Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The More the Leftier
2005-12-16 14:09
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yankees traded minor leaguer Ben Julinel to the Marlins in exchange for left-handed relief pitcher, Ron Villone. This is the sixth time Villone has been traded and the ninth team he's been on since he broke into the Majors in 1995.

2005-12-16 14:21:21
1.   tom yf
What is the point of a move like this?! There are no awards handed out for oldest, shittiest bullpen ever.
2005-12-16 14:46:41
2.   sabernar
Well, we gave up a 26-year old AA player, so we pretty much got him for free. And he's a lefty. We essentially got him for free. If he stinks it up in spring training, no loss, just cut the guy (or trade him - everyone needs a lefty in the bullpen). I think it's a good move, though still only a very minor move.
2005-12-16 14:53:44
3.   Zavo
I like it. The Yanks tried to acquire him from the Mariners last year, but rumors were that Seattle wanted alot and then traded him to the Marlins.

As sabernar said, the prospect we gave up for him was a 26-year old AA player and not all that good, so it's worth the risk. He should be better than Franklin or Groom or Embree and he isn't making much money. In this FA market for relievers he might have made $4 million a year.

2005-12-16 14:55:39
4.   Bill
Not a bad move. Villone is decent (more than a K per IP last year) and is a true swingman who can give you 3 innings out of the pen or make an emergency start.
2005-12-16 14:56:26
5.   standuptriple
I bet he gives us an upgrade over Leiter. It's not saying much, but improvement is worth mentioning.
2005-12-16 14:58:17
6.   unpopster
Looks like a good trade by Cashman. TRADE ANALYSIS FROM ROTOWORLD BELOW::

"The Marlins just gave up one of their best prospects, Yorman Bazardo, [to Seattle] for Villone in July. Now the Yankees are getting him for a reliever they never deemed worthy of a 40-man roster spot...Pathetic. Anyone who wanted Julianel could have taken him in last week's Rule 5 draft. The 26-year-old had a 3.90 ERA and a 106/50 K/BB ratio in 87 2/3 IP for Double-A Trenton last season. The Marlins are now in line to make a big profit next season, so they certainly could have held on to Villone and waited for his market value to go back up. Every other trade GM Larry Beinfest has made has been defensible, but this is just ridiculous."

2005-12-16 15:11:03
7.   Levy2020
They certainly don't need Leiter, Myers, AND Villone as lefty-specialists. It sounds like Villone and Leiter are both longer-relief guys.

If Leiter accepts arbitration, I see him as pretty untradeable. Who would want him after his rough start and rough finish last year? So what happens to Al?

2005-12-16 15:11:54
8.   tom yf
Didn't know he was a rule 5 guy...but still there's a 10 year age difference, I would have rather given Juilanel the spot, with 106/50 K/BB.
2005-12-16 15:18:34
9.   Nick from Washington Heights
I just get the feeling that Nomar's not coming to the Bronx:

2005-12-16 15:22:34
10.   rsmith51
Anything to keep Leiter off the 2006 Yanks is a good move, IMHO.

I will be very happy if the 2006 Yanks don't have Sierra(check), Womack(check), and Leiter(arbitration, wtf????) on the team...

2005-12-16 15:33:35
11.   Shawn Clap
It's about time the Yanks joined in on the Marlins feeding frenzy.

But I'm a sucker for these small market journeymen, coming to the bright lights of Broadway. Hopefully, Villone is like Small - only his journey has been through the bigs.

2005-12-16 15:49:46
12.   singledd
There is little on the market to get overjoyed about. Villone is about league average, is a lefty, and is joinng a weak pen. Considering he cost us very little, while this trade is nothing to write home about, we are probably a tiny, tiny bit better now.

Short of Nomar, I don't believe there is an impact player coming to us this winter. We have cut costs, and will be able to tweak our team midseason.

Is there any doubt that our current team is better then last years? We have lost no one, and have added a few decent players. I think, considering a shitty market this year, that we are in good shape.

What... is our payroll 30 mil less then lst years? That buys a lot in the midseason.

2005-12-16 16:01:20
13.   Nick from Washington Heights
the only thing, singledd, is that last year's 2nd half run was aided by the seeming outlier performances of Small and Chacon. I can't imagine they'll come close to what they did. And Pavano and Wright won't either. Also, Sheff is one year older (as are you and I). I'm worried about his and Mussina's decline, and slippages in performances from past 30 vets such as Jetes and Hideki.

I think it's been a decent off-season, and have no real problems with the moves they've made. I'd be thrilled if we snagged Nomar because he's the type of bench player we've been lacking. And it'd be great if we got Michaels for a cheap package of Sturtze and Henn. I'm just not sure if the team is better than last year's. Sans Womack and Ruben is great. But aren't those wins we gain by their absence equaled by the declines of our veteran team?

2005-12-16 16:17:34
14.   debris

Must agree. An aging team making no significant moves is not a better team. While the injury prone pitching staff was predictably injured, the offense missed no significant time to injury in '05.

While I believe Chacon is a valuable addition, I expect Small to pitch his way out of the majors by mid-May.

Would the Yankees of the '90s have considered making a roster spot of the likes of Ron Villone?

BTW, the Sox may be on the cusp of a significant move. They are speaking with the Tribe about Coco Crisp. Crisp played at 25 this past year to an OBP of .810, slightly higher than Johnny Damon. He may be a better player than Damon today; he'll quite likely be by 2007.

2005-12-16 16:22:17
15.   debris

$30 million buys a lot in mid-season if you have prospects to deal. In his review of his top 20 Yankee Prospects of 2005, John Sickels was only impressed by the progress of two, other than Wang and Cano, the graduates. The two who impressed are Hughes and Tyler Clippard.

I'm not sure I agree with his assessment of Duncan's '05 season. "Hit .235/.326/.408 for Double-A Trenton, very disappointing. But he hit the stitches out of the ball in the Arizona Fall League and is still just 21. Needs good start in '06 to reestablish value as trade bait." While the average is low and the power less than thrilling, he did show plate discipline and he was very young for AA.

2005-12-16 16:42:21
16.   Adam B
Debris, also the Iso power wasn't too bad, at .173, in a tough hitting environment (AA Trenton is pretty obviously a pitchers park). And a guy like T.J. Beam didn't make the list for 2005, but will almost surely make the list in 2006 after his performance last year (especially in the strong hitting league that the AFL was). The farm system's top prospects should look quite a bit different next year with the infusion of J. Brent Cox, C.J. Henry, Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Zach Kroenke, Josh Schmidt and others.
2005-12-16 17:01:31
17.   Freddy Toliver
Two things that will be better in 2006: coaching and starting pitching.

Bowa will be an upgrade at 3B, Mazzilli is back, Guidry will be an improvement (I was not a Mel fan and think the stats bear that out), and Pena will be good at 1B.

Mussina, Johnson, Wang, Pavano, Brown, and Wright all missed starts due to injury last year. That was all 5 of the projected 2005 rotation and one substitute as well. It could have been predicted, even anticipated, but probably won't happen again.

I think Johnson will be better in his 2nd year, Mussina should be league average, Chacon can be productive, and Wang, hopefully, won't have a sophomore slump. That leaves us with Pavano, Wright, and Small to get about 40 starts-50 starts depending on the others performances and health.

I don't think the squad can be worse in those two areas. I do think our offense could have some problems, depending on Posada's health, who plays CF, who plays DH, and who can avoid injury.

2005-12-16 20:32:07
18.   wsporter
Does anyone see Farnsworth as more than a lateral move for Gordon, at least in immediate terms? I think we could still use another bullpen arm. Whether that arm emerges from the Wright, Small, Anderson etc. group or is acquired remains to be seen. Villone's not it but he does give the system some depth, what's not to like?

I've got a good feeling about Chacon. I got to see him up close a few times last summer and he is filthy; right down to ball in the dirt and strike 3 check swings. I think and I hope that he'll surprise a few people with some good numbers and lots of innings eaten this year. The story is altitude messed with his curveball and his head. It sure looked like it, cause there didn't appear to be much wrong with him at sea level. His 2005 Yankees performance may be an outlier but IMHO he gave every reason to believe it was a level shift rather than a temporary one. Small has that fastball change mix that works so well out of the pen. His stuff may not be as effective as a 200 innings starter but may work pretty well in the 5th, 6th or 7th inning BP slot. I hope both these guys continue to pitch above replacement level. That could be huge for us.

2005-12-17 03:13:26
19.   debris

I think you should feel good about Chacon. He's not old and does have good stuff. He seems to have survived life in Colorado.

Farnsworth at very best is a lateral move from Gordon. More likely, he's a medium step backward. He's possibly Ed Whitson. Gordon was not only very good, he was consistent and composed. Farnsworth is neither of those things.

Small, as you know, was waived by 27 teams before reaching New York, a vial of magic dust in his pocket. My guess is that Small's vial of magic dust is gone. Small will be Small in 2006 and Sturtze, who became Sturtze again the second half of 2005, will again be Sturtze. In neither case is that good. In both cases, you have an aging career stiff who had a short run.

2005-12-17 05:11:06
20.   wsporter

I hope one way you hope another. That's the nature of the little thing we share on I-95. Small 10-0 again? Doubt it. A chance to be at or above replacement level? Why not? I saw too many bad swings by good hitters at his stuff for him to be a complete fluke. Guys have been winning with that fastball changeup stuff for 150 years. Where one guy's career is concerned, the past is prologue and time as a right hand variable is meaningless. Which means we're both just guessing. Small was such a great story last year. I suppose part of me is pulling for him because we get so few chances to pull for an underdog around here. I'm surprised he doesn't get more pull for that reason alone.

Sturtze had a tired arm and sore shoulder and pitched like it during the second half. With rest why can't he revert back to what he had become with the Yankees? I think there's as much reason for hope as despair with those two. You are right that the BP needs some youth and I think we could use another big hard throwing arm. Still, there's about 2 months before we report so there's time. The only thing I think I really know is, there's no sure thing either way. You hope one way and I'll hope another maybe at best we'll split the difference.

2005-12-17 05:38:29
21.   murphy
...SmallFarnMo just doesn't have the same ring either.
2005-12-17 06:37:44
22.   Nick from Washington Heights
I had a dream last night that Small continued his excellence into the 2006 season. That's a good sign, folks. My dreams are what I base my bets on.
2005-12-17 07:44:50
23.   debris

Certainly I understand your hopes. I'd just rather place my faith in players with strong histories rather than two guys with a decade of failure and two months of success behind them.

Sturtze: released or non-tendered by Cubs, Rangers, Devil Rays, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Marlins. He hasn't even been successful with the Yankees. 2004 - 5.47, 2005 - 4.73. So what are you hoping for sporter, another year of ball a full run above league average?

Small: released or nontendered by Diamonbacks, Brewers Devil Rays, Rockies, Angels, Braves, Cubs, Marlins. He truly was one of the great stories of 2005. One of the great individual stories of all time. Thank him, just don't expect more of the same from him.

Chacon? At 25 in 2003, he was a better than league average pitcher in Colorado. Which makes him a much better than league average pitcher. At 26, in 2004 he saved 35 games despite a 7.11 ERA. Back in the rotation in, he pitched quite well before being dealt to the Yankees.

You look at Small's record and Sturtze's record, you shake your head and say where did these few months come from. You look at Chacon's and you can see, where he's probably not as good as he was last year, he has shown that he's a decent pitcher at worst.

I don't see much bullpen there in front of Mo. Yes, Myers is a good pitcher as long as they keep him under 40 innings.

2005-12-17 07:54:58
24.   jayd
I'm with you Nick. He had more than enough time last year to run out of pixie dust. He's the real thing -- a pitcher not a thrower and that's not a luck thing. I'm much more concerned with the state of the arms of Pavano/Wang/Wright.

Nomar is such a wimp: I still remember the "First Couple of Boston Sports" out kicking the soccer ball around at Fenway. If he shows up, it's the 2nd coming of Wade Boggs: give that man a ring. If he wimps out (more true to form)let the LALA guys raise their lattes in celebration. If they take Damon too, so much the better. God I wish that free agency would come to a close; Damon in pinstripes is a nightmare.

The only Yankees on the RedSox are Ortiz and Wakefield. The rest are poseurs.

Am I the only guy here happy with Bubba in center? I told you last year that Robinson PolanCano was a future HOF. Didn't you see Bubba redo his whole hitting style and emerge as a credible force in September? You know, next May when he's hitting .410, I wanna see a little more respect...

2005-12-17 08:04:53
25.   wsporter

That's why you have to watch the games. I can see and read Sturtze's numbers as well as you can. I see a guy who worked himself into a reliable swing role in 2004 and was finding a role again in 2005. His era doesn't tell the whole story with Sturtze nor does it completely explain his value. I understand that you've done some high level thinking about this. But its just "Judgmental Analysis" rather than "Statistical" in nature and basically unaided at that (in a forecasting sense). If its otherwise would you share your modeling technique, the extrapolation model employed and results, I would be interested in looking at them. If not, I'll stand by my guess being as good as yours.

2005-12-17 09:37:04
26.   Levy2020
I'm with you on Crosby. He'll be solid if not good/great.

I can't believe that people here are happy with Giambi playing 1B. It simply doesn't sense for him to hit better when he fields. I think it probably has something to do with the distribution of his DH time overlapping with his slump and his 1B time overlapping with Tino's injury and his resurrection.

Other than the Crosby-Sheffield collison, I don't think anything killed the Yankees more in that playoff series than Giambi's arm.

2005-12-17 12:37:47
27.   yankz
With another arm, and a plethora of kids in the minors ready to fill in, Sturtze suddenly seems really expendable, and the Sturtze/Henn for Michaels trade seems pretty good to me. Keep Michaels for a couple years; if Melky's ready by then, slide Michaels over to RF when Sheff's gone.

If none of this works, sign Jacque Jones for RF and DH Sheff? The idea of him in the field every day scares me...

2005-12-17 21:13:01
28.   wsporter

Hel-loooh, hint, key word: Research.

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