Karpin: Trading Frazier for Cole is Not Worth It

The Yankees appear to be zeroing in on Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole but if they have to give up Clint Frazier to get him, then it’s not worth the price.

There were conflicting reports about the status of the deal. One report stated that “it’s a matter of if, rather than when” a deal would come off, another said a “deal is close” but later reports were saying that “there is no positive movement in recent days.”

On the surface, the Yankees would appear to be making a move from strength. After all, Frazier has been deemed “expendable” since the Yankees have all those outfielders now that Giancarlo Stanton is on board. Meanwhile, 34-year old Brett Gardner is a free agent after next season, you don’t really know what you’re going to get from Aaron Hicks and Stanton has shown a penchant for getting injured. That depth could shrink in a hurry.

Cole is a guy who may not be as good as he looks on paper. If you were watching MLB Network the past few days, you would think Cole is one of the top pitchers in the sport. Those who have watched Cole over his 5-plus seasons in the majors say he is a good pitcher but not a top pitcher who you would pay for with top prospects.

Frazier is projected as a star in the making and that it’s just a matter of time before he would be a top notch, everyday player. The Yankees got a little taste of what Frazier brings to the table during his short stint with the big team last season. Frazier showed that tremendous bat speed that GM Brian Cashman bragged about, not to mention his overall speed and the athleticism that he brings to the field. I felt that Yankees made a mistake by putting Matt Holliday on the ALCS roster instead of Frazier. Holliday played in the first game and was rendered useless for the remainder of the series. Who knows, if Frazier was on the roster, maybe he could’ve pinch ran for Greg Bird (that’s not a second guess) and produced a different outcome than being thrown out at the plate twice.

To me, the Yankees should hang onto Frazier. He doesn’t necessarily have to be on the 25 man roster that breaks camp in April because he has options and could conceivably start the year in the minors. This kid should be in the Yankees’ plans for the future and not as a trade chip.

From all indications, the Yankees would rather hang on to Frazier, who still has options. With that in mind comes a report from Fan Rag Sports’ Jon Heyman that Jacoby Ellsbury may be willing to waive his no trade clause for a “few, select teams.” The Yankees have indicated they would be willing to pick up half of the remaining $68 million dollars on Ellsbury’s deal. Heyman suggests the Giants, who are desperate for outfielders, may be one of the clubs listed among Ellsbury’s “select teams.”

Unless they get a drastic change in the offers they’ve already received from other clubs, the Orioles reportedly will not trade Manny Machado at this time. Baltimore was seeking a pair of controllable starting pitchers in return.

Roch Kubatko of masnsports.com reports Orioles GM Dan Duquette indicated that they plan to hang on to the third baseman who is scheduled to become a free agent after next season. Going forward, it remains to be seen if the Orioles will grant Machado’s wish to move back to shortstop. Kubatko reports because of an achilles injury that will sideline Zach Britton, the Orioles will likely hang on to hard throwing reliever Brad Brach. The right hander was reportedly on the trade block and a number of teams were showing interest including the Mets.

There is a 30 year old left hander on the market who is coming off a poor season and is now a free agent after he was officially released by the Padres. If I’m the Mets, I come calling on Travis Wood who would come at a minimum price. Wood has been a starter and reliever and he comes with a bonus, he can hit. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees showed some interest.

Speaking of the Mets, NY Post Mets beat reporter Mike Puma had a story that said Mets owner Fred Wilpon was “irate” over the Yanks’ pick up of Stanton. The article cites a source saying “He (Fred) cares a lot about the Yankees.” That statement right there sums up what’s wrong with the Mets. They need to concern themselves with their own team, not what’s going on in the Bronx. The Mets brought back Omar Minaya as a special assistant to GM Sandy Alderson, but reportedly, some within the organization are not happy about this hire. Stay tuned.

Alderson is rolling the dice and gambling that the market will yield a top free agent at a bargain price. In the meantime, the Mets continue to add fuel to the fire that is their disenchanted fan base with their lack of movement this off season.

Don’t underestimate what the Rays got back for Evan Longoria. Christian Arroyo is a top notch infield prospect who has a quick bat and strong hands to develop into a very good hitter at the major league level. The only knock on the 22 year old as that he wouldn’t hit with enough power to man a corner infield spot on an everyday basis. Arroyo developed a leg kick that has improved his power output. He had a tough time in a short stint with the Giants last season but don’t be surprised if Arroyo develops into a solid major league player.

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