Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
I Love It When A Plan Comes Together
2008-07-30 23:05
by Cliff Corcoran

I have to hand it to Brian Cashman. For the past week, both before and after the Yankees' acquisition of Damaso Marte, I've been going on about how the Yankees didn't need another relief pitcher. It was a total waste of resources, so I argued, to trade for a reliever when the bullpen was already stacked, excelling, and backed up by major league ready reinforcements at triple-A. So what does Cashman do? He goes out and trades from that strength to fill the biggest hole on the ballclub by acquiring a legitimate starting catcher.

By now you've surely heard about the deal that has sent Kyle Farnsworth back to the Tigers for Ivan Rodriguez, but think of it this way: Daniel McCutchen, Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf, and Jose Tabata for Xavier Nady and Ivan Rodriguez. Suddenly that deal with Pittsburgh looks a whole lot better, doesn't it?

Marte now replaces Farnsworth in the bullpen straight up, which has several benefits. First: no more Kyle Farnsworth. As well as Farnsworth had been pitching (2.84 ERA, 21 K in 19 IP since June 1 with a hidden no-hitter--9 IP, 0 H, 5 BB, 10 K--from June 27 to July 22), his home run rate on the season is still 2.23 HR/9, and he's always a meatball or two away from both disaster and a return to his unreliable ways of all but the last two months of his Yankee career. To that end, the Yankees are selling high, which is what they should be doing with an inconsistent veteran like Farnsworth. If Farnsworth leaves any legacy as a Yankee, it might be that he finally got hot at exactly the right time. Second, removing Farnsworth increases the chances of Joe Girardi using Marte properly--that is, as a full-fledged set-up man who pitches for a full inning or more--rather than creating more work for his other relievers by using Marte as a LOOGY. Finally, replacing Farnsworth with Marte increases the variety of the relief corps. Both Farnsworth and seventh-inning guy Jose Veras are right-handers who throw straight cheese and sharp sliders. Replacing Farnsworth with the lefty Marte gives opponents yet another type of pitcher to contend with in addition to Veras, changeup specialist Edwar Ramirez, curveballer David Robertson, Dan Giese and his softer fastball/slider mix, and whomever winds up taking Chad Moeller's spot on the roster tomorrow (then again, Brian Bruney is another straight cheese and sliders guy, but better to have two of those guys than three).

The final accounting on the Marte-Farnsworth substitution also works out pretty well. Their season numbers:

Farns: 3.65 ERA (113 ERA+), 44 IP, 43 K, 17 BB, 11 HR, 0 BS, 2 L
Marte: 3.67 ERA (114 ERA+), 49 IP, 51 K, 17 BB, 4 HR, 2 BS, 0 L

While Marte's 5.56 ERA since June 28 is something of a concern, he hasn't had a full-season ERA above 3.80 since 2001, unlike Farnsworth, who's had a full-season ERA below 4.26 only twice in that span.

Counting that swap as a wash or a mild upgrade, we get to the nut of the trade, which is Tabata and the three 25-year-old triple-A starters for Nady and Rodriguez. As already discussed, Tabata is a big gamble for both sender and receiver, but is looking like a bust. Karstens is dead weight, a right-handed Randy Keisler. Ohlendorf had bounced between starting and relieving twice in his year and a half in the Yankee organization and hadn't stuck in either role. That just left McCutchen as a potential loss, a near-ready replacement for Sidney Ponson or Darrell Rasner who had the potential to stick in the rotation for 2009. Of course, there are more where he came from, even if he did appear to be the next in line.

For that package, the Yankees upgraded the two weakest spots in their lineup. When the deadline rumors really started to heat up, I wrote that the Yankees biggest need was a bat. My hope was that the Yankees would go after a big bopper to fill one of those two holes in the lineup and compensate for the other. Nady is not that hitter, and thus his acquisition was a disappointment, at least to me. Again, here's where Cashman got tricky. Rather than dealing for one big bopper, he dealt for two roughly league-average players who could well be even better than that. Thus, rather than replacing one weak spot with a star and enduring the replacement-level performance at the other, he's upgraded both spots equally, and thus improved the overall strength of the lineup.

That's not to oversell Rodriguez or Nady, who has yet to get a hit in a non-blowout as a Yankee. Rodriguez hasn't been a plus hitter since 2004, his first season in Detroit, but look at what he's replacing: Jose Molina is hitting .229/.279/.307 on the season. Take out his initial run of success in early April before he pulled his hamstring at Fenway, and Molina's line is .201/.263/.252. The average AL catcher is hitting .263/.327/.396 this season (numbers surely brought down by Molina and Jason Varitek's dismal season). Compared to all of that, Rodriguez joins the Yankees hitting .295/.338/.417. Putting a real hitter in that spot, one with still impressive defensive skills, is a tremendous upgrade.

While I was dubious about Nady's ability to bring his hot hitting over to the American League (a doubt Nady has yet to silence), I have a much better feeling about Rodriguez. He may be a future Hall of Famer on his last legs and a 36-year-old catcher like the one that went under the knife yesterday, but he's having his best season since 2004, and strikes me as the sort of player who will rise to the challenge of playing in New York, particularly given the opportunity to literally replace his old rival Jorge Posada. Then again, I had a statistical basis for doubting Nady (his poor inter-league showing and statistical resemblance to Craig Wilson). I have no such "proof" regarding Rodriguez, who hasn't performed especially well at the plate in the postseason, nor in his career at Yankee Stadium (though he hasn't stunk up the joint either).

Still, Rodriguez and Nady patch two major holes at the end of the Yankee lineup, which is now both longer and more balanced:

L - Johnny Damon (DH)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
L - Bobby Abreu (RF)
R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L - Jason Giambi (1B)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
R - Xavier Nady (LF)
R - Ivan Rodriguez (C)
S - Melky Cabrera (CF)

Since his pitch-hitting appearance in Houston on June 14, Robinson Cano has hit .355/.376/.546. That means that, with the acquisitions of Nady and Rodriguez, the only consistently weak spot in the Yankee lineup is ninth-place hitter Melky Cabrera, whose .289/.304/.333 line since the All-Star break is roughly equivalent to his season averages, and far below the average AL center fielder's .269/.332/.412.

In other news, Cashman pulled another slick move by not only getting a warm body for LaTroy Hawkins, but one with some actual potential. Don't ask me why the Astros agreed to it, but for Hawkins, who had been designated for assignment and would have been available on waivers shortly, Houston has sent the Yankees Sally League infielder Matt Cusick. A former UCLA teammate of Ian Kennedy's, Cusick was drafted in 2007 and is in his first full season of pro ball at age 22. Cusick has split his time between second and third base this season (though he's reportedly useless at shortstop), and check out this career line from his 154 minor league games: .293/.384/.451, 78 walks, 67 Ks, 37 doubles, 10 triples, 11 homers, 13 steals in 15 attempts, and 7 sacrifice hits. That's about as well-rounded an offensive game as you could ask for from second base prospect. Of course, Cusick is doing all this in A-ball, and for college hitters, it's the jump to double-A is the real test, but it's quite a nice something to get for the nothing of a DFAed veteran who was all but sure to refuse a minor league assignment.

I was dubious at first, but it's been a good week for Brian Cashman, and he still has a few hours left before the non-waiver trading deadline . . .

Comments (194)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-07-31 04:03:01
1.   JL25and3
0 "Don't ask me why the Astros agreed to it..."

As a pennant-drive trade, it could make some sense. Hawkins has had success in the past and was very good last year; a team that desperately needed bullpen help down the stretch might figure that a change of scene (and league) could help bring some of that back.

Of course, that team isn't the Astros. They're not in a pennant race, they're not going to be in one, and I have no clue why Ed Wade is acting like they are. 12.5 games back against teams that have picked up Sabathia and Harden, the Astros get Hawkins and Randy Wolf (which is even more bizarrely inexplicable).

Oh, and the back end of their bullpen is actually pretty good. They really don't need help there.

2008-07-31 04:10:33
2.   Levy2020
How hard are fellows rooting against the Manny trade? Giving up a disgruntled Manny and a pricey age-37 option for a shot at Jason Bay's age 30 season = upgrade over two years.
2008-07-31 04:14:32
3.   Bagel Boy
"Suddenly that deal with Pittsburgh looks a whole lot better, doesn't it?"

It most certainly does. He may not have planned that way, but that's a great job. I share your concerns on Nady. Seems like they could have netted Bay with a bit more pitching. But as we're seeing with the Manny deal, the Bucs may have been insisting on a MLB corner OF in return.

"Replacing Farnsworth with the lefty Marte gives opponents yet another type of pitcher to contend with..."

I think this is the best analysis in this otherwise fantastic post. I always admired this quality in the Boston starting corps but this takes it to a new extreme. Of course you forgot about the divine cutter!

As for Melky, it about time he got sat or sent down. Actually it was that time two months ago. Give Christian or Gardner, or both, some starting nods, and/or sacrifice some defense with Damon in CF for a game or two a week? Seems like they could get the bats into a decent rotation by (hate to say it) benching the Melkman.

2008-07-31 04:18:45
4.   Bagel Boy
2 I would have liked Bay, but there were two problems there:

1) He's only a LF/DH. That wouldn't have helped the Yankees much.

2) His interleague stats are:
267 PA, .250/.312/.450

Bottom line: Jason Bay is not Manny Ramirez, and most especially against the Yanks. This trade can't happen fast enough. That said, I'd love to watch Manny for 162 games next year and hitting in front of A-Rod.

2008-07-31 04:20:55
5.   williamnyy23
2 Quite the contrary...I am willing to drive Manny to Logan airport at a moments notice.

3 If you want to give up on Melky, fine, but why would Gardner deserve to be his replacement. Melky is almost as much an upgrade over Gardner as Pudge is over Molina.

2008-07-31 04:32:49
6.   Bagel Boy
5 You really think Gardner's value is what he showed in 68 PAs? In the minors he took two cracks at a level. Even still, he scored 8 runs and had 5 SBs (0 caught) in those meager opportunities. Project that to a full season and you're looking at 70-80 runs and 40-50 SBs and that's with an OBP of .227. Imagine what would happen once he adjusts his eyes to MLB pitching. Given his BB:K in the minors he's likely to reach an OBP of .340 to .360. Melky's career OBP is .340 and he's always Ked much more and at every level.

Still, for now, platoon him with Christian. Throw in an odd Damon start, and Gardner is reduced to two starts a week. So it's not replacing Melky with Gardner. It's replacing Melky with Damon, Christian, and Gardner.

2008-07-31 04:46:35
7.   williamnyy23
6 Yes ... his swing looked absolutely awful. I am not going off of 68 ABs, but a profile that reminds me of Jason Tyner. If all you are going to get out of Gardner is 70-80 runs (the SBs are only meaningful in how they translate to runs) in 680 PAs, I'll pass.

What's more, Melky is younger than Gardner and has pretty much the same minor league stats as Gardner, which again he acquired at a younger age.

Even at this point, Melky is a much better prospect than Gardner.

2008-07-31 04:47:54
8.   williamnyy23
7 And that ignores Melky's defense, which has been great.
2008-07-31 05:02:36
9.   Bagel Boy
"If all you are going to get out of Gardner is 70-80 runs (the SBs are only meaningful in how they translate to runs) in 680 PAs, I'll pass."

You miss the point. That's Gardner's profile with an OBP of .227.

"has pretty much the same minor league stats as Gardner"

Not in terms of plate discipline.
Melky - 1555 PA, .294 AVG, .344 OBP, 108 BB, 214 K
Brett - 1407 PA, .287 AVG, .386 OBP, 224 BB, 285 K

Melky is a better prospect if he hits for power (and he's only one year younger). He hasn't been - not even close. Either he needs to get his swing right in the minors or he needs to be shipped out of town. Cause his patience isn't improving.

8 Sure, but then Gardner probably has better range.

2008-07-31 05:04:01
10.   RIYank
4 Thanks for those Jason Bay AL splits, that makes me feel much better!

My take on the Boston trade is this. Compared to Happy Manny, Jason Bay is a large step down. Yes, his numbers this year are not far off Manny's, but a lot of guys drop off when they move from the NL to the AL, esp. under the white hot spotlight.
But compared to the current situation, the trade is very good for the Sox. Theo found a guy who has some chance of replacing Man Ram in the line-up, and Bay is younger and cheaper next year than picking up the Manny contract would have been. If the trade goes through, I say Theo made the best out of a bad situation.

2008-07-31 05:18:39
11.   mattSD
I went to school with Cusick. He had a brother in my grade from around 4th grade through high school.

Nice family.

He was on a little league world series team that went to the final and ended up losing to Mexico when the team's superstar, Ashton White (son of heisman winner Charles) let a ball roll through his legs in the outfield. At least, that's how I remember it.

Just thought it was interesting.

2008-07-31 05:24:32
12.   ChrisS
I don't know how you can say Tabata is looking like a bust a week after the trade when he hasn't played a game since July 1.

Long after Nady is a fading memory in Yankee fans' collective conscious, I have a feeling Tabata will be 24 and starting to make a splash in Pitt.

2008-07-31 05:27:10
13.   Shaun P
2 I agree.

I really hope this trade doesn't go down. So far, of all the folks who have posted since the rumors first starting flying, Zack and I are the only ones rooting against it.

Everyone else seems overjoyed at the Yanks not having to face "scary Manny" again. I don't see the Sox lineup suffering at all with Manny out and Bay in. With Ortiz and Manny, they've scored 4.86 R/G. When Ortiz was out, they scored 5.04 R/G. I'm not a stat wizard, I can't weight those numbers for home/road games, or the effect of interleague play (most of those games happened with Ortiz out), but for those who think that taking Manny out of the Boston lineup is going to hurt Boston (i.e., result in a loss of runs scored than if he was there), I say, I wouldn't guarantee it.

2008-07-31 05:28:20
14.   Sliced Bread
Yo, is that a Pudge in yer pocket, or are you just happy to see Farnswacker gone?

Nice job by the NY Post with the Pudgement Day headline. NY Daily News counters with Pudge Match. Good ones.

Top-shelf analysis, Cliff.
Way to break it down.

2008-07-31 05:31:38
15.   williamnyy23
9 You missed the main point though... Melky put his minor league numbers up from 18-21, while Gardners have come at ages 21-24. That's a huge difference. Being 21 in rookie ball and 24 at AAA should mean that Gardner's minor league numbers would be much better than Melky's.

As for defense, Melky has put up very good range numbers at the major league level with a ++ arm. I don't think you can assume Gardner will be better.

2008-07-31 05:38:33
16.   williamnyy23
12 Why hasn't he played since 7/1? Is it another injury? Isn't that a part of the problem?

While you can't say he is a bust, Tabata's stock has deservedly dropped. The Yankees are not contructed to wait five years for anything less than a sure thing. Between injuries, discipline problems and poor performance, Tabata is far from that.

2008-07-31 05:39:28
17.   monkeypants
6 7 BAgel Boy, I like Gardner a lot and figure he will certainly play better than his awful 68 PAs this year. Moreover, not only has Melky not developed in his three years of service (1500 PAs), he has pretty much regressed in every aspect of his offensive game. The only real point in William's favor is that Gardner "looked" so bad in his 68 PAs; this is a rather subjective judgement, and one could also counter that Melky looked very bad in his first cup of coffee with the big club. So I might agree, in theory, that slotting in Gardner should be a low risk plan.

That being said, one cannot ignore how bad Gardner looked. Yes, he has usually taken to new levels slowly and he has typically succeeded in his second crack at a higher level...but that has usually come in a second season at the new level. Plus, the team has righted the ship with this mini-run and they are now virtually tied for the WC lead-now is not the time when I would want to start experimenting with Gardner. They know what they have with Malky, and it's not good, but they don't know what they have with Gardner, and it could be even worse.

Finally, your plan would involve playing Gardner only a couple of games a week. I would rather let him keep developing and then start next season with him in CF. I do like your idea, however, of working CHristian (And even Damon on occasion) into the CF mix. It might be time to consider a Melky/Christian platoon, if the latter can handle CF OK (he has played there a good bit in MiL).

In the long run (or 'short-long run of the next couple of years), I am pretty skeptical that Gardner or Christian are any kind of solution. But I am increasingly of the opinion that Melky is not, either. William cautions against giving up on the Young Melky, but nothing in his profile over the last three years suggest to me that he will get any better.

2008-07-31 05:40:39
18.   OldYanksFan
I think the Boston trade is good for Boston in the medium and long run, but hurts them this year. At this point, with the Yanks recent improvements, losing Manny would definitely increase our chances of the PS THIS year and make Boston a weaker Playoff team. I would actually feel confident about beating them, except the schedule is heavily in their favor. Because TB has a worse remaning schedule, I still think they will be the team to catch.

I agree that Melky SHOULD be a better player then Gardner by a fair amount. Should be. But Melky has played so poorly, it took a terrible couple of weeks by Brett for Melky to hold his job. My issue is that Melky has lost all the plate discipline he had in 2006, while we know Gardner is better then we have seen.

I actually feel Gardner has more upside ONLY because Melky is so.... dopey. He continues to try and hack his way out of his slump. Without a serious approach adjustment, I don't think Melky gets any better. What hasn't been determined is (1) How good is Gardners first step in the OF? and (2) How good are is routes? With his speed, he has the potential to be a better defensive OFer then Melkman, as he can cover a lot more ground.

2008-07-31 05:43:00
19.   Bagel Boy
"Long after Nady is a fading memory in Yankee fans' collective conscious, I have a feeling Tabata will be 24 and starting to make a splash in Pitt. "

That's a legit worry. McCutchen worries me a bit too. Still, the former has been out-classed by Ajax and there are more where the latter comes from. And Nady shores up the OF for next year too. Without Pudge, I might have said the trade was a push or even a negative for the Yanks. With Pudge, the set crosses over into clear 'win' territory for me as the post analyzes very, very well.

13 Bay is a scary possibility as a longer-term upgrade. I was secretly hoping the Yanks would get him. Still, he's never seen the heat of the AL East. And if Theo has to give up prospects to get him, just because he had to move Manny, I don't see how it's a clear win for them. It may turn out that way, but it's not clear. And suffice it to say, I don't think Bay will be putting up this line against the Yanks - ever:

Career - .321 .411 .618 with 55 HR in 849 PA
2008 - .417 .523 .778 with 3 HR in 44 PA

2008-07-31 05:43:34
20.   williamnyy23
13 The problem with your comparison is that Drew hit like Ortiz while Papi is out. Jason Bay playing at his best is almost equal to Manny playing at his lowest level, so if both scenarios play out, then the Sox wont miss a beat. But, what about the scenario in which Bay doesn't play his best, but Manny goes on one of his tears? That difference is huge. The bottom line for me is the Sox become unstoppable when Manny and Ortiz are going strong...the two almost become an engine that drives the team.
2008-07-31 05:45:50
21.   monkeypants
15 William, you make a strong point about Melky's comparatively god numbers at a younger age. But what about his declining offensive numbers across the board at MLB, for three straight years covering 1500 or so plate appearances? At what point does relative youth + former promise + continued incompetence give way?
2008-07-31 05:47:23
22.   Sliced Bread
13 I dunno, Shaun. Good points, but I simply see a Mannyless Boston as an ARodless Bronx.
He's the paddle that stirs the chowdah up there, and most importantly, he kills us. ALL. THE. TIME. He could be one of the single greatest obstacles the Yankees face down the stretch. It's not hard to envision a series of Manny bombs knocking the Yanks out of contention in the final week of the season.
I want him gone. I want him on the Mets. Bring him to NY, Omar, and please keep him on that side of the bridge.
2008-07-31 05:48:45
23.   Bagel Boy
15 "You missed the main point though..."

It feels a bit like you're arguing just to argue. Melky's lack of patience has always been a problem. It is even moreso now because he's also not hitting for any power. That's his only clear upside from Gardner, except it doesn't exist right now. He needs to go to the minors to sort out his swing. Like I said, I'm not sugesting Gardner for Melky, but rather Garnder, Christian, and Damon for Melky.

2008-07-31 05:49:02
24.   bp1
So in addition to waking up in pain from surgery, Jorge has to wake up to find his spot taken by his arch rival Pudge Rodriguez? Sorta wonder which one hurts more. I know he's a team player and all that, but still that's quite a shot to the gut.

Double ouch.

Rest up, Jorge.

2008-07-31 05:50:10
25.   monkeypants
18 One doesn't even need to invke his dopiness. Just look at his offensive numbers over the last three seasons. In every category they have declined or stayed the same each season: higher K rate, lower walk rate, lower BA, lower OBP, lower SLG, lower OPS+. Each season.
2008-07-31 05:53:09
26.   Sliced Bread
24 word. I was thinking the same thing about Jorge.
2008-07-31 05:55:57
27.   williamnyy23
21 I don't think the regression is as complete as you suggest. His 2006 and 2007 were pretty much the same except for a meaningful decline in his patience at the plate. If you look closely, however, those extra 20 games in 2007 really skew the comparison because heading into September of last season, Melky was .294/.348/.429/.777.

This year has been a dissapointment, but a lot of the decline has been in his BA. Could that be partly because of luck? Maybe he does need to make an adjustment or two? All are possible. What I do know is Melky is only 23 years old. He plays great defense and has had significant stretches of hitting very well. I don't want to give up on that, but especially for a player like Gardner who at age-25 next season has very little projectable talent.

2008-07-31 05:57:09
28.   OldYanksFan
Cliff - Excellent, excellent post. These trades are not earth shaking, but should definitely improve the team. It also means there is actually a chance the bottom of the order could contribute to scoring runs. A week ago, it was almost as if we only had 6 offensive innings a game.

I agree that Nady could well revert to being 'just average'. I would hope that being surrounded by good hitters will take some of the pressure off and allow his to contribute.

I do wish we could have gotten Bay or Holliday. While Nady improves the team, it doesn't do much to improve our OF for 2009 and beyond. I don't think he will be an upgrade to an even aging and declining Abreu. I don't know what we can count on from JD next year, and with Melky shitting the bed, and Matsui's terrible defense, our OF is really in a shambles.

But I can see that Cashman is either going to wait for a huge deal, or just continue to chip away and make minor improvements. He has stayed on the 'youth bus', and has made no long term contract of money commitments. It is a little painful to see Tex and CC and other impact players go elsewhere, but this is still a transition year, and I am behind Cashman.

At the beginning of the year, we all said Po would be the hardest guy to replace. Now he is down. Wang being down is a huge blow. Matsui was having a great year and his loss as a DH hasn't been replaced. Phil and IPK far exceeded our expectations.... in the wrong direction. I think all in all considered, it's amazing we are as close as we are.

I hope Manny ends up in Florida, so he can go from half baked to fully baked, and that he never sees another PS again. For a guy who just made $168m, it's hard to imagine a more selfish player. Considering that Boston is in a hard fight for a PS berth, their desire to dump Manny just shows what a terrible influence he is on his team.

2008-07-31 05:58:01
29.   Sliced Bread
Anybody know what number Ivan's going to wear?
Gonna be weird seeing him in the stripes.
2008-07-31 05:58:02
30.   williamnyy23
23 I thought I was making some sound points (a few others did as well), but I am sorry if you feel otherwise. If you think Melky's only advantage over Gardner is power potential than I think we are watching two different players.
2008-07-31 05:58:39
31.   Bagel Boy
17 It's a great point about Melky utterly regressing across the board. The team needs to recognize that he's not righting his ship against MLB pitching.

Again, the only way Melky is a better player than Gardner is if he's hitting for power. .392 SLG and improving is one thing. .342 SLG and regressing is something else entirely.

2008-07-31 06:01:22
32.   williamnyy23
23 As for Melky's lack of patience, he has a career .OBP-.BA of .63. That's far from terrible. In fact, over Melky's career, the league average difference is .67. When you consider that Melky has posted his numbers as a 20-23 year old, and the league average is much older, that comparison is even more favorable.

Just like with Ellsbury, I think people get seduced by speed.

2008-07-31 06:03:35
33.   Yankee Fan In Boston
poor mike mussina:

keep at it, moose.

2008-07-31 06:06:37
34.   Bagel Boy
24 I'm sure the three years and $39.3M left on his deal will help him rest. Suffice it to say, Pudge ain't getting that this off-season.

30 It's not a matter of watching two different players. It's a matter of looking at their stats with a cold eye. Melky, historically, hit for good power at a young age for his levels. That made his lack of patience somewhat okay. Now that he's not hitting for any power, or getting on base, he's pretty much a worthless hitter. He has time to rebound. But he lost his chance to make it happen at the MLB level.

27 Seems like you're exaggerating the age difference. Melky's about to turn 24.

2008-07-31 06:09:33
35.   williamnyy23
Here's another potential factor to consider with Melky, the Yankees have faced a lot more lefties this season (at least Melky has) than the past two, and Cabrera does not hit as well from the right side.
2008-07-31 06:10:28
36.   Bagel Boy
"Just like with Ellsbury, I think people get seduced by speed. "

Well there's that and the .OBP-BA of 100 points.

2008-07-31 06:10:58
37.   Sliced Bread
Hey, props to Cash for getting the trade done, but it wasn't his proposal, right?
Pudge fell into his lap... for Farnswacker. Imagaine that.

It's still hard to believe this morning.

2008-07-31 06:12:48
38.   williamnyy23
34 If you look at stats with a cold eye, you can not ignore the age difference. You are comparing minor league stats, but failing to acknowledge that Melky posted his numbers at a much younger age. I am sorry, but having a .760 OPS in the minors at Gardners age is not impressive.

I am not exaggerating the age point was their ages in the minors. While Gardner is putting up .760 OPS in the minors, Melky has been in the majors. I am sure if you ask any one who puts together projection models, age and major league experience play a major role.

2008-07-31 06:13:38
39.   Sliced Bread
29 #12, as reported at LoHud
2008-07-31 06:17:23
40.   Bagel Boy
"If you look at stats with a cold eye, you can not ignore the age difference."

How can you be sure he's actually younger? He wouldn't be the first from the DR to bump up his age by a year or two or three. You do that and his career looks a lot more typical.

But you know what? It doesn't matter right now. Melky is a black hole offensively. He needs to be sent down, especially to see if he'll ever find his stroke again. You may not like Gardner as a replacement, but replacing is what needs to be done. Melky has had three horrid months to straighten himself out. If he was reaching base if would be acceptable. He's not and he won't.

2008-07-31 06:17:33
41.   williamnyy23
Griffey has been traded to the Sox (White that is), according to ESPN.
2008-07-31 06:21:33
42.   Bagel Boy
"It's still hard to believe this morning. "

No kidding! I love the fact that it drives RSN nation nuts too. Not only do that have to deal with the Manny saga, they see the Yanks getting better while they run in sand. It feels a lot like 2006. Beckett is giving up HRs again too!

2008-07-31 06:21:54
43.   Sliced Bread
41 God, the AL is JACKED.
2008-07-31 06:23:38
44.   williamnyy23
40 Fine...if the Yankees have someone better and want to send him down, go for it. Gardner is not the guy though, nor is Christian. I'll stick with Melky's defense and potential until something clearly better comes along.

Also, until evidence about Melky lying about his age surfaces, I'll avoid the conjecture.

2008-07-31 06:23:57
45.   Bagel Boy
Though this was interesting from Kepner:

"Before Wednesday's game, Girardi told Cashman that he liked Detroit's proposal. That was important to Cashman, who said he would not have made the move unless Girardi supported it."

I knew Cashman ran deals by Torre. But it's interesting he gives his first-year manager the same veto power.

2008-07-31 06:25:10
46.   Bagel Boy
44 Christian has suggested he will be. And Gardner will tend to get on-base more (unless you weight 62 PA more than 1400).
2008-07-31 06:31:49
47.   Yankee Fan In Boston
45 in an interview after the trade, cashman said he ran it by girardi, not wanting to shuffle the 8th inning on his manager without getting his opinion.

he trusts girardi when it comes to the 'pen. so far (knock on wood, cross fingers) that trust seems to be well placed.

2008-07-31 06:32:03
48.   Sliced Bread
45 more remarkable to me is the fact that Cashman acted like there was a decision to make.
I'm surprised Cashman waited more than a breath to give Detroit his decision.

"Oh, no need to discuss this. You can have my decision now. Yes! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... Yes!... HHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHHA"

2008-07-31 06:33:29
49.   monkeypants
38 But at what point does the age difference simply cease to matter? Gardner is a better prospect than Christian, and everything Gardner has done he has done at a younger age than Christian. But right now, Christian has proven that he can play at the MLB level credibly (if not goodly), while Gardner has not.

A similar, but not exact, comparison can be made between Gardner and Melky. Yes, Melky showed more promise and accomplishment at a younger age in MiL, suggesting that he has greater upside. But this is no guarantee that he will ever develop into that potential. In a worst case scenario, we have already seen his best.

Gardner, on the other hand, has put up comparable numbers in MiL, but at an older age than Melky. But we must keep in mind, GArdner is not some 28 y.o. AAA retread. He is still young (albeit not as young as Melky). His good performance a somewhat less young age suggest that he has the potential to succeed at the next level, but not the same upside as Melky--not the same potential peak or even duration of career.

What we we may be looking at is 1] Melky with more potential to better for longer, but failing to fulfill his promise, versus 2] Gardner with less less potential and a short peak, but he may still turn out to have the better career.

2008-07-31 06:34:04
50.   Yankee Fan In Boston
48 cashman was waiting it out to see if he could pry verlander for hawkins, too.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-07-31 06:37:06
51.   OldYanksFan
I do agree with William that Melky COULD still be a decent player. His problems, after all, are above the neck. He does not suffer from lack of ability (rather Hack of ability?).

Look at Moose. One year older then his poor 2007 self. This could have been the year he totally tanked. But he made the adjustments, changed his approach, understood his strengths and weaknesses, and has gone from borderline failure to an impact pitcher. All simply by changing how he approaches the game.

I just saw a replay on TV. It was Melky at Fenway. He hits a high, fly to LF, what looks to be a wall ball. He is running 3/4 speed to first, with his head cranked around to LF, watching the ball all the way. As he sees the ball fall, he is almost at 1B. Because he was watching the ball instead of ruuning hard to 1st on a 'doubles route', he is well inside the base line, and as he rounds 1st, he literally has to lunge outwardly with his leg JUST to tag first. It was so awkward he could have injured himself, and he was in no position to make it to 2nd on a close play.

As I watched this replay, all I could think of was 'how dopey was that!'? Is this Barry Bonds watching a majestic home run? I don't like it when Po or ARod or anyone dogs it to first (have you noticed ARod has been doing this of late... watching instead of running?), but when a young, underperforming, about-to-lose-his-job Melky does this, I just have to wonder.

His ABs are dopey, and he is dopey on the basepaths. He does not play like a kid who is working for his spot. He does not play like a kid trying to impress anyone. This really bothers me. It is hard to improve your swing. It is easy to run hard. It is hard to become a more talented player. It is easy to become a smarter player.

Part of me wants to see Brett in CF only so Girardi can take Melky aside, slap him upside his head, and say "you got some talent kid, but you are TOO FUCKIN' STUPID!"

Will he ever get good pitches to hit when he hacks at the first pitch... even after a 4 pitch walk?

Will he ever get good pitches to hit when he insists on swinging at balls both over his head and in the dirt?

Headfirst slides into first base? Waving to the fans during a ball in play?

And is his uniform just baggy, or is he a bit pudgy?

I'm sorry. Melky has either dove (diven?, dived?) into first one time too often, or he has decided to play like Manny instead of like ARod? I'm sorry, but there is something really wrong with Melkdud.

He is the anti-Eckstein.
He is little Manny.
He is the dopiest player in MLB!

2008-07-31 06:40:00
52.   williamnyy23
46 No...but I don't give 24-year old and 28-year old minor leaguers credit for a having high-.700 OPS. If you think that performance level at that age in the minors merits a promotion, then we'll just have to disagree here.
2008-07-31 06:40:24
53.   Yankee Fan In Boston
51 amen.
2008-07-31 06:40:35
54.   tommyl
The problem with Gardner when he came up is that his good batting eye (and he does have a good eye) is almost useless if he has no power. In AA/AAA he can work walks etc. In the majors, no pitcher who knows anything is going to do anything but challenge him. The worst that happens is he hits a single, which is the same as a walk in almost every instance. Gardner himself has said as much. Until Brett starts showing at least gap power in the majors I don't think is ISP is going to climb that much higher. A similar thing has occurred with Ellsbury, which I believe Sheehan pointed out. There's just no sense in pitching carefully to a guy who can only hit singles, hence the OBP plummets.
2008-07-31 06:43:20
55.   williamnyy23
49 I keep looking over his stats and can't seem to find Gardner's "good performance". His OBP is "good", but how much of that is attributable to his speed and subpar minor league defenses? We'd laugh if another team considered a slap hitting 24-year old with a .760 ML OPS as a prospect, yet so many seem to take Gardner seriously.
2008-07-31 06:43:51
56.   Start Spreading the News
33 Wow. It is really amazing to think that Mariano Rivera and Dave Eggers have the same sense of humor.
2008-07-31 06:44:52
57.   tommyl
Meanwhile (via Chad Jennings) I love this quote from Melancon after his AAA debut:

Melancon, meanwhile, was outstanding. I can now see why his number of innings seems so high. The guy has to throw two innings to get one inning of work. He threw just 19 pitches, 15 for strikes.

"Honestly, my plan when I go out there is usually three pitches or less (to a batter)," Melancon said. "Let them put the ball in play and use the defense behind me. I know I'm going to get a lot of ground balls and if my location is there, you usually get outs."

2008-07-31 06:46:18
58.   williamnyy23
51 I don't see Melky as dopey. I think you are exaggerating a few plays from a still very young player. Also, we were saying the same thing about Cano for 3 months, but now that he has turned it on, everyone loves Robbie again. I think Melky's dopiness is directly proportional to his performance.
2008-07-31 06:47:51
59.   monkeypants
52 That level of mediocrity does not warrant a look ever? Even when the player they would be replacing is hitting .640 OPS/73 OPS+?

The Yankees did the right thing by trying out Gardner, and it didn't work, so they did the right thing again and demoted him. Now they should try Christian--at least in a platoon against LHP and possibly a few starts v. RHP--to see if he can outperform Melky.

An additional thought. You keep invoking Melky's youth--fair enough. It is worth noting that Bernie Williams spent significant time in MiL in both his age 22 and 23 seasons. Melky still has options, and he is still young. His youth warrants patience, but his performance does not merit unlimited patience. At some point, they really need to consider sending him down to AAA, either to work on his batting or to kick him in the ass. Try Christian out for 10 days--can he be that much worse right now?

2008-07-31 06:50:24
60.   Start Spreading the News
56 That is until I saw that it was the
2008-07-31 06:50:41
61.   doslobo38
52 Wow don't hold back like that, tell us how you really feel about Melky's performance (lol)
2008-07-31 06:51:33
62.   OldYanksFan
Our Team is a fairy tale.
Snow White - ARod
Prince Charning - Jeter
Doc - Moose
Sleepy - Cano
Grumpy - Posada
Happy - Giambi
Sneezy - JD
Bashful - Abreu
Dopey - Dopey
2008-07-31 06:54:22
63.   monkeypants
55 Selective reading. He does have a history of improving greatly his second crack at a given level:

.855 OPS at age 22 in the FSL
.811 OPS at age 23 in AA
.828 OPS at age 24 in AAA

54 His lack of power is indeed a problem. That is why his somewhat improved SLG this year was attractive. He has had 24 XBH out of 81 H in AAA this season, including 10 (!) triples. But your main concern still stands.

2008-07-31 06:56:41
64.   williamnyy23
59 I have no problem with spotting Christian or even having Nady play CF against some lefties, but I don't think Melky should lose his job unless something clearly better comes along. A 28-year old minor leaguer doesn't strike me as something better. I don't want to demote Melky just to teach him a lesson. He has had stretches of success in the past, and I think there's a better chance he'll have another one than there is that Christian will play well for an extended period of time.
2008-07-31 06:59:03
65.   OldYanksFan
54 EXCELLENT point. Ellsbury: .262 .328 .358 .686
This is not really a pennant contender's corner OFer.
Could Brett post a similar line? With his SBs and speed, would that make him 'worth it'?
Althought I see Brett more like: .250 .330 .350 .680
2008-07-31 06:59:18
66.   williamnyy23
63 What was selective? At his age levels, I don't find any of those rates impressive, especially being a 22-year old college graduate playing against teenagers in rookie ball.
2008-07-31 07:05:03
67.   williamnyy23
I don't think Washburn is on the way. From rotoworld:

"No wonder the Yankees backed out of the rumored deal for Washburn. The newspaper also notes that the Mariners asked for "Jon Niese and/or Fernando Martinez or another top prospect" from the Mets, which is even more laughable."

2008-07-31 07:06:52
68.   monkeypants
66 Because you paint with broad brushstrokes when you refer to high .700 OPS performances--which ignores the historical context in which that composite number is generated. There have been fine seasons mixed in with duds, in a pretty consistent patter.

Look, we can go around in circles on this. You simply refuse to accept that some players develop more slowly, but can still be an asset for a team. This is where Billy Beane has been so good: he recognizes that 27 y.o. AAA players having good success are likely to outperform "proven veterans" struggling at the big league level. That's what allows him to discover the likes of Matt Stairs, a classic late bloomer.

Gardner will probably never be a star. But I do think that he stands a good chance of having a couple of decent seasons in MLB, given his track record in MiLB.

More germane to the discussion--because no one is kidding themselves that Gardner is the next Mays or Mantle--will he outperform Melky? This year the answer proved to be no. Next season? I have a very strong sense that he will be a better player than the perpetually regressing CF.

2008-07-31 07:06:53
69.   OldYanksFan
from PeteAbe:
Tonight: RHP Jon Garland (9-6, 4.30) vs. LHP Andy Pettitte (12-7, 3.76)
Friday: RHP Ervin Santana (11-5, 3.57) vs. RHP Sidney Ponson (6-2, 4.59)
Saturday: RHP Jered Weaver (9-8, 4.11) vs. RHP Mike Mussina (13-7, 3.56)
Sunday: RHP John Lackey (9-2, 2.93) vs. RHP Darrell Rasner (5-8, 4.92)

It seems we could work a split. We have to win tonight and Saturday.

2008-07-31 07:13:24
70.   williamnyy23
68 That's not true at all...I think older players like Gardner with a serious lack of hitting skills will develop. When the Yankees are talking about teaching him how to keep his weight back at age-24, well, that's a mjor red flag.

Also, I think he can be an a pinch runner. Does anyone have his PECOTAs? Again, I can imagine any projection system placing value on his minor league stats considering the age at which they were compiled.

Finally, we are not comparing Gardner to proven Veterans. We are talking about allowing him to replace a man who is younger than he is.

As to your point about me being selective, do you really think an .811 OPS is that far off from my description of "high .700 OPS performances"?

2008-07-31 07:14:21
71.   williamnyy23
70 That should be...will not develop.
2008-07-31 07:19:56
72.   horace-clarke-era
Wow, check in this morning and the Banter is wild. Wonder why ...

* I am not going to go on again about Melky/Gardner ... I've made my points on that and will say I agree with william entirely here. Gardner may learn to hit ML pitching, and the difference between a good eye and an eye that translates into good swings on strikes, but right now with the doubly improved lineup we are FINE with a very very good defensive CF batting (probably) 9th. This is a pennant race, at the very least Melky's been up for awhile, knows the environment. It matters. Gardner and Christian will pinch run and maybe spot start in September.

* Bay/Manny hasn't happened so this may all be just talktalk but I'm with the 2-3 people here saying it would be a very good deal for Boston and for THIS year. The problem with saying 'Manny's a HoF stud, Bay's a good OF' is that it ignores CURRENT reality, which is that Manny and Boston has gone seriously toxic in a big hurry. To get rid of that for a very good starting LF right now and keep the money for next year's upgrades would be outstanding work from Epstein. I don't think Boston is a place where the insanity of the Bronx Zoo of the mid-70's would translate into nasty, pissed-off-at-each-other triumph.

* Also agreed that having Pudge onboard allows the Yanks a chance to evaluate the early/mid stages of Jorge's recovery before making a call on 2009. I'd regret if they gave Pudge 2 years (someone will, I suspect) and he'd be way overpaid after arbitration, but unless we scored a catcher off-season, Pudge for the 2009 year as Jorge works his way back would be awfully useful.

2008-07-31 07:25:40
73.   Shaun P
69 I don't know about this year, but in the past, E Santana has been horrible on the road. Friday could turn into a win, too.

When I saw this thread was up to 60+ comments, I never thought they'd mostly be about Melky! Very interesting discussion.

72 Woo-hoo! Welcome to the club, h-c-e! Zack and I are happy to have you on board.

71 I'll give you the PECOTAs in a second, but here are their last 4 years (including 2008), translated to the same environment (so you can compare them, and then factor in age as you like):

Melky, 2005 (AA): .245/.291/.366 (464 PA)
Melky, 2005 (AAA): .225/.288/.333 (112 PA)
Melky, 2005 (MLB): .211/.211/.211 (19 PA)
Melky, 2006 (AAA): .361/.407/.566 (135 PA)
Melky, 2006 (MLB): .281/.369/.398 (525 PA)
Melky, 2007 (MLB): .279/.337/.414 (612 PA)
Melky, 2008 (MLB): .249/.308/.361 (409 PA)

Gardner, 2005 (SSA): .221/.288/.274 (335 PA)
Gardner, 2006 (A): .255/.357/.351 (278 PA)
Gardner, 2006 (AA): .253/.327/.294 (251 PA)
Gardner, 2007 (AA): .271/.354/.391 (241 PA)
Gardner, 2007 (AAA): .239/.317/.315 (207 PA)
Gardner, 2008 (AAA): .273/.396/.418 (372 PA)
Gardner, 2008 (MLB): .153/.239/.169 (68 PA)

2008-07-31 07:32:52
74.   Cliff Corcoran
69 You know those matchups have been on the sidebar here for about a week.
2008-07-31 07:34:01
75.   Shaun P
70 Weighted mean PECOTAs for 2008:

Gardner, 412 PA, .236/.310/.314
Melky, 537 PA, .283/.341/.404

Going forward:


Gardner, 474 PA, .245/.319/.331
Melky, 606 PA, .279/.338/.401


Gardner, 445 PA, .246/.320/.335
Melky, 601 PA, .288/.348/.424


This doesn't factor in 2008 performance. I wonder how Gardner's excellent AAA numbers, and Melky's poor MLB numbers, will affect things? And, PECOTA uses the last 3 years of data, so Gardner's crappy 2005 gets lopped off, which might help him, while Melky's best line ever at AAA in '06 falls into the past, which might hurt him.

Should be interesting.

2008-07-31 07:36:24
76.   Max
33 ha ha, that was hilarious. "a short imagined monologue written by a toaster" submitted by Mariano Rivera, perfect.
2008-07-31 07:36:47
77.   Sliced Bread
Good stuff, Shaun.
2008-07-31 07:37:15
78.   JL25and3
I basically agree with both sides of the Melky/Gardner debate - at least, I agree with the negative arguments on both sides.

William, I think 27 isn't a good argument. You want to say that his regression really isn't that bad; all that happened was that his walk rate declined, and he had a terrible month, and his BA went down. In other words, some things got worse, they stayed worse, and nothing else got better. It adds up to a significant decline from a kid whose value lay almost entirely in his potential to improve. He went from mediocre but promising to very bad with not the slightest sign that he can or will improve.

At the same time, the comparison of Gardner to Jason Tyner had occurred to me as well. Maybe Gardner will improve, but I see no reason to trot him out at the ML level to see if he will. I believe there's a better chance of Melky hitting a hot streak than of Gardner producing substantially better this year. Tommyl is exactly right, Gardner's OBP skills may very well not translate to the majors because of his complete lack of power. If he gets better, fine, but right now I see no reason to put him out there to see.

I don't have a good answer. I suppose one could say that the real problem is that the Yankees have zero position players at AAA who can even do credible imitations of major leaguers, for even a little while. That might suggest poor roster construction, and we all know that's not possible.

2008-07-31 07:37:54
79.   Max
69 If we can split, I would be ecstatic. I think we lose 3 of 4, though.
2008-07-31 07:38:11
80.   YankeeInMichigan
Does anyone know exactly when the deal was consumated? Was it before or after Edwar's ejection? I can see Girardi muttering to himself "If Edwar know that Farns was unavailable he wouldn't have done that. Now I've got to stretch out Robertson for 2 innings and send out Geiss on 2days rest from a 65-pitch outing."
2008-07-31 07:39:04
81.   horace-clarke-era
73 Aw shucks, Shaun, and gee thanks ... call me Hoss. (NO idea why I find that nickname funny, or who started it ... OYF I think, but it makes me grin. h-c-e sounds like a medicated cream, or an illegal performance enhancer!)

Santana has leveled it out a lot this year, home and away. Angels are more than a little scary with Teix added, though they did give up a very solid 1st baseman, not just a prospect. Still, it is a real improvement to a team that had batting/power as it's only obvious weakness. Lackey/Saunders is surely the best top of rotation in the league right now. (Though in a short series I will, irrationally, say that Joba/Andy in either order should match up pretty well.)

2008-07-31 07:40:28
82.   Max
80 Edwar can appeal and hold off the suspension though, can't he? Though I agree it was still horrible timing, given that there's no day off until mid-August.
2008-07-31 07:43:39
83.   horace-clarke-era
If Edwar is throwing at someone I do NOT believe it is on his own initiative. I may be wrong, but I can't see a kid doing this without at least tacit awareness/insistence from the team. Which means Girardi, who was in on the Farns trade according to Cash, wasn't blindsided. I suspect he'll appeal and may buy enough days for someone to arrive from AAA.
2008-07-31 07:46:59
84.   JL25and3
81 I know I've been calling you "Hoss" for a long time. That's what I remember the announcers calling Clarke, probably because of his striking resemblance to Dan Blocker.
2008-07-31 07:48:50
85.   horace-clarke-era
Cute, Little JL! :)

Who's Pa? And who here is bland enough to be Adam?

2008-07-31 07:50:11
86.   Shaun P
81 You got it, Hoss. Thanks for the update on E Santana.

78 I forget who suggested it first, but since Christian can handle CF, and Melky seems lost vs LHP, why not platoon them? Maybe you don't do it in a big park, with a flyballer on the mound, where Melky's defense is more likely to come into play - but I can't see it hurting Melky.

Shoot, Torre and Showalter both used to rest Paul O'Neill - the Warrior himself - against LHP. Why not give Melky a break?

2008-07-31 07:51:41
87.   cult of basebaal
oh boy, another melky thread!


i've been on both sides of this debate. i wanted gardner to get his shot and then i wanted him sent down when it became clear he was overmatched.

the basic issue is that melky is a net negative on the team and in a perfect world, would be replaced. unfortunately, in this world, we can only replace melky with more imperfect players at this time.

to his credit, when gardner was sent down, he talked to chad jennings about what he had learned in his time at the major league level and what changes he thought he would have to make (since he realized that ML pitchers were attacking him directly and negating his patient approach). maybe that is possible, maybe he will only be what we saw. he'll certainly get another chance to play in NY, most likely as early as september, but i think it's better for all involved for him to spend this next month in SWB incorporating whatever improvements are possible in his game.

how ever, that doesn't mean that we can't improve upon the current CF offensive black hole. Christian can play CF, he also is a RHB. Melky can't hit LHP to save his life. he also never seems to get a day off. perhaps the occasional day of rest would perk up his bat some, at the least it was change the lineup around a bit and give us a bit more speed.

Voila! an instant platoon that hopefully improves performance out of CF to the merely mediocre that we could live with.

2008-07-31 07:54:05
88.   cult of basebaal
80 based on the cashman news conference yesterday, it sounded like the deal got very close, cashman called girardi and told him to avoid using the wacker and then edwar went and airmailed that pitch ...
2008-07-31 07:57:43
89.   Bagel Boy
49 "But at what point does the age difference simply cease to matter? "

I think that's the best question yet. Differences in age only matter when you assume one player is getting better while another, older player, is staying stagnant. Melky has unequivocally shown he's not getting better. Ergo - the age difference doesn't matter until Melky proves he's on the right track.

58 He's turning 24 in two weeks. He's not very young anymore.

2008-07-31 07:59:19
90.   williamnyy23
According to Ken Rosenthal, "if the Ramirez deal falls apart, the Pirates will turn their attention to trading Bay to the Rays."

All the more reason to hope the Manny trade goes down. Even if Bay is an exact replacement for Manny, at least the Sox AND the Rays don't improve.

2008-07-31 08:02:58
91.   JL25and3
89 Right.

As Casey Stengel said about Greg Goossen, "We got a young catcher right here, he's 20 years old and in 10 years, he's got a chance to be 30." Unfortunately, that seems to sum up Melky's potential these days.

2008-07-31 08:04:12
92.   monkeypants
70 I also think we (you) need to temper this "older players like Gardner" rhetoric. Melky moved through the MiL system at a young age, no doubt. But that does not mean that Gardner is "old". He is not some aging retread battling against young, peach faced teens at every level.

As Cliff mentions in the main post, the shift from A to AA is the big jump for college players like Gardner. Gardner made this jump successfully during his age 23 season. Is 23 y.o. "old" for AA. Nope. Check out the rosters of any AA affiliate (admittedly, their rosters are sometimes tough to find).

Here's a sample: the Bighamton Mets (chosen because it was easy to access their roster) have an average age of 24.5 y.o., and that does NOT include Moises Alou and El Duque on rehab assignments. They have sevens players under 23, six are 22 and one is 19.

Assuming the B-Mets are more or less typical, Gardner pretty much stopped being an "old" player in AA. At 24 in AAA he is certainly not very old for his level. He is not a top prospect, rocketing through the MiL at every level, but he is not particularly old.

2008-07-31 08:06:20
93.   williamnyy23
78 Melky has certainly had a reggression, but I think the extra 20 games in 2007 is relevant because Melky was awful in September. I don't think it's inconceivable to think that a 22 year old player would tire in his first full major league season.

Also, I think Melky's BABIP is relevant. This year it is at a very low .265, so some level of luck may be involved.

2008-07-31 08:11:52
94.   monkeypants
93 His BABIP is down, but so is his line drive rate, IIRC. Is it bad luck, or is he just not hitting the ball all that well?
2008-07-31 08:13:44
95.   pistolpete
22 >> I want him on the Mets. Bring him to NY, Omar, and please keep him on that side of the bridge. >>

And have him catapult the Mets to a championship? No thanks.

2008-07-31 08:14:26
96.   cult of basebaal
one thing to remember about craig wilson's tenure with the yankees in 2006, is that torre gave him about 2 weeks of mostly regular starts and then, when he didn't immediately set the world on fire, starting jerking his playing time all over the place, using him as a pinch hitter, removing him mid-game.

i suspect that nady will get a fairer shake than that.

2008-07-31 08:15:54
97.   JL25and3
94 Right. BABIP for batters isn't the same as for pitchers, it's not so easily attributable to luck. Melky's hitting weak grounders and pop flies.
2008-07-31 08:20:34
98.   williamnyy23
92 Gardner is old for an outfield prospect. He was old as a 22-year old in Tampa and is old as a 24-year old in Scranton. You are comparing his age to roster averages, but that includes a great majority of player who have no prospect of making the majors.

What's more, he isn't a 24-year old posting an OPS of 1.000. He has a BB induced OPS of .829, which at the minor league level is something worthy of consideration.

2008-07-31 08:21:16
99.   Bagel Boy
87 To be honest, I'd much rather a Damon/Christian platoon. Melky needs to see minor league pitching again if he's ever to get his swing right.
2008-07-31 08:21:24
100.   JL25and3
96 I thought the whole idea was that Wilson was supposed to be a platoon player. He played pretty much every day for a month, even if it wasn't for the whole game. He wasn't good.

Sorry, but if Craig Wilson can't be platooned without his game falling apart, he's not worth a lot.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-07-31 08:22:37
101.   JL25and3
98 , 99 The problem is that they all suck. You can throw them out there in any combination, and they're still going to suck.
2008-07-31 08:23:54
102.   williamnyy23
94 Yes, but his LD% is actually higher than his best season in 2006 (18.2% vs. 17.2%). Having said that, I am not sure what LD% tells you, or if it is even accurate. After all, Arods LD% in 2007 was 16.9%.
2008-07-31 08:25:27
103.   cult of basebaal
93 right now, melky's between his 10 and 25 percent Pecota forecast for 2008. yeah, i'd say that's a regression.
2008-07-31 08:26:57
104.   monkeypants
98 well, here we have to agree to disagree. 24 y.o. is just not that old for a AAA prospect--it's only old for organizations (and fans) who demand that their prospects are all future Willie Mays types. A fine team can be built that has one or a few 25 y.o. rookies, who stand a good chance of providing a couple of above replacement-level seasons (at a cheap price) before fading into obscurity.
2008-07-31 08:27:43
105.   williamnyy23
101 So then why not stick with the younger player who has had some ML success and become a top flight outfielder?
2008-07-31 08:29:43
106.   Bagel Boy
96 i suspect that nady will get a fairer shake than that.

Ain't it nice having a real manager!

98 I don't know about that. Ryan Howard was old for 1B prospect. So what? Age is just a another number when a player stops developing.

The only point that matters is that Melky needs to see minor league pitching again, if he's ever to get right. The Yankees have enough options to pick up the slack while he gets back to "developing". At worst, they'll be just as terrible as Melky. At best, they'll actually contribute something at the plate.

Besides seems to me you can't reject Garnder as an option because of what he did at the MLB level but then also reject Christian because of what he's done at the MLB level. And all I'm talking about is this year, even as what the future holds for Melky is very much in doubt.

2008-07-31 08:30:47
107.   williamnyy23
104 Yes...I think we'll have to disagree. I definitely don't believe that a fine team can be built using 25 year old rookies who have failed to excel in the minors.
2008-07-31 08:34:43
108.   monkeypants
105 Because after 1500 PAs he he has not proven capable of performing at the MLB level. So we run around in circles again. Is Melky's regression real? Do his 1500 MLB PAs trump his youthful success in MiL? At what point is there enough evidence to pull the plug on the experiment? How badly does he have to play before someone else--anyone else--is a better gamble, even if the odds of success are low? Does 68 PAs of absolute suckiness outweigh a broader pattern of (relative) MiL success? Do 68 PAs trump 1500 PAs?
2008-07-31 08:36:00
109.   JL25and3
105 I'm not really arguing that point. As I said, the best hope out there might be that maybe, maybe, Melky will hit a hot streak.

That doesn't mean that I think there are any good positive arguments to be made for Melky as a ballplayer. He's bad, plain and simple. If they want to leave him out there, if they want to try giving more time to Christian or Betemit (at DH, with Nady in center) or Gardner, it probably doesn't make a lot of difference.

We're just talking about degrees of suck here.

2008-07-31 08:36:15
110.   williamnyy23
106 Howard was in the minors until age-25, but I think you can blame that on Jim Thome. Also, check out Howards minor league OPS in 2004 and 2005 to see why he isn't a good example.

2004: .291 .369 .637 1.006
2005: .371 .467 .690 1.157

I am not rejecting Gardner or Christian based on the 2008 ML performance. I am rejecting them based on their less than impressive minor league numbers, and in Gardner's case, his unimpressive swing.

2008-07-31 08:37:40
111.   Bagel Boy
101 I don't know about that. Damon will give may more runs with the bat than Melky saves with his arm. And Damon's range last year was better than Melky's. Hard to see how one changed that.

Christian at least contributes something with the stick. Melky is at nothing right now. He needs minor league pitching if he's ever to be a MLB hitter again. That I think is the more important point. If you truly think Melky has time to develop, then it's even more reason to send him down. Cause he ain't doing that in NY. That much is clear.

105 Cause he's been getting on base less than 28% of the time for the last three months?

2008-07-31 08:40:46
112.   williamnyy23
108 I guess we are going in circles. I happen to think that Melky's 90ish OPS+ seasons at age 22 and 23 earn him the benefit of the doubt. I also give Gardner very little credit for having a decent performance in the minors in his age 21 to 24 seasons.

109 There are some good points. He is a very good centerfielder with a great arm. Is that not a good point?

2008-07-31 08:41:47
113.   Raf
88 Could be Edwar realized the scope of the trade whilst in his windup :)

106 Ryan Howard was old for 1B prospect. So what? Age is just a another number when a player stops developing.

Howard tore up the minors in his age 24 season. That he didn't get more or any playing time with the big club can be attributed to being blocked @ the 3 positions that he could've played (Burrell-LF, Abreu-RF, Thome-1b)

2008-07-31 08:41:58
114.   monkeypants
107 Welcome to the world of distortion and false dichotomy! Now, slowly read what I posted again: a one team can be built that has one or a few of such players.

Not every player on a great team has to be Mantle or Bonds, not every player having a good year or three need do so as part of long, long career, at least in the real world.

I'm not talking about fielding an entire team of Brett Gardners. I'm talking about finding short term and medium term solutions to improve weak spots in the line up around the core of star performers. Melky is a weak spot, and after the trades, arguable the primaru weak spot.

2008-07-31 08:43:05
115.   Shaun P
104 I'm with you, monkeypants. 24 years old is old for an elite level OF prospect. Superstars OF don't make their debut at 24. They are typically in the big leagues at 21 (or younger). Like Manny. Or Mays, Mantle, Griffey Jr, etc.

Of course, just because someone is in the bigs at 21, and has some success at that age, does not guarantee they are going to be a superstar. Or even a star. Or even a league average regular.

That Melky succeeded in the bigs at 21 is a great marker for his future success - or it was, until he regressed a little at 22, and has really regressed at 23. The negative trend, IMO, outweighs the success in '06.

Or, to put it another way, we've got 524 PA from '06 suggesting he was a future star in the making, versus 1021 PA since then that suggest quite a bit less. Its getting to the point where you have to value the greater sample. If Melky finishes the year where he is now, with another 250 PA or so, I'm officially worried that 2006 means very little.

2008-07-31 08:45:05
116.   Shaun P
114 Err, what monkeypants said in 108 . I've really got to refresh when I get interrupted while writing a comment.
2008-07-31 08:46:22
117.   monkeypants
112 I would give him the benefit of the doubt...if his 90ish OPS+ seasons were not in reality 95 then 89, as part of a consistent three year slide that you really, really want to downplay.
2008-07-31 08:48:14
118.   Shaun P
90 Unless, of course, the Rays decide to do something different. Says Olney over at

The Rays have been involved in conversations with the Pirates about Jason Bay, . . . and for the Reds' Adam Dunn . . . But with less than five hours remaining before the trade deadline, the Rays weren't sure which way their talks would go -- and it may be that in the end, their upgrade will be Rocco Baldelli . . ."

My guess is the Rays will end up valuing their prospects more than Bay, and no deal happens there. I think they could win it all with the team they've got now, especially when Price gets called up in August and becomes their Joba.

2008-07-31 08:49:10
119.   Bagel Boy
108 Again, great question:

"At what point is there enough evidence to pull the plug on the experiment?"

How about a full year of suck?

2008-07-31 08:49:12
120.   JL25and3
112 Good points that do very little to mitigate what a bad player he's been.

Melky's a good fielder, even very good, but we're not talking about Devon White or Cesar Geronimo. Gardner may well cover as much ground, he just doesn't have as strong an arm. I'd say Melky's arm and Gardner's speed are roughly equivalent: nice things to have that matter every once in a while, but don't make a bad ballplayer appreciably better.

If they wanted to try something different, I wouldn't let Melky's glove stand in the way. As I said, it's degrees of suck.

2008-07-31 08:49:30
121.   Shaun P
112 117 Hold on! This is Melky's age 23 season, and his OPS+ right now is 79, not 90ish.
2008-07-31 08:53:25
122.   Bagel Boy
Let's come at this another way:

1) Raise your hand if you think Melky is still developing.
2) Keep your hand raised if you think Melky is developing this season.

How many people have their hands raised? If #1 and #2, please explain your reasons.

If your hand went down after #2, please explain where Melky can best develop his skills going forward.

Thank you.

2008-07-31 08:54:25
123.   williamnyy23
111 And you are sold on Christian after 25 ABs?

114 It's not distortion. I got your point the first time and still don't think it makes sense to waste a roster space with unaccomplished 24 or 25 year old rookies. Sure, if you put one or a few on the 1998 Yankees they'd be fine, but then again, they might not be the 1998 Yankees.

2008-07-31 08:58:05
124.   williamnyy23
115 I think Melky's splits are very relevant though. In 2007, he was on his way to progress as his April-August numbers show. Then, all of a sudden he had a ghastly .456 OPS in September. I think it is possible he tired in his first full season, but regardless, isn't it more accurate to say that for a season and 5 months Melkly profiled as a star, but the last 5 months have seen a serious downgrade. Looked at in that light, I think Melky warrants more patience.
2008-07-31 09:01:52
125.   williamnyy23
121 Even better for my point. Melky had modest success at ages 21 and 22! Even though 117 sees the decline from 95 to 89 as a significant regression, I see it as the result of an addition of 30 games for a player unused to that workload.

There is no mistaking that Melky has been bad this year, but I don't think it erases the good progress he made from May 2006 to August 2007, and certainly doesn't mean the Yankees should drop him for a player with only moderate success in the minors.

2008-07-31 09:04:01
126.   williamnyy23
122 I think Melky is definitely still developing, but has had a major setback year. The same can be said of Cano, but on a much grander scale. I think the best way for the Yankees to see if he can turn it around it to allow him to keep playing on the major league level until a better (proven) option comes along.
2008-07-31 09:05:56
127.   monkeypants
123 You mean the 1998 Yankees, whose starting LF was Chad Curtis, who is pretty much the exact sort of league average (plus or minus) that I am talking about. You know, he came up at age 23 with the Angels. Had a couple of decent seasons. Was the weak link on the Yankees, but played a damn site better than 79 OPS+, who peaked at age 28 and was gone from the majors by 32, whose rookie 100 OPs+ would be a nice addition to the current team, whose MiL numbers were not that impressive for a corner OF (.865 OPS at AAA)?
2008-07-31 09:08:39
128.   monkeypants
124 125 And he is still tired from getting worn out last September? OK, OK, I'm being sarcastic.

126 Ah, OK, here is the core difference, I think. You feel the best thing to do is "stay the course" with Melky until a proven better solution comes along. I believe that for this season his performance is so bad that the better path is to try just about anyone else, proven or not.

2008-07-31 09:09:49
129.   cult of basebaal
123 i'm sold enough to give him a shot at taking all of melky's at bats against LHP.
2008-07-31 09:15:32
130.   Bagel Boy
123 No, but logic suggests you can't simultaneously reject Gardner based on a horrid small sample and also reject Christian based on a decent small sample. Unless you can?

Further - you send Melky down for two weeks and see what happens. Maybe it's a wakeup call. If they had done that a month ago he might have already been back. But now they have the benefit of plugging in Nady. Heck put him in CF, Damon in LF, and Abreu in RF - that's a .850 OPS outfield!

1B/DH would work itself out besides Giambi. But no one they plug in there would be worse than Melky has been for the last three months.

125 Seems like you're trying really hard to find the silver lining - through selective sampling.

2008-07-31 09:17:08
131.   monkeypants
127 123 Or better yet, what about Ricky Ledee, who was still playing in AAA at 24 (though he slugged much better, though he also played corner OF). Yet somehow the team managed to win with him on the roster in 1998 and as a more or less starter for half of 1999 (when he also spent time at AAA at age 25)?

Juan Rivera, who played about 50 games for the 2003 Yankees, is another comparable player with a long and spotty MiL track record, who has pieced together a decent albeit unspectacular career.

2008-07-31 09:19:11
132.   Bagel Boy
126 The minor leagues are for developing, especially if it's not happening at the ML level. Melky's not. Seems you're doing him, and his development, a disservice.

127 Great find.

2008-07-31 09:20:42
133.   williamnyy23
127 You are assuming that Gardner is a league average player. I think that's an unlikely best case. Also, Curtis' posted an .865 OPS at AAA at age-22. By age-23, Curtis was a league average major leaguer (all of which you cited). So, I am not sure why the comparison. If Gardner could be as good as Curtis, he'd be an asset. I don't think he is even close to that level, which is saying alot.
2008-07-31 09:23:55
134.   williamnyy23
130 You keep putting those same words in my mouth, even though I haven't said them. I am rejecting Gardner not on 68 PAs, but on a combination of little visible talent (I am not a scout, but I trust my eyes when I see bad and good) as well as only moderate success at the minor league level despite being 24 years old.
2008-07-31 09:26:25
135.   monkeypants
133 You have a fixation with age. Curtis hit .865 OPS (corner OF) in AAA at age 22. Gardner is hitting .800+ OPS (for a CF) in AAA at age 24. Just because Gardner is age 24 does not mean that his AAA success, essentially the same as Curtis' given the difference in position) will not translate in the MLB.

What is DOES suggest is that Gardner's peak will probably be lower, and his peak plateau will be shorter. But that would still mean he has the potential to about league average plus or minus for a few seasons before fading away.

I really don't fully grasp your logic. It's like you see prospects as if they were eggs, and at age 23 or 24 the sell buy date suddenly expires and they will NEVER be able to play at the big league level for any length of time with any success.

If the dude hits .800+ OPS for the rest of the year at AAA, he quite frankly stands s decent chance of being able to play some at the next level next season, if give the ABs to adjust. Does the team have the luxury of allowing those BAs? I don't know, but they have sure given Melky plenty of rope.

2008-07-31 09:28:46
136.   williamnyy23
131 Again, Ledee rated better on scouting scales and posted OPS of .900+ at ages 22 and 23.

Juan Rivera also had better minor league numbers at a younger age: .917 OPS at 22 and .858 at 23.

Your examples do not match Gardner's profile, even before you taking into account scouting assessments.

2008-07-31 09:29:49
137.   JL25and3
124 It wasn't progress from May 2006 - August 2007. If you're going to discount the fact that he sucked last September, what about the fact that he sucked last April, too?

What I see is a player who has hot streaks and cold streaks without showing any actual improvement. When he's had a hot streak, he can boost his overall performance to not-very-good. Without a hot streak, he's godawful.

2008-07-31 09:30:21
138.   williamnyy23
132 Believe it or not, a lot of development takes place in the majors. If not, you wouldn't be able to fill out a 25-man roster.
2008-07-31 09:31:06
139.   Bagel Boy
134 I'd say 100 points of isolated patience with an average of .285 is a pretty good talent, especially one who's job is to get on base. Add in the speed and that's two tools. What are Melky's tools? Cause it's not patience, or power, or speed. So an arm and....? Seems like Gardner is more toolsy from a scouting standpoint.

Furthermore, you keep assuming that Melky has room to develop. If so you need to explain why the minor leagues aren't the place for him to do that. Saying the Yankees don't have another proven option isn't true because they they now have two in Damon and Nady.

2008-07-31 09:31:42
140.   Bagel Boy
138 Not for Melky!
2008-07-31 09:33:08
141.   williamnyy23
135 Age is very important. There is a big difference between levels of success between 22 and 24 year olds. If Gardner exhibited major league skills other than his speed, you might overlook his modest minor league numbers, but he doesn't have that going for him either.
2008-07-31 09:34:33
142.   JL25and3
132 I agree with you. Melky should have spent more time in the minors, but the needs of the ML team demanded that they give him a shot at age 20. He showed enough that year to allow people to think he could develop in the majors. It's time to stop thinking that.

They will keep playing him because they don't have anyone else who doesn't suck. But I hold out little hope of his actually developing.

2008-07-31 09:34:59
143.   Bagel Boy
141 Again, age is only important so long as a player is developing (or failing to). On that count, Gardner has developed more in the past year than Melky has.
2008-07-31 09:35:22
144.   Shaun P
125 Melky's splits by month, with the BABIP in ():

May 2006: .318/.392/.394 (.356)
June 2006: .214/.313/.296 (.216)
July 2006: .313/.358/.475 (.333)
August 2006: .311/.397/.453 (.349)
September 2006: .253/.349/.330 (.307)

April 2007: .200/.238/.213 (.221 BABIP)
May 2007: .254/.338/.424 (.255)
June 2007: .298/.364/.447 (.318)
July 2007: .368/.410/.528 (.400)
August 2007: .306/.350/.468 (.314)
September 2007: .180/.236/.220 (.220)

April 2008: .299/.370/.494, (.300)
May 2008: .234/.270/.319 (.250)
June 2008: .206/.289/.255 (.235)
July 2008: .250/.275/.318 (.284)

There's a lot going on there.

I'm no BABIP expert, but for the most part, the months where Melky has hit well, his BABIP suggests (I think) that he hasn't been ridiculously lucky, maybe just a little lucky. Except for April 2008; he might have been a little unlucky then.

Similarly, the months were he's hit poorly, his BABP suggests (I think) that he's been just a little unlucky, as opposed to ridiculously unlucky (ex: .220 AVG, .295 BABIP).

So, to summarize: out of 15 months in the bigs, Melky has had:

1 incredible month (OPS over .900)
2 excellent months (OPS between .850 and .900)
3 great months (OPS between .800 and .850)
1 good month (OPS between .750 and .800)
1 OK month (OPS between .700 and .750)
7 bad months (OPS less than .700)

2008-07-31 09:38:45
145.   Bagel Boy
144 Great stuff. It seems the talent is there. But when he's out of whack, he doesn't know how to get himself right. That's the perfect reason to get sent down - to figure it out. Playing every day in games that matter isn't helping him.
2008-07-31 09:39:12
146.   williamnyy23
137 Even veterans are inconsistent. If you want to throw April 2007 into the bad column, you have to throw April 2008 into the good one. The point is that Melky has had stretches of success in the majors to go along with very good to great defense. That's enough for me to not pull the plug for obviously lesser options.

139 That's your opinion, but Gardner's isolated patience against minor league pitching simply isn't impressive. See 54 for a few reasons why.

2008-07-31 09:40:09
147.   Shaun P
144 And 3 of those 7 bad months have been the last 3 months. 2 of those months (June and July) where he usually crushes the ball.

I don't like that trend at all, on a number of levels.

2008-07-31 09:46:22
148.   williamnyy23
144 Excellent data and a much better illustration of what I have been trying to point out. The Yankees have a 23-year old who can not only play top notch defense in centerfield, but has also had significant flashes of being a pretty good hitter. Unfortunately, he also has been prone to lousy stretches. To me, that suggests that you don't give up on him lightly (and giving Gardner the job would be just that).
2008-07-31 09:48:34
149.   williamnyy23
147 Considering that one of his better months was this April, does that get tossed out when looking at trends? Could there be a real reason for his poor season: more lefties, weaker hitters behind him, more pressure because the offense as a whole has been down?
2008-07-31 09:49:06
150.   Shaun P
Back to Manny for a moment.

From Will Carroll:

"the Red Sox, on the other hand, will try to deal Manny Ramirez even if the Pirates fall out. They can't do a deal to just the Marlins, but the Dodgers and one other mystery team have been contacted. The Dodgers are thought to be offering Matt Kemp."

Please please PLEASE tell me no one likes that one. Don't tell me no Scary Manny for 2 months >> 5 years of a young Matt Kemp.

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2008-07-31 09:50:08
151.   Bagel Boy
146 Except he's shown that gap power in AAA this year.

Again Gardner has shown two clear tools. Even just basing it off of Melky's advanced numbers at a young age, what are his tools?

2008-07-31 09:50:54
152.   Shaun P
149 Well, if you look at the last 5 months of data, you have awful awesome awful awful awful. One of these things is not like the other . . .

And, its not like the Yanks didn't face lefties at all in April. April '08, right now, looks like a fluke. If he hits in Aug and Sept like he has in May, June, and July, I think April is definitely a fluke.

2008-07-31 09:52:11
153.   cult of basebaal
not to break up this lovely rehash of the Hacky McHeadfirstslide Experience ... but here's something new to beat to death ... from Will Carroll over at BP:

The Red Sox, on the other hand, will try to deal Manny Ramirez even if the Pirates fall out. They can't do a deal to just the Marlins, but the Dodgers and one other mystery team have been contacted. The Dodgers are thought to be offering Matt Kemp.

so ...Jason Bay or Matt Kemp? short term or long term? pick your poison.

2008-07-31 09:52:42
154.   cult of basebaal
150 DAMN YOU, one step ahead!


2008-07-31 09:53:03
155.   Shaun P
Only Hoss, Zack, and I are going to like this one. C'mon Gammons, get this one right:

Gammons at

"A source close to the three-way negotiations involving Manny Ramirez says the deal is close to dead. Florida has reportedly asked Boston for a cash outlay beyond the $7M to cover Ramirez's contract, in addition to two prospects. That essentially would add up to the Red Sox trading Ramirez, $9M and two prospects for Jason Bay."

2008-07-31 09:54:47
156.   Bagel Boy
148 "To me, that suggests that you don't give up on him lightly"

You failed to show how sending him down is "giving up on him".

And you've also failed to show how his arm saves more runs than Damon's bat in CF would provide. By all accounts the range of the two is equivalent.

Point is: It shouldn't take Griffey circa 1994 to bump Melky to the minors. The Yanks have a few viable options considering the level of suck that is Melky right now.

2008-07-31 09:56:57
157.   Zack
144 147 Yeah, and over the past two seasons, he's had 4 goodish months out of 10. That's not good at all. July 2007 clearly stands out as an aberration, as over all 3 seasons he hasn't had a month even close to that. So with that in consideration, that's an average ops of .654, which is just awful and has only touched .800 twice, barely. It's pretty hard to make any argument that there is any sort of progression there. Sure, he's had a few good months, but basically half of those good seasons came in his first season.

Rather than an improving or even league average-type prospect/starter, Melky is looking more and more like Kevin Maas. He made an immediate impact and regressed subsequently to anemic levels of production. Except that Melky has never actually made much of a offensive contribution.

Everything about his #s suggest suckitude. The obvious path would be having sent him back down to the minors last season or certainly by now. But Cashman has basically assured himself of having to lean on Cabrera, in order to either hope to increase his already blown to hell trade value, or simply because there really isn't anyone else.

2008-07-31 09:58:45
158.   monkeypants
136 Ledee and Rivera both played corner OF, so we would expect their numbers to be higher than Gardner's or Melky's (as CFs). The point is that their numbers were not overwhelmingly good at AAA, and in the case of Rivera he seemed to be regressing as a prospect.

I bring them up only because you claim that good teams cannot (or rarely can) "waste" roster spots on unproven talent, unless the players are some sort of blue chip MiL prospects. That is simply hog wash. No team is made up of all star players, even the 1998 Yankees.

2008-07-31 09:58:53
159.   Zack
Wow, the Dodgers really really really don't like Kemp, huh?
2008-07-31 09:59:11
160.   mehmattski
146 According to RATE, Melky is a slightly below average defender:

According to RZR, Melky is a slightly above average defender:

(The Hardball Times says that the league average for CF in RZR is .916)

There's no evidence that suggests that Melky's defense qualifies as "great." Don't be fooled by the occasional diving catch; otherwise known as Jim Edmonds Syndrome.

2008-07-31 09:59:34
161.   JL25and3
149 No one's tossing it out. And I think everyone agrees he's capable of a hot streak. but there's no trend there, no improvement; it's been the same way since he came up. At best, he's exactly the same player that he was then, though most of us would say he's gotten worse.

Sure, all players are inconsistent, which is why you look at their overall line rather than judging them by monthly splits. A good month doesn't make a good player.

2008-07-31 10:00:16
162.   horace-clarke-era
william has my proxy in Melky IV: The Thread Goes On.

I find it a bit funny that people keep talking about sending him down in a pennant race to 'find his stroke' and replace him with ... what? I do see that some have agreed that options aren't much. I also find it a bit weird that all this microfocus is on our #9 hitter now, our ONLY probable weak bat. If he was being stuck with when a major kid was lurking in AAA, yeah, give the kid a shot. But Gardner was simply overmatched and it only needed watching a few games. Will he always be overmatched? No idea. I see him needing swing adjustments (and footwork) MUCH more than Melky does ... wasn't it obvious how shallow he was being played? Saw at least 2 hits (probably 3-4) taken away on soft liners to left that the LF was playing about where Brian Roberts played Giambino last night. Until Gardner can drill a bit better that's not going to change.

Sure, sit Melky vs lefties, certainly tough ones, especially if JD is healthy enough again to play a (bad) CF or if Christian can. I actually expect to see Girardi do that down the stretch, people are going to be down and up for off days all the way in. We don't even need to WORRY about it (what, us, worry?).

But sending him down? Benching him? NOW? With what we have behind him? Nope.

Go get 'em william.

2008-07-31 10:04:37
163.   JL25and3
162 Me, I'm not so concerned with whether he's benched now. I've been pretty clear on that: suck is suck, and I don't much care.

I'm more concerned with the future. I dread seeing Melky as an everyday outfielder again next year. They can't just keep throwing him out there, hoping that by virtue of time alone he will somehow achieve adequacy.

2008-07-31 10:04:39
164.   horace-clarke-era
mehmattski ... 7th of all CFs is 'slightly above average' on RZR? Right between Sizemore and Beltran? Look where Ichiro is there (I made that point last week, that he was NOT good in CF) and look where 90 million Torii is.

I guess if you mean 14th is average you can put it that way, but ... and there was an arm-strength stat posted here a few weeks back where he was outstanding, too.

Nope. This is a very good CF, no optical illusions, that I can see.

2008-07-31 10:08:17
165.   mehmattski
162 I agree with you, and with Pudge in the lineup, perhaps it's not a terrible tragedy to have Melky hitting in the #9 spot, especially when the other options aren't there.

Gardner needed to adjust his approach a bit, and swing at more pitches early in the count. Only by getting hits will pitchers start to respect him; only by having pitchers respect him will Gardner's great plate discipline start to matter. I don't think there's a reason to give up on him as a starter, but he's not better than Melky right now.

2008-07-31 10:08:28
166.   williamnyy23
158 Talk about contortion. I didn't say you can't waste a spot on unproven talent. DJ was unproven in 1996. I said you cant waste a spot on unaccomplished 24-25 year olds. By unaccomplished, I mean very little success in the minors and low scouting ratings. In other words, Brett Gardner.
2008-07-31 10:10:16
167.   williamnyy23
160 RZR has him at 4th in the AL. That's not simply a case of making a few diving catches.
2008-07-31 10:10:44
168.   JL25and3
Btw, mehmattski, I took up your challenge on your blog.
2008-07-31 10:11:19
169.   mehmattski
164 My beef is with calling him "great" and "very good" when the statistics say he is "average" or perhaps "good." RLYW had a ranking of all CFs by offense and defense, earlier in the season. Melky was average on defense.

Having a centerfielder who can't hit and has average range, just because he has a strong arm, is not a very smart way to build a baseball team. Going forward (2009+) the Yankees may need to look elsewhere for a CF. This year, what you suggest in 162 , a platoon of sorts once Damon is healed, may be the best course of action.

2008-07-31 10:12:36
170.   mehmattski
167 Ranking is not as important as relative value- and average is .916. Melky's .933 is not "great," it's "above average."
2008-07-31 10:22:55
171.   monkeypants
149 Nad let's look a little more closely at Melky's good April this year. It was buoyed in large part by five HRs, out of his total of eight for the season. Let's throw in his in HR in early May--75% of his HRs basically came in one month. Do we throw that out? No. But let's look even more closely.

According to Hit Tracker, his HR distances in April and May were: 324, 417, 347, 368, 371, 355. Four of the six were pull shots to the RF corner, three of them in cozy Yankee stadium. One was a bomb (417' in KC) and one a slice shot over the short fence in LF in Jacob;s Field.

Over the same period (April and early May) he had 0 triples and four doubles; only 2 doubles came in April.

So basically, Melky's "slugging" in his one hot month was made up largely of short homers over the short porch. This may indicate that he was lucky more than developing the sort of power we were all hoping. Now, if we take away the three wall-scraper HRs in April, his good month suddenly is not all that good:

Assume the short HRs = 2Bs, and his SLG goes from .494 to .425 (OPS .795)
Assume his short HRs = outs, and his SLG drops to .333 (OPS c. 700)

Now, I fully admit that is somewhat unfair to "take away" Melky's HRs. On the other hand, to base one's faith on his supposed development from one good month, which was itself the product largely of a couple of 345 foot "blasts," is not the best way to go. Without those couple of lucky HRs, Melky would probably have hit around .800 OPS in his best month, and his overall numbers would be even suckier than they are now.

2008-07-31 10:26:59
172.   monkeypants
166 " DJ was unproven in 1996."

And contortion back at you: DJ was the MiL player of the year two years in a row. he was far, far more accomplished as a MiL player than Ledee and Rivera combined. he was as much of a sure thing as any MiL will be.

Rivera/Ledee were far closer to Gardner, relative to their position, than you are willing to grant.

2008-07-31 10:31:53
173.   Bagel Boy
To "nothing better" crowd, please explain to me how:

Damon doesn't give more runs with his bat than he gives back with his glove, at least compared to Melky.

With Nady for LF, Damon is a clear option. If you worry about late inning defense, then that's another reason to have Gardner around.


2008-07-31 10:32:54
174.   williamnyy23
170 Says who? I am not being sarcastic about that question. Melky is closer to the league leader (.947) than the average, so at least it seems well above average.

Also, Cabrera was second in the AL and 4th in the majors in RZR in 2007 (the co-leaders were Andruw Jones and Granderson at .921).

2008-07-31 10:34:31
175.   mehmattski
168 I know, I just responded :)
2008-07-31 10:35:37
176.   williamnyy23
172 That's not a contortion at all. Derek Jeter was unproven in 1996. That's a fact...unless you think he had in deed proven himself on the major league level based on his performance in 1995. What DJ was in 1996 was accomplished, which is my exactly my point, so I have no idea what your point is. In fact, you just made my point.
2008-07-31 10:38:05
177.   JL25and3
173 It's not really replacing Melky with Damon, because Damon's playing anyway. It's more like replacing Melky with Betemit (as DH), at which point you may not be gaining enough on offense to be worth it.

Against lefties, though, you can play Sexson at first and DH Giambi. Not that Sexson looks like he has anything left...

2008-07-31 10:40:37
178.   williamnyy23
173 But who DH's then? If Matsui comes back healthy, it's worth considering. If it means more Betemit or Sexson, I'll go with the defense in CF.
2008-07-31 10:49:41
179.   Bagel Boy
177 Yeah, you'd be working in Christian and Sexson more. I think that's fine for two weeks or even a month. Heck, give Matt Carson or Juan Miranda some ABs. The point is that Melky is giving nothing on offense, and Damon can approximate his range on defense. Since it should, in theory, be possible to get something more than nothing, getting a bit more offense is possible. More importantly, Melky may actually learn something if they send him down. But he's not developing at all right now.
2008-07-31 10:53:52
180.   Bagel Boy
178 For a guy who thinks there's some developing left in Melky, you keep choosing the least beneficial path for him. He's not working himself out of this - that much is clear.
2008-07-31 10:54:37
181.   cult of basebaal
169 now you're pulling a william, MM ... SG's earlier rankings had melky in the lower half of the upper third. not average but good to very good.

here are the latest numbers (top 5 AL CF by RSAA as of july 10th):

carlos gomez +9
melky cabrera +6
grady sizemore +5
nick swisher +4
carlos gonzalez +4

Hacky might be a black hole of teh suck with a bat in his hand, but he's a legit plus OF ...

2008-07-31 10:56:09
182.   williamnyy23
180 And it seems like you just want to throw anything on the wall to see if it sticks. Your assessment aside, I think Melky still has a lot of potential. Hopefully the Yankees continue to realize the relative value of Melky versus the other names you have thrown out.
2008-07-31 10:56:17
183.   cult of basebaal

The Make A Wish Kid, rides again!!!

2008-07-31 10:57:02
184.   williamnyy23
181 Care to explain that comment, or just in the mood to toss out insults?
2008-07-31 10:59:55
185.   monkeypants
176 I'm sorry, I did not fully grasp your fine semantic distinction. OK, I'll play along using your words:

Jeter was unproven. So were Ledee and Rivera and Melky and Gardner.

Jeter was exceptionally accomplished. Ledee and Rivera and Melky and Gardner were not.

Melky was very accomplished (I actually don't believe this, but I'll grant it). Ledee and Rivera were just about as accomplished as Gardner, albeit slightly younger (which is very exciting for you).

Melky is now proven. He is proven sucky.

2008-07-31 11:03:42
186.   williamnyy23
185 Melky, Ledee and Rivera all were graded better by scouts (if my memory is correct) and were younger when they put up better numbers than Gardner. That means something to me; apparently it doesn't to you.

If you want to give up on Melky fine. I think that would be foolish, that's the beauty of opinions. I don't think, however, you'd find much objective support in favor of starting Gardner over him.

2008-07-31 11:04:57
187.   Bagel Boy
182 Really? I and others have merely pointed out that:

a) Melky isn't developing right now.
b) There is no evidence to suggest he's developed at all as a major league player
c) It's not clear what his tools actually are that could develop.
d) The Yanks have better options - right now.

It's a disservice to Melky's career that he hasn't been sent back down for re-education.

2008-07-31 11:08:40
188.   Zack
This thread isn't going anywhere, it seems, and should probably be retired for the 4 or so above it, no? I mean, lets be honest, nobody has budged at all on this debate and now we''re just repeating ourselves or arguing about frivolities.

The reality is, whether you like it or not, the Yankees are basically stuck with some combination of Melky/Gardner/Damon in CF through next season, barring some major and unlikely trade for, say, Matt Kemp.

2008-07-31 11:09:14
189.   williamnyy23
187 And I have pointed out that:

a) Melky is a very good defender.
b) Melky is still their youngest option.
c) Melky has had many productive months as a hitter.
d) Just because a young player has a horrendous 3 months doesn't mean you dump him for minor league retreads (see Cano, Robinson).

It would be a disservice to Melky if you demote him when he has already had success at this level.

Anything else we can disagree about?

2008-07-31 11:09:53
190.   Bagel Boy
186 What were they graded on? Seriously, scouts grade according to five tools. As I've pointed out, Gardner has at least two plus tools. What are Melky's tools?
2008-07-31 11:10:15
191.   cult of basebaal
188 dammit, this teh Banter and we're not satisfied with beating a dead horse until we've got glue!
2008-07-31 11:10:40
192.   williamnyy23
188 Fair enough...the fact is Melky is here for the rest of the season, so it's a "mute" point anyway. On to other matters...
2008-07-31 11:14:27
193.   Bagel Boy
189 I don't see how (b) is relevant unless you're making things up. Austin Jackson is younger than Melky.

(c) is relevant only with the use of the term "many" even as "a few" would be a more accurate description.

And (d) he's had more than 3 horrendous months. It goes back to last season, as others have pointed out.

So you're left with (a) and we're back to Brett Gardner.

Serious question: Has Melky developed as a hitter since 2006?

2008-07-31 11:15:59
194.   Bagel Boy
"the fact is Melky is here for the rest of the season"

I hope not! Maybe a healthy Matsui would give them the kick in the arse to send him down. That's the only place he'll develop.

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