What the Yankees Could Use from the Baltimore Orioles
The Yankees won 9 out of 19 matchups against Orioles in 2016. Finishing five games behind the O’s should be enough ammunition to pluck a name or two off their roster.
The Orioles are forever middle of the road when it comes to their pitching. This season alone they finished with a 4.22 ERA (ranked No. 19 in MLB), 69 quality starts (No. 19), 671 earned runs (No. 14), 1248 strikeouts (N0. 19), and a .258 opponents batting average (No. 16).
This is a team that lives and dies with the long ball, finishing No.1 in ’16 with 253. As it was, seven different players hit over 10 home runs.
Suffice to say, it may very well be time for the O’s to dangle one of their premiere power hitters in return for a front line starter. With 24-year-old first baseman Trey Mancini ready to come on the scene, Chris Davis could be the one guy on the move.
There has been talk that the team could shift Davis to right field in the event they are unsuccessful in their attempts to resign Mark Trumbo. Davis played three games in the outfield this season, so I guess the club feels he can’t be any worse than Trumbo and his .967 fielding percentage.
As for the Yankees, they didn’t exactly live up to their nickname of the Bombers, as they only managed to hit 183 home runs on the year, ranking them 19th overall in that category.
The saddest part of the aforementioned stat is that Carlos Beltran, who was traded on Aug 1, still led the team in home runs with 22.
Depending on how Gary Sanchez is able to replicate his amazing rookie campaign, this Yankees’ team severely lacks game-changing power throughout the lineup. There are plenty of possibilities, guys that could hit 25+ home runs if they stay healthy (Brian McCann, Aaron Judge, Starlin Castro, and Greg Bird), but teams that plan on contending well into the late summer months need sure things.
Trading With the Orioles
It simply won’t happen because it makes little to no sense sending reinforcements of any kind to a divisional foe.
Signing a Former Oriole
This is where the Yankees could pick up a bit of traction in their lagging home run productivity. The two names I would take a gander at are Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez. Before you jump down my throat about either, hear me out.
Trumbo is coming off a career-high 47 home runs, 108 RBI performance. He was the glue inside an Orioles lineup that did not get the type of productivity it expected out of Adam Jones or Matt Wieters.
Trumbo couldn’t have picked a better time to enter free agency, as he’ll likely command significantly more than the $9.125MM he made in ’16. I’d think the bidding for Trumbo’s services will likely begin at $12MM per year. At 30-years-old, he should comfortably command a 4-year deal.
So where does Trumbo potentially fit in with the Yankees then? You mean other than being firmly planted as the clean up hitter!
As Chad Jennings of the LoHud points out, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner can no longer co-exist in the Yankees’ outfield. The pair of 30-somethings are too similar and continue to breakdown over the course of the long arduous season.
I’ve been saying the same thing for well over a year now, but who am I!
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Trading away one of the light hitting outfielders would open a spot for a number of youngsters–Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, Dustin Fowler. But remember what I said earlier, this team needs a sure thing in the power department, which none of these guys are. Trumbo and his 178 career home runs is.
Signing Trumbo will sacrifice some defensive prowess, but a lot more offensive production is worth the trade off. Besides, you still have Aaron Hicks to come in and finish off games with his glove.
Implementing Trumbo into the heart of the Yankees lineup means that teams won’t be able to pitch around Gary Sanchez, as they began to, late in the ’16 season. You have to surround him with others capable of driving the ball out of the park, otherwise, you risk Sanchez wildly swinging at bad pitches out of sheer frustration, which he did during that August series in Kansas City.
In the event the Yankees are unable to find a taker for Gardner or Ellsbury, there are still a few spots in the lineup to plug in Trumbo, or fellow free agent Oriole, Alvarez.
It remains to be seen if Aaron Judge is primed to take over the everyday right field job, which is precisely where Trumbo played 95 of his 159 games this past season. Imagine having a Yankees outfielder that actually suits up for the majority of a season. What a novel idea!
Let’s say Judge rakes (like we all hope), and McCann is dealt before the start of next season (like some hope), what better spot than for either Oriole to take over than the DH role.
The New York-bred Alvarez has the perfect stroke for the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium. In 337 at-bats this past season, Alvarez hit 22 home runs and drove in 49. He also brings a bit of versatility to the table, able to man both third and first base.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have him in the mix for playing time over Rob Refsnyder. Going into his age 30 season, Alvarez will likely sign another one or two year deal, worth around $6MM per.
Next: What to Take from the Atlanta Braves?
Both Alvarez and Trumbo give the Yankees flexibility, both in the club’s offensive approach, and their defensive alignment–which if you watched this most recent incarnation of the Yankees, is exactly what the club effectively utilized.