NY Sports Day
Matt Mankiewich

Karpin’s Korner: Mets “Big Mc” & Starling, Yanks Should Not Be LEFT Out

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Now that the White Sox have signed free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal, they have another catcher on their roster who serves as a valuable trade chip. James McCann would be a nice get for any team in need of a solid backstop. McCann, who will be 30 years old midway through next season, is a free agent after the 2020 campaign.

McCann is a solid, defensive catcher who is not an offensive liability. McCann not only hit a career high .273 last season, his clutch numbers were outstanding. With RISP, McCann hit .321. With 2 out and RISP, McCann batted .309.

I’m the Mets, I look into making a deal for the veteran catcher. McCann has only one year of control left, but the Mets can’t be thinking long term when it comes to acquiring a strong, defensive presence behind the “dish.”

The Mets have reportedly been linked to Padres CF Manuel Margot are reportedly to fill their need for an everyday centerfielder, but according to sources, the team is pushing hard to acquire Starling Marte from the Pirates

In an interview with “Deportivo,” Marte (through a translator) was quoted as saying, “The Mets have everything. It would be a great opportunity to play with them.”

Marte is 31 years old and is signed through 2020 with a team option for 2021 ($12.5 million or $1 million dollar buyout) so the package going back to Pittsburgh will need to feature a top prospect, but it may not take too expensive an offer to pull off a swap.

There’s no question the Yankees need to add a quality arm or two in order to enhance their chances in the 2020 season, but a “tweak” of the offense is in order as well.

Yankees seem to have finally come to the realization that they need more balance in their lineup and that means adding some left handed hitting. You saw what happened in the ALCS against Houston when the left handed hitting (Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner) was practically non-existent against the Astros totally right handed pitching staff.

In the previous three seasons (2017-2019) the Yankees claimed they had enough offense. There was an abundance of right handed power hitters and not a whole lot from the left side. The Yankees felt their righties could take advantage of the short dimensions in right and right-centerfield at Yankee Stadium, but that didn’t always play well on the road. Consider that in the two ALCS vs. the Astros, the Yankees were 1-6, and both times, it was the offense, not the pitching that proved to be their downfall.

With Gregorius likely headed elsewhere, the Yankees need more than just a re-signing of Brett Gardner to beef up their collection of left hand hitters. They don’t need to break the bank but there could be some solid, left hand bats on the market that could satisfy the Yanks’ needs.

I get a feeling that the Yankees are not that sold on Luke Voit or Mike Ford so they may fill a left handed need with a back-up first baseman. Mike Moustakas is a free agent who is not just a third baseman, he can also play second and first base, while Mitch Moreland could be an interesting addition because of his defensive prowess. If Moreland joined the Yanks, he would be the best fielding first-baseman on the roster.

Orioles asked for outright waivers on infielder Jonathan Villar and he could be an intriguing pick up for the Yankees. The 28-year old is a switch hitter with speed.

NY Post Baseball Columnist Joel Sherman wrote about Villar saying he has a reputation for being “over aggressive with a penchant for on-field mistakes.” I’m sure that’s how some scouts saw it. I see a player who stays on the field (162 games played last season) for a team that lost 108 games, scored 111 runs for that same lousy team and may just be coming into his prime. Villar has played every infield position except 1B and he has played the outfield as well.

Villar is going into his final year of arbitration and could be someone the Yankees have an eye on.

I wrote this in last week’s column:

“I cannot believe there are some out there who are making a case for Bobby Abreu. MLB Network cited Abreu’s career WAR (60.0) as making him the 13th best right fielder in baseball history. Come on now. I can name at least 20 if not more right fielders who were better than Abreu.”

When I said 20, I wasn’t including the obvious ones.

Here are the obvious ones:

Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Tony Gwynn, Mel Ott, Al Kaline, Dave Winfield and future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki. That list is what many have posted as the 10 best right fielders in the history of baseball.

According to MLB Network, there are only three other right fielders who are better than Bobby Abreu. I wrote that I could name 20. So here they are: (current players are not included)

(in alphabetical order)

Bob Allison, Bobby Bonds, Johnny Callison, Jack Clark, Rocky Colavito, Dwight Evans, Kirk Gibson, Juan Gonzalez, Ken Griffey Sr., George Hendrick, Roger Maris, Tony Oliva, Paul O’Neill, Magglio Ordonez, Dave Parker, Gary Sheffield, Reggie Smith, Rusty Staub, Darryl Strawberry and Larry Walker.

This past week, the Brewers and Padres swung a four player trade. Milwaukee sent RHP Zack Davies and OF Trent Grisham (he of the infamous error in the NL WC game) to San Diego for middle infielder Luis Urias and LHP Eric Lauer.

Davies was the key pick up for San Diego in the deal but Urias could end up being a huge acquisition for the Brewers.

The 22-year old Urias was a highly touted prospect from San Diego’s highly touted farm system who struggled last season and split time between the big club and the Padres AAA farm team at El Paso. With Keston Hiura entrenched at second base, Urias may end up as the starting shortstop for Milwaukee

San Diego is being lauded for signing LH reliever Drew Pomeranz. After being dealt from the Giants to the Brewers at the trade deadline last season, Pomeranz thrived as a reliever. The Padres are hoping Pomeranz, combined with closer Kirby Yates, can give them a solid, back end of the bullpen.

The left hander made 28 relief appearances and struck 50 of the 106 batters that he faced. On paper that looks very impressive, but, it’s a small sample size. Pomeranz’ had problems with his command when he was a starter. The 31-year old walked 8 hitters in 26 1/3 IP with the Brewers, but I’m not sold on this signing. If the lefty’s command issues return, this may not turn out to be such a great addition.

Karpin’s Korner appears every Friday afternoon on nysportsday.com


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