Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Nady Mucho
2008-07-25 23:25
by Cliff Corcoran

Proof that Brian Cashman reads this blog:

Thursday I posted a rant that, among other things, said the Yankees shouldn't waste their resources by trading for a relief pitcher and that they should stay away from Xavier Nady.

Friday, the Yankees traded four minor leaguers to the Pirates for lefty relief pitcher Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady.

Here's the wacky part: I don't hate the trade.

The thing is, the Yankees didn't really give up anyone they couldn't afford to lose. The four minor leaguers headed to Pittsburgh are pitchers Ross Ohlendorf, Phil Coke, and George Kontos, and outfielder Jose Tabata.

The names that jump out on that list are Ohlendorf's and Tabata's, so let's dispose of the other two first. Coke is a lefty starter who has dominated in double-A over the last three months. That sounds like a lot to give up, but he just turned 26 and this is his first year above A-ball. What's more, despite his success in the offense-suppressing environment in Trenton, there's simply no room for him in Scranton, where the rotation consists of Ian Kennedy, Daniel McCutchen, Alfredo Aceves, Jeff Karstens and . . . well, Kei Igawa, but only because Alan Horne, Jeff Marquez, and Phil Hughes (who Brian Cashman recently said would be optioned after being officially activated from his current rehab assignment) are on the DL. George Kontos is three years younger than Coke, but he's right-handed, hadn't pitched as well in Trenton, and is similarly blocked by the organizational gridlock forming around the Scranton rotation. Besides, as young as the 23-year-old Kontos is, Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are younger, and Kennedy and Marquez are less than a year older, meaning the Yankees already have four right-handed starters his age ahead of him in the organization.

This same surplus of pitching talent in the high minors is what makes Ohlendorf expendable. One can criticize the Yankees for failing to use Ohlendorf in the sort of short-inning relief appearances they targeted him for in spring training, but the simple fact is that he was squeezed out of the bullpen by other minor league relievers who simply out-pitched him (Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, David Robertson, and Dan Giese). Converted back to starting in triple-A (Scranton has been going with a six-man rotation since the All-Star break), he pitched well, but not significantly better than he had been when the Yankees decided he might make a better relief pitcher. Of the four players traded, Ohlendorf is the only one with any major league experience, and he'll be 26 himself in a week.

Once they're all healthy, Horne and Marquez will likely slot into the two empty spots in double-A, and Hughes will take some extra time pitching for Scranton, more than filling the rotations at the top two minor league levels. Meanwhile, there's more pitching on the way from the lower levels. In trading Ohlendorf, Coke, and Kontos, the Yankees have simply skimmed off their minor league surplus in the service of improving the major league team.

As for Tabata, he's still just 19 and entered the season as one of the organization's top prospects, but he's had a dreadful season (.248/.320/.310) that has been further marred by some discipline issues and a something of a crisis of commitment during which he almost quit baseball. He's also proven to be fragile, as each of his last two seasons was shortened by a hand injury and he heads to the Pirates while still on the DL with a hamstring strain. He's clearly been passed by 21-year-old Austin Jackson as the organization's top outfield prospect, and I suspect the Yankees are giving up on him, much like they did on 2005 first-round draft pick C.J. Henry when they made Henry the lead prospect in the Bobby Abreu trade at the 2006 deadline.

Of course, from a scouting standpoint, there's no real comparison between Henry, an almost instant bust, and Tabata, who remains a prospect, but with Henry the Yankees seemed to smell bust before the blood was in the water and were thus able to cash him in before he lose his first-round luster. I suspect they're doing the same with Tabata, an offense-first outfielder who has never hit for any real power (mL career: .291/.362/.382), hasn't been able to cope with the crucial leap to double-A, and could simply not be the hitter he once was (or was expected to be) due to those hand injuries. I also think that the Yankees deeply regret not cashing in former top prospect Eric Duncan, another poor defensive player who largely stopped hitting upon reaching double-A at a young age and has never recovered, and were, justifiably, more willing to part with Tabata as a result.

So what the Yankees gave up isn't much, which makes it easier to accept the fact that what they got may not be all that much either. As I wrote on Thursday, the Yankees just don't need another relief pitcher. Damaso Marte would be a huge upgrade for a struggling bullpen, but the Yankees' is not such a bullpen.

Worse than being somewhat redundant, Marte could actually prove a hindrance to the bullpen, even if he pitches well. One of the strengths of the Yankee pen has been Joe Girardi's ability to spread the work around, thus minimizing the strain on any one pitcher. One reason he's been able to do that is that the men he has in his pen behind Mariano Rivera are all largely interchangeable. Leaving out mop-up man LaTroy Hawkins (whom, I expect will finally be released to make room for Marte), the Yankee relievers are all very effective right-handed pitchers, and all but Kyle Farnsworth have excellent numbers against left-handed hitters. That means Girardi hasn't had to lean on any individual pitcher for specific matchups, and because he hasn't had to micro-manage his matchups, he's generally able to use his relievers for a minimum of three outs at a time rather than for the fractions of innings that LaRussian bullpen management requires. More outs per appearance means less total appearances and thus less of a strain on the bullpen as a whole.

If Girardi uses Marte--who has a slight reverse split this year (lefties hit .255/.305/.364 vs. righties' .200/.278/.283)--as just another dominant setup man who can pitch full innings and help spread the work around, he'll be an obvious upgrade on Hawkins. However, if Girardi decides he now has a matchup lefty and starts managing batter-by-batter in the late-innings, it's going to put a previously non-existent strain on the bullpen and could actually hurt the unit as a whole. If Marte does replace Hawkins, treating Marte as a LOOGY will effectively replace the member of the pen whose primary purpose was to eat up garbage innings with a guy who eats up almost no innings at all. The success of this half of the deal is thus in Girardi's hands. The good news is that Girardi has thus far lived up to his reputation has an excellent handler of bullpens, so there's reason to be optimistic.

As for Xavier Nady, yes, he's having a career year, but I'm not convinced he's going to hit as a Yankee. On his 29th birthday last November, Nady was a career .272/.327/.441 hitter against a league average of .271/.341/.435. He's also a career .224/.290/.388 hitter in 215 at-bats against American League pitching. Something about Nady screams Craig Wilson to me. When the Yankees traded for Wilson at the 2006 deadline, he was a 29-year-old right-handed right fielder/first baseman from Pittsburgh with a career .268/.360/.486 line who had hit .212/.282/.377 against American League pitching. As a Yankee, Wilson hit .212/.248/.365.

Still, there are reasons to be more optimistic about Nady. To begin with, there's that career year he's having (.330/.383/.535 thus far). He's also hitting .352/.419/.576 on the road, which means he's not exploiting PNC Park in some unusual way. He's also doing that despite a miserable line at Wrigley Field, the road park in which he's hit most often. Finally, unlike Wilson, who came to the Yankees ice cold (.211/.231/.316 in July 2006 prior to the trade), Nady is red hot (.386/.403/.614 in July through Thursday's games with a still-active 13-game hitting streak). If nothing else, Nady will produce more than Brett Gardner has out of left field and will prevent Johnny Damon from rushing back to the field and reinjuring his shoulder on a throw, but I don't believe that the acquisition of Nady means that the Yankees have added a big bat to their lineup.

I don't hate this trade, but I'm dubious. Poking around, it seems I might be the only one who is. Here's hoping I'm the one who's wrong.

2008-07-26 03:32:28
1.   Yu-Hsing Chen
While i agree with your general rationing, I think your underestimating just how much of a difference Nady to Gardner is, even if we use Nady's career marks (which isn't entirely just either, since he played most of his career either in PECTO or Shea).

And this could also mean that once Damon's healthy he could spell more RF / 1B, removing two of our biggest defensive culprit from the field .

He's an average player. but he's filling in holes where average seems like heaven.

2008-07-26 05:08:08
2.   The Mick 536
Thanks for the update on Tabata. I kind of wonndered why we hadn't heard about him. What goes with the Yankee braintrust. Don't they recognize rotten tomatoes when they see them? No prospects in sight?
2008-07-26 05:16:54
3.   Rob Middletown CT
Hrrrmph. Well, they decided to give up on Tabata. Ultimately, that's going to be what determines whether or not this was a good trade. The other three guys - totally agree they're expendable. But Tabata could turn out to be a mistake.

We'll see.

2008-07-26 05:22:01
4.   williamnyy23
Also, keep in mind that Marte is a potential class-A free agent. If the Yankees decline his option and let him walk, the deal becomes two high round draft picks and Nady, which could very easily replenish the prospects traded in this deal. It could very well be that the Tabata turns things around, but it could also be true that the Yankees use one of those drafts picks for the next Chamberlain.
2008-07-26 05:34:48
5.   Rob Middletown CT
Yeah, I guess I really don't hate this deal. Nady isn't this good, but normal Nady is a big upgrade.
2008-07-26 06:19:54
6.   JL25and3
I give Cashman plenty of credit for this deal. Tabata might turn out well, but both the odds and the timetable are longer than they were. They made themselves better for this year and possibly next without doing serious damage to the farm.

It doesn't negate my earlier criticisms of Cashman's long-range planning. First, if there'd been any AAA players who were even slightly competent, this might not have been necessary. Second, this is primarily a short-term, reactive move (and a good one). In the longer term, it's only OK. Nady makes an adequate replacement for Abreu next year, but that's probably all he is, unless you really think he's a .330 hitter. There's still plenty of heavy lifting to be done to be ready for next year and beyond, so I'm still waiting to see how that goes.

2008-07-26 06:27:08
7.   yankster
Although I was already pre-disposed to liking this deal, the details of triple and even double A pitching rotation congestion makes it even more clear that this is a positive trade.

One thing I'm reading a lot in comments that isn't right is that some how the other team has to do worse than the yankees for this to be a good trade. That's not true. If the Yankees can trade something they have surplus of to a team that has a scarcity of it and vice versa, it's fine for the other team to do well.

Tabata is not doing well in the Yankee's minor leagues. If somebody finds the potion over in the Pirate's minors that makes Tabata better, that's not an indication that this was a bad trade, though it might be an indication that the Yankees need better position player coaching. So, in terms of assessing this trade a few years from now, it'll be awfully difficult to claim that any Tabata upswing is intrinsic to is ability: he has shown a disconcerting combination of bad omens - fragile health, soft commitment, and not too much hitting. Sounds like a risk the Yankees can afford to expend even if he turns out to be a solid player for another organization.

2008-07-26 06:30:28
8.   OldYanksFan
A Question guys:
Nady is NOT signed for 2009, but will still be under our control. Does that mean the Yankes either make an offer that's accepted or it goes to arb? If the Yankees DON'T want him in 2009, can't he be 'let loose', or do we get him one way or the other via arb?

Also, I'm confused. With Marte, in order to get the picks, do we have to offer arb, or can we just let him walk? Same with Bobby. Do we get picks for just letting guys walk? And Jason? Might he generate a pick?

2008-07-26 06:43:35
9.   JL25and3
8 The Yankees can non-tender Nady if they want, simply not offer him a contract. Then he becomes a free agent and they get nothing. That's what the Twins did with David Ortiz.

With the other free agents, yes, you have to offer arbitration in order to get the picks. In any case, with Marte in particular, we don't really know yet if he'll bring back picks.

2008-07-26 06:45:50
10.   ms october
8 oyf-

yes, the yanks can offer him something (they could in theory offer him an extension the way they did with cano - but i seriously doubt that since a) he may not be in the long term plans and b) boras is his agent.)
but i would assume this goes to arbitration and they pay him next year whatever the arb number is.
my understanding is he could be non-tendered but i am not as sure how that works.

as far as the free agents the yanks have - abreu, giambi, marte, etc - they have to be offered arbitration to merit draft picks and they have to be rated as type a or b to get the picks - with a netting more

2008-07-26 06:46:20
11.   ms october
9 sorry jl - my slow typing - didn't see your post
2008-07-26 06:47:29
12.   tommyl

There's been some confusion over Nady's contract status. While he's only signed through this year, some last night pointed out he doesn't have enough service time to be a FA, so I guess that makes him arb. eligible?

What's more confusing is various newspaper reports are saying different things. Rosenthal says he's signed through 2009 (which I believe is wrong) and Kepner says he's a FA next year. Do you know the definitive answer?

2008-07-26 06:56:35
13.   monkeypants
3 As I posted last night, Tabata's future is not the only thing that determines if this is a good trade or not. If the team wins the WS this year (unlikely, I know) and Nady contributes measurably, then the trade is certainly a success.

All trades such as these represent a trade-off, the potential future success of the prospect--even long-term success--against the short-term value of the older player. We tend to focus on the lost prospects who go on to contribute elsewhere, but we often forget about the immediate return on such a trade.

I call it the Jay Buhner effect, a trade so bad that it has became a legendary joke on Seinfeld. But really, was it so bad? And what if Ken Phelps, who played well for the team that year, led the Yankees to the promised land (yeah, I know, it was 1988, still go along with me...)? Would a WS title have been worth the cost of Buhner?

Last night someone responded to my post that if Tabata turns into Willie Mays (the poster admitted this was of course highly unlikely) we would regret the trade even if the Yanks win the WS this year.

I'm not sure I agree. I am not a win now at all costs guy, and I was more than willing to give up on this season a month ago and watch the team rebuild for the future. At the same time, I do not see the WS as some sort of Yankees birthright. As such, I think that I perhaps value the title even more than those who clamor for it every years. The last eight years show just how hard it can be to win the big one. Given that, I think that, I might be willing to part with a future star, even a great one, if it guaranteed the WS. And, if I were able to look back in ten years at this or any trade, and say "well, we gave up so-and-so, who is now a perennial all star, but we also won the WS with player Z," I would probably call that a good trade.

Of course, all of this lays in the future. I don't think the Yanks wll win the WS this year. I don't think Nady will be a key player. I also think that it is very, very unlikely Tabata will be a great star. In fact, in the log run evaluating this trade may come down to seeing what draft picks and subsequent trade acquisitions are picked up by both teams from flipping the players acquired in this deal.

But for right now, Nady simply must be an improvement over Gardner/Christian in OF. In a tight race such as this year's AL East has become, that really could be a difference maker.

2008-07-26 07:01:23
14.   OldYanksFan
7 I agree, and I think evaluating a trade based on how players eventually (outcome) do may be off the mark. When you trade a prospect TODAY, you have to look at his value TODAY. So if the Yankees think, due to all of Tabata's problems, that he has only a '10% chance of being an impact player', then it's smart to trade him while his stock is high.

Pujols was NOT a high pick or highly touted. There are MANY players (Piazza) who were relative unknows as prospects and have had success at the MLB level. There are tons of very high level prospects who went nowhere. Like traing stocks, you have to look at all the information you have NOW and try and make a good decision based on NOW. What happens eventually is somewhat random.

I think in general, if you have to trade prospects, partially what makes smart deals (regardless of how they work out) are those where you sell high/buy low.

Also, the team situation has to be looked at. Did the Mets, Detroit and to some degree the Sox 2 years ago, make a conscious deciusion to 'trade the future' for an opportunity to win NOW? Is this a bad idea by definition? Or is a 'Post Season in the Hand' sometimes better the 'A bunch of prospects in the Bush'? (Of course, there's no guarantee that the PS is in hand, but you get the idea.)

Look at Navarron. He was highly thought of by the Yanks, and good Catchers are always hard to find. But we needed him to get RJ. He did nothing for a few years and we all thought it was 'a good deal' to trade him. Now he's doing well, and some feel we 'lost out on him'. What if he regresses next year?

So do we have to wait until a player's career is established (one way or the other) and then look back to evaluate whether it was a good trade of not?

Yes, the idea is to keep the good ones and dump the (ultimately) bad ones. It's a best guess game. But there will always be a share of successes and failures, as that is the process. If you don't take chances, then you can't make too many trades. It seems to me that 'letting a good one get away' is part of the process and not necessarily a failure.

2008-07-26 07:05:09
15.   monkeypants
13 14 Sweet Jesus, now OYF and I are agreeing with each other. The other day I found myself agreeing with William!

What's going on here? Something must be wrong with me...

2008-07-26 07:05:29
16.   OldYanksFan
2008-07-26 07:06:07
17.   tommyl
15 LOL, it ok monkeypants a Sox series does weird things to all of us.
2008-07-26 07:13:16
18.   monkeypants
I will also admit that my initial reaction to the trade last night was quite negative. I am coming around to liking it, but that may be the rose-colored-glasses, fanboy, Cashman-apologist in me.

By biggest gripe was having to give up Tabata, of course. But not because I think that he will pan out--he probably won't. Then again, many, many prospects don't pan out.

Rather, I am still a bit worried that an organization with so little MiL position player depth just traded away one of its few MiL position prospects. I would rather the team oversold a bit on pitching with their surplus of redundant arms (as Cliff called them): these may be of higher value to another organization weak in pitching.

But, if the team has so soured on Tabata, they may have felt the best thing to do is sell him now at a relatively high value. If he's a future bust, his value will likely only decline as he continues to flounder in MiL.

2008-07-26 07:25:55
19.   monkeypants
One final comment on this for now. Part of me is glad this was not a slam dunk Abreu type deal. That was clearly a salary dump. While I have little problem with the Yankees leveraging their vast financial advantages, such clear cases of salary dumping sort of rub me the wrong way on an aesthetic (or is moral?) level.

Indeed, the league does not allow players to be traded only for money. Whether we like that or not, that's the rule. Yet they allow deals like the Abreu trade--I would have no problem with the league nixing deals like that (so long as it was done fairly, but that's another story...).

Fleecing another team is not the problem. If Cashman can convince another GM that Prospect X is the next Mickey Mantle and get him to trade a very good player in return, well played! Or, if the Yankees ever become sellers, I see nothing wrong with flipping an aging #3 starter to a contender for their tops prospects.

But one-sided salary dumps strike me as a bit distasteful. Moreover, trades like the Abreu deal spoil us into thinking that all trades should be high pay-off, zero-risk affairs, which in turn encourages false expectations. Maybe part of the reason Nady-for-Tabata might look so bad is because Abreu-for-nothing looks so good.

2008-07-26 07:26:05
20.   OldYanksFan
9 10 If that is so, is this probably the scenerio IF Nady continues to have a great year (an .780 OPS guy who has a .950 contract year OPS)?
... He is paid $3.35m this year.
... On the FA market, he might get $10m-$12m in 2009
... In Arb, he might get $7m-$8m

Now... if we offer ANY kind of contract, does he stay with the Yanks in 2009?
... We offer $5m
... He wants $8m
It goes to Arb.
In other words, is the act of offering a contract, regardless of how low, the TRIGGER that says 'you are a Yankee one way or the other', and arbitration is simply the vehicle to decide the salary?

If this is so, does it seem that any arb-eligible player who has an extreme career year (just like Nady) will probably get more then he's worth if it goes to arb?

Again, if this is so, does that mean Nady is probably not a piece of the 2009 puzzle UNLESS the Yanks feel he has turned a corner and is now a legit .850 OPS guy?

We don't want to replace Abreu with an .800 OPS/average fielder guy, do we?

So.... only a guy who 'is not under control' can decline arb and become a FA?

2008-07-26 07:38:37
21.   monkeypants
20 Remember, Nady is RH and can play some 1B, and he's played more games at CF than 1B. So, even if the team is stuck with him in 2009, he might kep Abreu's position warm until the Yanks can find a real bat, or he might be the RH super-sub the team has been looking for.
2008-07-26 07:40:25
22.   cult of basebaal
let's see ...

reactionary yankees fans scream and bitch they gave up too much?


reactionary pirates fans scream and bitch they didn't get enough?


impartial observers call the trade pretty balanced?


2008-07-26 07:42:25
23.   Cliff Corcoran
Re: Nady's contract status:

Several folks seem to have this right above, but just to clarify, he is under team control and into his arbitration years. It is entirely up to the Yankees whether or not they want to keep, cut, or trade him this offseason, but if they want to keep him, they have either to go to arbitration with him or settle in advance of it. He settled prior to arbitration last year for $3.35 million. Given his career year, his price should increase significantly from there this winter.

He will be a free agent after the 2009 season unless signed to a multi-year deal.

2008-07-26 07:44:40
24.   monkeypants
22 I was one of the reactionary fans! No doubt, but I've calmed down a good bit. 18
2008-07-26 07:45:50
25.   ThurmBobby7908
Having spent the better part of the morning reviewing the comments of multiple pro-Yankee blogs, one can conclude the following:

1-Opinions about the trade have become generally favorable, although originally mixed---My problem with the trade is that most opinions are conceding that the trade was favorable, on balance, i.e., more good than it was bad, which is fine, but not necessarily outstanding. In other words, there are a whole lot of ifs that need to play themselves out in order for the trade to be knock-your-socks-off. The problem is that Xavier Nady is no David Justice. He (currently) is better than Gardner/Christian (currently), which is a concession. And Damaso Marte is a lefty specialist in a bullpen that arguably did not necessarily need a lefty specialist. He is better than Latroy Hawkins, another concessin. So the question is did replacing Gardner/Christian and Hawkins have sufficient priority to justify the expenditure of those four prospects on a team that also needs to fill the holes left by the absences of Matsui and Posada, and the failed expectations of Hughes and Kennedy, and no longer has those four prospects for dealing with these deficiencies.

2-Bobby Abreu's fall from grace is a foregone conclusion for less than obvious reasons---The guy's batting .280, is hardly a slug on base, and can throw out runners. I must be missing something about how he became yesterday's trash.

3-The consensus is that for a trade to be a good one, it has to help the team, regardless of how the traded-away player(s) does(do)---Amen on this one. Only if the trade is a bust for your team does it matter how the traded-away players do. Otherwise, it's a win-win situation. Nothing's ever wrong with win-win (unless Boston is one of the winners).

2008-07-26 07:49:06
26.   OldYanksFan
19 First off, we don't allow 'one final comment(s)' here, unless you have sold all your material goods and are moving to Tibet.

Now, I 100% agree with your post. I have seen posts (on Lohud, surprise!) along the lines of 'we have tons of money, so what if we have a $300m payroll. LETS DO IT!' It makes my skin crawl. Financial advatage is a reality, but we should not allow that to rule the game.

To me, 'Fair Play' is a VERY important concept in sports. (It's also why I want Instant Replay, because like the Lowell call last night, really bad umpiring is NOT 'Fair'). We LOVE to win, but when we involve our children in sports, it is to benefit from all of the positive values sports has to offer. For our children, winning is at the bottom of the list.

I know Baseball is a business, and I want to win as much as anyone, but I feel it is of primary importance that baseball still represents all of those 'other' important values that we associate with sports. What sport ceases to be 'Fair', I mean, what is the point?

Have you ever met a guy who was pleased with himself and took joy at beating his 11 year old little sister in a game?

HOWEVER, the salary dump MUST exist in today's baseball economics. If a team has overinvested in one player, and it was a mistake, there needs to be a vehicle for them to get out. Maybe a different way? Is there a different way? If ARod already has a contract for $25m, somebody has to pay it. How else but the salary dump can you let a team get 'out form under'?

Of course, if there was a team salary cap, this might happen less frequently. I myself, would like to see a max Cap and ESPECIALLY a Minimum cap. But this is America. It is our tradition and right to let Capitalism run amuck, regardless of the moral costs.

2008-07-26 07:50:21
27.   alsep73
It's funny reading the completely divergent reactions here versus on the Baseball Primer thread. Here, we gave up too much; there, the Pirates got fleeced every bit as bad as the Phillies did on the Abreu deal.
2008-07-26 07:59:47
28.   monkeypants
26 Good post, but I disagree slightly on three small points.

1. "If a team has overinvested in one player, and it was a mistake, there needs to be a vehicle for them to get out."

Wrong. They should have to suffer, Frankly, if teams had to eat more crazy long-term contracts, rather than selling them to the Yankees (A-Rod) or Red Sox (Lowell), they would be less likely to make those deals in the first place. This would help solve the problem.

2. "I myself, would like to see a max Cap and ESPECIALLY a Minimum cap."

There is a minimum cap (de facto), because there is a minimum salary. You want a higher minimum cap, I guess, higher than the sum of 25 x minimum salary?

3. "But this is America. It is our tradition and right to let Capitalism run amuck, regardless of the moral costs."

Aside from the political-philosophical sentiment, MLB is not run anywhere near "capitalism run amok": minimum salaries of $300,000? Limited players right for 6 years? Anti-trust exemption? Businesses (teams) can't relocate without permission? No trades for cash? No trading draft picks? Hell, a competitive draft itself? Powerful players union?

All of these, and more, cut against the MLB-as-unfettered-capitalism model. One could even argue that if real capitalist principles were applied to MLB, many of the "problems" would be solved. Whether I buy that or not is another story. But there is no way that the business structures of MLB reflect capitalism run amok, American or otherwise.

2008-07-26 08:10:41
29.   cult of basebaal
27 speaking of which, primer's Transaction Oracle just went up ... here's Dan Sym's take on it:

All-in-all, I'd actually call this a pretty good trade for both teams. The Pirates did take quantity over quality, but for a change, the quantity actually has some upside to it and the Pirates are usually quite poor at picking up players that could be huge if they work out. The Yankees go for the pennant every year and just don't have the organizational patience for too many projects.

2008-07-26 08:25:20
30.   OldYanksFan
25 "...there are a whole lot of ifs that need to play themselves out in order for the trade to be knock-your-socks-off."
--- STOP right there buddy. Why oh why do trades have to be 'knock-your-socks-off'? These kind of high expectations seem to be dangerous to me.

"Damaso Marte is a lefty specialist in a bullpen that arguably did not necessarily need a lefty specialist."
--- Cliff adressed this. Why is he a 'lefty specialist'?. Would he be a very good 8th inning guy (when Farnsworth falls off the cliff). How about next year, if we let Farns go. Can't we look at him as just a good RP, who being lefty, can also be used on occasion to get a tough lefty out?

"Bobby Abreu's fall from grace is a foregone conclusion..."
--- When Bobby came to the Yankees, he was a career .919 OPS guy.
2006: .887, 2007: .814, 2008: .790
What do you think Bobby will OPS in 2009 (at age 35?) If you average 2007 and 2008, he is basically Nady (at $16m vs $3.3) He is a 'B' baserunner, a 'B+' arm and a 'D' defensive OFer. Others can look it up, but right now, considering this and last year, I'm not even sure as a corner OFer, if he rates any better then average. So even if he is a little better then average... he is getting paid $16m. I think his numbers make him worth about $8m-$10m in today's market? You want to give him a 2 or 3 year contract, for a 35 year old?

Bobby isn't trash. The question is: For his position, is he even better then average?

HEY - can someone LIST a LINK ( maybe?) to a page where you can list CURRNT YEAR OPS+/ERA+ numbers for a range of players (like all RFs, etc).

2008-07-26 08:27:18
31.   nemecizer
I actually rather like this trade. It's an exercise in exactly where Cashman has said he is going with the team: stock up on a surplus of arms at every level in the organization. Keep the best for yourself and trade the others for timely position players.

It remains to be seen if this trade will work out well, and it's clearly all Cashman here, but I agree with Cash's philosophy and approach in general. I also think that Nady will help this year, and as someone pointed out, in a tight race that could make a difference.

2008-07-26 08:29:37
32.   doslobo38
25 Yes I don't understand why so many people are so down on Abreu, the guy is a performer, so his numbers (BA and OBP) are a little down. Look at the rest of his numbers (RBI's , runs, xbh's, assists).

Heck in last nights game if he had not gotten to third from first on Arod's single to center we would not have had our one run (good heads up base running is another Abreu trait). Additionally the guy makes things happen, he runs out a ground ball like his career depended on it and gets results. Not to mention that great arm of his.

Also, Abreu has always come on strong in the second half of the season, since the all star break he is batting .321 with a .406 OBP. So I don't understand why he is being written off...but then again I remember about a or two month into the season everyone was talking about how Giambi and Damon were yesterday's trash too so take the talk for what its worth.

2008-07-26 08:39:16
33.   Travis08
30 You can do that at baseball-reference, but you need to be a subscriber to run queries.

All AL hitters (no subscription needed):

Corner OFs in 2008:

2008-07-26 08:44:44
34.   OldYanksFan
Wrong. They should have to suffer.
And gouge out their fucking eyes too!
(so much for your leaving for Tibet)

The defactor Minimum would be around $10m?
Looking at 30 MLB teams in 2009, if you eliminate the top and bottom 10%, team payrolls range from $50m to $133m. This seems somewhat reasonable. But one team paying $21m (Marlins) and another $209m (who?) seems a bit unbalanced. Plus, while baseball is an investment, you can always buy Mucrosoft stock. I think if you want to own a MLB team, there should be some financial commitment/responsibility to the fans/game to be competative. If you just want to skim profits at the cost of a lousy team, I think this is bad for baseball. A minimum cap might deter that.

I would love to get into a philosophical discussion of capitalism, but I will be a good boy and spare the Banterers my/our opinions on the subject. (I'm soooooooo tempted but....)

2008-07-26 08:47:25
35.   ThurmBobby7908
30 Trades don't have to be "knock-your-socks-off." The point here is that the Yankees have deficiencies and a limited number of players/prospects available to trade with in order to fill these difficiencies. The more of these limited resources that are traded away, the fewer are left to help fill these other deficiencies. The question has to do with prioritizing the team's needs. The lower the priority addressed by a given trade (and hence, the less left over to address other needs), the more "knock-your-socks-off" the trade has to be. If replacing Gardner/Christian and Hawkins has a high (the highest?) priority, then the trade doesn't have to "knock-your-socks-off." If it isn't the most important thing the team has to accomplish, and they just spent four prospects on it, then its need to "knock-your-socks-off" is higher. The question is not only whether or not those four prospects should have been parted with, but also whether or not they could have been parted with for different players which could better fill the team's needs.
2008-07-26 08:50:29
36.   ChrisS
32 runs and RBIs aren't real indicators of ABreu's talent and speak more to the ability of the team (Jeter and Damon in front of him and ARod and Giambi behind him). Abreu is an atrocious defender and his bat has steadily declined. He's just not worth $16 million a year.

As for the trade, whatever, the Yankees have few players that can be termed prospects and they traded a bunch of trade chits for a league average OFer that probably won't stick. I could be wrong, but the numbers suggest a giant fluke. So in a year or two, everybody will be bitching about Nady and that we need to go get someone to replace him.

Per 6 , the Yankees have had a lot of trouble developing young players and tend to rely on older hitters to patch a hole, which requires trades and expensive FAs, which in turn limits roster flexibility. The Red Sox and Braves, on the other hand, seem to have a never ending supply of young guys that can contribute at the ML level. This prevents them from having to be at the mercy of other GMs.

The Yankees traded from an admitted strength, arms, but didn't solve their problem: a lack of young positional players (They even gave up on one because a 20 year old had a bad 4 months) that can step in a help at the ML level when their old and expensive vets break down. It almost seems like the 80s all over again, except with really good young pitching. I'm curious to see how it turns out.

For me it's not so much what they gave up, it's what they didn't get. In fairness, the Yankees probably gave up just the next in the long line of Ricky Ledees, Ruben Riveras or he could be the next Marcus Thames and Juan Riveras (league average or slightly better OFers that the Yankees will wish they had in 3-4 years when the latest OF acquisition is out for half a season). When Cashman started stockpiling arms, I thought the point was to deal them for positional prospects, but I was wrong.

2008-07-26 08:56:30
37.   OldYanksFan
33 If you are a subscriber, can you do a run comparing Bobby to other RFers? What the average OPS+ for a RFer. Also VORP or some other stat that takes D into account, may be more useful.

And all LFers too? Most guys who play RF could be used in LF too. It would be interesting to see what OPS/VORP is 'average' and where the 'above average' cut is.

Banterers: Is Bobby is now a .800-.820 OPS (and lets say for 2009). Considering he is a corner OFer, what grade (A-F) would you give him?

The league average OPS is typically around .750. I would think that would mke an average corner OFer around .800. I think Bobby's numbers THIS year would give him a 'C'. Considering his speed, arm and D, I might give him a 'C+'. What do you guys

PS: I think as long as we have (below average OPS) Melky in CF, we need at LEAST ONE impact offensive corner OFer. I mean, we are not looking to be 'average' here, are we?

2008-07-26 09:02:46
38.   doslobo38
I realize that rbi's and runs are due in part to the teams efforts (it is a team sport) but to say they are not indicators of talent is a bit of an overstatement. That would mean we could stick any player in the #3 spot and they would produce similar numbers.

What is the obsession about how much Abreu (or Jeeter, or Posada or Arod) is paid? I don't have to balance the Yankee checkbook and the Yankees have got the money. As far as I am concerned if a player can broker a bigger better deal good for him and these guys have earned it!

2008-07-26 09:08:46
39.   JL25and3
New thread that changes the terms of the argument.
2008-07-26 09:09:41
40.   doslobo38
Oh hell, I just checked the TV listings and it looks like my local FOX affiliate is going to show the Phillies-Braves game rather than the Yankees-Red Sox and even though I have Direct-TV the Yankees-Red Sox game is only being shown on FOX...Dammit!
2008-07-26 09:49:46
41.   OldYanksFan
36 I undersatnd the feel of what you are saying, and it certainly applies to the Yankees of 2000-2005, but I think you have exagerated a number of points to back your statements. Just a few thoughts:
"tend to rely on older hitters to patch a hole, which requires trades and expensive FAs"
--- Please name a few since Giambi.

"The Red Sox and Braves, on the other hand"
--- How about Manny, JD Drew, DiceK, Teixeria, Hampton? But yes, we all know that until Cashman took control, our farm was shit. If not for international signings (Sori, El Duque) we would REALLY be in bad shape. But again, this is pre 2006. It is old news that the organizations lack of forsight from the previous 10 years has bitten us on the ass.

We also passed on Sanatan, Gagne, Zito, CC, Miggy Cabrera, Beltran (mistake) and a whole bunch of other talent we could have had, IF we traded top prospects

Also, the Sox traded Hanley Ramirez. At 24, he ALREADY has a career OPS of .900. He is not only already an elite player, but as a SS, his value is through the roof. Imagine if the Yankees had, and traded Hanley, in order to 'win now'. People here would still be dissing the Yanks in 2020.

The Braves may be the best org in MLB. The Sox DO have lots of good kids (it will take us a few more years and a bunch of smarts to catch them), but they have also spent some big dollars and traded away some good players.

Also, outside of Tabata, they guys we lost were highly expendable. We literally have a dozen or more farm hands with higher upside. We have kept Cano, Highes, Joba and IPK, all of who were wanted in potential trades.

We dumped Shef and RJ for kids.

Nady is 29. I don't think he has a furture with the Yanks, but if he indeed has turned a corner, we can get 5 good years for him. He IS a young(ish) position player.

They DID NOT give up on Brett or Melky. However, sending Brett to AAA and replacing his .400 OPS with Nady's .900 OPS is a pretty big upgrade... don't you think?

"but the numbers suggest a giant fluke"
Nady is a .790 OPS guys who IS having a fluke year of .900+ OPS. Do you really think Cashman THINKS he got a .900+ OPS guy? I think not. Cashman probably thinks he got an .800 OPS guy with an upside on the relative cheap, and a guy who upgrades our OF for a run at the PS this year. We can dump Nady after this year if we want. How much less commitment then 2 months can you get?

"When Cashman started stockpiling arms, I thought the point was to deal them for positional prospects, but I was wrong."
--- Like who? Again, Nady is NOT Dunn, Holliday or even Bay. But in trade, these guys might have taken a Hughes, IPK, Meloncon, Sanchez, Cano, etc. There are some good positional players coming on the FA market, who cost only money. You seem to contradict yourself. Did you want Cashman to trade one/some of our very best prospects for an OFer/1Bman who will be a FA next year or in 2010?

In Pinstripe RIGHT NOW: Wang, Hughes, IPK, JOBA, Cano, Melky, Brett, Veras, Ramirez, Bruney, Giese, Robertson, Now name an 'old vet' we have gotten since 2003. ARod?

After next year its probable that Giambi, Abreu, Mats, JD, and Farnsworth will be gone. True Yankees Jeter, ARod (yes, ARod), Mo and Po will still be here, and hopefully, still above average at their positions. But we look to have a very young team. I think our goal in 2009 and 2010 will be to get 1 or 2, older, proven, impact vets to round out the team.

Remember, for 12 years in a row, we have gotten 'bottom of the barrel picks'. TB has had the cream of the picks for a decade.

I do not think you give enough credit for just how much this team has changed in just 3 years.... while STILL making the PS every year (and hopefully this year too).

2008-07-26 10:05:16
42.   ThurmBobby7908
41 You make excellent points. The world is too much about "What have you done for me lately?" Just because we haven't had a couple of years with Petitte, Rivera, Posada, & Jeter coming up to the big club lately, doesn't mean that the days of trading away everyone down on the farm from Jose Rijo to minor league team mascots have returned. You are right to remember that Joba, Wang, & Cano didn't come from Pittsburgh or Arizona. In a year or three everyone on your list "In Pistripe RIGHT NOW" may make the Yankee farm system the envy of MLB. The question still remains how many more problems do the Yankees have to solve to do what the Red Sox have done twice in the past four seasons, and how much more farm system product is available to trade for it?
2008-07-26 10:24:50
43.   ThurmBobby7908
Of course the trade discussion becomes a lot different, now that reports are out claiming that Coke & Kantos are not being traded but Karstens and McCutchen are.

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