League East.
Certainly, a playoff spot is still available to the Yankees at this point, and I believe that if you are the Yankees you have to at least examine the market to find what offensive help is available.
The Yankees have pitched well throughout the first half and have both David Phelps and Michael Pineda returning from injury in the next few weeks so the team has enough pitching to get them through the second half and potentially into a playoff spot.
The major issue has been and will continue to be the once vaunted Yankees offense is a shadow of its former self.
ALFONSO SORIANO ON THE THROW DOWN:
Overbay has performed admirably against RHP with a .833 OPS, but it is clear that at worst the Yankees need to attempt to acquire a platoon partner for Overbay, whose numbers against LHP have been well below league average.
An interesting name to consider if the Yankees are going to buy is Paul Konerko.
Konerko is in the final year of his contract with the White Sox, and while he is a favorite of the Chicago front office, ownership and fan base, Paulie K will turn 38 during Spring Training next season.
Being an elder statesman in the game, it is clear that the White Sox will not be building around Konerko. As an expiring free agent, Konerko would fit into the Yankees stated goal of getting below the $189 million threshold come next season.
Additionally, Konerko would be a good platoon partner for Overbay. The White Sox First Baseman has traditionally been very good against RHP and LHP, but this season Konerko has had his problems dealing with RHP.
On the other hand, his numbers against lefties are right in line with his career averages. Making a deal with a struggling White Sox team for Konerko would provide a good left/right platoon with Overbay and allow for the Yankees to continue to try to meet their long term goals.
One bat alone will not solve the problem. If the Yankees want to truly improve the offense, relying on just platooning the first base options will not be good enough.
Travis Hafner, the regular Yankees designated hitter has been absolutely atrocious since April.
Since May, Hafner has failed to hit above .200 in any given month, has gotten on base at less than a .300 clip and has been a nonexistent bat clogging the middle of the lineup when he is in the game.
Replacing Hafner with some kind of positive offensive production is a must if the Yankees are going to generate runs.
There are several names to discuss in the DH role. Some of them are in-house and others would require a trade. As the trade deadline approaches, we will deal with the trade targets first. One of the targets could be a former Yankee.
Soriano traded to Texas for Alex Rodriguez and then bouncing around several teams until landing with the Chicago Cubs. The Yankees found their second baseman of this generation in Robinson Cano, and no one has looked back.
As for offense, everyone knows what Soriano brings. He will hit for a good amount of power, he will never walk and he will strike out a lot. That all being said, his .260/.290/.480 slash line is a fair bit prettier than Travis Hafner’s season long slash line.
Of course, pairing Curtis Granderson and Soriano in the same lineup might be a strike-out pitcher’s heaven on earth.
Other potential options in the trade market will depend on who is buying and selling at the deadline. Other offensive options exist down on the farm.
As for a potential 3B/DH replacement, Ronnier Mustelier is a name that many will remember from Spring Training.
Musty hasn’t had a particularly healthy season in Triple-A Scranton, but he does offer a right handed bat that many thought was ready to break camp with the big club in April prior to his injury.
The biggest problem here has been health.
Mustelier has been ok with the bat when healthy, but he has not shown the consistent ability this year to stay healthy.
Perhaps a shot at the designated hitter role with the big league club would allow him to do just that. Musty is the type of player who doesn’t walk a to but also manages not to strike out at ridiculous level.
His BABIP is down a bit from his career minor league average (.280 v. .302) which means he probably will regress slightly and his batting average would improve. Overall, considering the state of the offense at this point, would Musty really be worse than Brent Lillibridge?
An option that has been mentioned several times in this space, and now, by the Yankees front office is J.R. Murphy. Murphy was promoted to Triple-A Scranton earlier in the season and has shown very good offensive skills this season.
Murphy’s BABIP seems a bit inflated at .333, which means that .299 batting average isn’t an accurate representation of his skill set, but his ISO of .175 seems justified when compared to his performance at Double-A the last two seasons.
If that isolated power translated, it would instantly make Murphy the Yankees best power hitting backstop and probably, their best offensive threat from the position period.
As the trade deadline quickly approaches, there are ways for the Yankees to improve their offense. Whether it is through promotion or trades, it is important that this happens quickly if there is hope in the Bronx for another appearance in the post-season come October.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Trade and Yankees Correspondent’ Nicholas Rossoletti for preparing today’s featured article. Nicholas is a young professional living in downtown Miami. He is a lifelong baseball fan and an avid Yankee supporter.
Having grown up during the last two decades, he counts Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as his favorite ball players of all time. He believes in sabermetrics and that new stats have already changed the way the baseball industry sees players.
He was for Trout over Cabrera, he thinks RBIs tell you a lot more about a team than a player and that defense and pitching, ultimately, win championships. Rational thought and introspective analysis over the narrative is how we come to understand the game we love.
The narrative is just a way to keep those who don’t really love the game watching. Feel free to follow Nicholas on twitter and talk the game of baseball Follow @NRoss56
“There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem – once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.” ~ Al Gallagher, 1971
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Posted on July 23, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @nross56, @nross56 twitter, alex rodriguez, alfonso soriano, American league, american league east, austin romine, boston, boston red sox, Brent Lillibridge, chicago, chicago cubs, chicago white sox, chris stewart, cubs, curtis granderson, david phelps, derek jeter, JR Murphy, lyle overbay, mark teixeira, michael pineda, new York, new york yankees, nicholas rossoletti, paul konerko, red sox, ronnier mustelier, travis hafner, white sox, yankees. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.