Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another Yankees Mailbag. Thank you to those who sent in questions – we appreciate it. If you have a question you’d like to ask, either email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on Twitter (@yankeefansunite). Let’s get started…
I’m hearing a lot of talk about the Yankees and Gio Gonzalez. Anything is possible, so you think it’s a good fit?
– Natalia, I think Gio Gonzalez would be a good fit for the Yankees. He is the prototypical number two starter that Yankee fans desperately want after the ALDS loss to the Tigers. Gio does not get much run support for the Oakland A’s and yet still wins 16 games with a 3.12 ERA. His breaking ball is one of the best in the American League and would give the Yankees two lefties at the top of their rotation. Their GM, Billy Beane, reportedly likes the Yankees’ prospects, but I don’t see Brian Cashman pulling the trigger on this deal. I think he wants to see Banuelos or Betances grow into the system. Don’t expect the Yankees to make a trade for Gio, but Matt Garza is a possibility.
John Danks name is coming up in trade talks a lot lately, he seems like the ideal #2 starter and a solid lefty. What would it take to land him in a trade? Would Romine, Warren, Mitchell, Heathcott do it? I appreciate the feedback.
– Will. I disagree with you on John Danks. The guy has never won more than fifteen games in a season and he had a stretch in the first two months of 2011 where he did not even win a game. He would be nothing more than a back end starter in the Yankee rotation. I think the White Sox would trade him on the cheap just because they have shown no signs that they will give him a long term deal since he is a free agent at the end of 2012. I would not give up Romine or Warren for him, but I would give up a Slade Heathcott for him. I look for NY again to look at Matt Garza, Jair Jurrjens, and Gio before they explore a John Danks trade.
The Yankees offseason rumor mill has officially started. John Harper, of the New York Daily News, wrote an article about the Braves being interested in Eduardo Nunez, and that they were willing to give up Jair Jurrjens. Jurrjens had an excellent year last year going 13-6, with a 2.96 ERA, and a 1.22 WHIP. However, his year ended after experiencing pain in his surgically repaired right knee. According to Wallace Matthews, the Yankees are concerned about that knee. Nunez had a nice first full year with the Yankees hitting .265, with 5 HRs, 30 RBI’s, 22 SBs, and a .698 OPS. I would be extremely hesitant to trade for Jurrjens and I hope Brian Cashman is smart enough not to.
Jair Jurrjens is not the #2 starter that the Braves will try to sell the Yankees on. They would ask for a lot more than just Nunez for Jurrjens and it would not be worth it. The regular numbers look nice, but they can be a little misleading. The things that really concern me are his K/9, BB/9, his FB % and GB %, and his fastball velocity. Here is a chart of those stats over the last three years for Jurrjens.
A number 2 starter absolutely cannot only average about only 3 more strikeouts than walks. That is an egregious number that cannot be overstated. If you are not going to strikeout people, you cannot walk the amount of people that Jurrjens does. He has been able to get away with it in the NL, but in the AL East it will not happen that way. Jurrjens also allows way too many fly balls to pitch at Yankee stadium effectively. Having your ground ball and fly ball percentage almost even at Yankee Stadium, and not striking anybody out is a recipe for disaster at Yankee Stadium. Javier Vazquez rings a bell in that regard. Also, the declining fastball is a concern. Jurrjens never threw hard to begin with and last year his average fastball velocity dipped into the 80’s. His strikeout numbers will not get any better with that trend. I know I made it seem like Jurrjens is an awful pitcher but he actually has had a very successful career so far, so you have to give him credit. However, I just do not think the numbers would translate over to the AL East. A declining fastball, too many fly balls, too few strikeouts, and too many walks just will not work out in the toughest division in baseball.
I would also be very hesitant to trade for Jurrjens because I am reluctant to give up Eduardo Nunez. I really liked the tools and potential he showed last year. He obviously has a long way to go in the field, but he has the range, speed, and arm strength to greatly improve. He showed he has pop in his bat and I think he will eventually turn into one of the better hitting shortstops in MLB. I believe he can be the next shortstop after Derek Jeter. Time will tell on that though and I would like to see more from him. Nunez would be just the start in a Jurrjens deal because the Braves think very highly of Jurrjens. Some have suggested Nick Swisher would be a fit and I would be highly against that as well. I also would not include Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, or Dellin Betances in a deal for Jurrjens.
While Jurrjens has been good for the Braves he is just not a fit for the Yankees. You always have to weary of NL pitchers going to the AL East, and really look hard to see if they will translate over. Jurrjens just does not fit the bill. I trust that Brian Cashman will see these same issues that I do. Jurrjens would pitch more like Javier Vazquez for the Yankees than like CC Sabathia.
Good afternoon, and here is the second part of this weekend mailbag. Thank you to those who asked us their questions, and please continue to send them in!
Cashman said he’s talking with other teams about trade possibilities. Who do you think they can trade for?
You can never really tell the full extents of who’s available and who’s not available in the trade market. However, there are plenty of rumors. Some trade possibilities Cashman may be talking about could be for White Sox pitcher John Danks or Oakland lefty Gio Gonzalez. There have been the brief mentions of the Braves possibly shopping Jair Jurrjens, but not at the price the Yankees are looking for. In addition, there’s been some speculation that the Phillies may look to see what they can get for Cole Hamels, who will be in his final year of his contract; but a trade for him would be of huge cost. Beyond what I listed above, you can list other names, but really out of speculation, no real substance. I think there are definitely options out there for Brian Cashman to make a trade, if he wants to. Right now, he’s simply letting the market settle, waiting for the prices to drop.
Are they going to resign Russell Martin? If yes when are we going to know it?
To which @NataliaYank25 replied:
Do they need to sign him? He’s under team control.
Russell Martin is arbitration-eligible for the fourth time this winter as a Super Two player. In simpler words, Martin will either be offered a new contract, or he will not be offered a new contract by the Yankees. Cashman absolutely wants to retain him, and if (more like when) they do, it will be somewhere around or a bit north of $6MM in arbitration. The free agent arbitration offer deadline is actually pretty soon – at midnight on November 23. Then, the deadline to accept those offers is on December 7, so you’ll know whether Russell will be back next year (for sure) sometime very soon. But don’t worry, I’m willing bet a boatload of money that Martin will be donning pinstripes again next year.
I’d say there’s a 0.01% chance Jorge Posada will be offered a contract by the Yankees. He has already publicly said he will most likely not be returning to the team next year. There’s simply no place for him on the Yankees, and Jorge knows that. His two options will be to hang it up and retire, or to put on a different uniform than that of the Yankees.
That’s it for the Yankees Mailbag: Part 2. A reminder that if you have a question you’d like to ask for next weekend’s mailbag, either email me at email@example.com or contact us on Twitter at @yankeefansunite. Have a great rest of the day.