Five Things the Yankees Need to Do For Future Success

1. Sell, sell, sell
This one is probably pretty obvious. The Yankees clearly aren't a consistent enough team to go on the hot streak necessary to get back in contention. The result? The Yankees should sell the pieces they have for young talent that can aid in future years.

The names I would attempt to trade include Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner, Nathan Eovaldi, Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman, and Brian McCann. These names all vary in how realistic trading them would be and what you could get back for them.

For example, Carlos Beltran and Aroldis Chapman are pretty likely to be traded, but it's hard to envision the team moving Big Mac (though the Rangers have been rumored to be interested). Brett Gardner and Nathan Eovaldi might not bring in a huge return, but Dellin Betances with his youth, talent, and team control, could probably fetch a pretty penny on the market.

If a player is not listed here I feel they should not be traded (ex. Andrew Miller) or simply won't be because no team will want them (Jacoby Ellsbury and his massive contract).

I recently wrote a piece discussing a few trade targets the Yankees should be after in the coming months and based it around young, but talented players. Javier Baez and Joey Gallo are the standout names and both might be within reach for the right price.


The Rangers have loads of talent beyond Gallo including big league youngsters Jurickson Profar and Nomar Mazara that may or may not be available for the right price. The Nationals have been routinely rumored as interested in Yankee relievers, particularly Aroldis Chapman. Could the Yankees add some to the Cuban flamethrower and entice the Nats to send over stud prospect Lucas Giolito? Not likely, but there's always a chance.

The point is the Yankees have got to get themselves some young, major league ready talent at the deadline this year to go alongside current farmhands Severino, Judge, Sanchez, Mateo, Kaprielian, and friends. Pulling in a Gallo type player to come up with these other talented youngsters could create an amazing core the team can build around for years to come.

2. Cut (or at least bench) Alex Rodriguez
This one is probably the most controversial, but lets face it: Alex Rodriguez is in all ways the least valuable player on the Yankees. Arod is making $20 million a year to DH and he isn't hitting. Arod is hitting just .222 with just eight homers. To put it in perspective, Didi Gregorius has hit six out this year. The team isn't paying Arod that much to barely out-homer Didi.

There's simply no room on the team for someone who never sees the field, but doesn't do his job and hit either. This team just isn't a contender and there's no point in running Arod out there every day when he isn't yielding any results.

The biggest issue is his poor play at DH is creating a logjam that prevents, younger and more talented players from seeing big league at bats. Ideally, the Yankees would either cut or bench Arod and allow Beltran to DH until he's (hopefully) traded. In the mean time, this would allow for a potential call up for Aaron Judge who has turned things around recently. Or with Mark Teixeira back you could place the hot hitting Refsnyder in right field, a position he may actually have a long term future at.

You see, money plays a part here, but it's not the biggest factor - it's the fact that the Yankees need to get prospects into the lineup. They need to give these guys extended chances to prove themselves so the team knows what they have going forward and can build the roster accordingly.

With the team not contending and Arod not hitting, it only makes sense to either cut ties or bench the, for lack of a better word, washed-up star for the long term good of the team. Arod has had his moments with the Yankees, but time has caught up and there's just not enough pros to outweigh the cons.

3. Stay out of the free agent market this winter
This one might seem like a no-brainer to some, but is actually a change of heart for myself personally. This last year I advocated the Yankees be active in a stacked free agent market if they truly wanted to contend this year, but instead they foolishly stood by while impact players flew off the board left and right. In fact, Ike Davis was the first major league deal the Yankees have given this year.

There are two reasons to avoid spending big in the free agent market this year: The market just isn't that strong and the team needs to be saving for the bonkers class of players that will be free agents in 2018.

With Stephen Strasburg now no longer set to hit the open market this year, there's no player worth giving serious money to for the Yankees. There seems to be youth and talent available on the market, but they aren't necessarily packaged together. For example, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista will be free agents, but both are on the wrong side of 30, thus making them players the Yankees should avoid long term commitments to.

The team has been trying to get under the luxury tax cap for years now and with a weaker free agent class this year there should be less temptation to splurge.

I don't think the Yankees need to stop signing free agents entirely, they just have to sign the right ones. For example a few years back, the team spent half a billion dollars on Beltran, Ellsbury, Tanaka, and McCann. There can be a serious case made that each of them has been a disappointment or hasn't lived up to their contract in some way.

That's why the Yankees need to wait for the right free agents to sign and not force anything. Giving out any big contracts to any free agents on this year's market would just be forcing things, especially considering this team isn't just a piece or two away from being a World Series contender.

The goal here should be to get under the luxury tax cap and aim to bring in as many young, star names as possible when the stacked market of 2018 rolls around and names like Harper, Machado, Fernandez, etc. are available.

4. Avoid extending inconsistent players
This one is mainly looking at Nathan Eovaldi and, to a lesser degree, Michael Pineda. It's long been discussed that the Yankees may look to give one or both these starters an extension with contractual uncertainty set to strike the rotation in the next few years. I simply feel giving either a sizeable extension would be a mistake.

Eovaldi and Pineda have simply been far too inconsistent to trust. Every time we think they've turned the corner, they revert to their old ways and let us down once again.

I was never a fan of the Eovaldi trade and while he brings the velocity the Yankees covet, he brings far more negative aspects to his game than is comfortable. He gives up hits and allows baserunners in droves as evidenced by his 88 hits and 21 walks allowed in just 80.2 IP. That's 109 baserunners allowed in roughly 81 IP - not good. He also sports an ugly 5.02 ERA and just can't seem to put away hitters when he's ahead in the count. He's been eerily reminiscent of Phil Hughes - a guy with loads of talent but can't put hitters away leading to several runs allowed a game.

Pineda is far more talented than Eovaldi, but is having a strange year of sorts. Pineda is having success with the strikeout having struck out a career high 10.2 per 9, but sports an ugly 5.82 ERA. Along with this, he's actually surrendered more hits on the year than Eovaldi with 96 knocks allowed.

Pineda actually sports a 3.93 FIP, which suggests he's encountered a rather absurd amount of bad luck. Big Mike has always been able to throw strikes and keep walks to a minimum, but he needs to work on throwing quality strikes. Pineda undoubtedly has potential, but he's proneness to being hittable and injury history  make any extension to Pineda a huge gamble.

In the end the Yankees should certainly avoid giving a long term rotation spot to Eovaldi and think long and hard before giving one to Pineda. They've just shown they can't be trusted and it would be a bad position for the team to make a financial and roster commitment to guys who can't bring their best on a consistent basis.

5. Sign the Gourriel Brothers
Yulieski and Lourdes Gourriel are two names you may have never heard of, but you need to remember them. Each are the next best players to defect from Cuba and are now on the open market to sign with whichever MLB team they please.

Yulieski is the older of the two at 31, but looks to be an immediate MLB impact player and his numbers last year in Cuba support that notion. All he did was hit .500 with 20 doubles, 15 dingers, 38 walks, and just 3 K's in 49 games. Did you see that? THREE strikeouts in 49 games. And we can safely say that the Cuban leagues translate pretty well stateside as well with evidence in players such as Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Abreu. Cuban talent is the real deal and the Yankees should be salivating at the thought of signing Yulieski.

Apparently the Yankees actually are though, as George King reports that the Yankees plan on holding a private workout for him in the coming weeks.

You might think that signing a 31 year old is contradictory to what I mentioned earlier about staying away from long term commitments to older players, but Yulieski is a little different. He has the potential to be a far better player than what would be available on the open market this winter. Additionally, there's an argument he won't even cost more than $11 million a year. Considering the fact Brett Gardner is making $13 million this year, I think a contract cheaper than that for the older Gourriel brother would be a steal.

The younger Gourriel brother, Lourdes Jr., is a prize to be had as well. At just 22, there's clearly more potential upside in having him for his prime years and beyond. He's not quite Yoan Moncada, but he's being touted as a very good prospect nonetheless.

The youngster can play shortstop, but seems to be better suited at second or first long term. He's largely excelled in the batting average category having hit .321 in 43 games in Cuba last year, but apparently also has some power upside.

He also hit eight homers in those 43 games and Ben Badler of Baseball America writes that "Gourriel flashes above-average raw power ... making him a 20-homer threat." Apparently he profiles as a young Ryan Zimmerman, which would be a welcome addition to the Yankee squad.

My thought is that as brothers there's a good chance these two would sign together with the same team. If they do, the Yankees should do what they can to be that team. They've passed on the Cuban market for too long over the years and it's time to accept that these top defectors are hyped for a reason.

Written by: Nick Scott
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All statistics provided via baseball-reference.com and MLB.com
 Photos provided via Fox Sports
Additional info provied via River Ave Blues and Baseball America

Comments

  1. I'm pretty sure Lourdes is subject to the international spending pool meaning the Yankees cannot sign him unless he takes $300k (unlikely), or he waits to sign until the next signing period (also unlikely)

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  2. He can wait until I think October when he turns 23, then he will be a free agent, no longer restricted by the spending pool limits.

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  3. Your strategy is sound in my opinion but will the Yankees follow it, no. For whatever reason I don't see them as sellers or a team that will address the A-Rod situation. All one has to look at is how the team is structured now and that will tell you that this team was put together without much vision. Just look at the recent signing of Ike Davis or Stephen Drew last year. They play a very boring brand or baseball, one devoid of aggressive baserunning or capable of playing small ball.

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  4. I agree with your recommendations, but I would add Headley and Castro to the trade list. I think, however, that both Hal and Cashman are incapable of forward thinking and feel that a guaranteed mediocre team will be less a risk than being bold for the future. That's why I feel that this team will go nowhere, and be as boring as they are now for years to come.

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