Tuesday, June 14, 2016
JORGE SOLER IN PINSTRIPES?
The latest trade rumors are the big news in Yankees Universe, and this week the hot name is Jorge Soler of the Chicago Cubs. It is not surprising that a .500 team with talented players is attracting the attention of contenders who are 1 or 2 players away from a solid playoff run. What made this rumor float to the top was the appearance of a Cubs scout at Yankee Stadium. Over the weekend, according to a New York Post article, "[Cubs] Scout Jason Parks was at Yankee Stadium ... looking at the trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman." Again, not a surprise, especially from the team with the best record in baseball believing they need a closer.
This is a possibility the Yankees need to consider seriously. Like everyone else, I loved the idea of the 3-headed monster in the bullpen. The problem is that their power is in their ability to hold a lead. If you don't give them a lead to hold, they're useless. I have already said publicly that I do not believe the Yankees can contend this year. Therefore, it makes no sense why would you sit on what is arguably the three best relief pitchers in baseball when you can trade one of them for some talent that will help build the future.
Being pragmatic about this, Aroldis Chapman is the obvious choice, if you have to dangle someone out there. He is a proven closer in both leagues, has the highest velocity fastball out there (his average velocity per season has been over 99 mph for 3 years including this one, leading baseball in each of those years). He also has a short lifespan in Yankees pinstripes. His contract ends at the end of this season, and the top closer in baseball will file for free agency. We all know how much the Yankees have loved bidding wars in recent years. Both Betances and Miller are reasonably priced and still have years on their contracts.
Soler has not yet established a strong hitting season since reaching the majors two years ago. His value is mostly based on scouting reports that tell us the kid has greatness in his future. I believe it somewhat, based mostly on his outstanding offensive stats in the minors. Being only 24 years old, you can see he is still maturing his skills, so there is good reason to be hopeful. With a price tag of $4M per year, the downside is somewhat muted. This will become an even more important factor if the Yankees really want to go after the post-2018 free agent market.
The only thing that should concern us is that Soler is nowhere near enough of a return for Chapman. The Cubs have a few bits of talent the Yankees should demand. Just the fact that the Cubs sent scouts and that all these rumors about the Cubs interest have been out there, it tips their hand. This kind of a deal would make sense for both sides. Earlier this year, fellow BYB writer Dan Lucia wrote a piece titled THE JORGE SOLER TRADE THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAPPEN. Dan and his friend Scott may get their wish.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
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