Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Third Base Derby
2007-11-09 09:13
by Bruce Markusen
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

With apologies to the legendary duo of Abbott and Costello, "who" will not be playing third base for the Yankees next season. Someone will have to replace Alex Rodriguez, certainly not in production but at least in terms of filling the position. The Hot Stove League season is fewer than two weeks old, but already several prominent names have been mentioned as hot corner candidates. Let’s consider them one at a time, working our way from best player to worst.

Migel Cabrera

Outside of A-Rod, he’s clearly the best available third baseman in terms of free agents/trade possibilities. The 24-year-old reminds me of Frank Robinson at the plate, a pure right-handed hitter who hits with equal parts efficiency and power. Even with his questionable attitude and lack of hustle, Cabrera projects as no worse than Dick Allen over the next six or seven years. Unfortunately, Cabrera plays like Allen at third base; he is a brutal defensive player who should be playing first base sooner than later. He would also cost the Yankees the most in terms of potential talent—a package of at least three young players/prospects. I can’t imagine the Marlins would let him go without acquiring either Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes in return, and that’s just not a smart proposition for the pitching-needy Yankees. If the Yankees can convince the Marlins to take a package of Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera, and someone like Ross Ohlendorf of Tyler Clippard, then by all means, make the deal. And then be sure to play Cabrera at first, while sliding the quicker and more sure-handed Wilson Betemit over to third base.

Miguel Tejada

A poor man’s Cabrera, Tejada would come far cheaper in the trade market. A package of Kyle Farnsworth, outfield prospect Brett Gardner and either Ohlendorf or Clippard might be enough to entice the O’s, assuming the Yankees pick up all of Tejada’s salary. The 31-year-old Tejada is a tough right-handed bat who hits well to all fields, puts the ball in play consistently, and doesn’t shrink from pressure situations. On the flip side, his home run totals have declined for three straight seasons, he doesn’t walk much, and he’s lost loads of range in the field. The latter point won’t matter much since the Yankees would play him at third, where his hands and arm are well suited. A bigger concern might be Tejada’s lack of effort. Consistently failing to run out ground balls and pop-ups, Tejada makes Manny Ramirez look like Charley Hustle. That attitude won’t fly under the microscope that is New York, especially under the watchful eye of a disciplinarian like Joe Girardi. The Yankees would have to hope that Tejada feels rejuvenated playing for a contender after years of stumbling through a zombie-like haze in Baltimore.

Mike Lowell

Although he’s a personal favorite of mine, I’m the first to admit that he won’t be the same hitter away from Fenway Park. He’s also 33 and will likely require a four-year contract if the Red Sox don’t reel him back in. Still, there’s plenty to like about Lowell, a first-class individual who works hard and keeps himself well conditioned. He’s also become a much better opposite-field hitter the last two years, especially when it comes to breaking balls on the outer half of the plate. Defensively, Lowell has lost nothing; he has terrific range, good hands, and a reliable throwing arm. If Lowell can hit .280, slug .475, and hit in the vicinity of 20 home runs, that should be good enough, especially given his fielding and leadership skills. There would also be an intangible benefit to adding Lowell. We wouldn’t have to hear fans pining for Scott Brosius anymore.

Edwin Encarnacion

There have been whispers of a possible trade that would send Kennedy to the Reds for Encarnacion straight-up, but that won’t happen until the Yankees have fully explored the possibilities with Miguel Cabrera. Like Cabrera, Encarnacion is only 24 and immensely talented, but also carries questions of attitude. Most notably, he angered former Reds manager Jerry Narron by failing to run out batted balls. (Is this the new epidemic in baseball, or what?) Defensively, Encarnacion is better than Cabrera, but his footwork still poses problems from time to time.

Mike Lamb

Not an ideal choice because he swings from the left side, Lamb would nonetheless come relatively cheaply as a free agent. At one time, he was considered a candidate to play third base in the Bronx—until the trade for A-Rod. The 32-year-old Lamb is a useful player, but he’s ideally a backup on a good team, a versatile left-handed hitter who can play third or first, and fill in at second on an emergency basis. If the Yankees were to sign Lamb, they’d likely have to acquire someone else to platoon with him. And that could be…

Morgan Ensberg

He could become available if the Padres non-tender him this winter. At his peak, Ensberg was a dangerous right-handed power hitter and a solid third baseman with a strong arm. But the 32-year-old has fallen off the map the last two seasons, leading to a trade from the Astros to the Padres. Unfortunately, he appears to be one of those rare players who has become overly passive at the plate—he simply takes too many pitches. A change of scenery could help him, but then again, Death Valley at Yankee Stadium might not be the best medicine for a right-handed pull hitter like Ensberg.

Pedro Feliz

If the Yankees are willing to sacrifice offense completely and emphasize defense as a higher priority, Feliz could be an option on the free agent market. The 32-year-old Feliz has consistent power (he’s hit 20-22 home runs over each of the last four seasons), but struggles to reach base (a .290 on-base percentage in 2007). Realistically, the Yankees will need to have a better-balanced offense without A-Rod, and that means securing some production from both first base and third base. There’s simply too much of a drop-off to Feliz, so the Yankees should pass on this possibility.

So there you have it, a half-dozen realistic candidates, ranging from good to mediocre, or perhaps even worse. If the Yankees don’t turn to an in-house candidate like Betemit—and assuming that A-Rod doesn’t accept arbitration—one of these men could be your starting third baseman in 2008.


Bruce Markusen is the author of eight books on baseball and writes "Cooperstown Confidential" for He can be reached at

Comments (74)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-11-09 09:21:44
1.   RIYank
I don't know.
2007-11-09 09:22:41
2.   Ken Arneson
You're better off sticking with Betemit than any of those last three.
2007-11-09 09:26:43
3.   yankz
Ensberg mashes lefties, and Betemit hits like a pitcher vs. lefties. A platoon wouldn't be bad.

Also, I don't think I'd trade IPK for Encarnacion straight up.

2007-11-09 09:33:22
4.   mehmattski
3 Yeah, PECOTA has Encarnacion's peak EQA (at age 26) at .290, which translates to 4.4 WARP. I imagine the Yankees can get at least that much value from Ian Patrick Kennedy...

The list of options isn't appealing beyond Cabrera- and anyone who objects to Cabrera on reasons of attitude should also shy away from supporting a Tejada Trade. Watching Yanks-Orioles games the last two seasons, the guy has no passion- sure he's on a terrible team, but the guy clearly had no incentive to run hard on ground balls and pop flies.

Anyway, Wilson Betemit is fine, so long as the Yankees improve either first or third base. I am not confident at all in Jason Giambi or Shelley Duncan as full-year options. One of the two positions needs to be improved for the Yankees to compete in the division next year.

Unless they just go ahead and sign Barry Bonds...

2007-11-09 09:35:00
5.   Mattpat11
Avoid Tejada like the plague.
2007-11-09 09:40:31
6.   Bronxer
And I would avoid Lowell, too. Four years and a big dropoff in production at Yankee Stadium well offset any leadership he might bring
2007-11-09 09:46:02
7.   YankeeInMichigan
If Ensberg is non-tendered, he'll be a low-cost righty half of a platoon. As for the lefty half, Betemit could suffice, though the Yanks would then half to compensate with more an offensive upgrade at 1st. Lamb doesn't bring much to the table over Betemit, so his acquistion would make sense only if they use Betemit in a trade. If they want more pop in the lefty half of the platoon, Chavez and Blalock may be obtainable.
2007-11-09 09:48:18
8.   yankz
Blalock has a .699 OPS away from Arlington. I have to remind everyone of that constantly.
2007-11-09 09:51:27
9.   mehmattski
8 Yeah, Blalock continues to live solely on the reputation of one home run in an exhibition game five years ago.
2007-11-09 09:57:01
10.   ny2ca2dc
Scott Rolen? I think he'd be useful if acquired in a salary dump regardless, bench player, whathaveyou. Need more lefty mashers.
2007-11-09 09:59:38
11.   YankeeInMichigan
8 Blalock's power is to right, so he should certainly benefit from the Yankee Stadium porch. He hit 7 homers in Arlington last year, and 6 of them would have easily cleared the fence in the Bronx. In addition one his fly-outs in Texas would have made it into the porch.

Last year's numbers represent a small sample size, since he was out from mid-May until September. What's his health profile? As bad as Chavez's?

2007-11-09 10:16:22
12.   YankeeInMichigan
11 Granted, Blalock's 88 career plate appearances at Yankee Stadium do not support my hypothesis. But why such drastic home-road splits? Does he thrive in 95+ heat? Does he feast on wilting pitchers? Is he a pure fastball hitter who takes advantage of the reduced break of pitches in the extreme heat (I saw such a theory presented a few years ago -- but note that he does not have great numbers at Coors, where balls also do not break)? Does he just slip into a comfort zone at home (in which case he would have good home splits wherever he plays)?

Interestingly, the only other parks in which Blalock has been successfull (granted, in small samples -- only interleague play) are the Great American Ballpark, Citizens Bank Park, Dolphins Stadium, Turner Field and RFK. The first two are extreme hitters parks. The last three are pitchers parks in southern climates.

2007-11-09 10:20:33
13.   Xeifrank
I would think that Wilson Betemit would have to be up there near Lowell in this list.
vr, Xei
2007-11-09 10:29:55
14.   YankeeInMichigan
9 That statement's a bit drastic. Blalock was a legitimate all-star in 2003 and 2004 (OPS+ 117 and 133, respectively -- I still believe that if the Yanks were not so set on waiting for Drew Henson, they could have traded Jeff Weaver for Blalock before 2003, and history would have taken a decidedly different turn). His decline the next two years was attributed to a shoulder injury, and he had surgery before last season. In 2007, he posted a 134+ OPS but missed 3-1/2 months. Was this another shoulder injury (in which case I wouldn't go near him) or something else?
2007-11-09 10:30:39
15.   tommyl
I admit Tejada isn't the greatest guy to play third, but if you couple that with getting rid of Farnsworth (and his contract) with Tejada only having 2 years remaining on the deal its not that bad. You're talking about a guy who has an OBP around .350 and a career OPS+ of 114. Yes, his contract is a bit expensive and I don't expect him to be anything but A-Rod lite but its better than giving up IPK or Hughes for Cabrera and he's better than the options lower down on the list.

The last thing this team needs is another lefty bat. The lineup is almost exclusively lefty as it is (Giambi, Cano, Hideki, Damon, likely 1B, Abreu) and switch hitters. The only true right handed bat in the lineup right now is Jeter.

2007-11-09 10:45:51
16.   Mattpat11
15 There's only so many times Tejada can dodge the steroid bullet. Theres far too much smoke for there to be no fire. I don't want to bring that shitstorm on to a team in chaos as it is.
2007-11-09 10:50:35
17.   Sarasota
on a team with Mussina and most probably no Petite how can we afford to lose IPK? No on the 3 young guns for anyone. Does anyone on this board insert Karstens or Igawa for IPK??
2007-11-09 10:54:41
18.   Mattpat11
17 I wouldn't insert Karstens or Igawa for a quadriplegic.
2007-11-09 11:17:55
19.   tommyl
15 Ok, that is a fair point, but I think just about every team in baseball is going to be dealing with this a bit (though I bet not a single Red Sock gets named, Jason Varitek I'm looking at you). Are you sure no other player currently on the Yankees (aside from Giambi) will be implicated? What about other possible 3B candidates?
2007-11-09 11:30:47
20.   Mattpat11
19 At this point, anyone can be implicated. But when you have someone who is basically a lock, has a lazy reputation, and whose production is dropping every year, its not worth the headaches.
2007-11-09 11:32:41
21.   Yankee Fan In Boston
17 18 if i may offer the latest blog entry from kei "quest" igawa (as translated by an online translator:

"As for the time where it is in Japan, season ends and fall camp and the like, those where you rest the body for a while were ahead, but when in America schedule ends, simultaneously, all player becomes off.

By your now, just has done training which is light independently, making go to bed completely, will have been the shoulder and the elbow slow. You have lived in New York, but because, during of season was not left over looking at the town, the opportunity which you walk, it enjoys shopping and walking etc..
Looking at the daily necessaries, you just walk, fresh it is hard to be surprised and, you can make that it comes to foreign America. In Halloween day, the person who is disguised as the town having drawn out the multitude, you just see it became pleasant feeling.
And as for New York fall it becomes deep has started feeling cold recently, noticeably. Certainly if in Japan being to be cold of the extent which is not experienced the ginger, it can keep the winter, being accustomed gradually, with you think.
The world series ended. By his does, being not to have the opportunity which is seen with the television, but the Japanese continuing, 3 years to become the member the greatest in the world, it is delightful thought."

i couldn't have said it better myself.

2007-11-09 11:33:16
22.   YankeeInMichigan
16 Recall that it was Tejada who handed the "vitamin B12" vial to Palmiero.
2007-11-09 11:40:00
23.   yankee23
1 Third base!
2007-11-09 11:44:35
24.   jonm
There's not an obvious right choice in that list. I suppose that the Yankees should wait to see if the "price" of Cabrera, Tejada, Lowell, or Encanacion drops. If that doesn't happen, they should just get Ensberg or Feliz to platoon with Betemit.
2007-11-09 11:50:15
25.   pistolpete
6 But of course once he signs with Boston again, he'll continue to lead the league in cheap doubles & 'gritty play'.
2007-11-09 12:02:52
26.   Rob Middletown CT
Dunno if anyone else has brought this up, but...

Would Lamb be an upgrade at 1B? What if you go with the Betemit/Ensberg platoon at 3B and sign Lamb anyway to platoon with Duncan at 1B?

2007-11-09 12:03:42
27.   RIYank
23 Finally.
2007-11-09 12:03:43
28.   Yankee Fan In Boston
25 i play ball every summer. i'd take a cheap double anytime it was offered. a double is a double.

also, i can't guarantee any validity, but it looks like some names were supposedly leaked from the mitchell report.

"Jeremy Affeldt, Aaron Guiel, Roger Clemens, Kaz Matsui. I also don't know if the list was for uppers, HGH, or steroids, just that these were some of the names that would eventually come out on the Mitchell list."

2007-11-09 12:12:09
29.   Yankee Fan In Boston
28 nevermind. after peeking around the web a bit more, it seems that this is not what was being discussed on the radio.

i was wondering why the sports news sites weren't covering this... that should've been a big red flag.


i'll slink away with my tail between my legs now...

my apologies.

2007-11-09 12:19:21
30.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
1 23 Thank you! You beat me to the punch(line).

But HEY - I have an idea... let's re-sign A-Rod!

And sadly, at this point I'm only sorta-kinda kidding. And he was dead to me only a few days ago. The more I ponder the possibilities, the more I feel like this may be the best option - swallowed pride, lost integrity and all.

2007-11-09 12:20:53
31.   OldYanksFan
28 I not sure if MLB differentiates between uppers and 'true' PEDs (steroids, HGH, etc?), but I wish they would.

Even without ARod, isn't our team O probably as good as our 1996-2000 teams?

Even if PhilJoIPK meet our expectations, our BP is still way behind the 1996-2000 boys. I would like to hang on to IPK. While we might think we are 'pitching rich', there is really no such thing, especially when you already have an above average offense.

Are if we really have an abundance of quality pitching (if there is such a thing), we will be able to make good trades in the future, as good pitching is always the most desired commodity in the FA market.

I say continue to develope our pitching, meaning hang on to IPK if possible. Tejada is a good compromise solution, as I believe we can get him for any combination of kids that aren't in our front tier.

I think he will be rejuvinated if he comes to NY. Well above average bat, without too many loses of our youth. That's my formula.

2007-11-09 12:33:19
32.   Al Rogers
dude, "who" is on 1st, "what" is on 2nd, and " I don't know" is on 3rd!!
2007-11-09 12:33:58
33.   OldYanksFan
30 While I am/was a big ARod supporter, I will confess I'm really disappointed by how things went down.

However, I'm not gonna judge him until I see how this comes out. My feeling is everything, and I mean EVERYTHING that has transpired is part of Boras's stategy. The WS announcement, no calls to Cano and friends, NOT meeting with the Yankees, etc. Whatever has happened, I believe it's all part of whatever game Boras is playing.

I don't know if ARod did NOT want to play for the Yanks no matter what... but if that is NOT the case, I think it's still a possibility he will be back, however unlikely.

2007-11-09 12:34:49
34.   tommyl
31 Not the '98 offense, that team scored like 970 runs or something. Also, without A-Rod and if we lose Posada than our offense is in real trouble. Pitching is better to have but you need some offense. Just ask the Astros.
2007-11-09 12:39:31
35.   tommyl
33 Still, there's just no need for all this "strategy." A-Rod could have re-upped with the Yankees or opted out in a dignified way and still received a huge windfall either way. By playing this "strategy" for an extra few dollars he just comes off looking like a schmuck who only cares about money. I mean, not having the decency to sit down with the Yankees? to return the phone calls of your supposed friends? Those are just dick moves.

It sort of reminds me of a great South Park episode when the boys are busted for downloading mp3s. The FBI agent takes them on a tour and shows them how all the rock stars are losing money and now Brittney can only afford the second best private jet and Lars can only get two gold backscratchers or something.

If A-Rod wanted to leave the Yankees that's one thing, but he could have done it with some integrity. He's dead to me, as in the horse I'm likely beating ;).

2007-11-09 12:42:20
36.   Deadhorse
35 He's dead to me, too. Deader than I am to myself.
2007-11-09 12:43:20
37.   tommyl
36 Ahhhh, flogged zombie horses! Rising from the grave! Run for your lives dear banterers, run I say!
2007-11-09 12:43:29
38.   dianagramr
Celerino Sanchez to the rescue!

(OK OK ....)

2007-11-09 12:45:54
39.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
33 Oh don't get me wrong! The whole thing has left an awful taste in my mouth, and a huge distaste for A-Rod and loathing for Boras.

But the pragmatist in me - especially the one who doesn't want to trade any of "The Three" for a fat non-hustling first baseman, no matter how good a hitter (or god forbid someone like Tejada the juicer) - feels like spending the money in this case really may be the single best option. By far. And I can't believe I'm saying that.

2007-11-09 12:47:08
40.   nemecizer
Actually, Abbott and Costello's baseball skit pretty much describes the state of the Yankees.

Who's on first.

I don't know's on third.

Pitcher is tomorrow.

Catcher is today.

Left fielder is why.

2007-11-09 12:49:25
41.   OldYanksFan
Still, there's just no need for all this "strategy."

I don't know how you can say this until you know what their strategy is. Maybe he wants to see if the market will offer him $35m/yr or 10 years. Were the Yanks gonna do that?

Boras is the best. Nothing is an accident. There is no reason for ARod to blow the Yanks off and get all the negative press he has gotten unless there is a bottom line.

Look, both Mo and Po want to be Yankees and retire here. Yet, they are both testing the market. Po especially, if going to find out what he's worth to other teams before he signs with the Yanks. How can we, or they, know what their value is if they accept the Yankees initial bargaining? And with Mo and Po, it is a little easier to establish their market value then it is ARod's.

The only thing I know for sure, is that I don't know anything (about ARod) for sure. So rather then demonize him now, I'll just wait a bit and see what happens.

2007-11-09 12:51:24
42.   tommyl
41 Ok fair enough. Still like I said, this strategy might get him a bit more money, but at the expense of pissing off basically every baseball fan. For a guy that supposedly cares about his legacy, that's a pretty stupid move.
2007-11-09 12:51:53
43.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
41 I hear that. I'm definitely demonizing Boras though :) You're right - he is the best, and betting against him scoring a deal beyond all expectations has proven to be a bad bet time and time again.
2007-11-09 12:57:07
44.   MC Safety
YankeeFan in Boston: funny Small Wonder story from last thread. What a lucky guy.
2007-11-09 13:24:44
45.   yankz
Chad Jennings' prospect rankings over at his SWB Yankees blogs are awesome. Finally, someone who watches them play regularly.
2007-11-09 13:25:27
46.   JL25and3
42 Which is why I still say that the best move would be for Alex to accept arbitration. Then he earns back some PR points, and the Yankees can negotiate without losing face.
2007-11-09 13:28:38
47.   tommyl
46 True, but a guy who won't even sit down with or return phone calls of the Steinbros and Cashman is pretty unlikely to accept arbitration. I really think he's burned his bridges with the Yankees. Could you imagine the fan treatment if he comes back? I mean I defended the guy for the last four years to any and everyone and I hate him now.
2007-11-09 13:36:25
48.   Mattpat11
42 If this is his "strategy" I never want to hear him crying about how no one likes him again.

And I still say this reeks as much of Rodriguez as it does Boras.

2007-11-09 13:46:27
49.   yankz
Heyman thinks the Yankees will "go hard" after Santana:
2007-11-09 13:52:30
50.   tommyl
49 Heyman=good reporting, often poor analysis. They'll kick the tires for sure, but we'll see. I hope they don't give up any of the big three. I have a nightmare that we trade for Santana and he turns into a avy/Randy/Kevin disaster.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-11-09 14:03:59
51.   yankz
I agree, I think the max the Yankees will give up for Santana is IPK+.
2007-11-09 15:05:31
52.   weeping for brunnhilde
Too bad about Tejada's attitude. I'd be far more inclined to take a chance on him than on Cabrera, though. But that's just because I've seen Tejada and he's really an extraordinary hitter.

He's a really, really tough out, fouls off a lot of pitches, hits to all fields and seems locked in an awful lot of the time.

Perhaps Cabrera is that good too, I've just never seen him for myself.

2007-11-09 15:13:10
53.   weeping for brunnhilde
40 I don't give a darn!
2007-11-09 16:12:38
54.   51cq24
50 i very much doubt that. but maybe we should wait for the mitchell report before giving up the talent that would be necessary.

51 i think they'd give up hughes, and i don't know if it would be a bad idea. depending on who else we'd have to give up and whether we can sign him to an extension. but santana is going to be 29 next season.

the other 3b option we can all hope for is yulieski gourriel, the 23 year old cuban phenom. if he defects, which i'm told is unlikely even though the cuban team is playing in the world cup in taiwan now. we can hope though, he would be a perfect fit.

2007-11-09 16:29:03
55.   51cq24
did anyone see this from lohud?

"Posada and Lowell are the same type of players, second-tier stars who have been paid well over the years but never outrageously so."


2007-11-09 16:50:06
56.   monkeypants
55 Pete Abe is good on clubhouse facts, a little short on analysis.
2007-11-09 18:23:23
57.   yankz
52 Miguel Cabrera career OPS+ = 143
Miguel Tejada = 114

It's not even in the same tier.

2007-11-09 19:26:35
58.   Bama Yankee
53 Oh, that's our shortstop.

Past a diving I don't give a darn!

Thankfully, that part does not fit with the Yankees...

2007-11-09 20:42:16
59.   nemecizer
53 58 I thought about including that in the list, but I think Jeter actually does give a darn. He sometimes seems to be the only player who does. I remember the last game in the ALCS in 2005 where Sheffield, a bunch of other players, and even Matsui seemed resigned and Jeter was yelling at them. I could read his lips: "come on!"

Still, that routine has been one of my favorites since I was a kid. I knew the positions by heart :)

2007-11-09 21:32:03
60.   yankz
Captain breaks it down:

Jeter on Rodriguez leaving: "There aren't too many people in the game who can do what he does. But we're trying to win. It takes more than one person to win. We've had teams that have won and not had numbers like that put up."

Via Pete.

2007-11-09 22:08:43
61.   weeping for brunnhilde
58 "Past a diving I Don't Give a Darn."



2007-11-09 22:10:11
62.   weeping for brunnhilde
60 Hard to argue with that.
2007-11-10 08:30:57
63.   tommyl
60 Hey, A-Rod don't let that door hit you on the way out.
2007-11-10 10:45:19
64.   Jeb
If Miguel Cabrera cannot be obtained without trading a member of the Trinity, I say pass. I realize that probably Hughes, IPK and Joba won't ALL become #1 or #2 or even effective starters. More than likely, we'll be lucky to have one be a stud, one be a middle of the rotation type and one be a back end of the rotation type. Also, 1-2 of them will probably get hurt and require a visit to Dr. Andrews. I hope they're all 12 year #1 starters and none ever get hurt, I just doubt it.

That being said, I'd rather not trade any of the trinity because the odds are that the Yanks will trade the wrong one.

As for Tejada, I'd like to get him if he can be gotten for Kyle Farnsworth and Clippard. I don't want to trade Gardner or Ohlendorf. NO WAY! You usually have to trade quality to get quality, but this is a salary dump situation like Abreu (Matt Smith + Henry + eat the cash). I hope Cashman just waits until the price falls.

Finally, the option I'd really like is for the Yanks to just dump Igawa for Ensberg and Betemit in a platoon. There's so much talent bubbling in the minors you just don't know who's going to make it. Will Brackman make it or Betances? Will Ajax make it or Tabata? Suttle or Eric Duncan? Maybe none will make it, maybe someone we haven't thought of will make it.

My real point is that the Yanks should just stand pat and not make ANY Deals on the terms of the trading partner. And, speaking of trading partners, I'm tired of the Yanks having to trade IPK or Melky or BOTH to get someone like Gagne, and the Sox get him for the equivalent of Clippard and Sardina. BUT, the Yanks only have themselves to blame for other teams leveraging them.

If the Yankees would just continue to let the talent work it's way up, continue to draft and pay out of slot money, continue to outbid for international talent, they won't NEED to trade for a damn thing because they'll be dominant again. AND, the Yanks can waive bye-bye to the luxury tax and then our former leveraging trading partners will be the ones being leveraged.

In other words, think long term. Try to win in 2008 and 2009, but not at the cost of 2010 and beyond. Keep the powder dry.

2007-11-10 11:38:04
65.   JL25and3
64 For those who consider Kennedy untouchable: he figures to be their fourth starter next year. In fact, he figures to be their fourth starter for at least the next four years.
2007-11-10 13:14:27
66.   Jeb
65 perhaps. But then again, maybe Hughes has a terrible 2008 and Joba gets arm problems while IPK does well, and presto, IPK's our #2 pitcher. Seriously, you really don't know for sure which of the 3 is going to be the top starter, or anything more than I do. Based on the little that I saw from IPK (yes, in a small sample size) I liked his stuff more than Hughes. Ultimately, we may regret not trading the "one" who washes out, but you just can't predict who it's going to be. I favor getting LOTS of high ceiling pitchers and knowing that once you have enough you'll find 5 good ones.

As I've said many times here, the 1996-2003 Yanks teams scored (on average) 30+ runs LESS than the 2004-2007 counterparts, but had an average ERA+ of 111 compared to the 97 of the 2004-2007 team. Pitching is much more important than hitting.

Also, I am glad that Pettitte is waiting to decide. The Yanks can't afford to trade any pitchers while they wait for him, so there shouldn't be any panicky moves right now anyway.

2007-11-10 14:31:30
67.   JL25and3
66 And, of course, Kennedy could just as easily hurt himself, and then we'd be real sorry they didn't trade him for Cabrera.

Of course you don't know which ones will pan out. Frankly, I'm not expecting a rotation with three rookies to be good enough to contend this year, I don't care how promising the rookies are. But you can't let that paralyze you. I think Kennedy clearly has the lowest ceiling of the three (and if he's the #2 starter, we may well be in trouble anyway). If you have a chance to get a blue-chip player in return, do it.

There's also this idea that the last few years have shown how hard it can be to get a good 4-5 starter. I disagree; the Yankees have had no trouble getting them. The problem is that they've had to use them at the top of the rotation because they haven't had 1-2 starters.

2007-11-10 14:53:56
68.   Jeb
67 no offense, but the idea that the Yankees can be great again by having an all star at every position hasn't worked. Screw Miguel Cabrera. He'll be playing 1st base pretty soon anyway. If we're going to package IPK off, then let's send him to the twins for Johan (with the other pieces).

Better yet, let's be patient and let our team develop. Keep those draft picks and intl signings flowing.

How do you know IPK has the lowest ceiling? Hughes has never pitched a complete ceiling without getting hurt and Joba won't be able to pitch more than 140 innings. Also, IPK was picked by the Yankees ahead of Joba and his minor league stats compare well to both of those guys.

Again, I'm not faulting you for wanting to get a third baseman, but let's not trade the damn farm to do it.

And please don't ignore the ERA+ stats because unless Miguel can also pitch, the yanks have more important needs IF they're going to be dominant again.

Who had the best ERA+ this year? Hint: they're world champions.

2007-11-10 14:55:25
69.   Jeb
68 I meant to say that Hughes has never pitched a complete YEAR not ceiling
2007-11-10 15:28:37
70.   OldYanksFan
NY Times: A Bernie Williams-Joe Torre reunion in Los Angeles could become a reality next season.
2007-11-10 15:43:08
71.   JL25and3
68 Wow, a little perspective. I'm not talking about trading away the farm, I'm talking about trading from surplus to weakness.

This "All-Star at every position" thing is another meme that really doesn't apply. Don't look now, but the Yankees don't have an All-Star at every position. In fact, it's entirely possible that next year they won't have a real All-Star at any position. They've got aging players at all but two positions. They have no first baseman or third baseman. Where is this "all-star at every position" thing?

Frankly, I think the starting rotation is the least of the Yankees' problems for next year, even without Kennedy.

As for Kennedy having the lowest ceiling, it's because of his stuff. The fact that Hughes was hurt and Joba's IP will be limited has absolutely nothing to do with their ceiling.

2007-11-10 16:16:07
72.   OldYanksFan
71 Hey, if we can have an all-star at every position, why not? That being said, are we that pitching rich? Pettitte is not coming back. So we have Wang, 3 kids and Moose. Could be excellent, could be crappy.

And while we have a farmload of potential talent, there is a great distance between that and SPs who can give 180+ innings of MLB level pitching.

I would trade IPK IF necessary, but I would think hard first. I believe that's where Cashman is at. IPK's 'untouchable' status is a smokescreen but also indicative of the fact that Cashman values him.

Cabrera might be an FA in 2 years. I would prefer to see how he takes care of himself in the next 2 years. Tejada is undervalued now and we might be able to get with without giving up IPK. If so, that's the move I make.

2007-11-10 16:51:02
73.   Jeb
71 a little perspective, indeed! The Yanks scored 920 runs per year from '04 to '07 and scored 885 per year from '96 to '03. Conversely, the pitching was far above average in the glory years.

You can never have too much pitching and good pitching beats good hitting. I want the yanks to have 7 starters so they have 1 to keep in the minors (IPK or maybe Joba) and 1 long guy (moose).

And, yes, if you look at the yanks lineup these last few years its been full of all stars. But all that hitting hasn't helped them come October.

The reason that people used to marvel at the 96 to 01 yanks and exclaim -
"how do they do it with only one probable HOFer (Jeter) in the lineup?" - was because those people really didn't understand how the Yankees pitching staff was constructed, particularly 1 through 4.

I repeat, I wouldn't make ANY deals until the sellers were moving players on my terms and if that prevented a deal then so be it. The Yanks
Are better off growing all their players.

2007-11-10 16:52:59
74.   Jeb
And let me add that in 2 years when Miguel Cabrera hits free agency, as a first baseman, I STILL don't want him because he'll be an A free agent and the yanks will lose draft picks.

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