Daily Archives: November 16, 2011

Open Thread

Some interesting news and notes to to think about tonight.   Share your thoughts with a comment or two.

SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that C.J. Wilson is looking for a six-year, $120 million contract.

It doesn’t seem likely that he’ll find it, but that’s not a bad place for his agent to start. Wilson has drawn interest from enough teams that he should be able to land a contract of five years or more, but asking for $20 million annually is probably a reach. The Marlins, Red Sox, Yankees and Angels are said to have serious interest, and the Rangers will also attempt to re-sign the lefty.

Eric Chavez wants to play in 2012.

The 33-year-old continued to battle injuries this season while posting an underwhelming .263/.320/.356 slash line across 175 plate appearances, but major league teams might see him as a high-upside backup capable of providing a veteran clubhouse presence. Look for Chavez to land an incentives-driven one-year contract.

The Red Sox have called about free agent right-hander Freddy Garcia, according to the Boston Herald.

Garcia earned a $1.5 million base salary this season plus incentives while going 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA and 96/45 K/BB ratio over 146 2/3 innings. There is mutual interest for the 35-year-old right-hander to return to the Bronx next season.

Cashman and Theo to Trade?

Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein have never talked trades with each other before. As general mangers of two division rivals, a trade between their teams would never occur.  Teams rarely trade within their division because there is more risk of the trade coming back to hurt you. However, Cashman and Epstein did maintain a good relationship that may come in handy now that Epstein is the new Cubs GM. Epstein told Alex Speier that he is interested in talking trades with Cashman. The two former rival GM’s trading with each other is an intriguing possibility.  http://fullcount.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/2011/11/13/theo-epstein-and-brian-cashman-finally-find-middle-ground-in-vermont/

There are three players on the Cubs that would intrigue me for the Yankees to consider.  Carlos Pena is actually a free agent, but for the sake of this article let’s say the Cubs re-sign him. The Yankees were interested in Pena at the trade deadline, and I was a big proponent of trading for him to fill the DH role.  Jesus Montero is expected to get a chance to fulfill that this year, but there is no reason Pena could not get AB’s there as well. Obviously Pena is worthless against lefties and would get no AB’s there. However, Pena’s righty splits (.255/.388/.504./.892) are very good. Pena has great power and would easily take advantage of the short porch in left. He would be a good bat of the bench when the Yankees are in need of a game tying home run. Pena also is an exceptional fielding first baseman and could spell Teixeira from time to time. I would never give up a big time prospect for him, but I think he would be a good bat off the bench.

The other two players who intrigue me on the Cubs are Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. They are solid pitchers who would help the Yankees rotation. Dempster, while getting up there in age, has been an innings machine for the Cubs. Dempster has pitched over 200 innings for the Cubs for the last 4 years. With Dempter advancing in age, I would not give up a lot for him but he would be very good for the back of the Yankees rotation.  However, on the other end of the spectrum I would give up some good prospects for Matt Garza. Garza is young, has a good contract, and has had success in the AL East. Garza has had an impressive start to his career in his first 4 years of being a full time starter. Over those years Garza has gone 44-41, with a 3.72 ERA, and a 1.25 WHIP.  Garza is not the biggest strikeout pitcher in the world but he tends to keep the ball on the ground. He has good fastball velocity and an excellent slider. I could see giving up a group of prospects led by Dellin Betances for Garza.                                                                                                                                                                   

It will be interesting to see how much Cashman and Epstein talk. Maybe they were just playing nice for the media, or they really do want to talk trades.  It is fun to come up with what if scenarios, but of course it all comes down to the GMs.  Cashman and Epstein are two of the brightest minds in baseball and it will be fascinating to see if they come up with anything.

Yankees sign lefty Mike O’Connor

Yankees sign lefty Mike O’Connor

By Delia E. 

The Yankees have made their first signing of the year (not counting picking up Swisher and Cano’s options.) The Yankees have signed LHP Mike O’Connor to a minor league deal. Never heard of him? That was the whole point, reveals Jon Heyman. Cashman’s plan was to get some underlying the radar pitchers instead of getting hot shot relievers  for multi-year deals.

Those who have seen O’Connor must have seen the 9 appearances that he made as a New York Met. He came up in early May and had done well, just giving up 2 runs in his 9 appearances. After giving up a run to the Pirates, O’Connor was sent down to AAA, and eventually designating him for assignment.

The signing doesn’t mean much though. There is a big chance that O’Connor most likely won’t make it to the Bronx, but he would be an interesting option if the Yankees don’t want to burn money on relievers. When O’Connor came up in the 2006 with the Washington Nationals, he pitched 105 innings, had 20 starts and one relief appearance; but all he had to show for it was a 4.80 ERA and a 5.37 FIP. The one issue that O’Connor has is that he is not the typical strikeout pitcher, which didn’t do well in the Majors or the Minors.

If O’Connor does make it to the Bronx, he could compliment Yankees lefty Boone Logan in the bullpen but if he doesn’t make it to the Bronx, it doesn’t hurt the Yankees one bit.

Bleeding Yankee Blue: Lincecum for Montero?

Our friends over at Bleeding Yankee Blue have a good article and I wanted to pass it along. Please give it a read:

Let’s face it, the San Francisco Giants can sit there and respond to media reports that Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain (Read HERE) are untouchable and insist they not leaving the San Francisco Giants all they want, but the reality is, the Giants would love to have someone like Jesus Montero and the Yankees need a real stud to get the rotation in order following CC Sabathia. I mean, why wouldn’t Tim Lincecum be available? Bottom line, everyone is touchable these days….everyone.

Jesus Montero wasn’t just showing the Yankees and the fans what type of hitter he was in September, he was auditioning, whether he knew it or not is another story. Every team needs hitting and every team needs pitching and right now, in a full hitting Yankee roster, it would make sense for the Yankees to unload a young hitter for a Freak like Tim Lincecum, especially if they can. Yes, Brian Cashman has always stated that the Yankee kids are untouchable, but we all know that when it comes down to it, you really have to wonder just how strong that statement is…right? Cashman’s a liar and I love that about him. He doesn’t lie to be disrespectful to the fans, he does it to get the other teams’ GM’s off his trail. It’s brilliant actually. If Brian Cashman were to call up Brian Sabean right now and try to make a deal, a deal would be made, especially if the 2 saw a fit. Money may also have to be exchanged, other players may also need to be offered up, probably from the Yankees side, but ultimately, you cannot sit there and tell me that a deal WON’T get done. I’m telling you a deal CAN get done and I have a sneaking suspicion that a deal will get done. Now, I’m going to get comments suggesting I’m wrong, and that’s fine. 90% of these rumors are speculation and a source that usually doesn’t know butkus. I’m telling you, sometimes rumors stem from truth and while this one is out there lingering, I believe it could start to simmer on the hot stove.

Yes Yankee Fans, you can sit here and scream that dumping Montero would be the biggest mistake in our lives but let’s face facts… Can Jesus Montero pitch? Because with all the hitting we already have, you know and I know we could sacrifice him for a top pitcher. Bottom line, we don’t play for the future, we play for now, and if a Freak like Lincecum falls in your lap, or at least dangled in front of you, you try and take him and you give whatever you can, within reason, to get him.

Yes, it’s hard to part with such a talent like Jesus Montero, hell, I love watching him hit, and I have always said I’d hate to give Montero up, but Lord knows Montero’s biggest downside is he can’t catch and if the Giants can better utilize him and a handful of other youngsters for a star like Lincecum, there is nothing wrong with rolling the dice on that. In the end, both the Yankees and Giants win. Hell, this the off season; I’ve heard crazier trade proposals and I’ve heard crazier free agent signings in all my years of reading about baseball… remember last year? Remember Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford’s deals? Those deals were nuts, they make this idea of a Lincecum for Montero trade perfectly normal and acceptable.

This trade may be the greatest trade of the decade, especially if both Lincecum and Montero could perform in opposite leagues. Lincecum may just be what the Yankees need right now and it may give a kid like Jesus Montero a new beginning to be one of the biggest hitters of his generation. That’s my opinion at least, what’s yours?


Morning Bits: Cashman, Wilson, Chavez, Gardner, A-Rod, Rotation

Good morning everyone. With the GM Meetings underway, we have a whole bunch of links for you today…

— The Yankees have invited CJ Wilson and his agent, Bob Garber to meet in New York with the team. Garber has asked for the meeting to occur before the beginning of the Winter Meetings on December 5th.

Cashman expects Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova to be in the rotation next year, “without a doubt”.

— Cashman pondered the idea that if Eric Chavez started at third-base in the postseason, he would have out-performed A-Rod.

— Brett Gardner will be working with Kevin Long this offseason to improve his timing.

— Cashman is looking for A-Rod to step it up, and for the real Alex Rodriguez to resurface.

— Despite what they have been saying publicly, Yankees people have been telling friends to expect an eventual big splash for a pitcher.

Have a great day.