Prior to the Yankees thrilling come from behind victory over the Red Sox Wednesday night, I had the chance to speak with Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. In our five-question interview, Bryan went over trade deadline targets, contract extensions and more.
Dan Rourke: With the popular narrative that the Yankees are an elite starting pitcher away from being a legitimate World Series threat, who is a top-notch starter you could see the Bombers acquiring at the deadline?
Bryan Hoch: The Yankees were connected strongly to Michael Fulmer of the Tigers this past offseason, along with Patrick Corbin of the D-backs. Arizona is contending, but I could see Detroit entertaining a trade including Fulmer if it netted some of the Yanks’ prized prospects. He’s 25, under control and a ground ball pitcher, so he checks a lot of boxes. Otherwise, the Rangers should be motivated to move Cole Hamels, who isn’t what he was back in those Phillies World Series days but would be a serviceable mid-rotation piece.
DR: It’s no secret that Miguel Andujar has taken advantage of Drury being sidelined to the DL over the past four weeks, however, do you see the Yankees slotting him back into the everyday 3B role once he’s activated off the 10-Day DL and pushing Andujar to the bench/Triple-A?
BH: I’m not sure what will happen there, and I don’t think the Yankees have a set plan either. It’s concerning that Drury is still having issues with dizziness and blurred vision, so even though he’s playing in the minors right now, there’s still no set date for him to return. The Yanks are fortunate that Andujar is giving them coverage at third base right now, though his bat has cooled of late. If and when Drury is healthy, I wouldn’t expect to see him slot back in as the full-time third baseman immediately. He’d probably be more of a role player.
DR: Personally, I can’t see it considering the Yankees refused to deal him this past offseason, so I doubt they’d do it now. However, could Andujar be used as a chip to acquire a top of the line starter in July?
BH: There’s a long list of teams that would have interest in someone like Andujar, so I don’t think that has changed from last offseason. Brian Cashman frequently says that he has no untouchable prospects, but some are more touchable than others. I don’t sense that the Yankees are in any hurry to move Andujar unless it’s absolutely necessary, but he’s more touchable than, say, Gleyber Torres.
DR: Since his debut on April 22, Gleyber Torres is hitting .333 with two homers and eight 11 while posting a 132OPS+, are you any bit surprised by how well he’s handled major league pitching thus far and his overall impact on the team?
BH: Not really. He impressed me last year with his maturity and carries himself like someone who has been in the league for five years already. You’d be hard-pressed to find any scout or talent evaluator, going back to his Cubs days, who didn’t see Torres as a bonafide multiple time All-Star in the big leagues. He makes adjustments well and the game seems to slow down for him. His defense is better than I expected, too. Everything we’ve seen so far at the big league level backs up the hype. He’s the real deal and he’s going to be here for a long time to come.
DR: With Didi Gregorius set to become a free agent after the 2019 season, do you see the Yankees going against their history and signing Didi to an extension before he hits the open market?
BH: I could see that. It won’t happen during the 2018 season for luxury tax reasons, but don’t be surprised if we hear that Didi and the Yankees have conversations this winter about the framework of an extension – maybe just exchanging figures, seeing what it would take, etc. He isn’t a free agent until after 2019 and we can’t predict the future… who knows how he’ll be playing then? Maybe the Yankees decide they’re better off moving Torres to shortstop and letting Didi walk. But at this moment, I think there’s a solid case to be made for keeping him in pinstripes.
For more, follow Bryan on Twitter @BryanHoch