Yankees Mailbag: Garza, Joba & Nunez
Have 3 questions today. If you would like your question to be answered in the mailbag, email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here we go:
Q) What do you think a fair/realistic deal is for Matt Garza? Would Hughes, Phelps, CoJo and Heathcott work?
The Cubs want young pitching in exchange for Garza and its been reported that they have asked for both Banuelos and Betances. In my mind that is ridiculous. Theo Epstein is using the recent Gio Gonzalez trade as a guideline where Oakland received 2 highly regarded pitching prospects in A.J. Cole & Brad Peacock, plus 2 C-level prospects. However, this is not a perfect comparison.
Although Gonzalez and Garza have similar value as pitchers, Gonzalez is 2 years younger and under team control for 4 years at a very modest current salary. Garza has only 2 more seasons before Free Agency and will be making somewhere around $21M combined in 2012 & 2013. So for Epstein to expect the same type of package is unreasonable. In addition, most experts rate BOTH Banuelos & Betances higher than Cole & Peacock in recent prospect rankings. Scout.com had Banuelos as the #4 ranked pitcher in the minors, Betances #16, Cole #36 & Peacock #44.
A fair market value deal for Garza would start with ONE of Banuelos or Betances with the second pitcher coming from the David Phelps, Adam Warren, Hector Noesi group. The 3rd piece would be a solid position player prospect like Curtis Joseph, David Adams, Heathcott or JR Murphy and the 4th player a lower rated prospect.
Epstein will eventually come off his Banuelos & Betances asking price and realize he’ll only get one. The tough fight will be to get him to accept Betances instead of Banuelos. In my opinion, I would not deal Banuelos for 2 yeara of Garza but I would trade Betances. I think an offer of Betances, Noesi, Joseph & maybe a lower level pitcher like Jose Ramirez is fair for 2 years of Garza. The Cubs could plug Noesi into the rotation this yr and Betances could be ready by mid-season.
I don’t think the Cubs would be interested in a Hughes-headlined deal. Although Hughes is a young MLB starter, he only has 2 yrs of team control like Garza.
Joba’s rehab from Tommy John Surgery is right on schedule. He also had 2 other surgeries imediately after his elbow surgery – one for a ruptured appendix and the other for an abscessed infection. All 3 occured in a 4 week span in early summer.
He has been giving updates via Twitter and has said throughout recent months that the elbow feels great. His last update was on Christmas Eve when he said he felt great and that he’d been throwing flat ground bullpen sessions for a couple weeks. His plan was to shut it down for 2 weeks and begin throwing again right around now. Once he resumes workouts, he plans to head back to Yankee facilities in Tampa to workout up until Spring training.
It’s encouraging to hear that he’s progressing but to keep things in perspective, he will likely start the season in Extended Spring Training. Depending on his recovery, he could be available to join the team in June or July. However, although pitchers have come back to pitch in 12 months, it often takes a full 18 months for them to regain full strength and feel comfortable with their command. Expectations will be low for Joba this yr with the hope he’ll gain strength and maybe be feeling close to normal by the Sept/October post-season push.
Trading Nunez is a little less likely now that they didn’t sign Japanese SS Nakajima. The only other SS option they have behind Jeter would be Ramiro Pena but Pena’s offensive value is nil. With injury-prone ARod at 3B and aging Jeter at SS, they need a solid backup who could handle starting for a month or more if one of the vets lands on the DL.
That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing a veteran Utilityman signed and Nunez traded if the right deal presented itself. Nunez is a very talented player with excellent speed, a strong arm and solid hitting skills. I think he could be an above average starting 2B or SS in MLB. However, I don’t think he’ll flourish in his current back-up role because he needs to play everyday and get comfortable in order to improve defensively.
Nunez alone, would not be enough to bring in a front-line starter. However he could be packaged with other players to attract such a pitcher. Pairing Nunez with Betances would be an attractive package to get a #2 starter but with the Cubs already having a great young SS in Starlin Castro, it remains to be seen if they’d have interest in Nunez as a 2B or 3B.
We know Seattle wanted him last yr as part of the Cliff Lee proposal and that the Braves were asking about him last yr and again this Winter. With Atlanta trying to deal pitcher Jair Jurrjens, its been mentioned that Nunez could be used to get him. Jurjens would not be a good fit for the Yanks though, because I don’t think he’d be more than a #3 or 4 starter in the AL and his knee injuries have me very hesitant.