06 Jun MLB Mail Bag; Fan Questions Answered: Week 10
By: Lou Landers – @RealSportsCrew
1. Yankees lack of production at the corner infield spots:
The Yankees have been one of the leagues top offenses this season. It has definitely been a welcomed surprise after how terrible they were last season. There is no doubt that the addition of Matt Holiday has had a huge impact on this ball club. The middle infield has been excellent offensively, their OF has been the best in baseball based on offensive production, yet their corner infield spots have been towards the bottom of the league. This is still strange for Yankees fans to see and hear, considering they were spoiled for years with Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez at those spots. With the injury to Greg Bird earlier this season and his inefficiencies before the injury, the lack of production at 1B shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. They’ve practically gotten nothing from their back up Chris Carter who led the NL in homers last season. The Yankees desperately need Bird to come back and hit the way he was in spring training and in his short MLB stint back in 2015. Tyler Austin is another option at 1B, he is currently in the minor leagues getting into game action. Austin injured himself early in the Spring and has missed the entire 2017 season thus far. At 3B, Chase Headley had a terrific month of April, yet since then, he has been of the least productive players at the position around MLB. Rumor has it, Yankees top prospect Gleyber Torres (a natural SS) has been playing mostly 3B since being promoted to AAA a few weeks ago. If Headley continues his struggles and Torres continues to impress, it won’t be long before Torres is called up to the big leagues to replace Headley, something that should give this Yankees lineup a much needed boost offensively at 3B.
2. Having the DH in both the NL and AL:
This is something that I personally have wanted to see for many years. I understand that it’s part of baseball history and that it adds a different set of strategies to the game. With that being said, the game has changed a lot over the years and baseball is a game filled with more than enough strategy already. To me, having the DH in both leagues makes sense on many levels. First off, with there always being at least one inter league series at all times, it makes sense for both leagues to be playing under the same set of rules. More importantly, the pitchers who can hit are few and far between, and although some are quite good, the risk of injury either at the plate or running the bases isn’t worth the risk. Pitchers get paid to pitch, hitters get paid to hit, and as an avid baseball fan and watcher of the game, I want to see the best hitters hitting at all times. It also creates more jobs for players in the NL, giving what would be a bench player currently, an every day role, or at least give older players half a day off like you see in the AL. This of course wouldn’t affect the pitchers jobs, they will still pitch every 5 days and make the same amount of money as always. Last, but not least, teams are sometimes forced to remove a pitcher from a game prematurely, due to needing a pinch hitter for them. This not only taxes your bullpen, but also takes away opportunities for pitchers to get wins. It wouldn’t make much sense for any team to do this in my opinion, but why not give the manager the option to have their pitcher hit instead of a DH if thats what they choose to do. The DH should at least be an option in both leagues, and each team can decide whether or not they want to deploy a lineup that features one or not.
3. Do the Astros go all in to win this year and trade for another starter? or do they keep their farm intact for the future?
The Astros should 100% be going all in this season. They need another SP to slot in behind Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. and should make sure they go out and get it. To me, there isn’t a need to to keep their fair system in tact. The core of their team is very young already and will be together for the foreseeable future anyways. Teams today sometimes only have 1-2 seasons where they can really make a push for a championship and this Astros team is positioned very well, not only in roster construction but also in standings this season. They know they are going to be playoff bound with this amazing lineup, bullpen and a great one-two punch in their rotation. Come playoff time though, when they go up against the best lineups and rotations in baseball, they are going to need someone more reliable that Mike Fiers or Charlie Morton to pitch game 3. There are also a number of options out there on the market such as Jose Quintana and Gerrit Cole who would not just help them in 2017, but are signed for 2 years after. So in theory, they wouldn’t be hurting their future as much if they did in fact trade a prospect or two to get a big time SP. This is similar to what their division rival Texas Rangers did years back in acquiring Cole Hamels. He not only helped them for their stretch run, but is still a part of the Rangers. Hamels is currently on the DL but will be back in the few weeks and we’re not really here to talk about the Rangers anyways. The bottom line is, this Astros team may not have a better season that they’re having right now, so going all in for a World Series run is the best course of action.
4. Is Machado worth 30+ million in FA?
Despite his struggles this season, Machado is still one of the premier players in baseball. Not just offensively but defensively too. What makes him even more valuable is that he isn’t even at his natural position right now. Manny has been so good at 3B since coming to the big leagues that many people forget that he was originally drafted as a SS. He would arguably be the best SS in all of baseball if he played the position full time. The funny part is, of the 3-4 teams who can afford his services via free agency, I don’t think any would even use him there. They all have a greater need for a 3B. Manny will most certainly get around 25-30 million a year on the open market and personally I think it will be with the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox or Giants.
5. The mighty Cubs, mightily struggling:
I wouldn’t be too concerned as a Cubs fan right now. Yes, they’ve started the season much worse than expected and yes they’re currently looking up at the Brewers in the standings. Even with this slow start from the lineup and starting rotation, they’re right in the thick of things and play in one of the least competitive divisions in MLB right now. There is no doubt in my mind that they will not only make the playoffs but also win the NL Central. Lester, Lackey, Arrieta and Hendricks are way to good of a starting rotation to falter all season long and will carry this team to one of the best 2nd half records in the league. One thing to consider however is that since 2013, no reigning World Series Champion has qualified for the playoffs the season after winning it all. As alarming as that stat is, this Cubs team is too talented and doesn’t have enough competition in their division to hold them down all year long. 82-85 wins could get it done in the NL Central this year.