Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Exploring Their Options
2006-11-11 23:18
by Cliff Corcoran

The Yankees have to decide today if they will pick up Jaret Wright's option for 2007. Given the state of the Yankees' rotation at the moment (the old and injured, the young and unproven, and Chien-Ming Wang), it seems well worth the extra $3 million to keep Wright around as insurance (the buyout on his $7 million option is $4 million). But the latest rumor is that the Yankees will do with Wright what they did with Gary Sheffield, pick up his option then flip him for prospects.

The rumored destination for Wright has been Baltimore, where he'd be reunited with Leo Mazzone much like Sheffield was reunited with Jim Leyland in Detroit. I wasn't aware that Baltimore had any prospects (other than Nick Markakis, and the Yanks ain't gettin' him), but this is Jaret Wright we're talking about after all. Credit Brian Cashman for a fantastic strategy here. With Sheffield he turned a player they were likely going to let walk away for nothing into three impressive young arms. If they do deal Wright, they'll either have taken his $4 million buyout off the books and gotten live bodies in return for the favor, or, if they wind up sending cash with Wright, will likely wind up turning an oft-injured 30-year-old pitcher with a bad contract who averaged just a hair more than five innings per start in the third best season of his career last year into some young talent for no more than the $4 million that as of the moment is essentially a sunk cost.

In other news, the deadline for eligible players to file for free agency was yesterday, which means those players who have filed are free to negotiate with all thirty teams starting today. The Yankees who have filed are Miguel Cairo, Octavio Dotel, Tanyon Sturtze, Ron Villone, Bernie Williams, and Craig Wilson, as well as Wright and Mike Mussina, who's $17 million option the Yankees will likely buyout for $1.5 million by Wednesday's deadline. In addition to that group, Nick Green and Sal Fasano both elected to become free agents after being outrighted to triple-A last month. The Yankees also have a long list of six-year minor league free agents. You can find that list on the side-bar under "players." Among the players listed are Aaron Small, Terrence Long, Ramiro Mendoza, Kris Wilson, Jorge DePaula, Ben Davis, Russ Johnson, Felix Escalona, Jesus Colome and Frank Menechino. Bubba Crosby, who was also on that list, signed a one-year major league deal with the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday. Several other sites have included Wil Nieves on that list as well, but as far as I can tell he's still on the Yankees' 40-man roster, and is thus ineligible for six-year minor league free agency.

Meanwhile, despite the rumors that circulated on Thursday that either the Rangers or Red Sox had come in with the top bid on Daisuke Matsuzaka, the actual results remain unannounced, as the Seibu Lions have until Tuesday to make their decision. (I feel like I should post that sentence on the sidebar until the decision is final.)

2006-11-12 00:45:06
1.   jakewoods
wright for prospects is about right. no pun intended.
2006-11-12 01:15:09
2.   joejoejoe
There is a ton of starting pitching on the 2007 free agent market. If the back of the rotation isn't working you can several options (Karstens, Rasner, Humberto Sanchez) and then if it's still not working you can spin the kids for a veteran on the last year of his deal.

It might not look great on paper but as long as the Yankees are +/- 3 games on the wild card by mid-summer they will have the chips to pull off some awesome deals (Jake Westbrook, Doug Davis, Livan Hernandez, Jason Jennings, Carlos Zambrano, etc). If the kid pitchers step in and perform like Cano and Melky it's even better in the long run.

Note: R. Johnson has 280 wins and is a free agent in '07. He'll be back strong if healthy.

2006-11-12 01:16:17
3.   joejoejoe
2 Shorter me - Trading Wright for prospects is a great idea.
2006-11-12 03:52:25
4.   randym77
FWIW, the MLB "Hot Stove Report" list of Yankee free agents is here:

It does include Nieves as a minor league free agent.

And who'd have thunk Bubba Crosby would be the first free agent signed off that list?

Jaret Wright...he has his moments, but he's just too hard on the bullpen. OTOH, who are they going to put in the mound in his place?

2006-11-12 04:50:51
5.   Simone
Wright is very hard on the bullpen, but the Yankees should consider picking up his option. He can get a few wins during the season and could be a useful spot starter.
2006-11-12 05:11:02
6.   randym77
Torre said whether or not Bernie is on the roster next years depends on how many pitchers they decide to carry.

I hate to say it, but I'd rather have Wright than Bernie at this point.

2006-11-12 05:17:46
7.   militello
according to the baltimore sun, they got Chris Britton for Wright. He was a rookie last season and pitched pretty well but had a bad August, was send back down and then recalled in September. I don't think he's a lock to make the yankee team. They already have Mo, Proctor, Farnsworth, Bruney and Myers and will likely bring in a second lefty. Maybe they'll carry a 7th bullpen guy but that'll probably be a long guy, maybe Rasner or Karstens. Then you have guys like Beam and JB Cox competing with Britton, so it's likely Britton will start the season in the minors. But I wouldn't be surpised if they trade Farnsworth which would open up a spot.
2006-11-12 05:52:43
8.   vockins
ESPN lists Britton as 6'3" and 278 lbs. I don't want to buy into the "athletic build" b.s., but lay off the ribs, dude.
2006-11-12 06:05:48
9.   Yu-Hsing Chen
Britton would be a ok guy to have for Wright i suppose, but really don't we have like a million of those guys? ==b the hard throwing reliever type... guess Cash thinks we need about 20 to make sure someone survives Torre heh
2006-11-12 06:15:16
10.   RIYank
8 David Gassko at Hardball Times says:
What we find is that being overweight tends to improve a pitcher's projection for the next season, by a little over .02 runs for every ten pounds. If we look at the same spread as for height, that is the range that encompasses 95% of all pitchers, we find that the difference between a thin and fat pitcher's projection will be a little over .11 runs per nine, given that they performed equally in the previous season.
2006-11-12 06:15:31
11.   wsporter
Britton is tough on rhb's, he became increasingly less effective against lefties as the year went on. Jim Palmer spent a good deal of air time this summer discussing Britton's need to work on a change to be effective against lefties. He was pretty good in May/June/early July and had the locals excited about a dominant O's pen that seemed to be emerging. Not so much in Mid July/August when hitters from both sides began to sit on his fast ball. Given what we have right now including Bruney, I don't think Britton would travel north with the Yankees if this were the last day of spring training. Any decent lefty arm we come up with will bump him I think. I like the move especially if we didn't sent any more than the option buy out price to the O's.

He's a good young arm who adds more pitching depth so I'm starting to agree with the people who smell a big trade in the offing. Maybe that D-Train or Zambrano stuff isn't as far fetched as I thought it was.

2006-11-12 06:20:57
12.   RIYank
9 The most plausible hypothesis is that Ca$hman is stocking trading chips, don't you think? And in effect he's gotten a bunch for nothing. The $4mil sent to Baltimore with J. Wright was the buy-out price. If, as seems likely, the front office had decided that neither Sheffield nor Wright was worth their option salary, so they'd planned to decline both options, that means the Yankees are now four young pitchers on the plus side, compared to where they would have been had they just declined the options. I expect most of those four young pitchers to be on some other team by March, or if not then around July 1st, as joejoejoe says.
2006-11-12 06:31:52
13.   RIYank
wsporter: I agree.
Omigod, I've figured it out. Here's the rotation.

1. Moose

2. Proctor for three innings, Bruney for two, Dotel for two.

3. Wang

4. Sanchez, Sturtz, Whelan

5. Unit, but only every ten days; otherwise Karstens, Rasner, Proctor

In the late innings it will be Farns and Mo one day, and of course Proctor the next (to make sure he gets enough work).

2006-11-12 06:49:10
14.   randym77
10 Call up Colter Bean!
2006-11-12 06:50:46
15.   Yu-Hsing Chen

12 i suppose, but i don't see enough chips here to make it happen, if we go for D-train, we would need Melky to start for sure, and then throw in Sanchez or Hughes, if it's Sanchez we need one more guy at least. possibly a Bruney or Britton.

Is this trade plausible and possible? maybe, is it likely? not really, I don't see why the Marlins would like to trade D-train for a CF of Melky's caliber (Melky might be a good CF... but i'd sure want a more surefired prospect if i was trading my franchise player)

2006-11-12 06:51:27
16.   OldYanksFan
I hate to reveal my lack of knowledge, but here goes. We just traded a RHP for a RHP, where salary/$$ was not a big issue.

Do I assume the O's wanted a starter instead of a reliever? Since OUR starting staff is very questionable, I'm not sure if we benefit that much. We got a younger, cheaper guy, who in a very small sample size, has better numbers then Wright.

What do the O's get out of this? Does Leo think he can do more MazMagic with Wright? I'm not questioning the move, as much as the motivation, from both sides.

2006-11-12 06:56:09
17.   randym77
15 Melky would not be near enough. They want a slugger, and he's not one. I don't think he'll ever be one, either.

I fear it would take Melky and A-Rod to get Willis. They have tons of young pitching talent. They want a big name, who can get buns in the seats, and a big bat, for the middle of their order.

2006-11-12 06:58:04
18.   wsporter
16 OYF, I think our motivation was along the lines of getting something for nothing; we were going to buy Wright out so for the same price as buying him out we got a good young arm that may be a change up away from being a dominant righty. From the O's POV ... hell they're the O's, this is what they do.
2006-11-12 07:24:39
19.   C2Coke
After seeing the work Cashman has done so far this year, I suddenly understand why the Boss had him on a leash for so long it's because the Boss knew all along how good Cashman is...

Although we are all assuming Moose will be one of the SPs, I also wonder why they have yet to announce what will happen with Moose.

Another question, and I am not asking it to mock him or just to have fun but I ask with a serious attitude...
Even if Pavano is healthy next year(HUGE if, trust me, I know),is he really going to stay with the Yankees? The vibe I got from the Yankees (all of them including the Boss, Cash, Torre, and the players...) is that they all got so fed up with him and would trade trouble away as soon as they see a chance. Pavano doesn't have a no-trade clause, does he? Obviously, I am also aware that no team would show interest in him at this point.

2006-11-12 07:28:40
20.   Jeteupthemiddle
Pavano does have a no trade clause.
2006-11-12 07:36:15
21.   Simone
I just realized that Wright has already been traded. Unlike others, I'm not impressed with the pitching prospects that the Yankees have acquired. I'm interested in Cashman's next move.
2006-11-12 07:41:50
22.   yankz
21 What were you expecting for Wright and Sheffield? I'm confident Cashman made the best moves possible.
2006-11-12 08:05:58
23.   unpopster
Looks like Ca$h is loading up on some chips right now. I think it's a great move, but...

...I'm going to rock the boat once again and propose that Ca$hman make THE necessary move and trade a certain corner infielder this offseason.

So here's the deal: Mr. Unnamed Corner Infielder to the 'Stros for Lidge, Ensberg and a minor league chip. Lidge would step right in to compete with Farnsworth for the 8th inning setup role. Resign Dotel and give him a chance for either the 8th or 7th inning reliever role as well.

Plug Ensberg right in at 3B and let him be the second-coming of Brosius.

Lastly, take the chip gotten from the 'Stros, this Britton guy from the Os' and another Yankee farm system chip and trade them for either Dontrell Willis or Zambrano.

Oh, and move Proctor into the rotation as a starter -- which was the Yankees' plans all along last year before he began to shine as a reliever.

That would then give the Yanks this rotation:

1. Zambrano/Willis
2. Wang
3. Moose
4. RJ
5. Proctor/Pavano

I apologize in advance is I have stirred up a debate once again about trading that certain he-who-shall-remain-nameless corner infielder.

2006-11-12 08:09:49
24.   randym77
23 I can't see getting Zambrano or Willis for what you're offering.
2006-11-12 08:22:06
25.   seamus
I don't know how you can't love these deals. We're getting a lot of something for nothing. A few folks seem disappointed because these are prospects we are getting, instead of MLB ready players. But I think it is great that we got lots of talent for two players we didn't want to keep. Really, hard to expect even that much for these guys right now.
2006-11-12 08:24:29
26.   unpopster
24 of course, it would depend on the level of the two prospects. I think we can get a high level prospect from the 'Stros in return for the unnamed Yankee corner infielder and probably be willing to give up a high level Yankee minor leaguer for a bonafide #1 starter such as D-Train or Zambrano.
2006-11-12 08:32:21
27.   wsporter
21 You've seemed dissatisfied about the Sheff situation since it was contemplated. I still don't understand why. Recognizing good fortune when it smiles on you can be a key to happiness. :-)
2006-11-12 08:34:05
28.   randym77
26 I think we'd have a better chance of trading that unnamed corner IFer directly for Willis, if we want him. The Marlins have more young pitching talent than they know what to do with. They don't have power bats.

Willis is the face of the franchise for them. Something like five times as many people show up when he pitches. Their Triple-A club sells more tickets than they do, so they'll miss those sales. If they give up Willis, they'll want a star in return. Mr. Unnamed Corner IFer could be the guy. He's a local boy, after all.

We'd probably have to pay a chunk of his salary, because the Marlins don't have a lot of cash, but we can afford it.

2006-11-12 09:07:06
29.   Cliff Corcoran
First off, the best pitcher you guys have named is not Willis, but Zambrano. I'd target him, but then I don't understand trading for a guy whom you can sign as a free agent if you'll only wait a year. Think of Javy Vazquez. Had they waited on him they have held on to Juan Rivera and Nick Johnson.

Britton will be 24 next month and his minor league track record is excellent. He jumped to the majors from AA last year after topping out in the Carolina League (high-A) in 2005 and posted a 3.35 ERA and allowed less than a hit per inning in 52 games. The Yankees did wind up sending the buyout cost ($4 million) to Baltimore, but since that was a sunk cost to begin with, this is still a solid deal. Cashman is my hero.

2006-11-12 09:08:10
30.   Cliff Corcoran
Oh, and, Randym, the link you posted in 4 is in the post above.
2006-11-12 09:09:03
31.   vockins
10 David Wells is the same height and his published weight is 243. Fat Curt the Dragon Slaying Level 53 Wizard Cleric is taller and 235. I have no idea how accurate those published weights are, but I am willing to bet that Britton has far more reason to lie than two guys who have multiple All Star appearences and WS rings.

278 is another level of huge. I'd be concerned the guy was going to drop dead of cardiac arrest before he's 27 than whether or not he can throw strikes.

2006-11-12 09:11:00
32.   Simone
22 I wasn't expecting anything much for Sheffield or Wright which is exactly what the Yankees have gotten. Like I said, I'm just waiting to see what happens next.

27 I do not see the 3 pitching prospects for Sheffield as good fortune at this point though I can understand why you and others feel that way. IMO, unless one or all turn into something of value either through performance on field or as trade bait, they are merely $13 million worth of nothing much.

As things stand, I am just hopeful that the Yankees still have a shot at Matsuzaka

2006-11-12 09:13:22
33.   wsporter
29 Yes the number $$ is working its way slowly but surely toward a plaque in Monument Park if not in my greedy little heart. This has been one hell of string he's running since the Abreu deal if not before.

It's a good day; think I'll have waffles for lunch.

2006-11-12 09:20:48
34.   randym77
30 Sorry, Cliff. I did read your post, I promise. Since I'd already visited the link, though, it doesn't show as a link. Your "visited link" color is almost exactly the same as the ordinary text color.
2006-11-12 09:21:54
35.   wsporter
21 32 Simone we did not pay Sheff $13 million. Why won't you acknowledge that?

I'm not quite sure I understand your point. Do you think we could have received better prospects or is it the class of prospect we received generally that you are not impressed with.

What are some names of prospects that we could have reasonably expected to obtain that you would have rather received than those we got?

If it's the class of prospect you're not pleased with then perhaps you could answer this: would you rather the Yankees had paid Sheff and Wright their buyouts and gotten nothing for them? That is: would you have rather they actually had paid more money than they did and receive nothing for them in return? Whould you rather they kept Sheff without having a role they envisioned that he wanted to fill? Do you really want Wright in the Rotation for $7 million?

In exercising their option on Sheff they ended up paying nothing on his 2007 contract and paid nothing on a buyout. They received 2 prospects ranked highly by both Baseball America and as well as another young arm. They only paid Wright's buy-out price sent to the O's which is what they would have paid anyway to buy him out and received a young power arm in the bargain.

Forgive me and sorry but it sounds like you're reaching for something to complain about.

2006-11-12 09:40:35
36.   joejoejoe
29 You trade for '08 free agents so they can pitch for you in the '07 playoffs.

How much is a few months of Jake Westbrook or Carlos Zambrano worth? I'd say two decent prospects or one very good prospect and a throw in player.

2006-11-12 09:53:55
37.   Cliff Corcoran
24 Visited links should be purple, while unvisited links should be blue.
2006-11-12 10:06:36
38.   randym77
37 Wow, are you serious? They don't at all purple to me. They look very dark gray, almost indistinguishable from your black text.
2006-11-12 12:58:03
39.   Jim Dean
I like Cash more and more these days. But there's still a lot of fire in that hotstove. He's got at least five roster slots to fill:

1. Backup Catcher
2. Utility Infielder
3. Two Starting Pitchers
4. RH 1B

How he fill those will further cement my opinion. Remember, this is the same guy that signed Kelly Stinnett and Miguel Cairo last year and brought Terrence Long before Melky and Scott Erickson before Karstens or Rasner.

Cashman still has a way to go in my book. But he's on the right path.

2006-11-12 13:50:19
40.   Simone
35 I am fully aware of your opinion about my opinion which I have made perfectly clear several times.
2006-11-12 14:18:40
41.   wsporter
40 What opinion? It's a disagreement over fact not opinion. You're entitled to your opinion. Just don't attempt to support it by distorting or misstating facts. Again the Yankees did not pay $13 million to Sheffield when they exercised their option to continue the contract they ultimately assigned or "traded" to Detroit. That "fact" is central to the analysis of the transaction. If, in acknowledgement of that fact, you are of the opinion that it was a bad deal or that you are unimpressed with the deal then fine, party on. When you join in a dialog about a transaction and mischaracterize the terms of the deal you can't honestly expect not to be called on that.
2006-11-12 15:22:27
42.   Cliff Corcoran
39 Actually, he called up Melky before Long and was the guy who picked Rasner off waivers in the first place. Plus, Rasner was up on June 1, just 16 days after Erickson, and got hurt.

Meanwhile, I misspoke about visited links. They're not purple, they're black just like the text. Apologies to Randym about that. That said, they are still underlined.

I have some suggestions for 1, 2 and 4 (3 depends on the Matsuzaka results), which I hope to post about soon.

2006-11-12 15:22:51
43.   Cliff Corcoran
42 that is 1, 2 & 4 in 39
2006-11-12 16:25:59
44.   Jim Dean
42 Fair enough. Melky was before Long, but the latter was before Thompson. Still doesn't explain Stinnett and Cairo, nor the fact that Erickson and Long were even signed. Cash is headed in the right direction, but those moves give me pause.

For #1, maybe Greg Zaun?
#2 = DeRosa?

At #4, I got nothing from the free agent list - maybe Hillenbrand or Mientkiewicz?

I'd prefer a prospect for the backup catcher, but they've had that chance for the last three three to four years, and I'm not holding my breath. Even a prospect to mature in AAA, and in case of emergency, would be nice.

2006-11-12 16:33:09
45.   Jim Dean
Whoops - and Mientkiewicz is a lefty. Slim pickings there.
2006-11-12 16:39:09
46.   Raf
23 The last time Proctor was a full time SP was 2002 in AA Jacksonville. Given that the Dodgers moved him to the pen, as well as he doesn't have much outside of a fastball I don't think he can handle starting.

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