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Hello, everyone, and welcome to another installment in the Ask Pinstripe Alley mailbag series. We have six answers for you this week. As always, keep sending questions in our weekly mailbag call or by e-mail at pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.
Davidg1570 asks: With the Pirates rebuilding, what do you think about Chris Archer? He still strikes out a ton of batters and could maybe rebound in the AL East.
Once upon a time, I dreamed of seeing Chris Archer in pinstripes. Now? The hardest of hard passes. Despite his quality strikeout numbers, Archer struggled mightily in 2019. He walked a ton of batters (4.14 BB/9) and gave up a bunch of dingers (1.88 HR/9).
The right-hander still has quality velocity on his fastball and a good spin rate on his breaking ball, two qualities the Yankees love. The results don’t match the process, though. He gives off big time Michael Pineda vibes.
Archer tore it up from 2013-2015, but he’s been league average or worse ever since. I can’t imagine the Yankees having interest in him at his $9 million salary. They can find better arms elsewhere.
Cary asks: How about Scooter Gennett as a free agent target, if fully healthy. He’s a 29-year-old spark plug with a left-handed pull ratio that would seem to be perfect for Yankee Stadium. He’s played some third base, and he’s also played the outfield in his career. Seems like a versatile and clutch type player who could potentially slide in at second base and play some in the outfield and at third.
It seems like a lot of fans have identified Scooter Gennett as this year’s DJ LeMahieu. I hate to throw cold water on the idea, but Gennett really struggled in 2019. A bad groin injury cost him most of the season, but in the 42 games he appeared, he was basically unplayable. We’re talking a 44 wRC+ with a 29.5% strikeout rate bad. The San Francisco Giants released him on August 27—they didn’t even wait for rosters to expand and stash him on the bench!
Gennett did have two strong seasons in 2017 and 2018, hitting .303/.351/.508 with a 124 wRC+ between them. That’s not too far to look back and think maybe a healthy season would get him back on track. He was so bad in 2019, though, that I don’t think it’s safe to consider him the next LeMahieu. Maybe 2018 Neil Walker is a better comp.
Chilts asks: Will Mike Ford be part of the Yankees’ future, or traded?
Earlier this week, I thought the odds were pretty good that the Yankees would cash in on Ford as a trade chip. I also expected them to keep Greg Bird around, but he got designated for assignment on Wednesday night. If Bird doesn’t find his way back into the organization, then I suppose Ford position is somewhat safer.
The 27-year-old hit .259/.350/.559 with 12 home runs (134 wRC+) across 50 games. That’s essentially 2015 Bird production. Ford’s 91.9 mph average exit velocity also suggests that production wasn’t exactly a fluke; he can sting the ball, and good things generally happen to batters who do that.
It’s a tough call on whether he’s more likely to stay or gets moved. I’ll say he sticks around, though, mainly because most teams aren’t exactly clamoring for a first baseman.
lowrider225: With numerous other events besides baseball being held at Yankee Stadium during the course of a calendar year, such as pro soccer, the Pinstripe Bowl, concerts, and what have you, do the Yankees reap any rewards from those events? If so, what amount or percentage do they get?
The Yankees have a number of revenue streams outside of baseball games themselves. For example, Yankee Global Enterprises—the LLC behind the Yankees—has a 20% ownership stake in New York City Football Club. According to Inside the Empire, they earn revenue on all events held at Yankee Stadium. There’s also Legends Hospitality, the concessions provider at the Stadium. The actual earnings remain unknown, but it definitely exists. Funny enough, it may all get written off as losses to defer taxes.
Yanks4ever asks: How serious a punishment do you see Astros management getting for this scandal? When the Atlanta Braves flouted the international draft pick laws, they lost a year’s worth of picks and an executive got banned. Is that possible here?
How mad do you think the Commissioner’s Office is with the Astros right now? The Brandon Taubman incident dominated the headlines in the World Series, and now they’re caught up in a major cheating scandal. They have to be in some serious hot water.
Major League Baseball has a tendency to handle these issues quietly—take the Red Sox Apple Watch mini-scandal from a few years ago. This, though? The genie’s out of the bottle here. It’s too public for them to reasonably address on the low.
The Braves’ punishment in 2017 makes for a good comparison. They lost 13 players whom they had previously signed, forfeited future draft picks, were removed from future international signing pools, and GM John Coppolella received a lifetime ban.
At least one current executive echoes this. ““If Jeff Luhnow knew about this, he should be banned for life,” the anonymous general manager told Andy Martino. In the past, MLB has gone to great lengths to preserve the integrity of the game. This feels like one of those occasions.
Thomas asks: Don’t you think it’s about time that the Yankees get rid of their no beard policy? Besides being antiquated, it could be hurting them in free agency.
Yeah, the Yankees probably have too strict a grooming policy. I certainly agree on the antiquated part; baseball’s a game, not a desk job. For a good read on the subject, I recommend PSA Scribe Emeritus Kunj Shah’s story, It’s time for the Yankees to update their facial hair policy.
Real talk: this likely has no serious bearing on free-agent decisions. It falls under the same category of a player who reportedly wants to pitch close to home, or one who desires to play for his favorite team growing up. I know, I know David Price once said he wouldn’t pitch for the Yankees because he’d have to shave. But that flippant remark isn’t the best evidence for it. In the end, it comes down to money. In most circumstances, a player will sigh with whoever offers the the largest contract.