What would help this team at trading deadline?

What will Cashman look to add?

Baseball officials often say they like to break the season down into one- thirds. The first third is to evaluate your team’s strengths and weaknesses. The middle third is to look for solutions to your problems and to make changes – and the final third is to make a push with the new/improved team you’ve assembled. The Yankees are in that middle phase now and have gone through a lot in the season so far. They struggled for the first 42 games and had a .500 record on May 21st. They then went on an amazing 20-4 run that just ended with back to back losses to Atlanta. Now that we’ve seen their worst and their best baseball, I think it’s a good time to evaluate what this team needs to make a push for their 28th Championship.

Bullpen

The pen has been their strong point all season. Even after surviving the loss of 2 All-Stars in Mariano Rivera and David Robertson they still have kept it together. They are 3rd in MLB in bullpen ERA with a 2.73 mark and have blown a league-low 4 saves in 24 opportunities. With Rafael Soriano looking comfortable in the Closer’s role and Robertson returning healthy, the Yankee bullpen is set. Boone Logan & Clay Rapada have been absolutely excellent vs LH hitters and Cody Eppley and Cory Wade are serviceable in their roles. There may even be a chance that Joba and/or David Aardsma come back at some point this year so there is no need for them to look outside of the organization for relief help.

Rotation

The starters have been pitching tremendously in June and on the season they are 5th in the A.L. with a 4.14 ERA. The one disturbing trend is that they lead all of baseball in HRs allowed with 65 and are 27th overall in opposing hitters OPS at .780.  However, all the starters are pitching better as of late and right now the top 3 of C.C., Andy Pettitte & Ivan Nova look pretty strong.  Kuroda is solid as a #4 and Hughes is OK as the #5 man. So the question is, can anyone out there help them?

The names we here that are available are Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster and Wandy Rodriguez.  In my opinion, none of these guys are enough of an upgrade on any of our top 3 or 4 starters so it’s not worth giving up good young players to acquire them.  If Philadelphia decides to become a seller and makes Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee available, the Yanks would have to think long and hard.  For years, we’ve been searching for a viable #2 starter and right now, Pettitte is the de facto #2.  However, I still think Cashman would have to jump at the chance if a true #2 became available knowing how valuable those starters are in the post-season.

Lineup

This is the one area where I think the Yanks could be looking to upgrade. The Yankees have been 1st or 2nd in Runs scored in MLB every one of the last 8 years except for 2008 when they were 10th and didn’t make the playoffs – the only time since 1993.  The team has always had a great offense but this year they are 6th in MLB in Runs scored and have shown that they have a lot of trouble scoring without the HR. Thankfully they still lead MLB with 105 HRs but their season-long struggles hitting with Runners in Scoring position has not gotten any better. They are still 28th in MLB hitting an anemic .218 with RISP.

So where can this lineup improve? Well, the obvious positions are LF, DH & C.  Russell Martin is valued for his defense and there doesn’t seem to be a significant upgrade available anywhere that it would be worth replacing him. But LF & DH are big areas of concern right now. After his solid April, Raul Ibanez has been in a slump lately. In his last 22 games, he’s hitting just .178/.218/.288. He’s always been a streaky hitter in his career but it appears he may be getting a bit worn down having to play LF so much at the age of 40.

Andruw Jones has been downright horrid this year. Overall he’s hitting .206/.310/.412/.722 . He’s on the team to mash LHP and this year he’s hit .185/.250/.338/.588  off them.  Brett Gardner is supposed to be making yet another attempt at a comeback in the coming weeks around the All-Star Break but at this point I’m skeptical. It appears the Yanks will wait til they know what they have in Gardner before they make a move and right now that appears to be the correct move. I wouldn’t mind seeing them give AAA OF/3B Ronnie Mustelier a look in LF. Between AA & AAA, he’s hitting .330/.382/.529/.911 with 11 HRs, 45 RBI and 8 SBs.  They need to know if they have an answer internally with Gardner or Mustelier before the trade deadline.

Right now there aren’t a lot of teams out of contention but some of the names that may be available are Alfonso SorianoDavid DeJesusJosh Willingham, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Lee, Carlos Quentin, etc.  Guys like Carlos Gonzalez and Chase Headley may become available and if they do, they should definitely be of interest to the Yanks. Not only would they be huge help this year, they could allow the Yanks to let Swisher walk at the end of the year rather than have to give him an expensive 3-4 year deal. CarGo is the sexy name as he’s a young star OF signed to a reasonable long-term deal. He’s also crushing the ball with RISP with a .364 BA and 1.235 OPS. For all of those reasons, he would require a king’s ransom and likely cost major pieces from the current team so he’s a massive longshot. Someone like Headley would be more reasonable. He seems like a young veteran in the Paul O’Neill/Tino/Brosius mold that would improve changing teams.  For his career he’s struggled in PetCo park with a .666 OPS but it’s .810 on the road. This year his OPS is .856 away from batter’s Hell Petco Park. Not only would Headley’s numbers see a bump in YS, he’s also a switch-hitting 3B and LF that couldbe an answer at 3B or OF next year and beyond.

So what do YOU think the Yanks need – pitching, hitting, or should they stand pat?

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About fishjam25

Was a 4-yr Pitcher and Communications Major at Seton Hall University in the 90s. His knowledge & opinion of the game comes from his background as a player and ardent lifetime Yankee fan. However, Fishjam also incorporates sabermetrics and statistical support to form a well-rounded view of the game.

Posted on June 21, 2012, in Personal Opinion, Player Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 45 Comments.

  1. Fish-if we could get this guy …..

  2. I’d go with hitting. I’m with you though bring Mustelier up and let’s see what he can do.

  3. Matt S. – Jeter has been up to bat over 11,000 times , how many times has the count been 3-0 and he swung and hit it into play? Take a guess!

  4. Mason Williams lead the game off today with his 5th homerun.

  5. Tyler Aunstin is the only Yankee rep for the Futures game for All Star Week. Check out the article below.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120620&content_id=33633070&vkey=news_nyy&c_id=nyy

  6. here are some quotes today from MLBTR:

    Melky Cabrera broke out as an All-Star caliber player after the Yankees traded him, but hitting coach Kevin Long told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the switch-hitting outfielder has always had star potential. “If Melky committed himself to the Yankees as he does now, he would still be a Yankee,” Long said.

    Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Sherman he considers Eduardo Nunez a shortstop. Nunez, who has been sidelined since May with a thumb injury, “does not profile as an outfield guy,” Cashman said.

    • The comment from Long makes me sick. Especially since Jeter had to get club permission to go and find his stroke again with someone else last season when he was down with an injury. All I see Long doing is encouraging the big uppercut swings that aim for the fences. Perhaps if Long showed the same comittment he speaks of to HIS job then maybe Texeira wouldn’t be down 50 points off his pre Yankee lifetime batting average.
      This practice of rationalizing every bad trade with “he wouldn’t do that here” or this BS Long shot off makes me sick. Our coaching staff from top to bottom has left MUCH to be desired the last 2 1/2 seasons. At some point, you have to take responsibility for your own actions, trades, and moves. Anyone who doesn’t do that is a little boy and not a man. Grow up Long.
      I wish Nunez could play on this team. I’d like his bat and speed in the lineup but I respect Cashman and Girardi not thinking he fits as an outfielder.

  7. I’d be trading for Jim Thome RIGHT NOW. He’s only making $1.25MM this year and he’s hitting right handers to the tune of a .393 wOBa. Add that in with the fact that Andruw will probably turn it around against lefties since it’s such a small sample size and you have the makings of a cheap great platoon. Do it!

  8. Pitching,pitching,pitching,pitching,pitching,pitching.

  9. A team that has a $200m payroll should have 2 aces. Which would get them through the postseason. Like Arizona had in 2001 with Johnson and Schilling. Or the Yankees dynasty with Cone, Wells, Andy…. We’ve got CC but the others are ??? marks.

    • Agreed. Are you confident when Hughes or Kuroda start? I am not.

      The future looked bright with the Killer B’s down the line. But not so much anymore. I did like the little bit I saw of Phelps and Mitchell this year. But to your point non are considered an ace.

  10. I am pretty damn confident when Hiroki starts. He has been under appreciated this year and has done a nice job. He is a fine #3. They can win with this rotation. CC and Addy already proved they can win a ring as the top 2 pitchers. Kuroda and Nova are a good 3/4 and Hughes is fine for a 5. They need an OF/DH desperately though to get them over the top.

  11. TWASP takes Garza. You can never have too much pitching. He’s only 28, 1.2 WHIP, 3.8 ERA and pitched well in the tough AL East. Won-loss is not a good way to judge pitchers. My favorite metric to judge pitchers is Quality Starts.

  12. Couldn’t CashMan do better than a 40 year old DH that was coming off of a season where his sOPS+ was only 100!!!!! (Ken – that means his L-R OPS splits were just league average).

    • No, he couldn’t, because he traded and spent money foolishly.

      • Agree Michael P. cashMan is a buffoon.

        • I posted the math on the other thread. My problem is that trading AJ saved us 7.5 million this year. Resigning Garcia to a 4 million dollar deal, Kuroda to 10 million, and Ibanez to 1 million was an expenditure of 15 million.
          Now, you can say “AJ wouldn’t have done that here” until you’re blue in the face but it’s just not reality to think he wouldn’t have done as well, better, or even if you want to say for the sake of argument slighlty worse than Kuroda. Even if you want to believe he’d have done slightly worse, do you really think that a real DH wouldn’t have washed that out and then some? How about as the season wears on and Ibanez old bones wear down some more?
          In the “new era” where we can’t just buy everyone we want with money as no object, you have to relate these moves TOGETHER because they are INTERTWINED. In the old days we didn’t have to view deals in terms of their synergy!!!
          Cashman knew what his budget was, and on top of the idiotic Montero trade he chose Kuroda, Freddy, and Ibanez over AJ and whatever 7.5-10 million could have bought(Jones didn’t need to be resigned either quite frankly).

          Cashman had a tragic offseason.

          • When has CashMan had a good offseason? Remember the 2009-2010 offseason? When he brought in such heroes as Randy Lose, Marcus “Tums”, Chan Ho Pooh, Javy “Gopherball”Vazquez and Nicky “Bag of Donuts” Johnson?

            • In 2009 in deals that were related, Cashman traded Mike Dunn, Arodys Vizcaino, Melky Cabrera, Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, and Ian Kennedy for Javier part 2 and Granderson. Then he brought in Nick “Mr. Glass” Johnson, Marcus Thames, Randy Winn, and Chan Ho Park.

              Cash had a good year last year with the Colon, Garcia, Martin, Jones signings and did well to pick up Wade also.

              I’m not denying Cashman had a very good 2010 offseason even though he was opposed to Soriano and I think we’re lucky to have him.

    • twasp are you and Michael P going to start with the Cashman is the reason for all the ills the Yankees have?
      To make a trade or sign a player it takes both sides to agree…most of the time one hears of a player signing somewhere elsa and thinks the player wanted to play for the other team…when in reality, the two parties couldn’t reach a middle ground.
      Dealing with GM’s on a trade use to be easy, just give them whatever they wanted! Well, Cashman has said no way, not anymore…he will deal fairly or not at all.
      Well, you guys have your opinion I have mine…don’t think I’ll ever change your minds! :)

      • No, I’ve seen the error of my ways old yankee. None of the players Cashman traded ever would have been any good in any season here, regardless of how well they play anywhere else.

        • There you go Michael P, you were brought up the right way…never doubt your elders! Damn, I like that one, about time you saw it may way! hahahahahahahahaha! Happy days! :)

  13. Oldyankee13′s favorite statistic: # of MVPs won.
    Babe Ruth – 1
    Arod – 3

    • twasp…
      Kidding aside, When one reads The Babe, Gehrig and A-Rods stats one can see why they are the best of the best, Babe and Lou are still in a class of their own. But reading about Mickey, A-Rod, Willie and Joe “D” shows one just how good these guys are or were. Just to pick a few of the great players that really are HoF players, not some of the guys they have been putting in because he was a nice guy or has 15 WS rings but only held his job because the team needed a good glove or bat but only got one of the two. No Player that has spent most of his career as a DH should ever be put in the HoF.

  14. Kuroda has pitched well this season …. I’m not sure how well his stuff will work in the post-season when the hitting is up a notch and power pitchers fare better. And I love Andy but how many times can we ask him to go to the well. He’s 3 years older than the last ring.

  15. Ken – the 3 Yankees that led the league in ops+ post 1970?
    Arod, Mattingly and ? Hint: he was supposed to be the next Mickey Mantle.

  16. TWASP CashMan report card:

    2009 offseason – F

    2010 offseason – B

    2011 offseason – F

  17. Another master use of the bullpen by Girardi, I love how they all come out of different windows.

    • I wouldn’t have brought Eppley in to pitch to LH Valbuena in the 7th when Logan was ready but it worked because when Logan did come in he K’d both hitters he faced with the tying run on 3rd. But I agree with you Doug and I’ve been saying it for quite some time – the major strength of the Cashman/Girardi leadership is building and managing a bullpen.

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