BBB Mailbag: Offseason free agency edition

Happy Holidays, Yankees family! On behalf of all our writers, I would like to express how thankful the Bronx Bomber Blog is for our loyal readers. To show our appreciation, I decided to do this Q&A. My plan is to do at least one every month, so always send the BBB any questions you have!

Asked by @LiveForSports14: What if the Yankees look at Mike Napoli instead of Carlos Beltran or Edwin Encarnacion?

(David Dermer/AP)
Great question, and I think picking up Mike Napoli is the best move the Yankees can make. That might sound like an asinine statement to some, but let’s take a look at the other options.

Edwin Encarnacion will turn 34 before the season starts, and will reportedly be in search of a contract of 4-5 years at roughly $20 million per year. It is hard to justify locking down a player for that long at this stage of his career. On top of the salary, signing him would also cost New York a first round draft pick next year.

In regards to Beltran, many have been wondering if there will be a reunion between him and the Bombers. The 39-year-old had a great first half of 2016 with the Yankees before being dealt to the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline. He still hit .280 the rest of the season, but struggled in the ALDS against the Blue Jays, hitting just .182. Since signing with the Yankees a few years back, Beltran has shown he can no longer produce at the same level all season long, as his body can’t push through the season like it was once able to. If the Yankees are going to sign a veteran bat to fill the DH position, being able to produce in the playoffs is a trait that will be crucial.  

That postseason production is just one of the many reasons the Yankees should pursue Mike Napoli. At 35 years old, the veteran DH is reportedly looking for a three-year deal, although it seems unlikely at this juncture that any team is willing to commit to him for three seasons. He is also a cost-effective option, making only $7 million last season. As mentioned before, he has an ability to come up big in the playoffs, and has played for three different World Series teams since 2011 (’11 Rangers, ’13 Red Sox, ’16 Indians). As the Yankees continue to get younger, the addition of a seasoned veteran who brings postseason experience will be welcomed in a clubhouse that suddenly lacks it.

Asked by @BronxBombers27x and @JWillis637: What starting pitchers should the Yankees look at pursuing this offseason?

While the Bombers could go out and attain any number of pitching options, I believe the most likely acquisition will be Rich Hill. I'm aware we wrote earlier this week that Rich Hill might not be a good idea for the Yankees, but hear me out. The southpaw will be 37 by the start of the 2017 season, but is coming off one of the best seasons of his 12-year career. In 20 appearances for the Athletics and Dodgers, Hill posted a 12-5 record with an ERA of 2.12. He also maintained a WHIP below 1.00, and averaged more than a strikeout per inning last year. While his age might make some fans hesitant to go after him, he is someone the Yankees should look at, as he is proving he still has plenty left in the tank.

(Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
While the numbers indicate that the lefty is more than capable of pitching well enough to win games, he also can completely shut teams down. Some might remember the start he had against Miami in September. Hill was through seven perfect innings, and got there in only 89 pitches. He was subsequently pulled from the game, and the Dodgers lost the perfecto bid shortly thereafter. While that kind of production can’t be expected every time he toes the rubber, the numbers show that he will deliver quality starts more often than not.

Thanks for the questions! Hopefully I’ll have more to answer for my next Q&A article, which I plan to post on December 22nd. Send me anything you want answered in the next three weeks!

Article by: Dan DeGregorio


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