Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Let Me Clear My Throat
2008-07-23 21:37
by Cliff Corcoran

With the trade deadline looming and a lot of silly rumors floating around, I have a few things to say:

1) The Yankees don't need a relief pitcher, left-handed or otherwise. Brian Bruney should return from his rehab assignment soon to force LaTroy Hawkins off the roster, and if he's not as good as he was in April, there's more in triple-A where he came from. The Yankees trading for a relief pitcher would be like heating a house in the desert, a total waste of resources.

2) Getting Jarod Washburn in a salary dump would be a coup. Washburn has a 2.65 ERA in his last eight starts and has strong career numbers at Yankee Stadium (2.82 ERA), Fenway Park (3.60 ERA), and the Trop (1.89 ERA, which is impressive no matter how bad the Rays have been during his career). More recent versions of this rumor have the Yankees forcing Kei Igawa on the Mariners and the M's countering with Jose Vidro. A great as it would be to be rid of Igawa, Vidro's not worth it. His hitting rates this season are nearly an exact match for Jose Molina's, except Vidro has had a hundred more at-bats. He's as done as a player can be.

3) The Yankees biggest need is another bat. They're a pitching-rich organization, and Cellophane Rasner and Groundhog Ponson can hold their own as fourth and fifth starters until the reinforcements are ready (which could include a healthy Chien-Ming Wang and Phil Hughes). Next year's rotation will be filled by Wang, Chamberlain, the free-agent market (possibly including one-year deals for Mussina and/or Pettitte), and emergent prospects (Hughes, Kennedy, McCutchen, Aceves). Rather, the Yankees' big holes this offseason will be right field and at first base, only one of which is likely to be filled by free agency. More urgently, even with Abreu and Giambi still in place, the bottom of the order is Betemit/Sexson, Cabrera, Molina, which just won't do. The price on Matt Holliday, who nearly won the NL MVP award last year, is likely too high, but Jason Bay, who had an off-year in 2007 due to knee problems and didn't even make the All-Star team this year (though he should have) could be more reasonably priced and could even be the better player (Bay is Holliday's second most similar player on Baseball-Reference, followed by Hideki Matsui who also makes Bay's list, and is easily the better hitter on the road). Buying high on Xavier Nady, however, seems like a bad move. Nady is 29 and a career .281/.336/.455 hitter in the National League. That's not nothing, but it's not much more than league-average, and his career line in inter-league play is .224/.290/.388. Stay away.

4) Jorge Posada should get over himself and have his surgery now. Yes, the Yankees' biggest need is a bat, even if it's one that can only DH, but it seems doubtful that Posada will be able to hit for power without the surgery. Even more than that, the Yankees need Posada to be healthy, productive, and behind the plate five days a week starting on Opening Day 2009, so that they don't find themselves in this position again next year. Any further delay on Jorge's part is robbing Peter to pay Paul, and Peter's gonna be pissed when he finds out about it. Let Hideki Matsui be the guy playing Hamlet over his MRIs and get Posada under the knife pronto.

Glad I could get all that off my chest.

Comments (151)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-07-23 23:49:09
1.   bobtaco
Whattabout Bonds?
2008-07-24 00:15:46
2.   Cliff Corcoran
Bonds would have been my answer if the team came out of the break looking listless. Instead, they've come out looking like a playoff team. There's little doubt that Bonds would be poisonous to the clubhouse. If the team was already playing as if poisoned, it would be worth stirring things up to add Bonds' production. As it stands, I'd be reluctant to bring in a Bonds, preferring a quite contributor like Washburn or Bay. Bay would be far more expensive than Bonds (in talent, if not in dollars), but he'd also be a solution for 2009 and beyond, where as Bonds would be a two-month Band-Aid.

Short answer: by sweeping their way past two Wild Card contenders coming out of the break, the Yankees have earned the right not to have to deal with the circus Bonds would bring to town.

2008-07-24 00:45:43
3.   Yu-Hsing Chen
If there's one thing the Yankees have done well , it's handling guys with attitudes. Shawn Chacon was never as big of a issue here as he was in Colordo or Houston. Ponson was ran out of Texas on his attitude but he seem to have little problem here so far. I don't see why Bond's attitdue should be a serious problem.

In the end. Pittsburgh is asking for the moon for Nady or Bay. Nady espically makes no sense at all to trade serious prospects for.

I'd do Washburn for Igawa without much problem. Igawa's actually due more money on the contracts (though it's more spread out)

With Posada and Matsui out, if we don't get a OF/DH type we will be forced to play Brett Gardner or Justin Christian, this is on top of a Jose Molina and Melky Cabrera. not to meantion a slowly fading Bobby Abreu.

Either way. signing Bonds first also give us more leverage even if we want to deal for Bay. At the current situation it would appears that Bonds could be had for something like 1 Million or less. for that price and the production possibily involved. there's no real reason not to give it a shot. espically since this is a organization that always handled personal issues well.

2008-07-24 02:00:15
4.   nick
thanks, Cliff, very nice job!--Pete A keeps insisting that we need a starter (when he's not chastising our guys for not scoring more)--hopefully he'll read this...

problem with Bay is if I recall correctly he's no fielder--or am I wrong? it'd be very nice to get an outfielder who we won't have to switch to dh (or wish we could)...

2008-07-24 02:14:42
5.   OldYanksFan
3 Thank you. It's nice to find a few people who are not on the 'Bonds is a cancer' bandwagon. Bonds has been basically out of baseball, blacklisted or not.

If we get Barry, as great as he was/is, he will not intimidate Derek, or Alex, or Jason, of Bobby, or many other of our vets. Our team can handle Bonds. And with all the legal problems and other shit that faces Bonds, I don't think he will have a terrible attitude in the clubhouse. My feeling is if he were signed, he would be extremely greatful and relieved.

His father was the next Willie Mays, and Barry actually beat Babe in many categories. The guy is walking baseball history.

And up until his last AB, Barry still had a great eye and great plate discipline. It is possible that Bonds might actually be a positive influence? That (especially) for Melky and Cano, that this guy has something to offer aside from his ABs (which would really be enough anyway).

Bonds has won just about everything in baseball... except a World Series. Think he might be motivated to help us win? As old and tired as his back is, he is a climb about kind of kind. Maybe if a 45 year old can have good ABs, so can Melky and Brett.

The truth is, even if he is still his crusty old asshole self, if he hits, we need him. But I believe he could have a very positive impact on the clubhouse. The guy has been unfairly scapegoated for doing exactly what hundreds of other players did. Think Jason hates Bonds because of his PEDs use?

Furtheremore, the Yankees would have the upper hand. A contract could be contigent on all kinds of 'Bonds Rules' to try keep a professional attitude in the clubhouse. Let him have his vibrating chair, but no other percs. No special treatment. Just the honor of wearing Pinstripes.

My only issue is it took Bonds a month or more to really get going last year, which he started in Spring Training. If may be too late to get him to a fully productive level... although one would think Bonds could still post an .850 OPS from a hospital bed.

However, with a low cost, incentive driven contract, there is little to lose. I mean if Papi WAS out for the year, the Sox picked Bonds up, and he helped them win, how would we feel. Would the 2008 Sox be dirty? I think not.

Reggie, the ultimate egotist, came into Thurman's house and proceded to rock the boat to the max. The clubhouse was divided into factions from day one. The clubhouse was close to fisticuffs on a daily basis. But Reggie helped the team to win. Sinlgehandedly won games. And how is he remembered... as the clubhouse cancer he was? No, as a hero. As a God. Retired number and all.

I was around in those days and remember how much I hated Reggie, who did honestly believe he was bigger then the team. If ARod did to Jeter what Reggie did to Thurm, I believe some fan would have shot him. But Reggie did indeed 'stir the drink', and in NY, winning is ultimately all that matters.

And lastly folks... at his very worst, when you talk about cancers, Bonds is simply a benign wart compared to worst cancer in modern day baseball... which back in the 80's was our very own George Steinbrenner. He is old and beloved now, but those of us around back then remember what an absolute monster George was. A team that survived 'The Boss' in his prime, can survive anything.

If we come close, but don't make the PS, I can safely say that signing Barry, BEFORE the ASB, would have made the difference. Signing Barry would have stopping a Sox repeat... might have given Moose and Giambi their rings.

As I said, it may be too late now... but it's still worth a try. Get Bay or Holliday too if we can. I guess it's a matter how how much we want to win.

But hey... this is a transition year. We are riddled with injuries. we have excuses NOT to win. I guess NOT winning is no big deal in this last year of Yankee Stadium. So we lose and the Red Sox win another WS. No big deal, right guys?

Right guys?

2008-07-24 02:48:08
6.   Mattpat11
As much as I hate having Kei Igawa around, because I know Cashman will continue to try repeatedly with this lump, acquiring Jarrod Washburn violates my fairly non negotiable rule against acquiring mediocre pitchers. With the sole exception of 2005, Washburn has been so-so or worse since 2002. If the Yankees were desperate for pitching, or they needed to take him on in order to get someone else (Lidle) it's be okay, but I have no burning desire to see Jarrod Washburn for the next year and a half.

As for Bay, I'll always be poisoned by seeing him play in person and watching one of the most horrendous game long displays I've ever seen in Left Field at Yankee Stadium. He may have been having an off night, he may have improved, but that shitstorm will always affect my judgment of the man.

2008-07-24 04:48:18
7.   JL25and3
5 I'm not sure what you mean when you say that the team "survived" Steinbrenner in the 80's. You're certainly correct in the most technical sense; the franchise didn't go out of business and the team played every season, so I guess they did "survive." But he was a constantly destructive influence, creating turmoil and resentment which, at times, almost certainly affected the team's performance. Despite the 1985 team, that was a period of general decline leading to the 1990-91 debacle. Survived, yes, but barely.

I don't think the problem is that Bonds is a prick, it's also what he brings along with him. The media presence, bloated as it is now, is nothing compared with what it will be with Barry. I mean...look at the amount of attention he's getting already, and he's not even on the team. It will be all Bonds, all the time. You say that the veterans will be unaffected by that - but they didn't handle ARod's first couple of years in such a sanguine fashion.

Finally, of course, he hasn't faced a pitcher in ten months. He won't be getting those intentional walks anymore. I'd be surprised if he's worth the trouble.

2008-07-24 04:53:34
8.   williamnyy23
Jorge should get over himself? Having season ending surgery is a very big decision for a professional athlete, so I think it is very unfair to suggest that arrogance or ego are playing a role in that decision. Besides, it seems as if Cashman and/or others in the organization think using Posada as a DH option would be beneficial to this year's team.
2008-07-24 04:58:55
9.   williamnyy23
I also don't get the notion that Bonds would be poisonous. One gets the impression that he'd be going around the clubhouse spiking everyone's gatorade with cyanide or arsenic (maybe both). If the goal is to get an impact bat without giving up significant prospects than Bonds is the obvious answer. Bay is a very good player (although very much unsuited to playing the big LF at Yankee Stadium), but he is not a better hitter than Bonds, nor is he a better LF'er than Damon. If 2009 is the concern, I am sure Bay can be had (perhaps for cheaper) in the off season. Also, it could very well be that someone even better might come along. After all, guys like Hamilton and Quentin did change hands this past winter.
2008-07-24 05:06:44
10.   williamnyy23
5 7 Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Steinbrenner may not have run the Yankees as smoothly as they are now, but he did help restore the team to an impressive championsip run from 1976 to 1981 (four pennants; 2 championships; five division titles). Also, as much as people seem to denigrate the 1980s, the team did win more games than any other in the decade and fielded good teams in 1983-1987. Was Steinbrenner perfect? No. Still, I prefer to look at his tenure on the whole and think it was a very good day when he took over. The Yankees have thrived under George...they survived CBS.
2008-07-24 05:18:55
11.   ChrisS
10 Yes, they won. But the method wasn't sustainable, and in the end it bit them in the ass. I'd rather put together the long, pinstriped line, then have to scurry around every year looking for the next FA fix, patching holes with mid-30s vets on high salaries. Has Steinbrenner been good for the Yankees? I think so, but it's easier to say that now, then when they had fallen so low they couldn't get Bonds or Maddux to sign as free agents - no matter how much money they offered.

I'd prefer not trading for Holliday or Bay, or anything really. Not at the expense of Hughes, Jackson, Montero, or even IPK - unless it's for a blue chip OF prospect that's ML-ready. If the Yankees fail to make the playoffs this year, so be it. They'll be that much stronger next season.

2008-07-24 05:19:53
12.   Rob Middletown CT
I absolutely agree they don't need a reliever... in fact they should probably try to sell Farnsworthless.

I mildly disagree about Washburn. I don't think he's much good, but I wouldn't go nuts if they got him (unless Vidro comes along).

The need for a bat is obvious. I've said enough about HE WHO MUST NOT BE SIGNED. Bay or Holliday are fine options, but I fear the price tags.

And Po should definitely have surgery.

2008-07-24 05:26:59
13.   tommyl
Pretty much agree with everything you've said Cliff. The pen has been lights out lately, I see no reason for an aging, mediocre reliever just because he happens to be left handed. The pen has been the one true strength for most of the year.

Washburn I'm intrigued by. If we could do a straight swap of him for Igawa+(low) prospect+cash I'd be for it. Igawa just isn't going to be an effective pitcher here. Vidro though I want none of.

As for the other bat, I agree there's a need there but I worry about the price tags. If something like the Abreu salary dump trade from 2006 could be swung I'd be all for it. Are there any out there?

I've hashed through the Jorge stuff on previous threads, my opinion remains the same.

2008-07-24 05:36:43
14.   williamnyy23
11 What method is sustainable? The parity of the 1980s showed that no way of doing business guaranteed much consistency. My point is that CBS allowed the team to rot and George quickly restored it to championship levels. Then, even though the team did not win in the 1980s, it remained pretty good. What's more, as the Yankees declined on the field in the early 1990s, George was busy ramping up the brand with many superb business decisions...all of which helped to build and sustain the glory days of today. Firing managers and spouting off to the media may not have been ideal, but on the whole, George was and is a great owner.
2008-07-24 05:39:10
15.   Sliced Bread
1 perfect slogan for t-shirts, bumperstickers, and billboards around NY, and wherever Major League Baseball is played.

8 word. Waiting a few more weeks to see if his bat can help isn't the end of the world.

Apparently the Bronx Banter is well represented by members of the American Board of Surgery. Drop the scalpels, people! Biology 101: Don't dissect the frogs until they're officially dead! Especially if the frog hits from both sides of the plate!

2008-07-24 05:46:12
16.   ChrisS
14 I'm not in the mood for this. George Steinbrenner is a great man.
2008-07-24 05:48:19
17.   NetShrine
~~They're a pitching-rich organization, and Cellophane Rasner and Groundhog Ponson can hold their own as fourth and fifth starters until the reinforcements are ready (which could include a healthy Chien-Ming Wang and Phil Hughes).~~

Cliff - what if Wang cannot come back this year, as many reports suggest that he won't have enough time to rehab, and, what if, when Hughes comes back, Phil pitches the same as he did earlier in the season?

It seems like a thin plan to be waiting on those two, for this year, if you ask me.

2008-07-24 05:55:15
18.   williamnyy23
16 Not in the mood for an exchange of opinions on a blog? Sorry for addressing your post that was addressed to me. I didn't realize you weren't in the mood to have it taken seriously.
2008-07-24 05:56:27
19.   OldYanksFan
I say ARE YOU CRAZY to Washburn and Vidro. (FJM happens to have a little write up about Vidro for those interested). I mean Sexson was one thing (cheap, hits lefties), but how much of Seattle's garbage do we want to take out?

We did have some good teams under George, but for 2 reasons. 1) During his suspension, Stick and others helped to build the farm which was a big part of the dynasty 2) We spent a huge amount of money in the early days of FA when quality could be bought. Imagine during his tenure if The Boss had let Stick, Cashman and his other talented FO people make decisions, and simply funded the team.

3 simple examples. 1) He totally blew up a good team and created the 'Yankee Roadrunners', which was a huge failure and killed the team for years. 2) Shef instead of Vlad (althought at least Shef was good so that hurt us but didn't kill us 3) Getting RJ, which cost us Vaquez, Navarone and ultimately Beltran (think about that one!).

My guess is knowledgable people could quote examples of George's screw-ups for days. I mean, our $200m team was beaten by teams with 1/4 of our payroll. George also wanted to let both Andy and Bernie go, but was talked out of it. Imagine no Bernie, except on the Red Sox. Who knows how many bad decisions, like dumping Contraras, were George's.

7 I agree that Bonds might NOT be able to get back in shape, but he will be sooooo cheap, it's silly not to give it a shot. As far as the media, the Yankees can control that to a large extent. The can tell reporters not to talk to Bonds, or else be banned from the clubhouse. Bonds can have 2 statements to make: (1) 'I'm very happy to be given a chance to play for this great franchise' and (2) 'sorry guys, I gotta go now and pick up my daughter at the playground'. And lastly, if the media talks about Bonds, maybe ARod is left alone some. Having Bonds be the center of attention could be the best thing that even happened to ARod.

The Yankees are a VERY POWERFUL organization. If they want Bonds, I'm sure then can deal with all the surrounding issues in a productive way.

I don't think Abreu plays for us without a 2, or probably 3 year contract, which SHOULD NOT be considered. I'd go 1 year as a compromise, but Im not even happy about that. I assume we NEED another OFer for 2009. Is everyone sure we can get Dunn? I mean JD, Melky and Brett/JC (or some other mid-grade body)? I can't see it.

My guess is CC can be had if we want him. Pettitte and/or Moose may be good options (albeit at somewhat lower salaries). I think our SP and BP are in fine, if not great shape, for 2009. Assuming of course, we still have a quasi-elite offense.

2008-07-24 05:59:07
20.   OldYanksFan
16 ChrisS... how old are you?
2008-07-24 06:03:39
21.   liam
when is everyone going to realize that the only reason we're keeping the fact that we're looking at LH relievers is to keep the price high for boston?

cashman is way too much of a silent trader to let it be known otherwise.

2008-07-24 06:08:43
22.   monkeypants
19 "My guess is knowledgable people could quote examples of George's screw-ups for days. I mean, our $200m team was beaten by teams with 1/4 of our payroll. George also wanted to let both Andy and Bernie go, but was talked out of it. Imagine no Bernie, except on the Red Sox. Who knows how many bad decisions, like dumping Contraras, were George's."

You have cited this before, but I have never seen any evidence to support the claim that the Boss wanted Bernie to go. Indeed, one could make the argument that it was only the Boss's last second appeal that kept Bernie from jumping ship. I'd like to see some proof for your claim.

Letting Andy go was THE CORRECT BASEBALL MOVE at the time, so whoever was responsible, good call.

Remind us again what who we drafted with the draft picks that we got for Andy leaving as a FA.

Yes, who knows how many bad decisions were George's. But who knows how many good decisions were his. How responsible was he for signing Moose? For getting A-Rod? For signing Giambi?

I am a huge, huge Cashman fan. But the "George makes all the bad decisions" meme is a bit tiresome, used too often to shield any criticism from the GMs. Any good move? Must be Cashman/Stick/Watson. Any bad moves? Oh, that's all the fault of George and his Tampa posse.

2008-07-24 06:10:29
23.   williamnyy23
19 Your theee points are all flawed:

1) The Yankee "roadrunners" did not "kill the team for year". The Yankees quickly rebounded to have good teams from 1983 through 1988 (90+ wins in 83, 85 and 86).

2) Shef instead of Vlad was more than a performance decision. Contract length was an issue as Vlad was coming off some back troubles.

3) I don't think it's fair to suggest that the RJ trade was a George move. Besides, eithout RJ, the Yankees likely do not make the playoffs in 2005. Besides, Javier Vazquez has pretty much been league average, so that's not exactly a loss. Also, except for 2006, Beltran and Damon have had very similar numbers, so even that isn't a slam dunk.

It's very convenient to dump all the bad moves on George without acknowledging all the good moves. Also, as you are raising hypotheticals, imagine if Cashman listened to George and signed Big Papi?

2008-07-24 06:12:34
24.   Cliff Corcoran
21 I thought about that, but Boston doesn't need a LHP in its pen with Okajima and Lopez already there. The Rays don't need one either, as J.P. Howell has been great for them this year.
2008-07-24 06:17:43
25.   monkeypants
1 3 5 Why the continued fascination with Bonds?

I mean, what more can be written and argued? We all the terms of the debate, we all know what he potentially brings to the table as an offensive force of historical proportions, we all know that EVERY team can use what he adds on the field.

We also know the various counter arguments, whether one accepts them or not.

Whatever position one holds, it looks as though the team is simply not going to pursue the Bonds option, and with each passing day this looks more and more certain. So what is the point in rehashing the same old arguments about the man?

Sure, it's a free country. Say what you want. But at this point I find it more interesting to contemplate trades that actually could happen. It's more fun, to me anyway, to ponder what it would take to get a Jason Bay or the like.

If Cashman (or George!!) turns around and signs Bonds, I will fall out of my chair in surprise. But if that happens, then we will certainly have a good subject to talk about, especially as terms of any deal are revealed. Otherwise, continued debate about the merits of signing Bonds is simply injecting yourself with DHH (Dead Horse Hormone).

2008-07-24 06:19:37
26.   Cliff Corcoran
23 I've largely been skipping over the George debate, but the Randy Johnson acquisition was absolutely a Steinbrenner move, and was a major mistake. As I wrote at the time, the move was made not to make the playoffs, it was made in reaction to the team's playoff failures. Johnson was supposed to be the dominant ace who could pitch the Yankees to a championship in the postseason. Instead he blew the pivitol game in two straight first-round losses. Fastforward to this year when Dioner Navarro was an All-Star and the Yankees are resigned to Jose Molina and Chad Moeller. There's no way to shine up that particular turd.
2008-07-24 06:19:53
27.   monkeypants
William and I are agreeing again 22 23 . This is surely a sign of the apocalypse?
2008-07-24 06:26:11
28.   williamnyy23
I don't think pursuing a lefty in the pen is such a bad idea. The bullpen is going strong now, but adding a good lefty would only make it deeper. I'd rather replace Hawkins with a lefty than a rehabilitating Bruney.
2008-07-24 06:29:22
29.   Barron
I'm fine with getting Washburn & Vidro for Igawa. I don't think Cashman is ever going to cut Igawa, but cutting Vidro is easier because it can be played off as part of a plan. Essentially, the Yankees would be trading Igawa and cash for Washburn. I see Washburn as a likely league average innings-eater, and I'd take a year and a half of that over the rest of Igawa's contract any day of the week.
2008-07-24 06:31:33
30.   williamnyy23
26 I completely disagree. Regardless of why one may think they made the move, the bottom line for me is that the Unit was an instrumental part of the 2005 team. Others may not value that division title, but I know that I do, especially coming in such a close battle with the Red Sox after the 2004 collapse. Calling the deal a turd because 4 years laters Navaro has started to hit is silly, especially if you recall that many scouts scoffed at the viability of Navarro as a prospect in the first place.
2008-07-24 06:32:28
31.   ms october
nice recap of the state of affairs cliff (as usual).
though i am not sure i agree with the characterization that jorge should get over himself - especially if there is organizational pressure for this 2 week rehab.

25 the question is, will you fall off a recliner like the one barry had in sf?
i agree with you - it is apparent that the bonds option doesn't seem to be a possibility - but i think many of us don't want to overpay in prospects for people like bay and holliday - who have their merits, but may not be worth the asking price; and bonds of course costs no prospects.

26 agree with your assessmnet - but as an aside navarro seems like a pretty good example of someone that required a bit of patience with for him to develop. i hope this is an area the yanks continue to improve in.

random question - when jorge went to the dl at the beginning of the week - was the corresponding move to activate damon from the dl?

2008-07-24 06:39:01
32.   Mattpat11
I really can't be the only one that enjoys watching Barry twist in the wind. Sometimes you really do reap what you sow.
2008-07-24 06:50:35
33.   monkeypants
Old Yanks Fan,

Check out this Times article from 1998:

The article reports that--

1. The Yankees offered Bernie a five-year deal, which George claimed to know about.

2. That Bernie's agent (Boras) was trying to force the Yankees hand by telling them that he had 7 and 8 year offers for him.

3. That George tried to force Boras' hand by demanding to see the offers.

4. That the Yankees had put in a tentative deal for Belle, which George claimed not to know about.


What does this suggest? That George did NOT want Bernie gone, only that he (and/or the Cashman team) preferred to give him a shorter deal. Given what happened at the end of Bernie's contract, they were correct.

Moreover, this article ( reports that only a face-to-face meeting between George and Bernie kept Williams a Yankee...well, that and the fact that Albert Belle signed for a lot more money with Baltimore.

The point is, it is spurious to use the almost-not-resigning of Bernie as proof of George's destructive tendencies, or that he "wanted Bernie gone." Everyone, including Bernie and Cashman, was playing hard ball in that negotiation.

2008-07-24 06:53:21
34.   rbj
26 I gotta disagree about the RJ acquisition. All signs pointed to Randy being the dominant ace. It was only in hindsight that he wasn't going to be that person (though he did win 34 games in his two years). And would Navarro have stayed in the Yankee organization with Posada still around? I can't see the Yankees keeping him in AAA for the last couple of years, or having served as BUC. I think he'd have gotten traded anyway, probably for a bad pitcher.

I'd make the trade for Washburn if for no other reason than to get rid of Igawa. And Ponson has put up some ugly numbers -- 1.7 WHIP with the Yankees so I expect him to turn into a pumpkin at any moment. Jerrod may not be much better but I doubt he'd be worse.

2008-07-24 06:54:36
35.   rbj
31 Yes, Damon for Posada.
2008-07-24 06:54:57
36.   tommyl
26 Couldn't agree more. Think how much better shape we'd be in right now if we have Navarro backing up Posada. Then there'd be no question about Jorgie having surgery, we'd have someone like Moeller as a backup and we'd be in much, much better shape. We'd also have Montero and Romine coming along as heirs to Navarro. Also, perhaps Posada could've been had for less years/money if we had Navarro as a bargaining chip. William, it was really 3.5 years, Navarro has been raking since the All Star Break of last year.

As for RJ, well its true that Vazquez never became the ace we thought he would when we signed him but he wasn't all that much worse than Randy going forward. I'm not convinced that Javier + Cashman magic couldn't have got us there in 2005. And besides, getting losing in the first round is really nothing to be too proud about, especially when much of that loss can be laid at Randy's feet. I'd rather have Navarro now. The Johnson move was a mistake all around.

2008-07-24 06:56:01
37.   tommyl
34 Sorry, I disagree about bringing along Navarro. Holding him at AAA and then as a BUC is exactly what the organization did with Posada in the first place. He backed up Girardi for several years while he developed. I see no reason why they couldn't have done that with Navarro.
2008-07-24 06:59:19
38.   monkeypants
Whatever one thinks about the RJ deal, losing Navarro was a big blow. I remember at the time that various talking heads (such as Gammons) were really disparaging Navarro. At the same time, the Yanks kept dangling him. Given their organizational lack of depth at catcher for YEARS, it is too bad that they could not have found some other pieces to throw into the RJ deal.
2008-07-24 07:02:47
39.   Shaun P
38 IIRC, the Diamondbacks were offered Cano as well, but turned him down.

To me, that supports the idea that RJ was a Steinbrenner move, not a Cashman move.

Ah, off days!

2008-07-24 07:04:59
40.   Sliced Bread
38 as I recall, the Yanks weren't so much dangling Navarro. The Dodgers were insisting on his inclusion in the 3 way deal. as I recall, the Yanks were reluctant to part with him, for good reason obviously.
2008-07-24 07:05:40
41.   JL25and3
10 Yes, they won, and yes, George made some good business decisions. He also made more than a few atrocious one.

More important, even when they won, at whatever level, his assholism was still a consistently detrimental influence.

2008-07-24 07:08:59
42.   rbj
If Navarro was so good, why then did Arizona immediately flip him to LA (division rival) and they then sent him to Tampa. The consensus was that he wasn't all that good. Here's the LA-Tampa trade:
Traded by the Dodgers with a PTBNL and Jae Weong Seo to the Devil Rays for Toby Hall, Mark Hendrickson, and cash. The Dodgers sent Justin Ruggiano (July 19, 2006) to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to complete the trade.
Just a bunch of meh players.

In hindsight, sure, don't make the trade. But with only the information at the time -- Unit had shown he could be the dominant ace the Yankees needed vs. what appeared to be a mediocre catching prospect -- then I make the trade.

2008-07-24 07:11:40
43.   horace-clarke-era
Everyone had their vitamins today ... lots of smart posts, even when they disagree ... a part of the pleasure of the Banter. Thanks, Cliff for starting it off.

Agreed that the Bonds thing is old by now. Yanks have made it clear they don't want him. Some say this is collusion (I think it might be) others that he's been out for too long to possibly do much in 50 games at 45 (really!), others that he'd be a cancer. I doubt that last, since he wants to play so much ... I think it is just that people overestimate 'immunity' to media craziness. Yeah, DJ stays calm, but Melky? Robbie?

And Cliff's new point is a good one: the team is moving, and not just for 10 games, for a month and a half.

I now agree (started that way yesterday) that the pen doesn't NEED boosting the way they are pitching and aligned (kudos to Girardi and staff). But Cliff it is a bit of a straw man to say 'mediocre lefty' when some of the guys talked about are GOOD lefties. As someone said, if price is right, a solid southpaw is an asset going forward.

Washburn for Igawa ... no-brainer for me. Ponson is better? Rasner is really better going forward? Washburn becomes a possible tool for next year, Igawa is not. Is Wash GOOD? Nope. Is he replacement? Yup.

Bay/Nady ... of course we want Bay (more than Nady, yes). All of baseball wants Bay. Have you not seen the reported asking prices? This is PURELY a price issue in players demanded. But a solid righthand OF bat ... let me dream!

I said my piece on Jorge yesterday. If he switch hits .300 with pop he SOLVES the DH problem, but so does Matsui. My best guess, trying to decode the Yankee brass, is they are having Jorge wait a bit (and he clearly wants to) till final word on Matsui emerges ... Hideki's reluctant to have surgery, too, as Cliff notes. I suppose the team has decided they could live with Molina for the spring next year if Jorge DHs this year. Presumably by then we'd have a better offense and it would be easier to have a glove-catcher. But one of JoPo and Godzilla goes under the knife soon. Cue Marty Feldman and Gene Wilder.

2008-07-24 07:14:11
44.   Sliced Bread
42 at the time, the Dodgers were stockpiling catching prospects, and they didn't immediately flip Navarro to Tampa. He was there for at least a year.
Arizona was never going to get Navarro. He was a key piece in the 3 way trade to send Unit to NY. as I stated above, I'm pretty sure the Dodgers were very high on Navarro and were insisting on his inclusion in the deal.
2008-07-24 07:15:09
45.   ms october
35 thanks rbj
2008-07-24 07:18:44
46.   JL25and3
43 Yes, they're good lefties. but one problem is that the price is almost never right for middle relief. It's one of the most consistently overpriced commodities on the trade market.

Plus, whatever you spend on that lefty reliever isn't available to help make that better offensive team for next year. Deciding to have Molina as your everyday catcher for two extra months - by design, not out of necessity - is, IMHO, incredibly dubious judgment to begin with. If that's the choice, then they really need to use their assets to bolster OF/1B/DH (in some combo).

2008-07-24 07:30:46
47.   williamnyy23
42 Good point. Navarro was far from a slam dunk prospect at the time. Everyone is judging the trade in hindsight, but at the time the Yankees got exactly what they needed...a seemingly dominant ace. As things turned out, RJ was in fact very good in 2005, and with his 5-0 record against the Sox, was instrumental in winning the division and making the playoffs. Again, the fact that they lost in the first round doesn't invalidate that accomplishment to me.

Also, many seem to be suggesting that if the Yankees kept Navarro around as a BUC, they'd now be able to pop him in for Posada and not miss a beat. Something tells me that the steady ABs in Tampa helped in his development. Hidden behind Posada, Navarro might not be now be ready to take over.

2008-07-24 07:34:26
48.   williamnyy23
41 Fair enough...George wasn't always a nice guy, but I care more about his record of on field success.

Also, what atrocious business decision do you think he has made? He may be behind some poor player moves, but I his business decisions have been golden.

2008-07-24 07:39:49
49.   horace-clarke-era
46 JL I do agree on Posada, and said so yesterday. I am trying to figure out why sentient men are DOING what they are ... and my best guess is they are watching what happens with Matsui and a possible roster pick-up for 2 weeks. I don't agree that on THIS team signing a bullpen southpaw affects their ability to sign a free agent bat off-season. Money is not an issue, players are. Or did you mean if we deal IPK for a reliever we can't use him for a bat. That is true, yes.

47 Yes and yes, too much hindsight on Navarro (though as Sliced says, he WAS on the radar) and where was he going to PLAY on the Yankees with Jorge installed? I am quite sure you are right that regular at-bats last year (his surge came in 2nd half) played a BIG role.

2008-07-24 07:42:07
50.   OldYanksFan
First, I did NOT say EVERYTHING George did was wrong. Even a blind squirrel... And the decisions he made that were right (of which I'm sure there were some)? Who says Stick/Cashman weren't also in agreement? The point is George was not a baseball man, he was the owner. He hired very competant people (Stick, Buck, others) and then overrode their judgement.

Again, George was certainly not all bad. But when he was bad... WOW! The Dave Winfield saga was a horrible piece of history. There were others (who was that poor SS who got demoted after a bad game?).

Overall, because of both his cash and passion to win, George has done some great things with the Yankees... especially when he stopped firing managers and GMs. We could have done as lot worse.

I believe George is a very charitable guy who has a very big heart. But he often acted like a demanding, spoiled rich kid who always needed instant gratification.

I like George NOW and believe he is a HOFer. But for all the good things he has done, it does not excuse the many maniacal and downright mean things his has done.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-07-24 07:42:34
51.   RichB
0 Thanks, Cliff and everyone else for the analysis. Seems like everyone's got some deep thoughts today. So, here's mine:

1. Am I the only one that sees the whole outfield as a major problem both now and in 2009?? We have one of the worst offensive outfields in the majors. No power whatsoever. To me, Melky is the biggest hole in the whole team - now and in the offseason - and it's far beyond time to give up on him. Neither Gardner nor Christian are the answer. Jackson is doing well down in Trenton, but not exactly dominating, so I'm not sure he's going to make the jump next season and have a major impact. We need both a CF and a RF. Not that I'm advocating a splashy free agent CF when we can probably count on Jackson for 2010, but if we want to improve the offense, the most improvement would come from upgrading CF.

2. I'd sign Bonds for the year. I don't know how you can think that Bonds won't be a poison in the clubhouse. He's been a self-important jerk all his life, since way before the PEDs. Read up on your Pirates history and you'll find out he had a sense of entitlement when he was a rookie. That being said, I think winning solves a lot of clubhouse problems. Moose probably won't give a damn about Bonds being an ass if he can retire with a ring on his finger. To me, it's the perfect storm for the Yankees - no commitment, no giving up talent, cheap in dollar terms, and if Bonds is still remotely Bonds with the bat, he'll have a huge impact on the offense, far more than Bay or Dunn or anyone else on the planet. It would be something akin to getting Reggie - you get the "straw that stirs the drink" crap along with the 3 HRs in the World Series stuff. It would be like signing another Darryl Strawberry in terms of the offensive impact on the rest of the season. Yes, Bonds is a total asshole and most of the team will probably hate him. But, on balance, it's a win and I'd do it.

2008-07-24 07:49:19
52.   williamnyy23
50 That young shortstop was Bobby Meachem. If only the old George were still around...

Again, George wasn't perfect, but not only do I think we could have done worse, I don't think we could have donemuch better.

51 Nope...the 2009 OF is in deed a mjor problem that will have to be addressed in the off season.

2008-07-24 07:50:22
53.   Rob Middletown CT
Regarding the RJ trade:

Was I the only one who hated it at the time? I saw an old (admittedly very good) pitcher who seemed to be on the verge of breaking down. I saw the Yankees give up on Vasquez in knee-jerk fashion. I knew nothing, at the time, about Navarro, other than he was a catching prospect and not a bad one (that in itself is valueable).

Vasquez hasn't gone on to be a world-beater, but he's been useful. Navarro has been ok, awful, and now good. For the Yanks, he'd have been in AAA or used as a BUC. No telling how he would've developed. RJ, of course, had one good regular season & lost a key playoff game followed by a bad regular season and another lost playoff game.

2008-07-24 07:52:50
54.   monkeypants
50 Fair enough...but at the same time you should stop trotting out spurious claims such as "George drove Andy away" or "George didn't want Bernie."

You have brought these examples up numerous times, but as I pointed out above 33 there is simply no evidence for the latter. As for the former, I don't know if George wanted Andy out, but letting him walk was a good move.

2008-07-24 07:55:39
55.   Sliced Bread
53 the point that Navarro's development likely would have been hindered behind Posada is a good one, but I don't think Navarro was ever awful.

He's definitely been unlucky.

From Dodger Thoughts:

"In September 2003, his wife suffered a brain aneurysm and nearly died. In July 2006, his SUV flipped with him, his wife and infant son inside. (Everyone, amazingly, was okay.)

On the field, in May 2006 he went on the disabled list and lost his starting Dodger catcher job to Russell Martin."

2008-07-24 07:58:07
56.   williamnyy23
53 Before coming to the Yankees, RJ had an ERA+ of 177 in 246 innings! I am not sure why you thought he was on the verge of breaking down. Even so, I am more curious why you think Vazquez' three league average seasons were useful, but think RJ's ERA+ of 90 with 17 wins was "bad". That season strikes me as being pretty useful.
2008-07-24 07:58:52
57.   rbj
I think one of the more pressing issues for the team this second half is to trade for third base coach.
2008-07-24 07:59:36
58.   Rob Middletown CT
55 He was awful last year, and some of that was indeed luck. But seriously, he was terrible last year, even with a good second half.

He's carried that good second half with him into this season. I think he's pretty good. I'm just saying... say he's in NYC and has the year he had last year. Nightmare. Granted, he might have had that year in Scranton, b/c we had a healthy Jorge having a career year. As a BUC... who knows what he'd have done in 150 ABs or whatever.

2008-07-24 08:01:35
59.   monkeypants
51 Melky is a serious hole offensively, but he plays a decent CF. If Jackson is the solution in 2010, then it may be worth riding out the Melky-Gardner express next year, unless a replacement level CF suddenly becomes available for cheap. Who might that be? What offensive upgrade at CF will actually be available? And how much would he cost?

Corner OF is the bigger problem going forward, IMO. You can justify a light-hitting defensive CF. But no production from RF (and perhaps also LF, depending on how Damon plays at age 35 or whatever) is really hard to overcome.

As for Bonds, see 25 .

2008-07-24 08:02:23
60.   OldYanksFan
River Ave. Blues on the Bernie Deal
2008-07-24 08:08:17
61.   tommyl
51 Comment on Jackson, while his raw numbers are good but not dominant, Trenton is very much a pitchers park, as is the whole AA league he's in IIRC. Factor that in and he's pretty much doing everything you could possibly expect of him. He's currently sporting an .831 OPS as a CF in a pitcher's park at 21. Kevin Goldstein wrote this about him:

Austin Jackson, OF, Double-A Trenton (Yankees)
After a year and a half of mediocre performance, Jackson exploded in the second half of last season, generating two different schools of thought about what that meant. One saw tools that were finally beginning to play, while another still wanted confirmation that the breakout was for real. Jackson went 8-for-10 over the weekend with three doubles and a home run, and is now 16-for-24 in his last eight contests—raising his averages to .296/.373/.458 for the Thunder. He continues to show gap power (26 doubles and nine home runs in 389 at-bats) with some potential for more, as well as good plate discipline, above-average speed, and solid center-field skills. He's a better prospect than Brett Gardner, will be a better player than Melky Cabrera, and is the Yankees' center fielder of the future, beginning at some point in 2009.

2008-07-24 08:08:19
62.   monkeypants
60 OYF,

Thanks for that link--the analysis is essentially identical to mine, except for the off-hand (and unsubstantiated) comment in the article of Bernie being "tired of playing games" with George:

1. The Yankees offered him various five-year deals.
2. Agent Scott Boras floated rumors of competing deals to drive up Bernie's value.
3. The offer from the Sox gave Bernie lots of leverage.
4. The Yankees caved and gave him a longer contract (the end of which was pretty bad for the Yanks).

Nothing about George wanting Bernie gone. Nothing to support you use of this case in you previous post about George.

2008-07-24 08:09:15
63.   Travis08
Not that it matters, but Randy Johnson wasn't the loser in Game 3 in the 2005 ALDS. Johnson gave up 5 runs in 3 innings, the Yankees scored 6 in the next two, then Aaron Small's magic ran out.

Johnson also made a forgotten great relief appearance in Game 5; 4.1 IP, 0 R, 2 inherited runners stranded. If only the Yankees hadn't left 11 runners on base...

2008-07-24 08:09:16
64.   Raf
0 Iff it means taking on Vidro, so be it. Yanks can always cut him loose. The Jays did it with Frank Thomas.

5 My feeling is if he were signed, he would be extremely greatful and relieved.

I doubt that. I think he would come back pissed with an even bigger chip on his shoulder. I shudder to think what a motivated Bonds would be capable of.

7 You say that the veterans will be unaffected by that - but they didn't handle ARod's first couple of years in such a sanguine fashion.

They won division titles and the playoffs both years. The problems the Yanks had both years were with the pitching (and defense to an extent).

11 Yes, they won. But the method wasn't sustainable, and in the end it bit them in the ass.

That had more to do with the atmosphere than anything else, but it could/would've been sustainable. The bad teams of 89-91 had more to do with bad personnel decisions than anything else; I would've held on to Clark and Henderson, and bought more pitching (don't remember who was around at the time, which would be an exercise in futility anyway)

2008-07-24 08:10:59
65.   Shaun P
51 I'm with you on the OF maybe being a problem next year, and certainly by 2010. I'd say, try to fix that problem in the offseason, unless the Yanks can get Bay for a reasonable price now.

The problem is, I don't see the Pirates giving up Bay for a reasonable price. Someone will "wow" them, and whoever does, gets Bay. The Yanks can't afford to "wow" anyone, because a "wow" move involves 1 of the 3 untradeables: Hughes, Jackson, and Montero.

Unless the Pirates are foolish enough to take an IPK/Brackman/______ type deal (hey, two former 1st round picks!). But I doubt they are.

2008-07-24 08:11:13
66.   tommyl
63 Well, he didn't officially get the "loss" but that's losing the game. Your staff ace is not supposed to give up 5 runs in 3 innings, its pretty hard to win a playoff game when you're pen enters in the 4th inning.
2008-07-24 08:12:39
67.   Raf
63 I believe ARod's GIDP in that game started that whole "ARod is not a clutch player" nonsense
2008-07-24 08:14:31
68.   rsmith51
23 Beltran >> Damon
and is younger and isn't yet on the decline(probably)
Beltran's average OPS+ is 117, while Damon's career best is 118.

I don't see how the below numbers are basically the same.

OPS+ Beltran (age 31) Damon(age 35)
2006 150 115
2007 126 97
2008 121 127

2008-07-24 08:16:32
69.   ChrisS
18 I wasn't in the mood to try and argue with a tenacious poster that Steinbrenner wasn't the bestest owner ever and regardless of the damage that he caused, he made smart business decisions and took one of the very best baseball brands in the largest baseball market in America and somehow made money.

20 Old enough to remember watching Steinbrenner in all his glory and not just the feeble old man who is the subject of hagiographic remembrances.


The Dodgers needed a catcher after trading away Lo Duca and Depodesta very much liked Navarro. Navarro was a good young defensive catcher with a decent bat, and rated the Yankees number 1 prospect in 2004 by Baseball America. But, Depodesta was fired afterwards and Colletti decided they couldn't wait for Navarro to develop. He then traded for Toby Hall. I would seriously reconsider using Colleti's player evaluation as evidence that Navarro was a poor prospect.

From the BA prospect list: "Navarro should be ready to serve as Posada's backup at some point in 2005. He's in line to take the job in 2007, when Posada is due either a $12 million salary or $4 million buyout."

Wow, how about that, not exactly mediocre. Johnson was a 40 year-old power pitcher. That trade is tremendous example of mortgaging the future for the present. Instead of building for the future (and they knew they would need a catcher to replace an aging Posada), the Yankees went out and got a big name who helped at the time at great cost. The Yankees gambled that they could either find another FA catcher in time to spell Posada as he declined or could develop one. They failed and that decision has had repercussions (namely having to rely on a 36-yo catcher not developing an injury). This decision needs to be kept in mind when acquiring whatever spare part the team decides it needs down the stretch, be it a lefty reliever or OFer. However, I prefer front offices with long-range plans (see: Braves, Atlanta).

This front office has had an odd philosophy to team construction and has several holes to fill in the coming years, which will be made more difficult by large contracts and keeping aging vets happy.

2008-07-24 08:16:33
70.   Raf
66 ...its pretty hard to win a playoff game when you're pen enters in the 4th inning.

Still, they were in a position to do just that.

2008-07-24 08:18:06
71.   OldYanksFan
51 I agree. I think we should bite the bullet, trade some quality prospects (headed by IPK) and get Holliday. If not, the same applies for Dunn.

I believe for 2009 forward, our problems will be offense, not pitching. ARod is good for a number of years, but Posada and Jeter may not be that much above average. Our quality 'core' going forward is ARod, Cano, our pitching, and hopefully Montero, AJax and Tabata.

An OF of Holliday, AJax and Melky (CF) would be well above average defensively and decent offensively. With ARod and Cano both being well above average offensive producers for infielders, we should still be a very good offensive team, if not the powerhouse of the last few years.

It may be strange to think of ourselves and a pitching and defense first team, but that ain't a bad idea, and based on our farm, looks to be the direction we are heading.

2008-07-24 08:25:30
72.   Travis08
67 That started with games 4-7 of the 2004 ALCS.

66 I agree, but very few people would remember Johnson's performance in that game had the Yankees won the game or the series.

2008-07-24 08:34:02
73.   ChrisS
52 The Banter's own Cliff Corcoran on the Navarro/Vazquez/Johnson Trade:

"...The Yankees have sent the future packing in an attempt to guarantee themselves a championship in 2005 (in a broader sense, the Yankees traded Halsey, Navarro, Juan Rivera, Randy Choate and Nick Johnson and cash for Randy Johnson). And that's how this trade must ultimately be judged. The addition of Johnson puts the Yankees closer to that elusive 27th World's Championship than any other player in baseball would have (after all, Barry Bonds can't pitch). Should Johnson deliver a championship to the Bronx by 2007, the trade must be seen as a success. Otherwise, barring the complete collapse of all three of the players they sent to Arizona, it must be seen as a costly failure, something that just might come to describe the Yankees as a whole before too long."

And really that whole Banter post by Alex is filled with relevant schtuff:

Joe Sheehan: "The Yankees have once again thrown a large amount of money at a situation without actually solving it. Signing Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright didn't improve the rotation as much as it added payroll, and the additions the Yankees have made on the hitting side--Tony Womack and Tino Martinez--are an embarrassment. The Yankees have more than $100 million in new contracts this winter, pushed their 2005 payroll well over $200 million, and they still have Bernie Williams patrolling center field."

Bill James on the late 80's Yankees:

"... although they have the best winning percentage of any team during the eighties, the Yankees have not won anything since 1981 ...

The problem with the Yankees is that they never want to pay the real price of success. The real price of success in baseball is not the dollars that you come up with for a Jack Clark or a Dave Winfield or an Ed Whitson or a Goose Gossage. It is the patience to work with young players and help them develop. So long as the Yankees are unwilling to pay that price, don't bet on them to win anything."

Which is exactly what happened until 1996.

2008-07-24 08:35:13
74.   tommyl
72 Or if he had performed in 2006, when he again stunk up the joint in a crucial game IIRC.

70 The point I was making is that you can't realistically expect your long reliever to hold a playoff caliber team like the Angels down. Its just not gonna happen. There's a reason he's the long reliever and not the starter.

2008-07-24 08:35:49
75.   Shaun P
71 Why trade anything for Dunn when he will be a free agent in a months anyway?

Also note that scouts are universal in believing that Jackson's bat is big star or better in CF - in RF or LF, its not. So Jackson plays CF, which means you need a RF and a LF, and Melky (if he's around) is the 4th OF.

2008-07-24 08:36:57
76.   pistolpete
12 >>Bay or Holliday are fine options, but I fear the price tags. >>

Just relax with the Bonds stuff already. We've seen over the past 6 games how the offense can perform with the guys that we have playing to their potential. A-Rod is our Bonds, only 13 years younger. Let's find a younger Abreu or Matsui instead. Maybe it's Bay or Holliday, maybe not.

I half agree with Cliff's post (mostly about Posada) but I think we still need one more arm in the rotation. We're taking a huge gamble if we're assuming that Hughes & Wang are going to simply step back in and pitch lights out down the stretch.

Kennedy? Feh. I'm almost off that train. Rasner may have a lot less upside, but he's shown he's got a lot more polish.

2008-07-24 08:39:07
77.   pistolpete
5 >> I mean if Papi WAS out for the year, the Sox picked Bonds up, and he helped them win, how would we feel. Would the 2008 Sox be dirty? I think not. >>

In my eyes, you betcha. :)

2008-07-24 08:43:00
78.   Travis08
74 Yup. Of course, the Yankees managed to get shutout by Kenny Rogers that game.
2008-07-24 08:43:26
79.   OldYanksFan
62 Let's put it this way. The Yanks offered 5/$60. Bernie said no. His 2 prevous years, Bernie posted 147 and 160 OPSes (for a CFer!!!!).

I am going purely from memory, which could be wrong. And I'd love to find the real story. But this is how I remember it.

George did NOT want to go higher then 5/$60, and shopped elsewhere. Others in the Yankees FO thought they should continue to negotiate, but George said no. Even after Edmonds/Belle fell through, George was still not convinced and pissed at the idea of Bernie (or Boras) besting him. He was pressured from others inside the organization to sign Bernie, even at 7 years.

Bern has 4 EXCELLENT years, 2 above average years, and a poor year. Was it a bad contract? Well, is ARod a bad contract? Posada? Even Mo? Jeter? Those all have the potential to so south at the end of their term.

If we could have gotten Bernie for 5... sure, that would have been better. But it looked like they couldn't. So.... are YOU glad we DID do Bernie (for the only thing available, 7 years)?

Maybe 'letting him go' is the wrong term. But I believe if George had made the decision purely on his own, we would not have re-sgned Bernie.

2008-07-24 08:47:39
80.   Raf
74 Sure, why not? Reference Esteban Loaiza's work in 2004. Look at game 4 of the 1996 WS. Ervin Santana in game 5 of the 2005 ALDS.

It has been done before.

2008-07-24 08:58:58
81.   OldYanksFan
75 Well.... that's a conumdrum. After reading the above posts about the RJ deal, trading 'the future' for a better shot at 2008 seems shortsighted. But to answer your question, I guess the answer would be 'a better shot at 2008'.

Of course, we do have a number of talented kids, and I imagine some of them are trading chips. What would it cost, in terms of the farm, to get Dunn, if the Reds are going to lose him anyway? Worth at least investigating?

I have to ask this question of all of you.
If we stand pat (aside from a few Sexson, Washburn, average Joe type deals), can we, or will we, make it to the PS? I assuming it will take at least 92 Wins.

2008-07-24 09:04:57
82.   Raf
73 It is the patience to work with young players and help them develop. So long as the Yankees are unwilling to pay that price, don't bet on them to win anything."

That doesn't explain the run the Yanks put together from 1976-81. The problem wasn't the Yanks spending $$, the problem was who they spent it on. Ed Whitson wasn't that good, even before he came to NY.

The reason for their problems in the 80 & 90s wasn't player development, it was they made moves that weren't really sensible.

They may have won the Series in 1996, but the 1995 team wasn't all that shabby. Both were made up of a combination of free agent signings, trades, and players that came up from the farm. Which was also the case in the 80's & 90's.

2008-07-24 09:06:24
83.   Rob Middletown CT

I thought he was on the verge of breaking down b/c of three factors:

1. Known back trouble
2. Age
3. The very innings totals you refer to.

As for Vasquez... ERA+ of 100, 98, 127, and 96 so far this year. Agreed that's basically average, with the abberation being last season. Plus, he's kinda a 5-6 inning pitcher and no more.

I'm not actually arguing that Vasquez > RJ. He isn't... they actually been pretty similar in value since the trade. We did get 430 league-average innings out of RJ.

That ignores, however, Navarro (and Brad Halsey, who might have had some small value in trade at some point).

2008-07-24 09:09:56
84.   JL25and3
59 You're right, there probably are no good alternatives to Melky as next year's everyday center fielder. But the fact that there are no alternatives doesn't mean it's OK.

Some of us might say that there could have been better planning, of course. But it's now, and Melky's there for at least a year. That being the case, it's even more essential that Posada has the surgery sooner rather than later. They'll have to carry one useless bat, there's no reason they should deliberately choose to carry two.

I have no doubt about Jackson's ability and his ceiling. But man, they've put an awful lot of eggs in that basket, and the basket had better be delivered by mid-2009.

2008-07-24 09:14:32
85.   Rob Middletown CT

"Just relax with the Bonds stuff already. We've seen over the past 6 games how the offense can perform with the guys that we have playing to their potential. A-Rod is our Bonds, only 13 years younger. Let's find a younger Abreu or Matsui instead. Maybe it's Bay or Holliday, maybe not."

Words cannot express how wrong-headed I believe this to be. The team would be better with Bonds, who would cost nothing but money. I totally agree that a good, young corner outfielder is needed in the long run, but that means trading or free agency - and may be best pursued in the offseason.


Think about it. That represents a huge improvement. Short-term, obviously... and that's kind of the beauty of it.

2008-07-24 09:15:55
86.   Rob Middletown CT
And you know... if we want to trade for a good young player, I'm not sure a 28-30 year old (aren't Holliday and Bay in that range) is the answer.

Matt Kemp, though...

2008-07-24 09:27:09
87.   Chyll Will
81 Another question is do we have to make the 2008 PS when you have a chance to sustain a PS team for much longer in 1-2 years? I don't like the win-now-at-all-costs attitude, as I believe some battles are better lost in order to win the war; 1996 to present, Yanks account for 4 championships and 6 appearances in 11 seasons, twice as many rings as the nearest contender.

However, the contender has two more than we do over the last four seasons (not including this season in both regards). Both of these teams had the same approach to winning those championships, though recently only one is applying it. I don't believe our team is the one right now...

2008-07-24 09:31:12
88.   pistolpete
85 I've been saying this again & again, but he's 45 and hasn't picked up a bat in over 9 months.

I don't care if he's the all-time HR leader, he's old and he'd need a significant amount of time to get in shape. If you could guarantee me he could step on the field next week and ge game-ready, maybe you'd be able to sell me.

2008-07-24 09:38:52
89.   Zack
86 Trading for an OF in his prime is generally speaking always an answer. OVERPAYING perhaps is not. There is little to suggest that Bay won't be a top offensive player for the next 6 years, which certainly justifies a trade.

Trading for Bay with some of the ridiculously excessive minor league pitching depth is so blatantly the right move. It makes so much sense.

Trade Kennedy, Horne, Cox/Marquez, and, say, Romine or some other lower minor league talent. There is no reason to have to trade Hughes/Jackson. There is also no need to try and do the lots of worse prospects=better ones. The Yanks have the talent to put together a package that doesn't include those two. And what have the Yankees really given up? They STILL have, as Cliff points out, Acevas, Hughes, McCutchen, Melancon, and oodles more pitching depth to take their spot. With Moose looking like a one year contract is justified, shoring up the OF is 100% a priority...

Cashman NEEDS to trade some of the pitching away simply to clear space. Its okay to protect the minor league talent, its another thing to let them rot and get nothing for it.

2008-07-24 09:39:02
90.   Rob Middletown CT
88 Well, part of what has been so frustrating for me is that I think the Yanks should've signed Barry weeks ago. He would clearly need some game action (AAA?) to get his swing right. I'd say give him a week's worth of DHing in Scranton and then call him up. Apparently, he has kept working out to stay in shape (read into that what you will).
2008-07-24 09:39:24
91.   Chyll Will
82 Absolutely agree. During the 80's, the Yanks developed quite a few major league contributors, it's just that they traded most of them away in order to sustain their almost-good-enough team. When they ran out of those chips, like any engine without gas, they stopped being even almost-good.
2008-07-24 09:40:52
92.   Rob Middletown CT
89 Well, Bay does have some injury history I'd be concerned about. Other than that, yeah, he's a pretty good bet for the next 4-6 years. Depending on the exact price tags, I might prefer to trade for Kemp, who is younger (though less proven) and, as far as I know, healthy.
2008-07-24 09:41:49
93.   Raf
88 Do you think Bonds is sitting home on his couch watching games gorging on chips and salsa? I would think he's keeping himself in some semblance of shape. Significant time? Maybe a couple of weeks to get his timing back.
2008-07-24 09:45:50
94.   Zack
92 I'd love to trade for Kemp too. But the rumor of the Dodgers asking for Cano for Kemp/Lowe doesn't make sense to me. If Kemp could be had for a similar package as Bay, then I am all for it. But subtracting Cano and adding Kemp doesn't seem to solve anything. The Pirates are such a bad organization that hopefully they could recognize that they need as much young talent as possible and would accept a package of minor leaguers. The Dodgers, on the other hand, will be looking for a "win now" package...
2008-07-24 09:47:38
95.   Rob Middletown CT
94 No, I wouldn't do that trade either. I'd want Kemp but not Lowe, and I'm not giving up Cano.

I hear you on the Dodgers wants (win now).

Does Abreu have a NTC?

2008-07-24 09:52:13
96.   Raf
95 Good question; he had the clause when he was with the Phillies; they paid him to waive it. I don't know if it would still be in effect. Even if it was, I see no reason the Yanks couldn't pay him to waive the NTC again, provided Abreu is interested in leaving.
2008-07-24 09:55:22
97.   Rob Middletown CT
Abreu + a prospect or 2 for Kemp is where I'm going with this. Kemp would be an upgrade in RF, because unlike Abreu he can actually play defense. Hitting is probably a wash at this point, but Kemp has upside that Abreu doesn't.

Torre would get a proven veteran, a patient hitter he knows. Abreu probably likes Torre (nearly all the players do) and might be amenable to it...

The Dodgers front office is the question mark. Nobody seems to know what they're doing at times - it seems like they have factions much like the Yankees did (still do?).

2008-07-24 10:00:35
98.   pistolpete
93 >> Do you think Bonds is sitting home on his couch watching games gorging on chips and salsa? >>

Then where's the footage of him hitting balls in a cage, or jogging? You don't think ESPN would be all over this by now if he was actually preparing to play?

2008-07-24 10:00:44
99.   JL25and3
94 Yeah, I agree. The Yankees have to start thinking about building a core for, say, three years from now. Rodriguez, Cano, Jackson and... Bay's 29, and there's no reason not to count on him as a core player for the next 5 years or so.
2008-07-24 10:05:00
100.   Zack
97 I'd gladly do that trade too, but I would have to wonder why the Dodgers would want Abreu. He really isn't very good anymore, and thats probably pretty obvious to them. Plus he's being paid a lot, so obviously the Yanks would have to cover that as well. Instead of Bobby, offer Melky as a "throw in" and install Kemp in CF until Jackson is ready...
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-07-24 10:05:37
101.   Travis08
87 "Both of these teams had the same approach to winning those championships, though recently only one is applying it."

I'm having a hard time figuring out which moves, specifically, have the Red Sox done in the 2005-2008 period that the Yankees would not have done? Which haven't they done that the Yankees would have?

2008-07-24 10:06:39
102.   Raf
98 I bet the moment he starts negotiations with a team, you'll see the footage of him doing road work and cage work. Provided Bonds allows them, of course.
2008-07-24 10:07:43
103.   ChrisS
82 "Which was also the case in the 80's & 90's."

Not exactly. All teams are made up of a mix of FAs, trade acquisitions, and home grown players. That's not the point. The point is who those players are.

84 Agreed, but I don't think that overpaying for a Bay or Holliday (or god helps us all, Nady) is worth giving up on future parts. That's a huge gamble with the one commodity the Yankees have very little of (actual prospects).

And Jackson is dominating AA, which is made more special by his age and his improvement as a player in key growth areas (K rate, BB, SLG). I think by the middle of '09 he'll be a better player than Cabrera (not saying much), but I wouldn't bet on him contributing significantly until '10 or '11.

2008-07-24 10:07:44
104.   monkeypants
79 I don't know whether it was a bad contract or not, though I usually approve of the Yankees overspending to keep talent because they can afford to do so more than other teams. I do contend, however, that the series of long, bloated contracts that the Yankees tied themselves into is the main reason why they did not pursue Beltran more vigorously, and perhaps even the reason they did not contend in the Vlad sweepstakes.

Anyway, this still does not address the main topic that we have been discussing. You originally stated that the Boss wanted Bernie gone, and used this as evidence of his destructive tendencies. Yet there is no evidence to support this aside from your memory, and even now your story has changed from "Boss wants Bernie gone" to "Boss didn't want to go over 5 years." Those are two very different situations, which point to very different characterizations of Steinbrenner.

And that still again ignores one part of the story that everyone seems to agree with: that the personal meeting between Bernie and the Boss was critical in Bernie's staying with the team. If your original contention were accurate--that George "wanted Bernie gone"--he could have had his way right then and there. The fact the two men met and came to an agreement suggests that the Boss wanted him to stay, not go. It's not conclusive proof, of course, but my interpretation seems to fit the evidence better.

Anyway, I have now beaten this dead horse deader than dead can be.

2008-07-24 10:11:07
105.   monkeypants
90 Yes, if they were going to sign him they should have (and likely would have) done so weeks ago. The fact that they have not signed him to this point only reinforces the reality that they are not going to.

One can continue to get more and more frustrated with each passing day without Bonds in pinstripes. Or, one can come to terms with reality.

2008-07-24 10:14:52
106.   YankeeInMichigan
82 Yankees who spent at least a year on the farm and started for at least two years on the MLB team since the beginning or the reign of George III:


Did I miss anyone? The 80s are indeed pretty empty, supporting James' impatience theory.

The 70s championship teams were build mostly by shrewd trades, and only a couple of these could be catorized as giving up emerging talent for quick fixes. Possible exceptions:
- John Ellis and Charlie Spikes were considered high-ceiling guys in some circles (Rusty Torres was a bonafide scrub and Jerry Kenney was a veteran jouneyman). Then again, Nettles was hardly over the hill. No complaints in hindsight.
- Had the Yanks had Tippy Martinez, Scott MacGregor and Rick Dempsey in 1983, they and not Orioles would have been world champions. Then again, Alexander, Jackson and Holtzman put the team over the hump to win their first pennant in 12 seasons. When the quick fix works (and that year the pennant, not the World Series, was the goal), it's hard to complain.

2008-07-24 10:16:39
107.   Rob Middletown CT
100 Yeah, you're right. Wishcasting by me there.
2008-07-24 10:18:47
108.   Rob Middletown CT
105 I have come to terms with reality - I know they're not going to sign Bonds. Really, I do.

But even so, I need to occasionally rant about the stupidity of it here and at RLYW.

2008-07-24 10:19:00
109.   ChrisS
89 "There is little to suggest that Bay won't be a top offensive player for the next 6 years, which certainly justifies a trade."

Actually, there is. It's pretty well established that most players go through a curve with the peak of their offensive skills at or around 28. They may have good numbers still, but at that point you're buying into a player that will likely decline. Continually buying the 28-35 years is a losing proposition compared with buying the 24-31 years.

I'll make the bet that a player will decline in ability from 28 on all day long. I may lose a few, but I'll win more than enough to offset them. And from 31 on it's easy money.

2008-07-24 10:21:48
110.   Raf
105 The fact that they have not signed him to this point only reinforces the reality that they are not going to.

Also reinforces the stupidity of the organization as well as others, and leads credence to the idea that the league may be colluding against Bonds. I mean, c'mon; JAY GIBBONS recently found work with the Brewers organization. I find it difficult to believe that a contending team doesn't have room for Bonds.

If the Yanks want to send the guys out there they've been sending, that's fine by me; I supported the team when they were playing Bam Bam Meulens & Pat Sheridan in LF. Doesn't make a lick of difference to me. But it's absurd to ignore a player of Bonds' stature and caliber, especially when there seems to be no good reason to do so.

2008-07-24 10:23:33
111.   Travis08
106 Add:

Nick Johnson (depends on definition of "started")
Kevin Maas (ditto)
Hitchcock (counting strike portion of 1994)

2008-07-24 10:27:44
112.   JL25and3
106 The Yankees also desperately needed a third baseman, much more than they needed Ellis and Spikes. The year before, their third basemen were Celerino Sanchez, Bernie Allen, Rich McKinney and Hal Lanier.

The Nettles trade may well have been dishonest, or at least disingenuous. Gabe Paul was the Cleveland GM, but he was also helping George Steinbrenner buy the Yankees. Six weeks or so after fixing their third base problem, Paul quit the Indians to become GM, president and part-owner of the Yankees.

2008-07-24 10:29:26
113.   monkeypants
110 All organizations may be stupid, but it certainly adds little to the case that this is collusion. That's because the entire case for collusion in the very fact that Bonds has not been signed, which verges on a circular argument ("it must be collusion if Bonds is not signed? How do you know? Because he was not signed?)
2008-07-24 10:31:25
114.   JL25and3
109 Bay has some room to decline and still be a very, very good player. How many guys do the Yankees have who might be as good as Bay in five years?

Also, you'd lose that bet with Bay. He had his only lousy season at age 28.

2008-07-24 10:55:04
115.   ChrisS
109 "I may lose a few, but I'll win more than enough to offset them."

Abreu at 29 had a string of 140+ OPS+ seasons before his one off year at 28. I'd say that his usefulness has taken a precipitous decline. Bay's not particularly good fielder at this point already. Matsui, a pretty good hitter can't field and can't play. Age 30+ players decline and get injured at a greater rate. Scrambling around to get peak players just to watch them decline or spend time on the bench and give up playing time to 28 year old AAAA players is a losing battle.

My argument, what of one there is, is to trade for guys heading into their peak years, and to not trade for guys at their peak or already past. Look at the leaderboards from 4 and 5 years ago, take a look at the guys who were 28/29 and see what they did over the last 5 years. They mainly decline and it costs a lot to get those declining years.

2008-07-24 10:57:59
116.   Shaun P
Copied and pasted without further comment:

"SportsNation Keith law: (1:53 PM ET ) If you're thinking playoffs, you have to at least consider strategic options. And I don't see the SP options on the market - Washburn? Blech. Burnett? You want him pitching in critical games for you down the stretch? What starters are out there who would merit the Yankees giving up something of value? And if the Yanks were serious about upgrading their outfield, they'd sign Bonds." (emphasis mine)

OK, one comment - someone thinks Bonds could still hit, 10 months later.

2008-07-24 11:02:45
117.   Zack
116 But Bonds is not an OF upgrade, he's a DH upgrade...
2008-07-24 11:10:12
118.   Zack
109 115 Well sure, of course you trade for guys heading into their peak year. Nobody would argue that, its always best to get a guy for more of their best seasons. On the other hand, that can backfire too. Look at Vazquez and Weaver (pitchers I know). And lots of players are productive well into their 30s and signing them in their peak ends up being every bit worth it. Look at A-Rod. Look at O'Neill.

But that's besides the point. The discussion wasn't who the Yanks should trade for given a perfect world, it was who the Yanks can reasonably trade for. Kemp would be great, but as already stated, he'll cost a lot more than Bay would most likely, and he'll cost more of what the Yankees don't have as much of, namely immediate impact players. The same is generally true for any budding superstar. Bay, on the other hand, has had one down season surrounded by seasons of excellence (and has rebounded from last season quite nicely). That doesn't indicate at all that he's particularly injury prone. I'm sure if you run any sort of projection for Bay, the #s would indicate that he would, in all likelihood, be one of the top 3 offensive contributors on the Yankees for the next 6 years.

Would it be nice to trade for Kemp or Grady Sizemore? hells yeah. Would it be just as nice to trade for Bay for a lesser cost? hells yeah.

2008-07-24 11:10:57
119.   Shaun P
117 Klaw argues later on (and Joe Sheehan has made this point as well) that Bonds was actually OK in the field last year. The metrics back them up, IIRC.
2008-07-24 11:18:34
120.   YankeeInMichigan
111 I had meant to add Soriano. 502 TPA is a pretty standard metric for a "regular" position player, and Johnson never reached that. Maas reached it only once. Pat Kelly (Kelly on my list was Roberto) is another borderline case who fails to satisfy the 502 TPA test. Hitchcock started only 5 games in '94 (granted, Mariano wasn't a starter either, but front-line relievers are "regulars" as well). I had completely forgotten about Kamieniecki (he was easy to forget, as well the whole team from '88-'93).
2008-07-24 11:23:23
121.   Raf
113 We'll find out if/when the Players Association gets involved.
2008-07-24 11:26:35
122.   Zack
119 True, but I was referring more to the available positions. I suppose Bonds could alternate with Damon in LF/DH, but I suspect that they would pamper Bonds a bit more.

But its really beside the point as it ain't happening, for better or for worse

2008-07-24 11:42:38
123.   williamnyy23
79 I think your memory is mistaken. Here is a passage from Buster Olney writing in the NYT on 11/24/98. From this passage, it seems that George was being prodded into looking at Belle as a back-up plan, including by Torre of all people. If anything, it was the Boss' patience that kept Bernie in the fold.

"Many among the Yankees' decision-makers, sure that Williams cares only about signing for a higher offer, were prepared to sign Belle last week. But George Steinbrenner, the Yankees' principal owner, seemed more reserved in his approach, delaying the full pursuit of Belle in the hope he could lure Williams back into the fold. He met with Scott Boras, Williams's agent, at the end of last week; the two spoke cordially, but without progress, Steinbrenner maintaining that he did not increase his offer to the center fielder.
"All the while, Steinbrenner has been told by those around him -- Manager Joe Torre among them -- that Belle could be successfully incorporated into the Yankees' family. Steinbrenner could not be reached for comment, but yesterday he gave his blessing for a full-blown pursuit of Belle. ''Everybody is on the same page,'' one club official said."

2008-07-24 11:42:51
124.   JL25and3
122 Without a smoking gun, I don't know how they could possibly demonstrate collusion. They did it before, but that was when it involved entire free agent classes. When it's just one 45-year-old player, you'd probably have to produce evidence of some communication.
2008-07-24 11:49:53
125.   williamnyy23
101 Excellent point...the fact of the matter is that Lowell, Beckett, Drew, Manny, Ortiz, Dice K, etc. are all high priced free agent signings or the result of dump trades who make up the Sox core. Yet, somehow, the Red Sox are lauded for doing things the right way. This is a team of which the GSIII of the 1980s, the very one being villified, would have been proud.

It's easy to say you have to build from within, but the truth of the matter is you need to get as many good players as possible in as many different ways as is affordable.

2008-07-24 11:51:43
126.   ChrisS
118 Player for player, more decline than stay steady or improve. ARod is a special player. Bonds was special. O'Neill was productive until he was 35. But he was the 2nd oldest guy on the '96 team after Boggs. The Yankees can't add old players to older players and expect to compete.

They should have traded for Kemp last year or two years ago. They should have traded for Sizemore four years ago (I remember one rumored trade of Cano for Sizemore after 2005). If they're giving up a talented prospect, the Yankees should be looking at trading for Colby Rasmus, Cameron Maybin, or Brandon Jones, etc. The last five years, Yankees haven't been a particularly forward-looking organization and it's hurt them again and again.

I guess I'm in the minority on this one. Bay/Holliday is just another case of buying a older vet player at their peak to fix a hole caused by a player declining.

2008-07-24 12:01:25
127.   williamnyy23
126 That all sounds well and good in hindsight, but the fact of the matter is that trading for prospects is a very inexact science, which is why you seldom see swaps of highly touted minor leaguers. You say you waned them to trade for Sizemore four years ago, but the following were ranked close to him by BA: Kaz Matsui, Greg Miller, Andy Marte, Adam Loewen and Josh Barfield. Aside from the fact that you have to give up something of value to get a top prospect, your theory ignores the very real chance that you will wind up trading for Andy Marte and not Grady Sizemore.

So, if the Yankees do trade for Rasmus or Maybin, who exactly are you going to give up? I'd much rather develop my own propects and trade for known quantities than to exchange my high hopes for someone else's.

2008-07-24 12:07:04
128.   JL25and3
125 The Beckett trade was a little more than a salary dump. The Red Sox gave up the best prospect in their system, a guy who plays a key position that they've had trouble filling. He's developed into a major star.

The Red Sox were willing to pull the trigger and roll the dice (simultaneously, no less) on a blockbuster deal. The Yankees haven't shown much willingness to do that.

2008-07-24 12:11:59
129.   ChrisS
125 Ortiz was most definitely not a high priced FA. Beckett was a young talented pitcher acquired, along with Lowell, for a high-end prospect (and I don't know how to rate that one, I almost think I'd rather have Ramirez). Varitek was a young unproven catcher fleeced from the Mariners. They kept Lester and Clay, developed Papelbon, developed Youk, Ellsbury, and Pedroia. Lugo was signed as a mid-priced FA as they wait for Lowrie. Coco Crisp was acquired, essentially, for spare parts the Sox didn't need. Schilling was acquired in a salary dump for Casey Fossum.

Manny and Dice K are the only exceptions and Manny was signed as an insanely good 28 year old. Dice-K was high-priced and I'm not sure how well that deal will work out.

2008-07-24 12:23:55
130.   williamnyy23
129 Manny and Dice K are the only exceptions? Drew doesn't count? Also, Crisp was not acquired for spare parts. It cost the Red Sox Andy Marte (two slots behind Sizemore on the 2004 prospect list) and Kelly Shoppach, who once was a notch below Navarro on the catcher prospect charts (wouldn't the Sox much rather have Shoppach than Varitek now), as well as a portion of Renteria's contract, himself another FA signing.

The fact of the matter is the Yankees and Red Sox have gone about building their teams in a very similar fashion.

2008-07-24 12:26:20
131.   Travis08
129 Don't forget J.D. Drew and his 5 years/$70m contract. Or the Murphy and Gabbard for Gagne trade. Matt Clement was their Pavano.

Julio Lugo at 4 years/$36m is mid-priced?

2008-07-24 12:27:06
132.   Raf
129 Beckett was young, talented, injury prone, and was getting to the point where he would've been expensive, at least to the Marlins. He was coming off a career year when he was traded, wasn't he?

IIRC Lowell was thrown in to dump salary.

2008-07-24 12:28:18
133.   williamnyy23
128 The Lowell portion was a salary dump though. In fact, the Red Sox were forced to take him. It seems funny to suggest that the Yankees aren't willing to pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal when most of this thread has been critical of the Yankees for doing so in the past.

Also, if you remove Lowell from the equation because of the circumstances listed above, maybe the Red Sox would have been better off not pulling the trigger on that deal (they could have had Lowell for nothing anyway). Beckett's ERA+ in Boston is 95, 145 and 110. Unless 2006 and 2008 are the flukes, I think a young power hitting SS like Ramirez is a much more valuable commodity.

2008-07-24 12:35:36
134.   Rob Middletown CT
The Sox also included some pitching prospects in that trade. One shredded his shoulder and thus will probably never be any good. The other blew out his elbow, right? Chance for recovery there.

Lowell's rebound was pretty lucky for the Sox. I know Theo & Co. are smart and all, but I rather doubt they expected that much of a bounceback.

Beckett... has been rather up & down, hasn't he? First year era of 5 (imagine that for the Yanks! Immediate dump trade that offseason). Last year 3 and a quarter, with a sterling postseason. So far this year, 4. So he's averaging about a 4 era for Boston since the trade. A little more actually, but I do think we can discount the first year as an adjustment year. If you leave it out entirely, you're in the mid-upper 3s... in other words, Chien-Ming Wang (with, um, different results in the playoffs). Very good. Not great.

2008-07-24 12:40:44
135.   ChrisS
127 You can't develop your own prospects and trade for known quantities while keeping your own prospects. The Yankees have developed all of one position player in the last five years above replacement level on their 25-man roster. Bay or Holliday will cost more than Horne and Alberto Gonzalez. And if you're trading that kind of talent, then trade for a decent prospect with the potential for 10-12 good years instead of 5 or 6.

Greg Miller was solid pitching prospect that developed arm trouble, it happens. Kaz Matsui wasn't really a "prospect," and Andy Marte is still only 24. There's risk, sure, just like signing 36 year old catchers to four year deals, but you can cherry pick the busts from four year old lists just as well as you can the all-stars. But:

The Yankees knew they would need a CF, especially when they passed on Beltran. Of the OFers in the 2004/05 class of young top prospects: David Dejesus, Franklin Gutierrez, Jason Bay, Grady Sizemore, Alexis Rios, and Jeremy Reed. Yeah, one was a giant bust. Two are decent, one is getting better and is still young, and two are really good. I like those odds.

Of course, I'm all for keeping what we have and not trading anything of great worth.

2008-07-24 12:41:46
136.   JL25and3
133 The criticism is of bad deals. I've said consistently that they need to be more willing to trade prospects than they have been.

Whatever Lowell's salary situation, trading Hanley Ramirez is something the Yankees wouldn't have done.

2008-07-24 12:45:40
137.   Raf
136 I guess Nick Johnson would probably be the closest equivalent. It's not often the Yanks have an uberprospect that they would feel comfortable dealing. They were in a position to do so with Hughes, and understandably, they held on to him.
2008-07-24 12:48:59
138.   Rob Middletown CT
136 Maybe, maybe not.

If the Yankees had made that deal, they'd have been murdered for it while Beckett put up an era of 5 (and their young prospects did well in Florida). It would've been the Javy Vasquez situation all over again, except imagine a healthy Nick Johnson raking day in day out.

All credit to Boston for sticking it out, by the way. They were convinced Beckett was the man and they didn't let that first bad year convince them otherwise. EVEN SO, it's arguable that they gave up more than they got.

My main issue with the Yanks is that they needed a coherent plan and they needed to stick to it. They now have such a plan, and have been sticking to it. Bravo. That doesn't make them a great organization by itself.

I agree, btw, that some trades will have to be made.

2008-07-24 12:49:46
139.   Raf
137 "uberprospect, much less one that they would feel comfortable dealing"
2008-07-24 12:50:45
140.   Rob Middletown CT
See, that's a good point. Nick Johnson was a seriously good prospect. The organization loved him. But when Javy Vasquez became available, they parted with him.

That's the sort of "roll the dice" big trade we're talking about here, isn't it?

It didn't work. But if you look at the info available pre-trade on Vasquez and compare it to Beckett... is Boston's decision somehow demonstrably better?

2008-07-24 12:54:10
141.   Travis08
138 140 If we're going back to the 2003-2004 offseason, we might as well include Soriano (thought to be 25 at the time) for A-Rod.
2008-07-24 12:59:23
142.   Zack
135 I think we are going to have to agree to disagree here. I really don't see anything wrong with trading prospects for proven players at their peak, where you can be pretty darn sure of their continued success and you don't have to pony up quite as much. Again, obviously if the asking price was the same, I'd take Sizemore over Bay, but it really doesn't work like that. Why would trading Cano for Sizemore make any sense for the Yanks? You have to look at the subtraction as well as the addition.

The goal of any organization is to develop as much talent from within and use the excess to trade for the right pieces. Because of crappy planning and circumstances the Yankees have a lot of pitching talent and little positional talent, so turn that excess into pieces that fit the puzzle. Build around A-Rod, Cano, and AJax as well as a solid young rotation and BP. It would be great to get a few more top young positional prospects, but they are probably just as likely to not pan out as a guy in his peak not being effective over the next 5 years

2008-07-24 13:00:07
143.   ChrisS
130 I missed Drew. But he was 29 and didn't cost them prospects. Marte was expendable, no matter how well he projected. It would be if we traded Ajax while Melky was OPSing .850 in order to fill a core position. And Crisp was a soon-to-be 26 year old talented defensive CFer coming off a 117 OPS. It was a risk worth taking considering how solid their other positions were. And really, Marte is rare bust considering his numbers, but, how odd, two well-run organizations luckily missed out on the bust. Funny that. The Braves make an awful lot of lucky moves.

Gagne was pretty much a steal for the Sox since they didn't give up Bucholz or Lester (the Rangers were asking for Hughes/Joba and Melky from the Yankees) and none of players would be ones the Sox would miss.

The Yankees can't afford too many risks because they're already gambling at so many other positions.

2008-07-24 13:56:56
144.   tommyl
Random idea but how's about trying to swing a trade for I-Rod? Yeah he's old, yeah its a rental, but he immediately drastically upgrades C, isn't a blackhole in the lineup and I can't imagine the asking price will be that high. What do people think?
2008-07-24 14:03:38
145.   tommyl
Oh guys, you'll love this one:

2008-07-24 14:08:01
146.   tommyl
Ah, here's another rumor, the Jays are apparently thinking about putting Halladay up for grabs. What's he worth?
2008-07-24 14:16:20
147.   Rob Middletown CT
146 What's his contract situation?

He's a really good pitcher. I cannot, however, see a fair trade between the Blue Jays and Yankees.

2008-07-24 14:22:52
148.   JL25and3
145 Yeah, that seems to be a big story today. I'm not sure why, because Hank really didn't say anything.

147 Signed for 2 more years, $30M. Hard to believe the Jays would ever trade him to NY, though.

2008-07-24 14:23:50
149.   tommyl
147 I believe he's under control (at a low rate) till 2010 or so, but not sure.
2008-07-24 14:24:19
150.   tommyl
Well here's a question: Hughes+Kennedy for Halladay?
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2008-07-25 07:37:19
151.   Rob Middletown CT
150 Hmm. I'd like to see some projections on that. Kennedy I am perfectly willing to part with. Hughes gives me pause - I'd trade him, but I'd want to be reeeaaaalllly careful about it. How old is Doc?

A high profile trade like that between division rivals seems unlikely to me. If you get it wrong, you have egg all over your face, b/c said division rival will be beating you with your player(s).

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