Phew, I had a long week at Yankee Stadium as I often do when the Yankees are playing against non big-ticket teams. I saw some good, some bad, and had some death wishes. Here’s my observations on this week:
- Jorge Posada being back in the lineup is great, and really strengthens the bottom of the order. With Robinson Cano still not knowing how to hit and Melky Cabrea being insanely streaky he adds some needed patience and makes it much harder to pitch around Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui. He isn’t as good defensively as Jose Molina and he is certainly not going to be as productive as he was last year but he’s much, much less of a hole in the lineup than Molina or Chad Moeller.
- Andy Pettitte has had several godawful starts in a row and it is seriously breaking my heart. I don’t know if it’s an elbow problem or age or what, but he is placing pitches really badly and paying for it. I don’t know if he’s fixable, if he doesn’t come around and be at least average I am going to be devastated. I expect he’ll retire after this season.
- Something is wrong with Chien-Ming Wang, according to Pitch F/x he is getting the normal sink on his sinker but he is placing it so badly. There were some rumblings that it was an armslot problem because of his slider, but I don’t know if I buy it. That has happened before and was fixed much more easily. Sliders can really kill an arm and I really hope it’s not killing his.
Here are some ridiculous trade ideas Joel Sherman came up with today. Lucky for the world, he not only wrote an article about this but he wrote a blog post too. His entire spiel is centered around acquiring guys who hit lefty pitching, and lefty pitching. The idea that the Yankees need these things isn’t too ridiculous, but who he suggests and what he suggests giving up for them is pretty insane.
The Yanks have undervalued the species, hoping to get lucky with someone rather than prioritizing it. Frankly, with a win-now, $200 million payroll, I would rather have Pittsburgh’s Damaso Marte or Baltimore’s George Sherrill than Kennedy. Not because I don’t value Kennedy. But back-of-the-rotation righties can be found (heck, the Yanks took Rasner off their 40-man roster n the winter). But lefty relievers with a successful track record are rare. Not having one has made the Yanks ulnerable to, say, David Ortiz for years.
- Damaso Marte is oldish and not worth trading a starting pitching prospect of any value for.
- Why would the Orioles trade the Sherrill to the Yankees???
- Kennedy has the potential to be far better than Rasner who has been getting very lucky, let’s not go too crazy there and put them on the same level yet, OK Joel?
He also has some awesome suggestions for “guys who hit lefties”:
The Yanks have a stockpile of righty relievers from Double-A to the majors. They should decide two or three such as Mark Melancon and are untouchable, then say pick two from the rest. Maybe something like Jose Veras and J.B. Cox gets this done.
Who does he want to trade these great pitching prospects for? Ty Wiggington. I do not want Ty Wiggington anywhere near this team, nor does anyone who has ever seen him play and wants to see the Yankees do well. Also J.B. Cox has been tearing it up and has a chance to join the team this year, why would they trade him?
If the Rockies go into full dump ode, yes will be on star outfielder Matt Holliday. But if I were the Yanks, I would hone in on Garrett Atkins as long as the belief was that he could play first. He is about to get very expensive and, in Ian Stewart, Colorado has a high-end prospect ready to replace Atkins at third now. Atkins destroys lefty pitching and is not a free agent until after 2010.
Colorado needs a longterm answer in center, and the Yanks should not e afraid to deal Melky Cabrera as a key element to a major deal (does Cabrera, Kennedy and Melancon get this done?). Three scouts who cover the Yankees’ system say Triple-A center fielder Brett Gardener can play in the majors now, and his speed would be an element sadly lacking on the current squad.
Why, why why why would the Yankees trade Mark Melancon, who they value very much for Garrett Atkins “because he can play first” and “destroys lefty pitching”? With the way Jason Giambi is hitting right now, why do you want to take him out of the lineup? Why would you want to trade some valuable pieces of your team and future team for a part time player? Yes Giambi is likely gone after this season but this move makes no sense and is overpaying for Atkins.
Sherman is also obsessed with getting Huston Street to pitch the 9th inning, this would not be so ridiculous if it didn’t involve having to trade with Billy Beane who does not overvalue relief pitching but also is not going to let him go easily because he never does. Remember this is the man who traded an over the hill Randy Velarde for Aaron Harang and other stuff. That’s right, Harang wasn’t enough for Randy Velarde.
He goes more into the Street thing in his blog entry where he says:
Yanks trade Horne and Ohlendorf to the Pirates for Damaso Marte. This is two good young arms with 12 years of service time between them for a lefty reliever. But this is how much I value having a lefty reliever who can really do the job, who actually gives you a shot against the David Ortiz set. In 2008, 35 lefties have taken at-bats against Marte without an extra-base hit. He gave up six hits in 64 at-bats to lefties last year. He hasn’t given up a homer to a lefty since July 18, 2006. Since the beginning of the 2006 season, Marte has held lefties to a .179 average with two homers in 190 at-bats. He has a $6 million option for next sesaon, so the Yanks can control him through the 2009 season.
Things wrong with this:
- Alan Horne is a very good prospect who could come up and help the Yankees in the rotation this year. He pitched four innings coming off an injury tonight and had rather good night though he is still having some control issues.
- Damaso Marte is oldish.
- David Ortiz is one guy and the Yankees shouldn’t make trades just to get around him.
Yanks trade Melky Cabrera, Ian Kennedy and Austin Romine for Huston Street. Again this is a lot of young talent for a reliever. But Street is just 24.
Billy Beane wishes that Joel Sherman were the Yankees GM. Beyond the idea of trading Cabrera and Kennedy alone for a relief pitcher, Austin Romine is a very good catching prospect. Do you know how hard it is to find those? A lot harder than it is to find a reliever to pitch one inning in a game reliably.
Yanks trade Hideki Matsui, Jose Tabata and Alberto Gonzalez to the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez and Randy Winn. Again, I cannot emphasize how badly I believe the Yanks need lefty pitching.
This is just such a stupid trade I don’t even know what to say. Why would the Yankees want to trade Matsui, who is a very reliable hitter and seems to have come back from his struggles last year? Why would they want to trade Matsui and a very highly regarded OF prospect for a lefty pitcher with control problems and Randy Winn. The Yankees can find mediocre lefty pitching for a much smaller pricetag.
Yanks trade Edwar Ramirez and J.B. Cox to the Astros for Ty Wigginton. I do not believe the Astros are real contenders. But under delusional owner Drayton McLane, Houston never gives up on a season. The Astros cannot even fake contention this season unless they deepen their pitching staff. The Yanks should essentially take two or three of the relievers they like best off the table and tell Houston take any other two for Wigginton. Maybe the Astros will value experience and do the Yanks a favor by taking Hawkins or Farnsworth. Houston’s strength is its offense. They could use Mark Loretta and Geoff Blum as a righty-lefty platoon in place of Wigginton. Wigginton has a history playing first base — also third, second, and both outfield corners. Just as vital, he hits lefties very well without being an easy out against righties.
This is just so dumb I can’t retort it except to say “This is incredibly dumb”.
Sherman saves the best for last though. Make sure you’re sitting down when you read this:
A three-way trade in which the Yanks get Nick Swisher, Matt Thornton and John Danks. The White Sox get Melky Cabrera, Hideki Matsui, Ian Kennedy and Ray Durham. The Giants get Paul Konerko, Alberto Gonzalez and Shelley Duncan.
There are…no words. He justifies it (badly) but it’s not worth quoting because it is just as stupid as you imagine.
The lesson we have learned today is “Don’t pay attention to anything Joel Sherman schemes up”. Too bad, because Birth of a Dynasty is a good read. Probably because he isn’t trying to think of ways to fix the team.