Paint The Black

Baseball and Beyond

Second Base Guessing

with 3 comments

If you believe Brian Cashman, the Yanks have been shopping Brett Gardner and Chase Headley all  winter, but the returns have not been to his liking, so he’s 99.9% sure both players will be in Camp when Spring Training workouts  open on February 18/ 19th

Of course anything is possible over the next 3 or 4 weeks, and beyond, especially if injuries impact teams as they begin to  shape their first  25 man roster for 2017..

Cashman went into  the off season looking for starting pitching,  a DH and a Closer… $100M later he signed Aroldis Chapman 5 yr’s $86M, and Matt Holliday 1 yr $13M.

The starting pitcher is still in search of, which isn’t a surprise, the free agent market was less then  desirable, and the trade market was extortionate to  say  the least..Hidden in plain sight is the fact contending in 2017 is taking a back set to  rebuilding..

Despite numerous pitching holes to  fill, allowing the market to  expand once the marathon season opens and embracing patience was the right call. We’ll  soon find out if the prospect / player haul Cashman received  at the deadline for Miller and Chapman was an outlier, or a new trend

At the 2016 trade deadline both Chicago  and Cleveland were at extremely desperate points in their franchise history, and to his credit Cashman had perspicaciously managed to bank a surplus of moveable commodities that would soon accommodate the market’s demands

The unwritten theory  “nobody gets desperate in January” applies to any trades involving  Gardner or Headley, even if the 2017 deadline doesn’t produce a variety of teams possessing the same urgency as the Curse Busters in Chicago, and  the incorrigible Win Drought in Cleveland

One name not mentioned a lot in trade scenarios, and especially in this particular LA / Tampa Bay  deal was Starlin Castro..

With the Dodgers willing to dangle their top pitching prospect Jose De Leon in an  effort to plug their 2nd base hole, did Cashman even make a call to Andrew Friedman and toss Castro’s name into  the Dodgers search engine ?

Before the Dodgers and the Rays agreed to  send Logan Forsythe a very good and extremely underrated 2nd baseman to LA for De Leon straight up, media speculation was

Undoubtedly, the Rays would certainly ask for De Leon along with a combination of some of their other top prospects that may or may not include Willie Calhoun (2B), Cody Bellinger (1B/OF) Alex Verdugo (OF) Brock Stewart (RHP) and Yadier Alvarez (RHP).

The Dodgers top  priority seemed to  be acquiring Brian Dozier ( $5M AAV, 17:$6M, 18:$9M) but the rumored return Minnesota wanted was more then LA wanted to pay for two years of  Dozier, despite those two  years being a considerable bargain

Logan Forsythe  17:$5.75M, 18:$8.5M club option ($1M buyout) has a comparable contract to Dozier, and both players will  enter the 2017 season as 3o year old 2nd baseman

Dozier coming off a 42 HR season has the projected slugging advantage over Forsythe, but once the analytics / metric intel kicks in, the cherry pickers consider Forsythe and Dozier interchangeable 


If you just  glance at  the standard stat lines for both payers, Dozier looks like the much better player, but the analytics show Forsythe as the type of grinder that hits to all  fields, and has a slightly better contact rate / bat  control

Dozier is thought of as more of a power source, while Forsythe runs the superior BABIPs. But for one thing, as the wRC+ up there shows, it doesn’t mean much in the end. And Dozier has played in the more homer-friendly environment. Both hitters have run higher-than-average launch angles, and if you can believe it, Forsythe has posted the better average exit velocities in each of the last two years. Dozier has the homers, but Forsythe has the contact quality.

If there’s one place where the players really diverge, it’s in where their batted balls go. Dozier has developed a reputation for trying to pull everything to left, and as much as that might feel exploitable, it’s clearly worked for him for this long. Forsythe used to be more of a pull guy, but this past year, he reached a new level in opposite-field hitting.

Anyway trying to  fit Castro  into  this discussion isn’t that  far fetched, without watching Castro play  everyday  there are some comparable standard numbers on paper


Castro  is 3 years younger, and he has at least $31M coming to him over the next 3 years with a $16M option in the 4th  year 2020..

17:$9M, 18:$10M, 19:$11M, 20:$16M club option ($1M buyout)

Compared to Dozier and Forsythe, that’s either 2 yr’s too many, or a GM can feel his 2nd base position is occupied at a reasonable rate for the next 3 to  4 yr’s..

In his first season in pinstripes, those inconsistencies continued.

Making the transition to second base never looked easier as his range, arm, and magnet of a glove was on full display. Castro was also one of the top sources of power for the Yankees as his 21 home runs paced the ball club. And not only was his .270 batting average a plus, Castro was also very durable. The young veteran suited up in 151 games, just two games shy his double play partner and healthiest Yankee, Didi Gregorius .

With the good, of course, came the bad. Castro and his free swinging ways made him a strikeout machine as he led the franchise with 118 swings and misses. His on-base percentage, too, was hard to justify. Out of all qualifying second basemen, Castro’s .300 OBP was only better than Jonathan Schoop (.298) and Rougned Odor (.296).

On paper and from what I’ve seen, both Dozier and Forsythe are better players then Castro, and the type of peripherals Friedman the former Tampa Bay GM is looking for made Forsythe the much more attractive player

If Cashman  did check in with the Dodgers, good chance De Leon a RHP who has all the makings of a top-two starter, as evidenced by his play in Triple-A last season (7-1, 2.61 ERA, 86.1 IP, 61 H, 111 K, 20 BB, .191 BAA). was off the table in any discussion regarding Castro…

So far despite an uninspiring first  season in the Bronx, Castro  was still  pretty good, and Cashman for the most part got him for nothing trading Brendan Ryan and Adam Warren who he reacquired in the Chapman heist..

That  said I wouldn’t be shocked if Castro’s name starts to become synonymous with Gardner and Headley as a potential trade candidate.. The way  this 2017 campaign looks on paper, we’re gonna be following the Bombers Farm  system as much as the varsity

It should also be interesting to  see if Castro starts to take reps at  3rd base in Spring Training?

That’s as good a place as any for Cashman to  start lining up his ducks as the parade to  2019 kicks off here in less then a month


Written by Sal

January 29, 2017 at 8:59 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Another great analytical presentation, Sal. You covered all the bases (excuse the pun).
    Excellent points made in all 3. But, I thought you were a little tough on Castro.
    Yes, he was extremely durable last season, along with his double play partner. But, under the circumstances, I thought he adapted well.
    He came into a new situation, new organization, new teammates, & a relatively new position.
    In adapting to it all, I think he made a pretty good showing. But, seeing him play every day, also exposed his weaknesses. He can go on extensive fishing exhibitions in an attempt to pull the ball. His attention on the field can be called into question.
    So, yeah, I agree. It’s time to start including him in the trade conversations of Gardy & Headless.
    Especially, with what’s coming from Down On The Farm (Da Feat).
    If those kids really start pushing… could get interesting around here.
    Anyway, after next week we are done with the never ending football season! Jeez! I hate this time of year. We still have to deal with hockey & hoops, & the never ending Melo, Jackson, Knick story.
    But don’t fret, the greatest game man ever created is just around the corner!


    January 29, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    • Great points bondsie and yes A little Rough is my middle name lol….

      I like Castro and Cashman stole him so the Yanks are playing with house money,

      When I scour the roster he’s one guy who might bring back some pitching
      and the only other guy next to Gardner and Headley who another team might find useful despite his short comings

      He’s also good insurance against any prospect busts plus any of these kids are still 2018 and beyond away so Cashman would need to get blown away before flipping Castro


      January 30, 2017 at 4:36 am

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