7 Calls Cashman needs to make for a Hitter

Butler is the type of .300 hitter with pop the Yanks should target

In recent days , there have been three general stories coming from Yankee camp – all involving the excess starting pitching and lack of a DH. First, we have heard that the team needs to move some salary in order to spend on a hitter since they currently only have $1 or 2 million at most. Second, the Yanks prefer to trade AJ Burnett, but the prevailing thought around the league is the team would need to eat roughly 2/3 of the remaining $33M on his deal. And the third piece of news – straight from Cashman – is that they prefer to add a hitter via trade and that the FA market is “secondary”.

Well the first thing I’d try to do is dump AJ on someone and pocket the $10-$13M saved over the next 2 years – money which can be used to look for a bat.Since the opening the team has is at DH, they can pursue a bat at any position. But looking beyond this season the potential positions that could be available are RF and 3B. Nick Swisher is a Free Agent following the season and will likely command a 3 to 4 year commitment. Alex Rodriguez is signed for 6 more years, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the team to start looking at 3B options so ARod can begin to make his inevitable transition to the DH spot.

The type of hitter I’d like to see them acquire is someone who hits for solid average with some pop and is under team control for at least 2 years. With that in mind, Cashman needs to make phone calls on the following players:

Chase Headley – San Diego – 3B/OF

Headley is a 27-year-old, switch-hitting 3Bwhose numbers have been adversely effected playing half his games in pitcher’s paradise Petco Park. He hit .289/.374/.399/.773 overall but was a blistering .330/.399/.465/.864 away from Petco in 2011 and for his career is a totally different player on the road with a .303/.364/.441/.805 line. This guy clearly needs a change of scenery and is much more valuable to SD as a trade chip. Headley is in his prime and adds some speed (44 for 53 in SBs last 3 yrs) and defensive versatility. He could play 3B, LF & RF allowing ARod & Swisher to DH a lot – then next yr, he could play RF, 3B or play the same 3B/Corner OF utility role. He’ll make $3.5M this yr and has 2 more Arbitration years so he has 3 more years of team control. Phil Hughes would likely interest SD although they may prefer a prospect package in return.

Daniel Murphy – Mets – 3B/2B/OF/1B

Murphy is another versatile player who could fill in at multiple positions including the all important 3B to DH ARod often. He’ll turn 27 in April and is coming off knee surgery that cut short his red-hot 2011 season. He hit .320/.362/.448/.809 and doesn’t reach arbitration until next season so is still dirt cheap. He is an aggressive hitter who hits for average and puts the ball in play striking out only 9.9% in 2011. The question then is why would the Mets deal him? Well he’s now had 2 season ending injuries in the last 3 yrs so his name was on the market this winter. The Mets have Wright at 3B and can use Justin Turner at 2B but could use pitching. The Yanks could offer a nice package of prospects or offer Hughes who could close or start for them.

Billy Butler – Kansas City – DH/1B

Butler is a 26-year-old righty who hits for average and extra base hit power. He has a career .297/.360./458/.817 slash in his 4.5 yrs career. He’s hit at least .290 with 15 HRs and 44 Doubles every yr in the last 3 so he’s been very consistent. He doesn’t strike out a lot and should continue to improve as he enters his prime. KC has him signed thru 2014 at $8M per season. They have a lot of promising hitters that have emerged and have another big bat on the verge in Will Myers. Butler could be used as a means to update their pitching and a package centered around Hughes or Betances would be enticing.

Logan Morrison – Miami – OF/1B

Morrison became known for some of his brash comments on twitter last season and people are wondering how his personality will clash with new manager Ozzie Guillen. The big lefty hitter has a patient approach and can hit for average and power. He’s a career .259/.351/.460/.811 hitter in his brief 812 MLB PAs. He’s only 24 and has a bright future and Miami really has no reason to trade him right now. However, Miami is said to be highly interested in Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes to energize the large Cuban population in Miami. That could make Morrison expendable but he wouldn’t come cheap since he’s not even Arbitration eligible until 2014. Betances would have to lead a package for LoMo.

Shin-Soo Choo – Cleveland – RF

Choo was one of MLB’s rising stars after hitting .300+ with an .880+ OPS for 3 straight yrs from 2008-2010. However, he had some off the field issues in 2011 including a DUI which contributed to a disappointing and injury plagued season. Healthy and motivated now, the 29 yr old lefty is ready for a comeback season. He’s a great all-around RF capable of hitting .300 with a .400 OBP and 20+ HRs. He’ll make $4.9M this year and has one more arbitration year before hitting FA in 2014. Cleveland may be down on him after last season’s struggles and only 2 years of team control left. I doubt Cleveland would look to trade hm until mid-season at earliest so he could re-establish himself, however with Detroit’s recent power move, perhaps Cleveland is already looking to the future.

Paul Konerko – Chicago White Sox – 1B/DH

Konerko does not fit with the other names on this list since he’s a veteran who will be 36 before the season starts. However, the White Sox have little chance of contending this year and could get a nice package of players to re-build with for Konerko. Over the last 2 years , Konerko has hit .306/.391/.551 for a .942 OPS and averaged 35 HRs & 108 RBI. His bat would look very nice hitting in the cleanup spot. Konerko has 2 yrs and $25.5M on his contract but is worth the money as he still hits at an elite level. To fit his $12.5M salary, some salary would have to go back to Chicago along with prospects but it could be done as long as Burnett is moved in a separate deal.

Domonic Brown – Philadelphia – OF

The Phillies don’t have much that they need and Brown is one of their top prospects. However, they brought in OF Laynce Nix and GM Ruben Amaro said “He has some things to work on….and if I had my druthers, I would keep him at Triple-A and have him get 500-600 ABs.” I’m sure that’s not what the big 24-yr old Lefty hitter wanted to hear after starting 56 games in Philly last yr. The Phils have a strong OF with Pence, Victorino, John Mayberry and Nix so maybe it’s possible they’d entertain a Brown for Betances + trade. Brown would be the heir apparent to take over RF in 2013 and could be broken in slowly. The Yanks don’t have a big time OF in the upper levels of their system and a player like Brown would be just what they need.

About fishjam25

Was a 4-yr Pitcher and Communications Major at Seton Hall University in the 90s. His knowledge & opinion of the game comes from his background as a player and ardent lifetime Yankee fan. However, Fishjam also incorporates sabermetrics and statistical support to form a well-rounded view of the game.

Posted on January 25, 2012, in Signing & Trade Speculation and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. Fishjam – I like most of the options you mentioned.

    I’d be concerned about Butler only from the standpoint of his $8M salary due for 2014 and that it would put to much of a strain on the Yankees ability to get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold for 2014.

    Konerko, would be very nice but as you mentioned there would have to be other actions taking place in order for it to be a practical solution for the Yankees.

    Of the rest my choices would be Morrison which I believe I mentioned yesterday in passing. Or at least asked the question. AND, Choo. I think you might have hit the nail right on the head with Choo and Cleveland now that Detroit has signed Fielder.

    In any case with about 20 days until spring training we should find out something soon.

  2. Great article Fish. I would like these 3 in this order.

    1. Headley
    2. Choo
    3. Konerko

    Wouldn’t be upset with the others though but those would be my top 3 of who you mentioned.

  3. I love those suggestions EXCEPT Konerko. We have too many 36 year olds already! For heavens sake the Yankees have too many guys that will need to share the DH spot, DON’T add another one. Get a young guy so you have someone for the future as well as the present. NO MORE GRANDFATHERS, please!

    • I was definitely looking for young hitters but included Konerko for his elite production, Chicago’s rebuilding and the fact that he isn’t signed for 2014 – the magic $189M payroll year.

      Konerko is old but he is still a feared hitter capable of hitting over .300 with 30+ HRs. That is elite production nowadays and he’d be nice to pair with Cano for 2 yrs with Tex & ARod backing them up.

  4. Joey, be careful with those Grandfather remarks please! LOL
    I agree with you in as much as we have 5 (I think) starters 30 or over, therefore I would go with;
    Chase Headly, Logan Morrison, or Billy Butler as a DH, anyone of the three (cheapest) would be ok with me.

  5. Fishjam – If Chase Headley was to be made available by the Padres. Who would you include in a package to satisfy the Padres needs?

  6. I think the Yanks would be interested in Headley and Morrison for Hughes and Betances if they were available. Hughes has the potential to be another Kennnedy and the Yanks are looking for young controlable outfielders who have Yankee upside like Headley and Morrison.

  7. The last thing the Yankees need is a first basemen or DH.

  8. I’m confused…what team would pay Burnett 5-6 million per season if the Yankees dump him? Especially when that amount would net Roy Oswalt, and possibly Edwin Jackson.

    • What indication do you have that Oswalt or Jackson would accept $5-6 Million? if they would, they would have been snapped up months ago. Would the yanks have spent $10M on Kuroda if they could have gotten Jackson/Oswalt for half the price? Oswalt will get more than that and Jackson will probably get double that and is asking for 4 years.

      The other factor is what about the teams that are in on Oswalt/Jackson but don’t get them. They will still be in the market for a veteran capable of giving 190-200ip.

      It has been mentioned in many articles that the prevailing thought around baseball is the Yanks could move AJ if they are willing to eat around 2/3 of AJ’s contract. I didn’t make that figure up.

      • Fishjam – In addition it’s been reported that both the Cardinals and Red Sox offered Oswalt $5MM on a 1 year deal. And as far as I know he hasn’t accepted either and is still on the market.

        You’re right a straight 1 year/$5MM contract for Oswalt isn’t going to get it done. And for Jackson anyone thinking of signing him to 1 year is probably going to have to offer in my opinion at least $10MM plus incentives.

  9. That’s a terrible argument. Would the Phillies have spent 50 million on Papelbon if they knew Madson would sign for 8.5 million?

    I’m not saying that figure is made up. I’m just not sure it’s rational either. Prevailing wisdom didn’t have Prince Fielder getting 200 million, after suitor after suitor passed on him. Yet, seemingly out of nowhere, he did. Oswalt and Jackson have asked for more than 5-6 million, but no one has paid them yet either. Spring training is just weeks away, and these guys need to sign somewhere. Prices tend to decrease as time goes on. If Cashman can dump Burnett, and only pay 20 million to do so, more power to him. Just doesn’t seem like it will happen to me.

    • I’m not sure Oswalt needs to sign somewhere. He’s made over $90MM during his career, He obviously has issues with his back and he has hinted at retirement on more then 1 occasion over the past 4 to 6 months. It’s just my opinion but if $5MM is the best offer Oswalt gets I would not be surprised to see him retire.

      As for Jackson, $5MM isn’t going to get it done for him. Even at the hint of $5MM there will be so many teams after him that it drive up the price considerably. I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were a team counting on signing Jackson for $5MM even on a 1 year deal.

      • And the comment about Jackson may be very true. However, I could see him going for 8 or 9 million. This guy has 3.6, 3.8, and 3.8 WAR the last 3 years. He’s been fairly consistent. I think he’s overrated, but you can’t really argue with the results. If I can get him for that price, or be locked in to AJ for 6.5 a year, I think I’d do whatever it takes to get Jackson.

        What I don’t understand is why the Yankees don’t send Burnett to Chicago straight up for Soriano. They wouldn’t be straight eating any money, would keep their prospects, and get a nice LF platoon/DH bat.

        • If for no other reason then Soriano is due $18MM per for the next 3 years (that’s through the 2014 season). The Yankees have already stated they intend to get below the luxury tax threshold that year of $189MM. Soriano’s contract and $18MM cost for 2014 is prohibitive under those circumstances (that’s just one reason).

          • That makes sense, though even without Soriano they don’t have much of a chance to be below 190 million. Looks like they have around 80 committed to Arod, Tex, CC, and Jeter (assuming he exercises his option). They will need to commit 35-40 million (low side) for Cano and Granderson. That’s also the first year Pineda and Nova hit arbitration, would could be another 8-10 million combined.

            That only leaves around 60 million for 17 players. Possible, but just seems unlikely. It would be nearly impossible for them to pursue someone like Hamels next offseason in this scenario.

            If they Yankees can get Ibanez for the rumored 2 million, that’s their best bet. He’s an ok hitter, and would buy them a year while allowing them to keep all their kids.

            • It will be tough no doubt. But it is doable. I’ve done a reasonable analysis of different options/routes the Yankees can take. And while difficult it certainly is doable. And that’s just me a “lay” person so to speak. I’m sure the accountants and people responsible for in the Bronx and Tampa responsible for tracking the numbers can do a better job then I did.

              Again it wouldn’t be impossible for them to pursue Hamels or Cain if they become available they would just have to set their priorities. They probably wouldn’t be able to keep Granderson in that case. But if they wanted to sign Hamels and he was available they wouldn’t necessarily need Banuelos or Betances and perhaps another 1 or 2 high level prospects. and who knows maybe they could make a trade for a very good cost controlled CF from another team.

              There are always options it just a matter of what route you want to take to get to the “goal line”.

        • Yeah the extra yr on Soriano’s deal complicates things. In a straight bad contract for bad contract, Jason Bay would probably be the best comparison. MLB – In your opinion, would you trade AJ for Bay and do you think the Mets would be interested?

          • That’s a trade that makes some sense. It’s financially pretty much a wash (AJ owed 33 million and Bay owed 35 million with his 2 million buyout in 2014). I’m not sure the Mets would have motivation to move him to only save a couple million bucks in 2014. They are both aging veterans, so neither has much upside. Really, if the Yankees toss in anywhere between 4-6 million, the Mets should jump on this, given their financial woes. Otherwise, in a straight up deal, I don’t think I would pull the trigger if I was running the Mets.

    • It’s fine if you don’t think it’s possible Aj can be moved after eating $22M. However you can’t assume that Oswalt & Jackson could be signed for $5-6M just because ST is weeks away. As you mentioned yourself, no one thought Prince Fielder would get $200M yet seemingly out of nowhere, he did, And that was only 3 days ago.

      It’s possible Oswalt accepts somewhere close to $5-6M from a certain team but he also has a bad back. Jackson will get more so I don’t think he can be compared to AJ. But the fact remains that Oswalt can only sign with 1 team, so AJ could be an option for the other teams looking for pitching.

      My take is I def think he could be moved if the Yanks ate $22M but I don’t think Cashman is willing to eat that much. Just a hunch.

  10. Paperback Writer

    Konerko and Choo aren’t realistic targets right now. You’re talking about the face of each of their franchises. Even being out of the race (which really isn’t something you can count on before the season in the wild AL Central), teams still need someone to bring people to the gates. Choo is a 20-20 guy with the chance to be a 30-20 guy, he’s the Indians best hope at vaulting into contention, with the emergence of Santana and perhaps some unexpectedly good pitching (it has been known to happen). If he’s on the market, no way he goes for anything less than Hughes, Betances and Banuelos, perhaps even more than that. It’s not as if the Yanks would be the only bidders for a five tool guy who gets on base. Konerko would not be moved unless he asked for a trade. The White Sox just have too much respect for the guy and he’s been there for a decade now and is a fan favorite.

    Morrison I really don’t see being moved unless Cespedes comes in and is a star right away (unlikely) and/or if Morrison and Ozzie just can’t get along at all, which I think is probably not as big a factor as some think, given that the Marlins have been happy to stick with Hanley despite all the headaches. He’s so young with so much upside and so far away from free agency, there’s just no incentive to move him. Especially not with a team that is expecting to contend now that they brought in Reyes.

    I would expect that Butler would take a bigger package than he’s worth since they like him a lot in KC and he’s basically been the man there, although soon to be overtaken by Hosmer. KC has so much young talent on the way it’s ridiculous. Why would they trade someone they have through 2014 when their farm is about to start pumping out awesome pitching prospects that are better than ours in order to obtain our lesser prospects? It is certainly possible, but I’ll be absolutely shocked if he was moved without him pulling a Greinke and demanding out.

    So that leaves Headley, Brown, and Murphy. I’m pretty skeptical of the outlook on Murphy to keep up his success of last season (his first time being successful in the majors, I add, at the age of 26) and of his ability to stay healthy, so I wouldn’t part with any significant prospect for him.

    Headley I think is a very intriguing idea. If he is made available, it’s something the Yankees have to explore. Third base is a very big need in my opinion because I don’t want to see Nunez in there at all at anytime and certainly not in the playoffs. I have no faith in A-Rod actually staying predominately healthy. I also think the Padres would have plenty of interest in moving him for the right players, as they are in full rebuilding mode.

    Brown, of course, is also very interesting and someone that the Phillies I think would consider moving for pitching given the possibility Hamels is lost to free agency and that they really can’t devote their entire payroll to three pitchers and Ryan Howard. I think it would take Banuelos or Betances, at least, to pry Brown away given his projections. I doubt Hughes would interest the Phillies too much in that band box. Only problem is do we believe in Brown more than the Phillies seem to? Presumably, they know a bit more about him and aren’t moving him up aggressively. Yet it would take our best trading chips to make it happen. I don’t know, I think I might rather stick with the wealth of young promising pitchers and see which ones pan out than to take on another team’s developmental problem, especially with tons of interesting outfielders hitting the market in the coming years (not to mention that Swish isn’t that old and has been holding his own far better than he’s generally given credit for, so we might just bring him back).

    • Paperback – You wrote a Paperback for your first post! I love it…welcome to the site!

      I’ll address each of your comments:

      Choo – He’s def one of CLEV’s best players but he only has 2 seasons before Free Agency and was a big disappointment last yr with the DUI and performance. If Cle looks like they are out of it, he may be shopped by mid-season

      Konerko – he’s a stud but Kenny Williams can be an aggressive GM and admitted the team is in rebuilding mode and he needs to re-stock his barren Farm System. Williams has money and is looking for a quick rebuild. Konerko is 36 with 2 yrs on his deal so he should be someone they use to obtain multiple younger pieces.

      Morrison – i agree…only will be marketed if they sign Cespedes. But I think they are the perfect fit for Cespedes

      Butler – KC has a great system with many promising hitters. While they have good young pitchers it hasn’t translated to the MLB-level yet. They’ve been searching for starters and Hughes could be one of them. A catcher like Romine and maybe even Cervelli would help them too. A package of Hughes, Betances & Romine or Cervelli might be attractive

      Murphy – I don’t think he’d take much to get, maybe Hughes straight up. He’s a .292/.343/.441 hitter in 1130 MLB PAs and will only get better entering his prime, so he can definitely hit. He struck out less than 10% of the time so I like the way he handles the bat and he could give ARod a lot of rest by playing 3B.

      Headley – He’s probably the most realistic. SD has a big 3B prospect in Jed Gyorko and Chase is such a better hitter on the road that he’s more valuable to SD as a trade chip. He makes great sense for the Yanks…I’d offer Betances and any other 2 prospects not named Banuelos, Sanchez, Mason & Campos.

      Brown – I’d trade Betances straight up for Brown. Yanks have pitching depth but their system lacks impact bats at the older levels. Brown’s a huge lefty hitter and IMO Betances is expendable after the Pineda trade.

  11. I agree, with that Jam, Headley or Morrison would be the one’s I would go after at this time. I don’t want to give up on Hughes yet since he won 18 games two years ago. I think Cashman is still very high on him. I think part of his problem was his increased innings the year before, I think Hughes was on the Verducci list. He could be another Ian Kennedy. If the Yanks could get Headley for Betances, Warren, and Laird, I would do something like that.

    • In my gut If Hughes out shines AJ in spring training i still believe the Yankees mgmt will let AJ be the 5th starter.

      • 5th starter? I think you’ve lost count of our starting pitchers. The rotation is currently;
        CC
        Pineda
        Kuroda
        Nova
        Garcia
        Baring injury AJ and Hughes do not have a rotation spot to battle for.

        • I haven’t seen Cashman or Girardi comment yet on their plans for the rotation. They obviously have 7 guys signed to Major Lg contracts for 5 spots. I think the reason why they haven’t said anything yet is because they expect a trade or 2 before ST.

          If no trades were made, I’d prefer Hughes gets the last spot. He’s only 25 and still has upside. If he’s 100% and finally in shape, I’d like to see what he has. I think he could regain the tuff that made him a very good pitcher in 2009 and first half of 2010.

  12. fishjam…
    Need I say it again? You got it!
    I like Phil and his intensity and this year he will be in playing condition, before spring training. I do look to see Phil make up for trusting his talent would get him through, instead of working hard to get and stay in shape. 1st thing we must look for is his FB, if it is up to 93+ then the rest of his pitches will work very well of the FB. We have seen many outlanders (my word) pitch very well even though they looked out of shape…CC and Wells come to mind as two of them. Those are the exception rather then the rule.
    Besides I’ll always take a three pitch pitcher over one with only two pitches, one of which is a FB that has lost some speed. Go Phil….!

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