Daily Archives: December 3, 2011

Hot Stove (Foreign edition)

An executive familiar with the international market tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com that the Yankees, Tigers, and Marlins have shown the most interest in Yoenis Cespedes.

Of the teams that have checked in on him, New York and Miami both appear to be the most interested and have the highest potential buying power. Earlier on Saturday it was reported that Cespedes could become available during the ”latter half of winter meetings,” though an official timetable has yet to be released.

Yu Darvish is likely to be posted for MLB teams following the Winter Meetings, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

There was some speculation that Darvish wouldn’t be made available this offseason, but his posting period is now expected to take place sometime after next week’s meetings. Rosenthal cautions that it’s still not official, and that issues with his Japanese club still need to be worked out, though his divorce settlement is reportedly not a factor. The Yankees, Nationals, Red Sox, and Blue Jays are potential landing spots for Darvish, who could require $50 million in order to secure exclusive negotiating rights.

Hot Stove Targeting: Wandy Rodriguez

How would Wandy fare in the American League?

Wandy Rodriguez is a name that’s been linked to the Yankees on and off over the last year and a half.  he was once a very attractive commodity but interest in Wandy cooled a bit when Astros GM Ed Wade signed him to a 3-year contract extension in January that made him much less attractive to other teams.  The Yanks were known to have interest at the Trade deadline this summer but wanted Houston to pick up some of the money on the deal and talks stalled.  However, with news that Ed Wade has been fired as GM this week, the new Astros GM will be coming in will have a different view and will likely try to cash in one of the team’s few attractive assets to continue the rebuilding that has seen Houston cut payroll from $102 Million in 2009 to $77M in 2011 and will be even lower in 2012.  Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, Hunter Pence and others have been dealt so is it now Wandy’s turn?

Positives

Rodriguez has been a successful pitcher over the past 3 years putting up a record of  36-35 for poor teams in Houston with a 3.36 ERA / 3.73 FIP / 3.61 xFIP with a strong K/9 of 8.17 , 46% GB rate and a 0.96 HR/9.  He’s shown solid durability averaging 32 starts and 197 IP since 2009.

Wandy is not a hard thrower.  His 4-seam fastball maxes out around 92 and averages 89.1 MPH.  His 2-seamer is slightly slower but has a lot more tail to it. Rodriguez’ out pitch is his curveball which is one of the most effective in MLB.  The lefty threw it 37% of the time in 2011 and close to 50% of the time in 2-strike counts.  He also throws a Change and a Cutter but the fastball and curve make up 84% of his pitches.

The curveball makes Wandy extremely tough on lefties who hit a mere .233/.281/.347/.628 OPS off him in 2011 and struck out once every 4 Plate Appearances.

Negatives

Since his career year in 2009 when he went 14-12 with a 3.02 ERA he has seen a subtle decline in most of his peripheral stats.  His K/9 dropped  to 7.82, his lowest since 2007, while his BB/9 grew to 3.25 which is his highest since 2006.  The other troubling number this year was his 13% HR/FB rate and  subsequent 1.18 HR/9.  Both of those rates were the highest since his rookie year in 2005.  He still maintained a 3.49 ERA but are these numbers the signal of problems?

Although his curveball makes him a headache for lefties, he lacks an effective offering to baffle RH hitters who hit 256/.328/.439/.768 in 2011.

Playing for Houston, Wandy has had the advantage of facing some offensively challenged lineups in the NL West.  How would his stuff translate pitching in the Al East?  Well, if his career interleague stats are any indication, not too well.  He has a career record of 8-10 with a 5.25 ERA & 1.42 WHIP in 130 IP.  His K% drops to 6.6 and his HR rate jumps to 1.45 vs the AL.

Fit for Yanks?

It’s no secret that LHP has an advantage in Yankee Stadium and Rodriguez has fared pretty well pitching in a hitters park in Houston. Wandy is not exactly the strong #2 type starter the Yanks crave but he would be a welcome addition and could slot in as a solid #3.  However, I am definitely concerned with how his stuff would play in the AL East against longer and stronger lineups.  Coming off a bit of a down yr and turning 33 in January, there have to be some concerns  whether he is heading for a decline or if 2011 was just a bit of a letdown after signing a large 3-yr extension.

Astros perspective

The ‘Stros are in rebuilding mode and whomever takes over as GM will likely try to move Wandy.  Wade tried to do it at the deadline but teams were scared off by the ridiculous contract extension.  He has 3 yrs @ $39M remaining on it. The last year is a club option that becomes a player option if he’s traded. Moronic provision given by Wade.

The Astros traded Berkman to the Yanks for a couple of 2nd-tier prospects who both blossomed in Houston.  Mark Melancon became their closer and Jimmy Paredes jumped from A-Ball to Houston at 22 yrs old and may be their starting 3B in 2012.  This bodes well for reputation of the Yankee system with Houston.

What Would it take to Get Him?

That’s a tough question.  Wade was asking for top prospects which is out of the question unless the Astros eat some of the salary.  When you consider that Mark Buehrle could probably be signed for a contract similar to Rodriguez’, the only way Wandy becomes attractive is if he can be obtained cheaply or if Houston picks up some $.  Hypothetically, I would guess maybe something like David Phelps and Corban Joseph might be appropriate.

Based on what’s available, I would only look to Wandy if the Yanks strike out on other fronts, or if Houston agrees to take on money, or agrees to 2nd-tier prospects.  What do you think? What would you be willing to give up for Wandy? Houston fans, what would you want in return?

Morning Bits: Cashman, Mariano

Morning all.   Hope everyone had a good Friday night.  Let’s get right to it.

Here are your morning links….

* Yankees GM Cashman challenges Bobby Valentine to join him next in his  rappelling adventure.

* Throat surgery was a success for Mariano.