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Observations From Cooperstown--Trading Giambi
2007-05-24 15:23
by Bruce Markusen
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The rumors have hit full throttle. Jason Giambi, the latest center of the storm, has been dangled in trade talks with the Angels, with names like Chone Figgins and Jose Molina bandied about in a return package. On the surface, a trade of Giambi to the Angels makes some sense. The Angels, who need hitting if they are to remain atop the American League West, have the depth of talent at both the major league and Triple-A levels to satisfy the Yankees’ desire to get younger and more flexible.

Well, not so fast. While I love a good trade rumor as much as anyone, this is simply not the time to trade Giambi. For all of his flaws as a fielder and baserunner, and his tendencies to fall prone to lengthy slumps, Giambi remains a productive hitter. He can be a home run/walk machine, the kind of guy who can keep rallies going with a base on balls or cap off a rally with a gargantuan tater. And with Bobby Abreu looking soft and passionless in most of his at-bats and Doug Mientkiewicz reaching base less than 30 per cent of the time, the Yankees simply need Giambi’s bat right now. Unless they can acquire a capable power hitter in a deal for Giambi—and that’s not likely to happen with the Angels—the Yankees simply cannot afford to carry another unproductive batter in their lineup. Furthermore, there are few productive first basemen available from other teams in trades, unless the 33-year-old Todd Helton strikes your fancy.

Here’s the bottom line. A package of Figgins and Molina is simply not enough to part with Giambi. Figgins' on-base percentage has been in steady decline, while Molina is an OK backup who's already 32 and not a potential replacement for Jorge Posada. At one time, I might have been inclined to make a deal if someone like Kendry Morales were included, but not anymore. The luster has faded from Morales, who is struggling in the minor leagues and unable to crack even a weak lineup like that of the Angels. Adding Shea Hillenbrand to the mix doesn’t really help the Yankees either; he doesn’t hit well enough to play first base or DH everyday and seems better suited to filling a super-utility role at a number of positions, a role that he has previously balked at.

If not the Angels, who else might be in a position to bid for Giambi? First, let’s rule out all of the National League teams. A consensus of scouts places Giambi at the bottom of the pile when it comes to defending first base. His statuesque range and popgun throwing arm make him a huge liability for NL teams. Plus there are all those games where Giambi finds himself unable to play first base because of a back or leg ailment. Without the DH option, except for a handful of inter-league games, NL teams would be taking on an albatross in The Giambino.

So let’s explore the American League. The Orioles could use a big bat, but they’ve already got Aubrey Huff, Jay Gibbons and Kevin Millar clogging up the DH and first base slots. And unless the Yankees were willing to take Huff or Gibbons, there doesn’t seem to be a fit here. In addition, Peter Angelos has been burned by so many high priced free agents in the past that I have to wonder whether he would be willing to foot the bill for much of the $40 million that is due Giambi over the balance of his Yankee contract.

The Red Sox (as if the Yankees would even trade with them), White Sox, Indians, Tigers, A’s, Rangers, and Blue Jays currently have productive DHs, or at least DHs with strong reputations (like Frank Thomas). The Devil Rays have a large depth of talent from which to draw for their DH position. So cross all of those teams off the Giambi list. The Royals, Twins, and Mariners don’t have the financial willingness to take on Giambi’s contract, so let’s forget about them, as well.

So that leaves us with, well, absolutely no one. Other than the Angels, there simply doesn’t appear to be a team that has a strong need, desire, or financial capability to take on Giambi’s services.

Developments over the last week have only depressed Giambi’s trade value. His recent comments amounted to an admission of steroid use, which has him in scalding water with Major League Baseball. The rumors of a failed amphetamine test, while disputed, don’t help the situation, especially when Giambi refused to deny that he had tested positive.

Beyond all of that, here’s the most important reason to keep Giambi. The Yankees need him to make the playoffs. He remains their most powerful left-handed hitter, their best threat to reach 35 or more home runs. As poorly as the Yankees have played through the quarter pole, they still have enough time left on the summer calendar to make a run at the Red Sox or catch the Tigers/Indians for the wild card. Without Giambi, the Yankees don’t have enough offense to overcome their other deficiencies. With him, they just might.

Keep in mind that we’ll need to check back on this issue in another month. If the Yankees continue to look like a sluggish and aging team—and more importantly, have drawn no closer in either the division or wild card races—then it might be time to raise the white flag on 2007. By then, the steroid talk might have died down, Giambi could be on a hot streak, the Angels might increase their offers, or someone else might have lost a DH to injury. Under the right circumstances, that would be the right time to trade Giambi.

Just don't do it now.

Comments (111)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-05-25 05:52:43
1.   Mattpat11
Who in holy hell would want Jose Molina?
2007-05-25 05:58:08
2.   Jim Dean
Bruce -

Combine the two rumors and you have answers to all your problems and concerns:

Giambi to Angels
Helton to Yankees

Let the other players fall where they may.

1 First ask: who in holy hell would want Wil Nieves?

Molina is a small step up.

2007-05-25 06:00:05
3.   Mattpat11
2I don't consider going from hideous to miserable worth the paperwork.
2007-05-25 06:11:11
4.   mehmattski
For all those who crave Rod Barajas from the Phillies' catching depth, forget it. My friend (a Marlins fan) and I were watching the last two Phillies/Marlins games and besides Barajas' .232/.377/.393 batting line, he also plays just about the worst defensive catcher I've ever seen. Say what you will about Wil Nieves, but at least the guy can block the plate...

Forgetting all the cumbersome salary Helton provides for the next five years, both Giambi and Helton still have to waive their full no-trade clauses. Why would they? Giambi to get out of NY maybe, but the NY fans seem willing to cheer him on. Helton, meanwhile, may not even want to go to the Yankees and only play half the game. The Yankees would have to throw a lot of money at Giambi to waive.

It's not worth it now, and it definitely won't be worth it in 2012 when Helton is making the same as Giambi now and being just as productive.

2007-05-25 06:11:44
5.   Yankee Fan In Boston
2 who would we have to give up to get helton? that is the one portion of the rumors that has eluded me.

3 hilarious.

2007-05-25 06:16:16
6.   Mattpat11
4 Why wouldn't Helton be the starting first baseman?
2007-05-25 06:23:56
7.   OldYanksFan
Over the last 2 year, Giambi has averaged 35 HRs, 100 RBIs and an OPS of .973. How many players can claim this?

Is he a one dimensional player? Yes. Sort of like Travis Hafner, Manny Ramirez and Big Papi. This team is struggling offensively, and even when back on track, with decent but not stellar pitching, we will need to score a lot of runs.

How can anyone consider trading Giambi? The guy has been the 2nd or 3rd most important position player on our team since he arrived (2004 injury plagued year excluded). Because unlike hundreds of other players who have used PEDs, it bothers Jason and he has spoken about it? Because he was 'caught'?

If you have ever been less then 100% honest on your tax return, if you have even driven over the speed limit (which can be a life threatening offense), if you have even broken any of a number of 'soft' laws, don't talk to me about cheating. It's sanctimonious.

Pedroir 'cheated' on his slide into 2nd then other day. So did ARod. Players 'cheat' all the time. Many, many people in baseball has stated that 'cheating' is an 'accepted' part of the game... just don't get caught. Maybe 80% of baseball players lived on 'uppers' for many years, including Willy Mays. Lots and lots of cheaters are in the HOF.

Don't get me wrong. What Jason (and hundreds of other players) did with PEDs is wrong. Absolutely 100% wrong. At least Jason feels badly about it. At least he wants to talk about it (a book will be coming after he retires). But we need to put in in perspective with others in the sport, and what was 'quietly accepted' as 'standard practice'.

All these sanctimonious people, both writing and reporting on baseball, and well as MLB itself KNEW about steroids for years... knew about speed for decades. Not a word was said. Now, it's popular to be all moral about this, after years and years of total blindness. It makes me sick.

If Bonds does NOT deserve to be heralded for breaking the HR record, what about May's 600+ HRs? The guy did uppers his whole career (and did thousands of players). Where do they stand? Do we worship 'cheaters' who didn't get caught, and hang the few who did?

2007-05-25 06:27:45
8.   Mattpat11
Do you really think Giambi is writing a book for altruistic reasons?
2007-05-25 06:27:49
9.   Simone
The last time the Yankees were rumored to be considering trading a big bat during the season it was Gary Sheffield and I totally supported the trade. I am doing the same now. Trade Jason Giambi and trade him quickly before they change their minds. If Cashman can get a player who can help now great, but if he can get a solid prospect or two that can turn into decent bench players next season even better. Get rid of Giambi and his horrific contract and call it a day.
2007-05-25 06:32:15
10.   Mattpat11
9 If we trade Giambi now, who is playing first base?
2007-05-25 06:38:49
11.   Mattpat11
[10} I meant 1b/dh
2007-05-25 06:44:50
12.   Jim Dean
4 10 Why would Helton play "only half the game"? He's an above average 1B (Career Rate = 107; 2007 = 109), and better than Mghkj (Career Rate = 102; 2007 = 90).

The next question might be: Who's the DH? I say the rotation of OF's with Melky or Figgins playing defense.

Me, I think all the current problems with the Yankee lineup came from the Giambi signing - the guy walks, homers, or K's. Nothing in between. Helton is a pure hitter - capable of moving a runner over, putting on the hit and run, etc.

5 Considering the Rox were willing to take Lowell and Tavarez and throw in 30 million, I say: Not much!

2007-05-25 06:54:59
13.   Knuckles
Giambi 2004-2006 OPS .915
Helton 2004-2006 Road OPS .883

Helton is 3 years younger, but also has a contract that runs 3 years longer. Dumping Jason at this point, even if you have a deal for Helton in place, is ludicrous.

Also, you left out the #1 reason the O's wouldn't deal for Giambi: the fact that Mike Flanagan's kid can't even trade Pokemon cards on the playground without Angelos sticking his nose in and asking for triple word score Pikachu turbos, making the other kids just laugh and walk away.

2007-05-25 07:06:13
14.   das411
4 - Hmm how about Carlos Ruiz for one of your relievers? (read that as "any arm that has not yet fallen off of its accompanying reliever).

And how long will it be until the Yanks try to get Jon Lieber back from the Phils also?

2007-05-25 07:09:29
15.   Sliced Bread
Excellent analysis, Bruce, and I agree with your conclusion.

Giambi's productive at-bats would certainly be helpful during a playoff run, but are we really convinced this crawling team is going to run?
I'm not -- but it's too early for Cashman to evacuate his bowels of Giambi's expensive baggage just yet.

With Clemens and Hughes on the way, and Giambi's stock in descent, the Yanks have to wait it out.

In an imaginary world where Pavano earns his money the Yanks could hold their noses and swallow a softball sized chunk of Giambi's salary in a trade. But in this ratshit world that bitter pill is currently the size of a basketball... on steroids. Oy.

Let's go Clip-pard (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)!

2007-05-25 07:22:03
16.   Rob Middletown CT
Keep Giambi. Unless some fantastic trade falls into their lap (due to injuries on some other team), trading him just doesn't make sense and/or isn't feasible.

Trading him pretty much waves the white flag. If the Yanks continue to suck, I'm not wholly against that if and only if the result is making the team younger and (this is key) more talented for the future.

2007-05-25 07:22:45
17.   pistolpete
10 Simple - you rotate Melky between left & center, Damon & Matsui swap into the DH role every few days...

Then Figgins becomes your super-utility bench dude.

2007-05-25 07:22:48
18.   mehmattski
14 Ruiz would be more acceptable, and I'd be willing to part with anyone in the MLB or AAA pen but Mo and Bruney. And just say no to Jon Leiber Part Deux.

15 Yeah, I think the time to trade Giambi may be in July with the Yanks still 10 games out. No one wants to deal with the Yankees in order to help them get better for this year, but a team in a playoff run might be willing to make a deal and give up some prospects, which is what the Yankees need to improve for the future.

I second the Clippard Chant. Clippard v Weaver- how many times will we see this matchup over the next ten years?

2007-05-25 07:23:24
19.   pistolpete
17 Not that I endorse the trade, but that's what you would do...
2007-05-25 07:25:05
20.   Shaun P
14 With Clemens close, Hughes on the way back, and Clippard and DeSalvo both showing they could do OK - I think Lieber is the last thing on the Yanks' mind.

Forget the merits of Giambi's bat, getting rid of his contract (which is just this year and next, BTW), and who the Yanks would get in return.

The biggest problem with this rumor is that BILL STONEMAN NEVER TRADES ANY OF HIS PROSPECTS. EVER. Ask any Angels fan, they'll tell you.

So unless the Yanks are selling really low - always a bad idea - I don't see this happening, now or later.

2007-05-25 07:26:13
21.   Jim Dean
13 That difference is enough to call it "ludicrous"? And why leave out 2007?

Giambi: .260 .386 .435
Helton: .360 .466 .547 (Road only)

Small samples noted.

And keep in mind that Giambi is making five million more this year and next year. If the Rox were to throw in any money, it's starts to get close to a steal, especially if they take Farnsworth too.

2007-05-25 07:28:00
22.   Jim Dean
20 Figgins and Molina aren't prospects any more. And Figgins is making close to 5 million.
2007-05-25 07:35:58
23.   Bob B
First base /DH is a disaster and arguably the reason the Yankees are in such dire straits. Doug Mientkiewicz is a terrible hitter. I cringe when he comes to the plate. Giambi kills us financially and psychologically when he's not striking out or grounding out to the secondbaseman in deep right field. Bernie Williams would have been a much better fit as DH and first base and then you could have unloaded Giambi. Ultimately , we're stuck with him and Mietkeiwcz and not make the playoffs even if CLemens and Hughes can pick up some of the pitching slack. Some seasons are like that. Even so, I say get rid of Giambi now so you don't have the same problem next year.
2007-05-25 07:37:10
24.   Bruce Markusen
Thanks for the comments, guys.

Let me make a couple of corrections/clarifications on the original article. Morales is now back in the major leagues, recalled because of some injuries for the Angels at the major league level. He's doing OK, but still doesn't look like the blue chip prospect he was once hyped to be.

Also, I should have mentioned Giambi's no-trade clause. He's not likely to waive it now, but I could see him doing it later in the year if the Yankees fall hopelessly out of contention. He also probably wouldn't mind a return to California.

2007-05-25 07:39:28
25.   florida yanks
Just out of curiousity, anybody compare our record last year after the All Star break to the Red Sox current record? Its not outside the realm of possibility of us going on a similar tear and the Red Sox cooling off or simply imploding which they have always been very good at and us ending the season, as always, in first place.

Till they are mathematically eliminated, I will keep the faith!

2007-05-25 07:39:42
26.   mehmattski
22 So right now you've got:

Yankees Get:
Todd Helton
Chone Figgins
Benjie Molina

Angels Get:
Jason Giambi

Rockies Get:
Kyle Farnsworth
????

You refer to the Helton-to-Sox rumor, but who is the equivalent to Mike Lowell in this deal? Do you trade some of the prospect pitching depth? The Rockies are set on the left side of the infield. I don't think they'd take Minky or Phelps. Melky's stock has plummeted. The Yanks have no position player prospects above Tampa. With Sanchez hurt, Ohlendorf sucking, and Hughes on the DL, it would have to be Clippard or DeSalvo, or both.

I'm warming on this Jim, but still far away from thinking its a good idea...

2007-05-25 07:42:22
27.   RIYank
I can't go for this trade either -- for one thing, Chone Figgins is right now arguably the worst hitter in baseball. Find me a batter whose slugging and OBP are both below .200.

I agree with Jim D. that the salary factor is not trivial, and Giambi does show some signs of having a bad year. But Helton can't field either, so I'm afraid we'd still be stuck with Scrabble. I'd stick with Jason unless we're out of it by the trading deadline.

2007-05-25 07:44:53
28.   Clay Caviness
Dear lord, not Helton.

His contract is as insane as Giambi's:

06-10:$16.6M/year, 11:$19.1M, 12:$23M club option ($4.6M buyout)

How well will he hit playing full-time away from Coors?

Looking at last year's splits, his OPS at home is .976, reasonably close to the .971 Giambi put up on 2006. On the road? Helton fell to .781. Mientkiewicz's OPS last year? .770.

2007-05-25 07:46:36
29.   RIYank
28 Good call.
That settles it, for me.

So, how do we get Teixeira?

2007-05-25 07:51:58
30.   Shaun P
22 And Figgins and Jose Molina are worthless.

On Molina, I agree with Mattpat in 3.

As for Figgins, he essentially would take over for Cairo, right? How is that worth Giambi, even factoring in getting rid of Giambi's contract?

Its not unless, as you said Jim, the Yanks add Helton.

But to do that, the Yanks trade Giambi's year and 4 months remaining contract for Helton's 4 years and 4 months remaining contract. The Yanks replace a 36 year old - who's under contract until he's 38 - with a 34 year old (in August), who's also under contract until he's 38. I just don't see it as an upgrade - especially because Helton may already be in worse decline than Giambi. It'd be a quick fix, not a long term fix, and I see no reason to pick the quick fix. Quick fixes keep getting the Yanks into trouble.

No, the solution to the 1B problem is patience, not other aging over-paid veteran in (or close to) his decline phase.

2007-05-25 07:54:08
31.   williamnyy23
I can't understand the clamoring to trade Giambi. As BM mentioned, the Yankees need him. For all his faults, G-roid's OPS+ has been off the charts in every season since 1999 (except 2004 when he was "sick"). Trading him would be a huge mistake. He only has one more guaranteed year, so bringing on another long-term albatross like Helton wouldn't make much sense. It'd be one thing if you could keep Helton for 2 or 3 years, but he is under contract until 2012!

With Brett Myers down with an injury, now is the time for Cashman to shop Farnwsorth. In addition to Ruiz, maybe the Phillies would offer a prospect as well. Who knows? Maybe they still want to dump Pat the Bat?

Be creative Cashman1

2007-05-25 07:54:22
32.   mehmattski
29 Abreu and DeSalvo?
2007-05-25 07:54:25
33.   Clay Caviness
The thing with adding Helton, even if he's able to hit well consistently away from Coors, is that we'll be having this exact same conversation in 2 years when he's 36 and we realize we're overpaying for league-average hitting.
2007-05-25 07:58:55
34.   seattleyank
28 Exactly. Getting Helton precludes us from getting someone younger and better like Teixeira. Not just next year, but for several years.
2007-05-25 07:59:57
35.   pistolpete
29 Isn't he a free agent next year? I say we wait it out - he's got to know the Yanks are desperately looking for a 1b, and you all know the reason he wears #23, don't you?

IMO he's a lock if he's on the open market...

2007-05-25 08:00:27
36.   Jim Dean
26 Yup - that's a start. After that, supposedly th Rox wanted MLB talent in return. And they'd still need a 1B - of course Mghfdj fit but he's not enough. I'm cool with two of lower ranked young arms - Smith, Wright, even Horne.

But it would also depend on how much cash the Rox throw back.

28 Helton was so hurt last year as to have off-season back surgery - see 13 andd 21. Now he's back.

And the money gets close to a very nice deal if the Rox throw in some cash and take Farns.

Let's do the math again:

Giambi (40 mil) +
Farns (10 mil)+
Rox toss 10 mil =

60 million

Helton (90 mil) - 60 mil = 30 million.

In other words, the Yankees get three years of Helton in 2009-2011 for ten million a year.

That's reasonable, even for years 35 - 37.

2007-05-25 08:01:39
37.   Jim Dean
27 "But Helton can't field either"

Tha's just flat wrong. See 12.

2007-05-25 08:01:40
38.   RIYank
Is Teixeira a free agent after this season? (I'm an idiot when it comes to reading and understanding Cot's Baseball Contracts, sorry.)
2007-05-25 08:04:12
39.   Jim Dean
38 After 2008.
2007-05-25 08:06:15
40.   RIYank
37 Hm, but Helton's career Zone Rating is .860.
2007-05-25 08:09:54
41.   RIYank
Okay, I get it. .860 is a pretty good ZR.
2007-05-25 08:14:04
42.   Jim Dean
40 Regardless of the metric, Helton is better than Mghdfkj. And not surprisingly either - he's played almost twice as many games at 1B.

And I don't throw around the name of saints lightly, but Mattingly had a career RATE of 104 (Helton again is at 107).

2007-05-25 08:20:15
43.   pistolpete
39 You sure about that?

This is how it reads on Cot's:

"2 years/$15.4M (2006-07), plus incentives". I don't see squat about 2008.

Oh, and this made me laugh when I saw it:

2007 payroll obligations for former players: - $7,000,000 (est.) (Alex Rodriguez)

Tee hee.

2007-05-25 08:23:56
44.   Jim Dean
43 I was going by this:

http://www.mlb4u.com/freeagency08.php?order=position

But both Cot's and mlb4u are usually right, so I don't know.

2007-05-25 08:43:01
45.   yankz
Count me in in the "Don't trade him" camp.

I'll look at Helton's declining numbers over the past four years before his hot start this year.

2007-05-25 08:44:29
46.   JL25and3
43 His contract runs through this year - but this is only his fifth season. He's eligible for arbitration, but no free agency for another year.
2007-05-25 08:45:55
47.   JL25and3
32 That's not serious, is it?
2007-05-25 08:52:34
48.   rilkefan
0 "soft and passionless"

No doubt you're looking for Abreu to rip the head off the opposing pitcher after a strikeout and drink the lifeblood from his neck.

2007-05-25 09:06:44
49.   Jim Dean
45 "I'll look at Helton's declining numbers over the past four years before his hot start this year."

It all depends on how you see 2006:

Year, Age, OPS+
1998, 24, 121
1999, 25, 120
2000, 26, 158
2001, 27, 160
2002, 28, 143
2003, 29, 168
2004, 30, 159
2005, 31, 144
2006, 32, 119
2007, 33, 166

If you're going to call 2005 "decline" then you also have to explain 2002.

Otherwise, you're only talking about 2006. He was hurt - the reports and the surgery say so. As does his performance this year.

It's fine if folks don't agree with me for a trade. But Helton is a much better player than Giambi - hitter and defense.

2007-05-25 09:08:21
50.   Shaun P
38 43 44 You know, Teixeira, like Helton, plays in a fantastic hitters' park. Has anyone taken a look at Teixeira's home/road splits?

OK, I just did:

AVG/ OBP/ SLG/ OPS
.303/.379/.578/.957, .324 BABIP, 112 OPS+ Home (1424 PA)
.264/.354/.488/.842, .288 BABIP, 88 OPS+ Away (1452 PA)

Yikes! Tex may not be the answer to the Yanks' problems.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-05-25 09:10:36
51.   Mattpat11
48 It would be an improvement.
2007-05-25 09:11:58
52.   Jim Dean
50 Great note.

One more on Helton: If Giambi is showing us what a hitter in decline looks like from 35 to 37, then I'd be very happy paying 10-15 million/year for the same of Helton especialy since he'll be playing very good defense.

2007-05-25 09:17:07
53.   Shaun P
49

WARP1 (includes defense):
Helton - 3.2
Giambi - 1.0

Not a surprise, as Giambi doesn't play the field at all, and when he does, he's not good. Helton is a great fielder.

In terms of just offense

VORP (adjusted for park and league, though note Giambi is compared vs DHs, and Helton compared vs firstbasemen):
Helton - 23.5
Giambi - 6.7

For the moment, Helton is the far better player. But my skepticism is entirely related to 2009 and beyond. We need not worry about Giambi then.

2007-05-25 09:19:53
54.   rilkefan
51 It wouldn't improve his OPS.
2007-05-25 09:22:32
55.   ny2ca2dc
What about Ty Wigginton for 1B? Rays have Pena aparently making a good impression, somehow... Here's Will Carrol: "
The Rays might need middle relief more than they need some "Aki knocks," but getting Akinori Iwamura back into the lineup runs a close second. Iwamura had looked worth every penny of his posting fee before straining an oblique, but while he was out, Carlos Pena established himself at first base. Does this push B.J. Upton off of second base and into the outfield (especially with the latest Elijah Dukes incident), or does Ty Wigginton share time at first and play as a part-time superutility man? Iwamura is a plus added back into the lineup, but he won't change the Rays' fortunes on his own. The decisions made surrounding his return just might."

Maybe some combination of relievers or DeSalvo or something? Desalvo would be a good pickup for them, think Wiggy would be worth it?

2007-05-25 09:26:40
56.   Jim Dean
53 See I anticipated your response in 52!

Even if Helton falls back some, hasn't Giambi shown us that a hitter from age 35 to 37 can still be very productive? And Helton is starting from a higher starting point, as you note, and with a more nimble body. Plus, what if they could be getting him now at a discount? They wouldn't be paying his contract value - see 36.

2007-05-25 09:29:03
57.   mehmattski
47 Serious in the vein that most GMs will have their players plucked from their cold, dead hands, before giving talent to the Yankees. I'm sure the bidding would probably start at Phil Hughes.

50 Then again, Tex in Yankee Stadium:

95 PA, .307/.337/.527 4 HR 8 2B

As a switch hitter, batting mostly left handed in Yankee Stadium in half his games, I think he'd do just fine...

I'd much prefer Mark Teixeira than Todd Helton. If only because the Yankees are free to make their own terrible long term contract, instead of suffer under the fate of another team's terrible long term contract. And he's six year's younger. And also an adequate (100 RATE, .865 ZR career) fielder.

2007-05-25 09:35:27
58.   Jim Dean
57 Okay, so Teixeira is a worse hitter and fielder than Helton, but it's okay they'll end up paying him more in 2009 through 2011 because they'll be the ones who gave him the contract?
2007-05-25 09:38:43
59.   Ben
(50.) Has anyone every controlled the home away splits away from stadium and just looked at whether a player is travelling to the ballpark from his home or from a hotel on the road? I mean, does Tex hit better in Texas because of the stadium, or does he hit better because he's eating home cookin'?

Just wondering...

-Ben
President
Players are People too
NY Chapter

2007-05-25 09:45:59
60.   Zack
I wouldn't mind Helton per se, but only with a couple of conditions:
a) They can trade Giambi for more than Figgins and Molina, who would actually make our team worse, AND the Angels eat ALL of his contract (unlikely, plus unlikely he allows himself to be traded)

b) The Rocks have to eat a significant part of Helton's contact. He's owed around 77 million (counting half of this season) so anything less than 30 Mill by the Rocks and its brutal.

c) Becuase the way to get the Rockies to eat part of the contract is to give them more, the second part is that we can't give up too much. I have no problem with trading prospects, thats what they are there for. But if the Rocks want ready talent, then it becomes a problem. The only tradeable talent we have are Melky, Cano, Wang and the rooks. Melky fine, the other two, heck no

So the problem becomes, what deal is made while still having the Rocks take enough of the contract.

Jim, I'm sorry, but why the hell would the Rockies take Farnsworth? Not going to happen: hes overpaid and he sucks. Same goes for whoever said Abreu.

On the other hand, considering they wanted Lowell and Taverez, two old, not really all that great but overrated by the Boston Media players AND would eat some of the contract, who knows, maybe they WOULD take lesser talent.

I would say a package of Melky, Ohlie (GB pitcher is what Coors really needs), and Bruney would probably work and wouldn't really cause me to cry or anything (maybe Bruney, but why would they take anyone else in our BP?)

2007-05-25 09:51:43
61.   Shaun P
59 Its an interesting question, but something tells me no one is tracking that kind of data.

57 58 You know, before I looked up Tex's home/road splits, I would have agreed with you mehmattski. Now I think the Yanks are better off playing out Giambi's contract, avoiding Teixeira, and drafting someone this summer to play 1B come 2010. Plug the hole in '08 and '09 as best you can.

Alternatively, I wonder if the Yanks couldn't kill 2 birds with one stone by prying Huber and Jason LaRue free from the Royals at the deadline for a couple of pitching prospects. The Royals need pitching, and the Yanks do seem to have quite a lot of it. They also seem to have no use for either Huber or LaRue.

2007-05-25 09:52:45
62.   OldYanksFan
21 I don't understand. Giambi's contract (over after 2008) is an albatros, but you're OK taking Heltons, which does through 2013?... totaling $73m? No... I would not do Giambi's contract again. Never. But we have him, he performs, and he's gone after 2008.

If you conceed the PS, then dump Giambi. If you think we will play in the PS, we need his bat.

It's funny. Everybody is sick about DougOut because he's 100pts or so below a decent 1st baseman... but you would swap MELKY for Giambi at DH and conceed 200pts of OPS? He either Walks, K's or hits a HR? That's how you get a .973 OPS? Is there really a bad way to hit 35 HRs and have a .973 OPS?

And if we dump Giambi and ARod opts-out, do we have any power in 2008? I mean, its important to manufacture runs, string 3 or 4 hits together, etc. and not rely purely on the HR, but don't we LOSE games because the other team hit a HR or 2? (see Mariano, twice) If HRs count against us, then I think we need to hit as many or more then who we are playing.

When Baltimore, Oakland, Boston the Yankees were dominant teams, it wasn't partially based on HRs? Am I missing something that I don't think HRs are bad?

2007-05-25 09:54:38
63.   Shaun P
Random off topic note:

Roberto Kelly is the manager for the Giants' class A (low) team. I had no idea.

2007-05-25 09:59:07
64.   Jim Dean
61 You do realize that "plug the hole" at 1B has meant:

2005: Tino 2.0 then Phillips
2006: Cairo then Phillips then Wilson then Phillips
2007: Mgkjgh and Phelps

So two more years of that? And draft someone now on the hope they'll be ready in only two years?

60 Angels eating the whole contract and the Yanks getting Figgins and Molina dramatically improves the bench - as funny as that sounds.

Eh, Farns could be sold as "Good, just not in NY" - afterall he was okay before he got to NY.

Otherwise, I just don't know.

In all likelihood, it's not going to happen. But it's fun for me to think about.

2007-05-25 10:01:46
65.   Jim Dean
62 Helton's contract goes through 2011 (buyout same as Giambi's)

Three extra years for 30 to 40 extra million is very reasonable.

Melky plays above average OF defense. He's not a DH.

2007-05-25 10:04:40
66.   ny2ca2dc
Per Pete Abe @ LoHud Blog, "There is no interest in the Todd Helton. The last thing the Yankees need another aging player with a huge contract."

So can this Helton stuff die?! What about Wiggington? I'm I stupid for that idea? He's at least right handed...

Also from Pete Abe, "If Brett Myers' shoulder injury is significant, expect the Kyle Farnsworth-to-Philly talk to heat up and perhaps get done. The Phillies need a closer and the Yankees need to be rid of Farnsworth, who is unreliable. Scott Proctor/Brian Bruney would be fine in the 8th inning and Luis Vizcaino has actually thrown the ball with some results lately."

Maybe we can get their BUC & a semi-prospect from Philly. Should act quickly, while the Phils still think they're contenders... With the addition of Clemens, i don't imagine Pat Burrel is going to be an option, even in an Abreu-like trade...

2007-05-25 10:04:46
67.   mehmattski
58 At this precise moment, yes, Tex is not as good a hitter as Helton. Then again, no one is, as he leads the world in RC27 this season. I bet he comes down to earth this season and settles in towards Tex's current line of .307/.368/.533... my evidence being that for the first time in his career, Helton has a GB/FB ratio of over 1.0- it's actually 1.49, which is extreme, and suggests that he's getting lucky on the ground.

As for fielding, Helton's career numbers are 107 RATE and .860 ZR... so he's roughly the same fielder as Tex.

As for the contract, it's 2009-2012 that we should be worried about, since both Helton and Tex will be improvements over Giambi until then. And who says that a long-term deal Tex signs will be that long? The smart deal is to sign him to a four-year deal upon trading, which takes him to his age 31 season- and I guarantee that Mark Teixeira at age 31 is much better than Todd Helton at age 38.

2007-05-25 10:08:11
68.   Jim Dean
BTW: Last time Giambi hit above .271 is 2002. That hit or miss approach absolutely kills the Yanks in the post-season.
2007-05-25 10:08:42
69.   mehmattski
67 Forgot to add that Tex is, while behind Helton's 10.27 RC/27, is still fourth in the majors at 7.78 RC/27.

Still, Giambi is worth much more than two struggling backups. We all know you're a Todd Helton fan, Jim, but it's just not a good idea in the long term. (Obi Wan wave) Benjie Molina is not the backup catcher you're looking for.

2007-05-25 10:09:34
70.   OldYanksFan
1. Posted by OldYanksFan
23 I don't love DM, but I disagree. We are playing way below out pathag projection for many reasons:
1) Mo has lost 3 games we all thought were in the bag.
2) Our D, early on, lost 2 games
3) Our pitching injuries.
Reverse those three things and we are 28-17 at worst.
4) Now, lets talk about a guy whose poor on D AND has an OPS almost 100pts LOWER then DougOuts. That's Mr. Abreu.
Killer #1.
5) Now add the combined lower production we get from Cano and JD... guys we count on and expect to do better.

So yes, DM is a below average 1st baseman. But saying HE is the guy killing the team is like saying the hunchback Quasimoto is ugly because he has bad hair.

2007-05-25 10:09:39
71.   Jim Dean
66 Sorry - I just don't trust Pete for good roster analysis. He's a great beat reporter, but because of that he tends to root for the players he likes (Giambi, Cairo, Mghfjg).
2007-05-25 10:09:55
72.   AbbyNormal821
64 Hee hee - Wilson, Phillips...

Hold on...for one more day!

;-)

2007-05-25 10:14:52
73.   Jim Dean
67 107 RATE = 7 runs above average.
100 RATE = average

That's hardly the same.

And if TEX is like this now - he ain't getting better. By the middle of the 6 year contract he'll require, he'll be much worse than anything Helton gives.

Even if Helton settles down, he's still a better hitter - evidence by his consistent 100 points of isolated discipline (OBP - AVG).

And it's Jose Molina - I know easy to get confused. Giambi would be a salary dump and only if the Helton deal is also in place. Indeed, the way to look at it is as a menage a trois.

2007-05-25 10:15:20
74.   Zack
6671 Yeah, I second that. Pete Abe, expecially recently, tends to get on his high horse and dismiss anyone with a descenting opinion. He has no time for criticisms of Torre, Giambi, Stinky Minky and the like. His Phil Hughes tirades were beyond the pale..
2007-05-25 10:16:47
75.   Jim Dean
69 Okay, so even though Tex is six years younger, he still can't put up the offense or defense numbers of Helton? This is the guy you want to sign to a insane long-term deal? Even though he's past his peak?
2007-05-25 10:18:19
76.   OldYanksFan
49 JD... can you redo that post with OPS AWAY from Coors?
2007-05-25 10:20:37
77.   Shaun P
64 I know what I'm saying.

67 "And who says that a long-term deal Tex signs will be that long? The smart deal is to sign him to a four-year deal upon trading, which takes him to his age 31 season"

Keep in mind that Tex's agent is Scott Boras. Say the Yanks did manage to trade for him. They'd have to bowl him over to keep Boras from taking him to free agency - a 4 year deal won't do that.

OTOH, when Tex hits free agency, he'll be 28, entering his age-29 year. No way Boras lets him sign for less than 6 years. Not with the Texas-inflated numbers he'll be able to point to, and the lack of any other young power hitting 1Bs on the market then. And the Yanks won't be the only big market team looking at him. The Mets will also need a 1B after 2008.

2007-05-25 10:22:54
78.   Jim Dean
76 It's not as easy and I don't have the patience. Yes, Helton is not as good on the road - we get that. But it assumes he'd be his road self in Yankee Stadium.

With the short RF porch and the big alley in left-center - I think he'd be fine. After all, DOnnie Baseball wasn't so bad as a lefty hitter in Yankee Stadium.

Indeed - Donnie B - career:
Home: .313 .364 .495 .859
Raod: .302 .353 .450 .803

2007-05-25 10:24:08
79.   OldYanksFan
59 I agree that's definitely a factor. A down-and-dirty would be to look at players that play in park-neutral parks. In theory then, they should have similar Home/Road splits. My guy is they still have better stats at home, for the reason(s) you suggested.
2007-05-25 10:24:15
80.   Chyll Will
48 Yummy...

I made a crack the day before after Scrabble hit his HR about whether it was a Manwicz or a Ouczie... don't you know that I go home that night and discover two cans of Manwich in the fridge? Serves me right, I don't care for either of them. I'll make a crack about millions of dollars for me and a Yankees 20-game winning streak next time.

Oh, and two Abreu grand slams, with Giambi winning the triple crown and A-Rod and Mo co-winners of the WS MVP. Any others want to add to that weird-coincidence list while it's still hot?

2007-05-25 10:27:24
81.   mehmattski
76 I got it, sOPS+ away:

2007 180
2006 121
2005 140
2004 164
2003 158
2002 138
2001 158

If I'm reading the BR Glossary right, that's measuring Helton versus the rest of the league away from their home ballparks.

2007-05-25 10:33:38
82.   Jim Dean
81 I think you're right, but 2006 was off.

2007 180
2006 109
2005 140
2004 164
2003 158
2002 138
2001 158
2000 178
1999 99
1998 118

2007-05-25 10:33:46
83.   OldYanksFan
68 Like in 2003 when Giambi was slumping and batting 7th (or was it 8th?) and hit 2 HRs against Pedro? We all remember Posada's bloop double, but it was Giambi who kept us in the game. THE game that allowed us to go to the WS.

I know he's one dimensional, but I still can't discount a .973 OPS (average last 2 years). He might hit .250 but has an OBP of .400. Is that worse then a CanoSori hitting .320 with an OBP of .350?

2007-05-25 10:40:19
84.   OldYanksFan
74 "His Phil Hughes tirades were beyond the pale.."
I agreed with PeteAbe in that Hughes is our 'Golden Goose', and that in high pressure, MLB situations, the odds were higher of getting injured. So what happened?

In a high pressure situation, Phillip tried to put a little too much on a pitch, and will lose 7 weeks due to a hammy strain. Yes, it was basically the RCNB, but still, PeteAbe (and I) called it EXACTLY correctly.

2007-05-25 10:41:46
85.   mehmattski
81 Yep, read from the wrong line in 2006. I blame my small monitor.

So, what those numbers tell us is that Helton has consistently been 50% better than the average player away from his home ballpark. Helton individually, meanwhile, has historically performed 50% better at home than on the road in his career. For this I look at the next column on the BR split page, which says tOPS+, or the ratio of a given split to his overall numbers.

Home: 121
Away: 77

You may be right that he (and Tex, for that matter) would do just fine with the short porch in right. Then again, Giambi used to hit to all fields for high average before he met the 314 sign in Yankee Stadium, and then tried to pull absolutely everything.

In the end I agree with whoever said that the main reason not to do this is so that in three years we're not having the same discussion about a declining first baseman.

2007-05-25 10:41:52
86.   williamnyy23
Anyone interested in a free pair of tickets to the Yankee game tonight? They are in the Tier, but behind the plate. If you are interested, email me at williamnyy - at aol - com and I can email them back to you. The first to respond will be the lucky winner!
2007-05-25 10:42:09
87.   Jim Dean
Cano is expected to do different things. Giambi walking without making contact means he's not driving in runs or even scoring them. That's his job

For all that .973 OPS has meant, he's averaged 100 RBI's over those same two years while scoring on average 84 runs. That's not great for a four or five hitter. He gets on base but isn't bringing runners around or he ends up stranded there.

By contrast, Arod has had a much lower OPS but he's responsible for 30 to 40 more runs scoring each year (RBI's and runs).

2007-05-25 10:47:06
88.   Jim Dean
84 Who says he doesn't strain the hamstring hgetting called up in July or next May? And what other choce did they hav at the time? Tade for Jon Lieber or sign Jose Lima? You would have preferred that?

85 Be careful interpreting sOPS+ vs tOPS+ and jumping between them. tOPS+ is relative to his team.

Except a declining Helton is still better than a declining Tex. And then Helton is at the end of his contract while Tex is in the middle of his.

2007-05-25 10:49:43
89.   mehmattski
88 Hmmm... here's what the glossary says:

tOPS+ - OPS+ of this split relative to the player or team's overall OPS: 100*((split OBP/total OBP) + (split SLG/total SLG) - 1)

I take that to mean it's comparing Helton's Away split to his overall OPS. Also, if you look at the splits that have two parts (vs L/vs R, Home/Away, 1st Half/2nd Half), most of them come very close to having an average of 100. That's why I thought it was a self-comparison.

2007-05-25 10:55:23
90.   Jim Dean
90 I'm stumped - that then becomes practically meaningless then. What does a 77 tOPS+ mean fopr Helton? I don't see why that stats is useful other than normalizing within the player (or team). And within the player means it changes the scale for everybody. The only thing it's useful for is to do as you've done - show the split as a percent change from another split.
2007-05-25 11:03:30
91.   Shaun P
87 Woah. Hold on a second there. RBIs and Runs are the two most context-dependent and teammate-dependent stats out there. Judging Giambi on those numbers is not very informative at all, in terms of what Giambi himself has done. OPS isn't the end-all be-all stat, but it says a lot more than RBIs and Rs. Shoot, almost anything does (except batting average).

Let's add some context to the RBIs. For example, in 2005, Giambi came to the plate with 376 runners on base. That was 7th on the team. Of the guys he drove in (not including himself via HR), he plated 55 guys (4th), or as a percent, 14.6 (4th). (Note: minimum 250 PAs.)

In 2006, Giambi came to the plate with 444 runners on base (2nd on the Yanks). He drove in, not counting himself, 76 of those guys (3rd), or 17% (2nd). (Note: minimum 250 PAs.)

2007-05-25 11:05:22
92.   Shaun P
91 Forgot the last sentence:

Those numbers are pretty good.

2007-05-25 11:10:48
93.   Jim Dean
91 I directly compared him to Arod - who he has hit behind or in front of for most of the last two years.

That he's had so few RBI's and runs (relative to Arod) says alot - namely he doesn't drive in runs or score them.

He walks, homers, or K's. And I'd be happy to see him go.

2007-05-25 11:12:06
94.   thelarmis
OT: Hey Bama, if you're around -- check out this link. there's a new Hit Man poster up at ebay. it's a bit more expensive, buuuut, it's in mint condition and framed. apparently this is a rare and expensive item...

http://tinyurl.com/2ljfqf

2007-05-25 11:30:45
95.   Shaun P
93 That's exactly why comparing him with A-Rod in terms of RBIs and Rs is meaningless. You have no idea of how often Giambi came up after A-Rod emptied the bases, and vice versa, by just looking at runs and RBIs. Or when A-Rod made the last out of an inning, with runners on and Giambi due up next (and vice versa).

As for Giambi not scoring a lot of runs, that's entirely dependent on the guys hitting behind him. You can't fault Giambi if, say, he walks and then Matsui grounds into a double play, and then Posada doubles into the gap, or homers.

The job of every major league baseball player is not make outs - i.e., to get on base. Giambi does that incredibly well. As a bonus, he also hits with great power. What's not to like? (Well, other than his poor defense and slowness.)

You're veering dangerously close to Dusty Baker logic, Jim - I hope your next post doesn't mention Giambi "clogging up the basepaths". ;)

2007-05-25 11:35:19
96.   Bama Yankee
94 Yeah, I'm around (I just didn't want to interupt a good Jimmy Dean horse beating... I kid, Jim, as I have said before in the previous two threads involving a Helton trade, I'm with you on Helton - even if he is a former Tennessee Vol QB).

Thanks for the link to the Hit Man poster. That dude really thinks a lot of his framed poster. Sounds like he is trying to anchor everyone in at around that $75 figure. That's a little steep for me. I might be able to get one of those pinstripe suits that Mattingly is wearing for that price... ;-)

2007-05-25 11:38:52
97.   Jim Dean
95 I'm got all that. But Arod and G have mosly swapped back and forth - so much so that I'm comfortable comparing the results - I should have added all else being equal.

Me, i find it pretty incredible that G get's on base 40% of the time but gets a hit about 25% of the time. If anything - he's a "walker" not a hitter. And that's what these eyes tell me - he just doesn't come through all that much when he's needed - instead he walks.

2007-05-25 11:40:11
98.   Jim Dean
Can we used another phrase? I like horses - kindred spirits they are.
2007-05-25 11:42:09
99.   Jim Dean
95 And actually there are two jobs in baseball - score runs and prevent runs. Giambi does neither well.
2007-05-25 11:50:39
100.   Bama Yankee
98 Fair enough. How about we just refer to you as: Jim Dean, The Rebel With a Cause
or
The Sausage King Without a Pause
;-)
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-05-25 11:53:07
101.   Jim Dean
Bama - ladies and gentleman! He'll be here all week!
2007-05-25 11:55:50
102.   Shaun P
96 Thanks for jumping in, Bama. This is where I jump out.
2007-05-25 11:55:57
103.   thelarmis
96 when searching yesterday, i found an "autographed" hit man poster = they were asking 300 freaking dollars for it!!!

we'll find a cheap one for ya sometime this season! though you getting a pinstriped suit might be a ton better : )

here's hopin' the yankee clippard is for real and young weaver channels his big brother tonite at the stadium!

2007-05-25 12:03:46
104.   Eirias
I'm late to the party here, but a package including Figgins and Molina would be a disaster. Not only are they nowhere near Giambi's level in productivity or, including their defense in the equation, WARP, but their inclusion essentially obviates any chance of getting a really good prospect in return.

I'm not a fan of Giambi and there may be stats out there, or in the comments above, that prove me wrong, but I think this is a bad idea.

2007-05-25 12:14:35
105.   ChrisS
104 Agreed.

Casey Kotchman, now we're talking deal. Otherwise Helton's contract is ugly and Texas will ask for the moon for Texeiria.

Eric Duncan is stinking up Dunder Mifflin and I don't see a solid replacement for Posada.

There's no reason to trade Giambi unless the deal fills holes.

2007-05-25 12:19:05
106.   nick
Getting rid of the Giambi contract at the end of the year might be worth exploring; but it's not worth getting involved with Helton who has been declining for years (albeit is hot right now). Giambi's #s are not terrible now, and they'll probably improve somewhat as he gets healthier.

More generally, there's a weird strand of small-ball love lately on BB. Our offensive problems, such as they are, are not about all those nasty HRs ending rallies and walks clogging up the basepaths. Our offensive problems come primarily from two regulars really stinking out the joint (Abreu and Cano).(We're actually getting average production from 1B!) We just have to hope these guys start hitting--especially since the options behind them are Cairo and a slumping Melky.

If there are moves that should be made, getting a backup catcher who can hit .200 is in my view at the top of the list--Jorge needs days off or he'll be dead by August...

2007-05-25 12:21:58
107.   Chyll Will
102 I wish I had time to talk seriously; but that would mean either somebody ticked me off or I'm in between gigs. This is a hot conversation that I wish I could join, but because I'm working twelve hours a day this week I can only make oft-ignored witty remarks, and where's the sport in that? Oh well, when you guys are done throttling each other, I'm copy/pasting this thread to a word doc to print out so Uncle Woodrow can follow. He doesn't have a computer, but I talk about you guys all the time; you just can't find wit and analysis like this on the tube or in the papers. Have a great holiday weekend all, I'll probably be stuck here for the duration :'
2007-05-25 12:23:46
108.   Jim Dean
106 Look at 49 and explain to me how Helton "has been declining for years".

Sure, his 2006 was off.

But if you want to look at 2005 and 2004 as part of some decline, then you also have to explain how 2002 is also a decline but 2003 is not.

2007-05-25 12:29:17
109.   Bama Yankee
103 Check this out, you can actually get one of those pinstriped suits for about what that framed Hit Man poster will cost:
http://tinyurl.com/yukn8g
http://tinyurl.com/yp4jkt

Wonder what my church will think when I walk in wearing that baby next Sunday... ;-)

2007-05-25 12:36:27
110.   Chyll Will
109 The Return of Cab Calloway? >;)
2007-05-25 12:54:52
111.   RIYank
78 (On Mattingly's Home/Away splits)
This seems to vary quite a lot, even among good-slugging lefties.

Looking at 2004 - 2006,

Hideki
away: .310/.390/.506
home: .294/.369/.508

Damon
away: .297/.356/.478
home: .307/.381/.453

Giambi
away: .235/.396/.493
home: .264/.418/.522

Abreu
away: .316/.450/.480
home: .278/.397/.443

Giambi is the anomaly, doing so much better at home; Damon is about as good at home as away and Matsui and Abreu are better away. Yankee Stadium is in general really bad for hitters, with a park factor of 95, but I can't find any decomposition into lefty and righty factors.

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