As of 3:40, Frankie Piliere is chatting about his Top 100 Prospects list. Check that out if you can. More on the list itself in a moment, but first some Yankees related rumors coming from Piliere…
Rumblings of the Yankees talking trades
Two interesting tweets from Piliere last night. One suggested the Yankees are “exploring (the) trade market” for an outfielder, and the other mentioned Nelson Cruz as a possible target, but said there was “no word if talks even got off the ground.”
Given the wealth of outfielders on the free agent market, most of the recent Yankees chatter has centered on the team signing one last bench player. When Brian Cashman has talked about his plans for the rest of winter, he’s talked about spending money when he’s ready to spend it, and he’s talked about adding a small piece instead of a big piece. Those things suggest free agency, but the trade market could be in play if there’s a match to be made.
That said, Cruz seems to be a tough target. The Rangers could trade him and use David Murphy as an everyday outfielder, but Cruz is coming off a 33-homer season and he’s not even eligible for arbitration yet. It would take some very real talent to get him, and it’s a bit difficult to see the two sides matching up. It would require Cashman to thoroughly pick apart the minor league system — except for Jesus Montero — in one winter, and that doesn’t seem to fit his recent actions.
Top 100 prospects list
This afternoon, Piliere released his Top 100 prospects list, with Montero ranking fifth behind Stephen Strasburg and the outfield trio of Michael Stanton, Desmond Jennings and Jason Heyward. “(Montero) has a potential 40-homer bat with the offensive upside of Miguel Cabrera,” Piliere wrote.
Manny Banuelos ranked 41st — “upside of a No. 2 starter” – with Austin Romine ranked 45th — “nearly as interesting a prospect (as Montero) — and Zach McAllister ranked 76th. Former Yankees center fielder Austin Jackson ranked 25th.
I talked to Piliere a few times throughout the ranking process, and I know he had Jeremy Bleich in the Top 100 before Aroldis Chapman signed.
“Bleich’s stuff was better this year,” Piliere wrote in an email. “The velocity was up, which of course is excellent. Command doesn’t just go away, but I think there was an adjustment period to his increased velocity. I just think we’re going to see the whole thing come together this year.”