Category Archives: Signing & Trade Speculation
Trades & Rumors
When Hal Steinbrenner said the Yankees weren’t done yet, I had to admit I was a bit suspicious as to who the Yankees were interested in. Well, the suspicion has led me to holding up warning flags: the Yankees are reportedly interested in Javier Vazquez, according to the Boston Globe. Yes, the same Javier Vazquez that played for them in 2004 & 2010! The same Javier Vazquez that was less dependable than A.J Burnett (sorry A.J, still love ya though). It’s reported that the Yankees are observing his winter starts and possibly if they like what they see–I’m afraid to end that sentence. Anyway, let’s looked at the two failed Javier Vazquez experiments.
2004: 14-10, 4.91 ERA, 32 G, 198.0 IP, 195 H, 114 R, 108 ER, 33 HR, 60 BB
2010: 10-10, 5.32 ERA, 31 G, 157.1 IP, 155 H, 96 R, 93 ER, 32 HR, 65 BB
As you can see, the numbers above are simply dreadful. Why the Yankees would even consider Javier Vazquez is a mystery to me. He’s obviously a National League pitcher so even observing him is an utter waste of time. The only thing I can say to the Yankees is this–the experiment failed twice. Do you really want to try again for a third time?! Have you not learned your lesson? With expensive ticket prices and cutting the payroll, signing Javier Vazquez will most likely cause Yankees fans to revolt, knowing that the money the Yankees do have could be spent somewhere better. So if any of the other 29 teams are interested in signing Vazquez, please do before the Yankees get even more ideas! Please?!
The Yankees didn’t add anyone new today but they did lock up someone for the 2013 season–their prized outfielder. The New York Yankees and Brett Gardner both agreed to a one year contract, avoiding arbitration. According to sources, Gardner is expected to make $2.8 Million in 2013 since he was sidelined for most of the 2012 season with an elbow injury. Now that Gardner has been officially signed to the club for the ’13 season, the speculation can begin on whether or not the Yankees plan to move Gardner to CF and Granderson to LF (should Granderson be with the team for the ’13 season). I personally believe that the Yankees should move Gardner to CF since you would want your best defensive outfielder in center, but that’s up to the Yankees to decide.
In Other News:
– The Yankees have conducted a background check on FA Josh Hamilton, which speculates that the Yankees have interest in the outfielder. However, the Yankees have to understand that signing Hamilton could be risky with his injury history. Signing Hamilton could also be quite expensive unless the Yankees plan on trading Granderson to free up some cash. It’s honestly been a dream of mine to see Hamilton in pinstripes. Heck, it was a dream of mine to see Cliff Lee in pinstripes when Lee was a free agent. But that’s all what those scenarios are–dreams.
– The Yankees haven’t heard back from Kevin Youkilis as of yet since placing a one year, $12 Million contract offer on the table. Youkilis was at a charity event last night in Boston so Youkilis’s decision might not be for another couple of days. Even if Youkilis signed with the Yankees–there will always be a bit of Boston in his blood. He’s married to the sister of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady. Thought I’d share that piece of information.
Earlier today, the Yankees made clear that Brian Cashman would become open to a trade for Curtis Granderson. Curtis Granderson has an interesting case. He’s a free agent next season, he strikes out about 200+ times a year and he’s not the best defensive CF in the whole entire world. But what makes Granderson so special, so unique that it would become hard to part with him? It’s simple, the man has hit 40 HR’s and has driven in 100+ RBI’s since the Kevin Long tutorial. Now, we all know the Yankees list has gotten longer and longer, but the fact of the matter is, trading Curtis Granderson wouldn’t be the way to get the players we need. I made a poll on Twitter today asking fans if they would be interested in trading Granderson and why. Here were some of the responses I received:
@dfiregirl4 no he still has 1 year left to his contract, if he hits as many HRs as he did the past 2 seasons i’m fine with him
— Kim Lachance (@Kimtheluck) December 4, 2012
@dfiregirl4 no way he is a cornerstone of the lineup, young and a great centerfielder
— Ed(@Boomer414) December 4, 2012
@dfiregirl4 He might hit a bunch of Home Runs, but strikes out too much …
— Mike (@1amMike) December 4, 2012
@dfiregirl4 It would have to be for a no doubter, superstar type player. 40 HR’s, 100 RBI doesn’t grow on trees.
— Carlos Acosta (@venomous1913) December 4, 2012
@dfiregirl4 yes He is here only 1 more year & no way do they resign him after. 2 much and 2 many years Get a player 4 now plus prospects
— Robbins Dynasty (@RobbinsDynasty) December 4, 2012
@dfiregirl4 it would have to be a great deal. Grandy is a strikeout machine, but a good guy, good power and range. I don’t see it happening.
— Mike O’Hara (@mikeyoh21) December 4, 2012
— kb (@callsignviper86) December 4, 2012
As you can see, the favorite answer is no. Although it would make sense to trade Granderson since he is a free agent next season, like @venomous1913 said, 40 HR’s and 100 RBI players don’t grow on trees. If the Yankees were to trade Granderson, it would have to be for the right price.
In Other News
– If Alex Rodriguez were to sit out for the 2013 season, the Yankees would get insurance on the contract–but it would count against their luxury tax in 2014.
– The Yankees have to look for a catcher, right fielder, DH and a third baseman. The Yankees are adding assistant hitting coach to the list to work alongside Kevin Long. Is this a panic move I sense?
– If you’re interested, the Red Sox signed Shane Victorino to a 3 year deal meaning that Nick Swisher is no longer considered for the Red Sox RF role. A source close to Swisher did say that if the Yankees or the Angels/Dodgers didn’t want him he would love to go to the San Francisco Giants.
*I had so many responses for my Curtis Granderson twitter poll that I couldn’t use all the answers but thank you everyone for sending in your input. I appreciate your enthusiasm and your answers.
The Yankees continue to have a slow offseason while every other team around them is spending some type of money on certain players. With the Winter Meetings occurring in 2 weeks, there are bound to be Yankees rumors, but until then–
– The Yankees reportedly want to offer Hiroki Kuroda a one year deal and Japan might be the reason that Kuroda could ultimately rejoin the Yankees in 2013. See, Kuroda wants to be able to pitch in Japan before he decides to hang up his cleats and ideally the best idea for him would be for him to join a team that is offering him a one year contract. the Los Angeles Dodgers and the LA Angels are offering Hiroki Kuroda a two year deal, which might be too much on Kuroda’s arm if he still wants to be effective to pitch in the States and in Japan in the near future.
The Yankees are in dire need of a top end starter in their rotation since the rotation after CC Sabathia is a bit hazy. Andy Pettitte is still debating whether he will return in 2013 (I believe he will), Ivan Nova was horrible and Phil Hughes is coming back from a bounce back year after a horrendous 2011 season. Kuroda who is 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA in 2012 for the Yankees, just might be worth more than the $13.3 Million the Yankees offered before he turned down. If Kuroda signs with the Yankees, it will solve their rotation woes to an extent. If not, then the Yankees could look forward to add more depth to their minor leagues should a different team sign him. If the Dodgers or the Angels sign Kuroda, they lose their first round pick while the Yankees would get another draft pick between the first and the second round.
Kuroda could possibly choose the Dodgers since he has two young daughters in Elementary School in California and has expressed desire that he would like to be near them. If Kuroda does sign elsewhere, then the Yankees might want to start thinking of a backup plan because right now, it seems like they don’t have one.
Last week, ESPN reported that Joakim Soria was interested in signing with the Yankees–but not to be a closer. Instead he wanted to sign so he could set up for none other than Mariano Rivera who is returning for what many predict to be his final season in Yankee pinstripes. When it was announced Soria wanted to join the Yankees, there were some health concerns that everyone worried about, strictly the 2 Tommy John Surgeries he’s had in the last couple of years. Other than that, I believe that if the price is right the Yankees should go after Soria and make a deal.
Soria hasn’t played baseball since 2011 since he was out all year with TJ surgery in 2012, but if you look back at the five years he’s been in the Majors, his numbers aren’t bad. In 2007 at the ripe age of 23 years old he went 2-3 with a 2.48 ERA and had 17 saves in 62 saves. Keep in mind, the Royals don’t have a lot of save opportunities. Soria’s most impressive years were in 2008 and in 2010. In 2008, Soria had a 1.60 ERA with 42 saves under his belt. In 2010, he had a 1.78 ERA with 43 saves. He won an All-Star apperance, voted 10th in the Cy Young award and voted 19th in the MVP award.
Now, the reasons that the Yankees should be interested in Soria. One reason, he’s 28 years old. If the Yankees are going to sign someone, it has to be someone that is young and not in their mid to late thirties to early forties no offense any pitcher in the Yankees bullpen/rotation that’s 36 and over). Second of all, as a just in case measure if Mariano Rivera isn’t pitching like Mariano Rivera (which there is a small chance of happening), you’ll have Soria ready to pitch in the closer role, but don’t expect the Yankees to give up on Mo so easily.
There was one thing that I don’t agree with when it comes to what Soria is wanting–he wants to be in the 8th inning role, a role that is currently occupied by David Robertson. What could happen is that Soria could be used in the bullpen in the earlier innings and the 8th inning role could be Robertson’s to lose. The Yankees have an option for the bullpen, especially since Rafael Soriano flew the coop so even though the Tommy John is a slight risk, I think that Soria could work out for the team. May I emphasize one more time Cashman, that Soria is young which is something that we are looking for.
According to a report from ESPN, free agent pitcher Joakim Soria is interested in pitching for the Yankees–but not as the closer. He instead would like to be the set-up man to 42 year-old closer Mariano Rivera. Soria’s agent Oscar Suarez confirms Soria’s interest.
“If the Yankees call, we’ll be all ears.” Suarez said in an ESPN phone interview on Monday. “If there is a fit, Joakim would be elated to work with Mo. He would close everywhere except there.”
However, Soria won’t be able to pitch until May of the 2013 season while other reports say he won’t be ready until June. Rivera has always spoken highly of Soria and most likely would love to tutor the young pitcher.
“Joakim’s not a greedy individual.” Suarez added. “He wants to win so if it’s the right situation he’s probably not going to be a guy to wait until February.”
Soria at one point had the Yankees on his no-trade clause with his past contract in Kansas City but it wasn’t due to him not wanting to pitch in the Bronx. It was more strategic reasons. Soria seems optimistic about wanting to join the Yankees. Why don’t the Yankees return the favor and give him a call. You never can have too much pitching.
It’s that time again where not only the free agents prove valuable, but this is also the time to re-sign some players under arbitration. This year there are seven Yankees that could expect a raise, another contract or head to another team on a shifting payroll. MLB Trade Rumors placed the projected salaries of what they believe each player will get in 2013.
Phil Hughes (SP)
2012 Salary: $3.2 Million
Expected 2013 Salary: $5.7 Million
I have to admit that a $2 million raise is a bit significant for a pitcher that isn’t consistent but to be honest unless the Yankees pull off a blockbuster trade this off-season, Hughes will be in Yankees pinstriped in 2013.
Casey McGehee (INF)
2012 Salary: $2.5 Million
Expected 2013 Salary: $2.9 Million
Casey McGehee might end up being non-tendered since the main reason the Yankees acquired him was due to Alex Rodriguez being on the disabled list. The Yankees don’t really need McGehee, but I’m pretty sure another team does.
Brett Gardner (OF)
2012 Salary: $2.8 Million
Expected 2013 Salary: $2.8 Million
Even though Gardner not playing proved to the Yankees that he’s valuable, it looks as if Gardner’s not getting a raise. What did you expect? The guy injured his shoulder in April and didn’t swing a bat again until October. Well, at least it helps the Yankees payroll.
Boone Logan (LHP)
2012 Salary: $1.9 Million
Expected 2013 Salary: $2.8 Million
Yes, let’s just give the Yankees #1 lefty in the bullpen a raise. He certainly deserved it after last season. Also if you’re one of members of the “Get Boone Logan out of NY” fan club–it’s not happening.
David Robertson (RHP)
2012 Salary: $1.6 Million
Expected 2013 Salary: $2.7 Million
One of the best set-up men in baseball getting a raise? Sounds about right, but I would have given Robertson more money. After all, he’s one of the constants in the bullpen that all Yankees fans can count on.
Joba Chamberlain (RHP)
2012 Salary: $1.67 Million
Expected 2013 Salary: $1.8 Million
Chamberlain could get a small raise but he has been inconsistent since coming back from a freak ankle injury along with Tommy John Surgery. Maybe he has to work the kinks out this winter and we’ll see a consistent Chamberlain in 2013.
2012 Salary: Minimum
Expected 2013 Salary: $900,000
Give the kid the $900,000. Let him come back and be a reserve infielder. He did a great job in 2012 playing the field and even had some key hits in games that would end up determining the Yankees as AL East victors.
I know it’s not the ideal time to talk about the off-season while there are still games to play but with how dead this team has looked this series, I think making improvements is on everyone’s mind. We will delve deeper into these issues and examine everything after the playoffs but use this thread to talk about the future of this team.
The last time the Yankees looked this feeble was probably 2008 and it led to a massive spending spree in the offseason. Adding 3 high-end Free Agents and the last seasons of some productive veterans (Matsui, Damon, etc.). With the impending payroll restrictions that Hal & Levine are putting in place, I don’t see the Yankees spending $450 Million on Free Agents like they did. Add in the injury comebacks of Jeter & Mariano and the ARod debacle that is brewing and this is going to be a very important off-season.
I don’t think the team has the young players to do a re-build. they traded away what would be the core of their young lineup in Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero - potential leadoff and cleanup hitters for the next 6 years. What they do have ready are 2 potential hitters in Corban Joseph and David Adams. I think Adams should be given a legitimate shot at 3B next year. Joseph is obviously blocked at 2B by Cano but his bat appears ready. Do they find another position for Joseph? Along with these 2, they have a couple of OFs in Zoilo Almonte & Melky Mesa who could be useful players, but I don’t think either player is ready to make an impact or be more than a platoon player in the near future. The true future of the team is 2-3 years away. Guys like Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams,Angelo Gumbs, Ramon Flores & Gary Sanchez. Out of these 10 position players if 2 or 3 of them become players, it will give the team their new core to build around.
This current team looks old and stagnant. Their defense is average at best and most of the hitters are constantly looking to pull the ball over the fence. Hitters that use the whole field and take what the pitcher gives you is what is needed. Without much money to spend on FAs and only a couple of young players ready in 2013, should the Yanks explore trading some of their 2014 Free Agents like Granderson, Cano, Hughes, Joba & Logan? Let’s hear your ideas.
Peter Botte with the Daily News wrote about ARod’s return to 3B yesterday and how the fans gave him a rough time. I was at yesterday’s game and it’s always interesting to pick up the reaction of the fans and hear what people have to say. For instance the crowd absolutely LOVES Nick Swisher. He runs out on the field pointing and motioning to all of the fans from the 1B line to the RF bleachers like Hulk Hogan entering the ring before a match. And the fans absolutely eat it up.
ARod on the other hand got booed after his error in the 1st inning, booed after not handling a slow roller that would have been a hit anyway and there were grumblings after every out he made. The only applause he received were mock cheers when he caught a pop-up later in the game.
Here’s 2 guys with almost IDENTICAL stats but treated totally different ways. One who is loved because he comes across as a regular guy with a great personality and the other who is not really liked because of his contract status and the mistakes he made in his early career.
Look at the numbers, is there anything here that would cause the fans to think one guy is great and the other is atrocious….
.267/.350/.438/.788 14 hrs – 41 rbi
.258/.343/.464/.808 13 hrs – 52 rbi
I think a lot has to do with expectations created by contracts. As regular people we can’t fathom the amounts of money theses guys get. And as such we tend to love a guy who earns his money and is a bargain and loathe the guy who is overpaid. It isn’t that they think Swisher is clutch while ARod is not because no one has failed more in the post-season (maybe Tex) the last 3 years than Swisher.
Swish is an easy guy to like. He’s always in a good mood, smiling and outgoing. But his numbers have gone downhill a bit every year since 2010 and I don’t think he deserves a 3 or 4 yr deal worth $11-14M per year like most think he will get. I try to evaluate players on how they can help the team win and Swisher’s smile doesn’t drive in runs or throw out runners from RF. What does everyone think of the way these 2 players are treated and do you think that perhaps more players should follow Swisher’s lead? Should Swisher’s personality be considered when deciding whether to bring him back in the offseason?
Melky Cabrera has been having a tremendous season in San Francisco which was just puncuated with an MVP performance in the All-Star Game. Cashman dealt Melky along with Arodys Vizcaino & Mike Dunn to the Braves for Javy Vazquez & Boone Logan after the World Series in 2009 – a trade which most fans didn’t like at the time because of the price the Yanks paid for a pitcher who already failed in NY. Although Boone Logan has been a useful reliever that trade did not go Cashman’s way. Will he take the opportunity this winter to try to correct the deal?
We have seen Cashman’s affinity for bringing back players who didn’t work out well the first time, could Melky be one of them? Cabrera will be a Free Agent following this season in a market that is fairly thin in quality OFs. Josh Hamilton is the headliner but after him its Melky, Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Shane Victorino, BJ Upton, Carlos Quentin and veterans like Ichiro and Tori Hunter. When looking at that list, Cabrera looks pretty attractive. Hamilton is an absolute stud but will be 32 and has durability issues having played 121, 133 & 89 games the previous 3 years. Bourn is an exciting player but his value is his speed which isn’t always good for a player who will be 30 next yr. Victorino is having a terrible season and Upton has been a big underachiever in his career, so it may come down to Swisher or Melky.
We all know Swisher’s game. In his 3.5 seasons with the team he’s hit .266/.363/.485/.848 with a 122 OPS+ and is good for 23-29 HRs & 85 RBI while playing average defense in RF. He’ll be 32 yrs old and likely looking at a 3 or 4 yr deal worth around $11-12M per.
Melky was a useful player with the Yanks from 2006-2009. When he was first brought up, he supplied some much-needed good defense in the Outfield. With veterans like Bernie & Johnny Damon out there, Melky’s defense was a breath of fresh air. In his 4 yrs as a starter, he hit .270/.332/.387/.718 as a 21-24 yr old. After being traded to Atlanta, he gained weight and played so poorly, he was released. That apparently was the wake-up call he needed. He dedicated himself to getting into great shape for the first time in his career and it paid off. Since the start of 2011, Melky has more hits than any player in MLB with 320 for a .322 average which is 5th in MLB. He’s also been driving the ball more for an impressive .322/.357/.486/.843 line. He’s been even more dominating this season with a .353/.391/.519/.910 line in SF which is a pitcher’s park. He’s 10th in MLB with a 158 OPS+. For comparison’s sake, Josh Hamilton’s OPS+ is 161 and Robinson Cano‘s is 151 – so it’s clear Melky is having an elite season.
So should the Yanks look to bring him back? He turns 28 next season so he’s 4 years younger than Swisher which means he’ll get a longer and more lucrative deal. With the budget crunch and Cano & Granderson’s Free agency coming in 2014, any commitments the team makes this off-season will have major impact on what they can or cannot afford the following yr. If they go big on a FA OF like Cabrera this Winter, it would make it nearly impossible to bring Cano & Granderson back. But if the Yanks sign Melky and he’s as good as he’s been the last 2 years they could afford to let Grandy go in 2014 and go with an OF of Brett Gardner in CF, Melky & a cheap 3rd guy from within the system. Someone from the Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte group should be ready to contribute by then to pair with a veteran caddy/platoon partner (think an Andruw Jones-type player) as the 3rd OF. Read the rest of this entry
Since the signing of the new Collective bargaining Agreement, Yankee fans have been inundated with articles and talk about the team’s desire to get under the Luxury Tax threshold in 2014. Hal Steinbrenner & Brian Cashman have stated they have every intention to get under $189 Million in 2014 and that they can still field a Championship team. However to do so, the team won’t have the ability to re-sign all of their players when they become Free Agents and tough decisions will have to be made.
Those decisions will start after this season as Russell Martin and Nick Swisher hit Free Agency and will really get tough after the 2013 season. That is when Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain & Boone Logan will be looking for new contracts. With so many players reaching FA and so many different variables to consider it’s impossible to know what decisions will have to be made. However for the purpose of this article, let’s look at the 2 most important players – Cano & Granderson.
It’s certainly possible that both players can be retained if some of the young pitchers reach their potential and the Yanks refrain from any other high-priced signings. However, it could conceivably come down to a decision after 2013 of which important lefty masher they need most. If that’s the dilemma, who would you retain to be the leader of your offense going forward?
Cano, will be entering his age 31 season in 2014 and should be looking at plenty of still productive seasons remaining. By almost any metric used, Cano has clearly emerged as one of the Top 5 hitters in the American League over the last 3 years. Since 2009, he has hit .314/.361/.529 and averaged 27 HRs - 104 RBI – 103 Runs for a .378 woba. Despite an unflattering UZR, he is an excellent defensive 2B. His range is solid and his arm strength and ability to turn the double play are as good as anyone in MLB.
He is one of the most durable players in baseball having played more games over the last 5 years than anyone in MLB. The fact that he is finally moving into a premium slot in the order will boost his production since he’ll have more PAs, more opportunities to drive in runs and better protection with ARod & Tex hitting behind him as oppossed to Jorge Posada or Nick Swisher. Not to disparage those hitters but pitchers were not giving into Cano with Posada on deck.
The only weakness in Cano’s game is his plate discipline. He swings at too many pitches out of the strike zone and doesn’t like to take the base on balls. I like the fact that Cano is aggressive and goes up to the plate looking to get a hit rather than walk. The Yanks have enough patient hitters and need someone to go up their to drive the ball, however, Robbie needs to just lay off the pitch he can’t handle to raise his game up another notch. Read the rest of this entry
When the Yankees opened up spring training, it was revealed that they were in talks with Russell Martin about a possible three-year extension. Talks ultimately went nowhere, and Martin and the Yanks decided to hold off on negotiations until after this season. But as we New Yorkers do, I already had my thoughts on the topic, and I am one of the people who strongly support Martin to stay in the Bronx for a few more seasons.
Before I dish out my opinions, I have to admit it’s very weird discussing a Russell Martin extension. The injury-plagued Dodger was coming in last season just to bridge the gap between Jorge Posada hanging up the tools of ignorance, and Jesus Montero donning them for the first time.
On the contrary, Martin had a great year in 2011, hitting 18 home runs and driving in 65 RBI. However, his production at the plate wasn’t the great part, it’s what he did behind it. He managed a very shaky and thin pitching staff to the 4th-best ERA in the A.L., and we simply saw that he is a terrific catcher who knows how to call a game, which is what I want the most out of a catcher.
Martin also showed devotion and determination to staying healthy, and we’ve heard many times of his MMA-style workouts he does in the winter. He’s in great shape and to me no longer a real injury risk. He loves playing for the Yankees, and wouldn’t want to lose his job or leave the team any time soon.
Now I know what you’re thinking – “what about the overload of catchers in the farm system?” Honestly, people don’t realize how none of them are even close to ready to becoming the starting catcher. All of them are incredibly young, and Austin Romine, the most realistic internal replacement, is just starting his first full year in Scranton. Anyone who wants him or one of the rookies to take over next year are out of their minds.
Also, the free agent class that looks so good now, will probably be very scarce with catchers once the Yanks make a decision on Martin. Guys like Brian McCann, Mike Napoli, and Miguel Montero are all scheduled to be FAs if they can’t get extensions done with their respective teams. However, they almost all certainly will. McCann is no doubt staying in Atlanta, Napoli will either stay in Texas or be pursued by a West Coast team, and Montero is the corner-piece of that young Diamondbacks team. Any dreams of them wearing pinstripes really should end now. It’s a great thought, but the chances of the Yanks looking at big-name, big-money catchers to come in for a year or two isn’t good.
So that really does leave us with Russell Martin. As I said, he wants to stay a Yankee, and the Yankees clearly want him to stay too. He is a great catcher with pop, defense, and an incredibly high understanding of the game and how to be a good catcher. Trust me, I’m all for Austin Romine or Gary Sanchez, but when their time comes. And sorry to say, it won’t, and shouldn’t be, in 2012, 2013, or 2014. Martin should get a three-year extension, and should live up to the contract, as he’s hard working, talented, and overall just an outstanding Major League catcher.
It’s been written recently that Brian Cashman has been attempting to get Russell Martin signed to a 2-year extension on top of the $7.5M owed him this year. The total deal would run though the 2014 season and was said to be for 3 years and $20 Million. That contract looks very reasonable after seeing the monster 5 yr – $70-75M deal Yadier Molina is looking at.
However, with Francisco Cervelli & Austin Romine on the team, I think the Yanks can afford to “wait and see” how Martin produces this year and worse case scenario offer him the roughly$12.5M arbitration offer required for 1st round compensation under the new CBA.
The guy they need to be talking extension with NOW is Robinson Cano. Cano is without a doubt the team’s best player. In this period of decreasing offense around MLB, he is a valuable commodity – a perennial .300+ hitter with 25+ HR & 40+ Doubles power who plays Gold Glove caliber defense at a premium up-the-middle position. He’ll finally assume the #3-spot in the lineup he should have been at 2 years ago and I expect his production will only increase hitting 3rd all yr between Granderson & ARod.
Cano is 29 years old and due to some foresight by Cashman is still signed for this yr and next under the extension he signed in February 2008. Without that extension Cano would have been a Free Agent after 2011 but is instead locked up under team options at the affordable prices of $14M this yr and $15M next.
You may be saying, why look to extend Cano now when he has 2 affordable yrs left? The answer is length of contract. With 2 more years of premium production, Robinson will be entering Free Agency in 2014 heading into his 31-yr old season. Based on similar deals given out in recent years, a hitter like Cano who has the advantage of being extremely durable and playing 2B will be looking at a minimum of $20M per year over 7-8 years.
As indispensable as Cano is, do the Yanks really want to lock up another player to a huge contract into his late 30′s? The way team’s are spending money these days, and with Boras as his agent, the Yanks won’t be getting any hometown discounts so we’ll be looking at paying another player $20m+ when he’s 37 & 38 yrs old. As we have seen with Giambi & Posada and now with Jeter & ARod, these albatross contracts can be very inhibiting. So to avoid paying Cano $20M+ til he’s 38, Cashman should strike now. Rip up his remaining deal and offer the same 7-8 year deal now for around $20M and you essentially shave the last 2 years off the deal and have Cano only up to his 35 or 36-yr old season.
With Cano’s durability (5 straight years of 159+ games) and consistency, the risk of signing him now as opposed to 2 yrs from now is small. The only added cost would be paying him $20M this yr and next, so a net cost of $11M more. That is a small price to pay to lock Cano up now through his age 35 season and not have to pay him to 37 or 38. By waiting til 2014, they would also risk having to pay him much more than $20M per season if he raises his production the next 2 year like I think he will hitting in the 3-hole for the first time.
Cano is clearly the class of the Yankees now and with Montero being traded, he is the team’s only pure hitter in his prime capable of hitting .300 with power over the next few years. Cashman made a great move in 2008 by signing Cano to an extension that has saved the team millions. He needs to do the same now or risk being held hostage by Boras in 2014 and repeating the cycle of paying $20M+ to players into their late 30s. What does everyone think?
I have made it clear since the departure of Jesus Montero that the Yankees need to add a legitimate hitter, advocating for Chase Headley, Seth Smith, Clint Robinson, Billy Butler & Daniel Murphy among others. However, since Cashman seems intent on signing an over-the-hill DH from the Free Agent trash heap that still remains, I have a recommendation for him. Give Manny Ramirez a look.
This article from MLB.com explains Manny’s situation as it seems Oakland is zeroing in on him:
Baseball sources confirmed to MLB.com that A’s officials recently traveled to Florida to observe Ramirez’s workouts. If the two sides reach an agreement, Ramirez would earn slightly more than the league minimum of $480,000, according to the Associated Press.
We already know all of the reasons not to sign Manny, but under the circumstances, almost all risk is mitigated. He will make absolutely nothing – available for the league minimum. And although he will face a 50 game suspension, he is permitted to play in Spring Training games and Extended Spring Training Games. So the team that signs him will get a long look at him to evaluate what he has left in the tank. If it’s nothing, he can be dropped at anytime for no cost since I don’t believe he can even collect his salary while suspended. Billy Beane may be making a wise move even though he already has plenty of options at OF and DH. Manny will be eligible around June and if he shows promise, Beane will trade him to a contender.
AJ Burnett trade rumors are in no short supply. We’ve heard Pittsburgh and Seattle as possible scenarios but Dan Martin of the NY Post brought up the Kansas City Royals today. Martin says ”the Pirates and Royals among the teams most actively looking into acquiring Burnett.”
To me the Royals are an intriguing possible trade partner because they have what the Yankees are looking for in return – hitters, more to the point young hitters. We know the Yanks sought lefty DH/OF Garrett Jones from Pittsburgh and were supposedly re-buffed, so who would make sense to get back in return from KC?
I wrote about the perfect fit Billy Butler would be a couple of weeks ago, but he would require much more than AJ (think Betances and more) and there is no way KC would part with their young lefty hitters, 1B Eric Hosmer or OF Alex Gordon. However, the Royals have a player in AAA ready for the big leagues but is blocked by the aforementioned Butler, Hosmer & Gordon – his name is Clint Robinson.
Robinson, 26, is a 6’5″ 235 pound lefty hitting 1B/DH who has nothing more to prove in the minor leagues. In 2010, he won the AA Triple Crown with a .335-29-98 line that included a .410 OBP & .625 SLG. Promoted to AAA in 2011, he kept hitting, posting a .326-23-100 line with a .399/.533/.932 OPS. He was drafted in the 25th round in 2007 and is not considered a big time prospect because of his draft position, relatively modest stats in A ball and lack of defensive skills. But through hard work and back to back monster years, he’s ready for prime time. I should temper the expectations a little with the disclaimer that the numbers put up in 2011 were in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. However, the guy can obviously hit.
In recent days , there have been three general stories coming from Yankee camp – all involving the excess starting pitching and lack of a DH. First, we have heard that the team needs to move some salary in order to spend on a hitter since they currently only have $1 or 2 million at most. Second, the Yanks prefer to trade AJ Burnett, but the prevailing thought around the league is the team would need to eat roughly 2/3 of the remaining $33M on his deal. And the third piece of news – straight from Cashman – is that they prefer to add a hitter via trade and that the FA market is “secondary”.
Well the first thing I’d try to do is dump AJ on someone and pocket the $10-$13M saved over the next 2 years – money which can be used to look for a bat.Since the opening the team has is at DH, they can pursue a bat at any position. But looking beyond this season the potential positions that could be available are RF and 3B. Nick Swisher is a Free Agent following the season and will likely command a 3 to 4 year commitment. Alex Rodriguez is signed for 6 more years, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the team to start looking at 3B options so ARod can begin to make his inevitable transition to the DH spot.
The type of hitter I’d like to see them acquire is someone who hits for solid average with some pop and is under team control for at least 2 years. With that in mind, Cashman needs to make phone calls on the following players:
Chase Headley – San Diego – 3B/OF
Headley is a 27-year-old, switch-hitting 3Bwhose numbers have been adversely effected playing half his games in pitcher’s paradise Petco Park. He hit .289/.374/.399/.773 overall but was a blistering .330/.399/.465/.864 away from Petco in 2011 and for his career is a totally different player on the road with a .303/.364/.441/.805 line. This guy clearly needs a change of scenery and is much more valuable to SD as a trade chip. Headley is in his prime and adds some speed (44 for 53 in SBs last 3 yrs) and defensive versatility. He could play 3B, LF & RF allowing ARod & Swisher to DH a lot – then next yr, he could play RF, 3B or play the same 3B/Corner OF utility role. He’ll make $3.5M this yr and has 2 more Arbitration years so he has 3 more years of team control. Phil Hughes would likely interest SD although they may prefer a prospect package in return.
Daniel Murphy – Mets – 3B/2B/OF/1B
Murphy is another versatile player who could fill in at multiple positions including the all important 3B to DH ARod often. He’ll turn 27 in April and is coming off knee surgery that cut short his red-hot 2011 season. He hit .320/.362/.448/.809 and doesn’t reach arbitration until next season so is still dirt cheap. He is an aggressive hitter who hits for average and puts the ball in play striking out only 9.9% in 2011. The question then is why would the Mets deal him? Well he’s now had 2 season ending injuries in the last 3 yrs so his name was on the market this winter. The Mets have Wright at 3B and can use Justin Turner at 2B but could use pitching. The Yanks could offer a nice package of prospects or offer Hughes who could close or start for them.
Billy Butler – Kansas City – DH/1B
Butler is a 26-year-old righty who hits for average and extra base hit power. He has a career .297/.360./458/.817 slash in his 4.5 yrs career. He’s hit at least .290 with 15 HRs and 44 Doubles every yr in the last 3 so he’s been very consistent. He doesn’t strike out a lot and should continue to improve as he enters his prime. KC has him signed thru 2014 at $8M per season. They have a lot of promising hitters that have emerged and have another big bat on the verge in Will Myers. Butler could be used as a means to update their pitching and a package centered around Hughes or Betances would be enticing.
Logan Morrison – Miami – OF/1B
Morrison became known for some of his brash comments on twitter last season and people are wondering how his personality will clash with new manager Ozzie Guillen. The big lefty hitter has a patient approach and can hit for average and power. He’s a career .259/.351/.460/.811 hitter in his brief 812 MLB PAs. He’s only 24 and has a bright future and Miami really has no reason to trade him right now. However, Miami is said to be highly interested in Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes to energize the large Cuban population in Miami. That could make Morrison expendable but he wouldn’t come cheap since he’s not even Arbitration eligible until 2014. Betances would have to lead a package for LoMo.
Shin-Soo Choo – Cleveland – RF
Choo was one of MLB’s rising stars after hitting .300+ with an .880+ OPS for 3 straight yrs from 2008-2010. However, he had some off the field issues in 2011 including a DUI which contributed to a disappointing and injury plagued season. Healthy and motivated now, the 29 yr old lefty is ready for a comeback season. He’s a great all-around RF capable of hitting .300 with a .400 OBP and 20+ HRs. He’ll make $4.9M this year and has one more arbitration year before hitting FA in 2014. Cleveland may be down on him after last season’s struggles and only 2 years of team control left. I doubt Cleveland would look to trade hm until mid-season at earliest so he could re-establish himself, however with Detroit’s recent power move, perhaps Cleveland is already looking to the future.
Paul Konerko – Chicago White Sox – 1B/DH
Konerko does not fit with the other names on this list since he’s a veteran who will be 36 before the season starts. However, the White Sox have little chance of contending this year and could get a nice package of players to re-build with for Konerko. Over the last 2 years , Konerko has hit .306/.391/.551 for a .942 OPS and averaged 35 HRs & 108 RBI. His bat would look very nice hitting in the cleanup spot. Konerko has 2 yrs and $25.5M on his contract but is worth the money as he still hits at an elite level. To fit his $12.5M salary, some salary would have to go back to Chicago along with prospects but it could be done as long as Burnett is moved in a separate deal.
Domonic Brown – Philadelphia – OF
The Phillies don’t have much that they need and Brown is one of their top prospects. However, they brought in OF Laynce Nix and GM Ruben Amaro said “He has some things to work on….and if I had my druthers, I would keep him at Triple-A and have him get 500-600 ABs.” I’m sure that’s not what the big 24-yr old Lefty hitter wanted to hear after starting 56 games in Philly last yr. The Phils have a strong OF with Pence, Victorino, John Mayberry and Nix so maybe it’s possible they’d entertain a Brown for Betances + trade. Brown would be the heir apparent to take over RF in 2013 and could be broken in slowly. The Yanks don’t have a big time OF in the upper levels of their system and a player like Brown would be just what they need.