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What would help this team at trading deadline?

What will Cashman look to add?

Baseball officials often say they like to break the season down into one- thirds. The first third is to evaluate your team’s strengths and weaknesses. The middle third is to look for solutions to your problems and to make changes – and the final third is to make a push with the new/improved team you’ve assembled. The Yankees are in that middle phase now and have gone through a lot in the season so far. They struggled for the first 42 games and had a .500 record on May 21st. They then went on an amazing 20-4 run that just ended with back to back losses to Atlanta. Now that we’ve seen their worst and their best baseball, I think it’s a good time to evaluate what this team needs to make a push for their 28th Championship.


The pen has been their strong point all season. Even after surviving the loss of 2 All-Stars in Mariano Rivera and David Robertson they still have kept it together. They are 3rd in MLB in bullpen ERA with a 2.73 mark and have blown a league-low 4 saves in 24 opportunities. With Rafael Soriano looking comfortable in the Closer’s role and Robertson returning healthy, the Yankee bullpen is set. Boone Logan & Clay Rapada have been absolutely excellent vs LH hitters and Cody Eppley and Cory Wade are serviceable in their roles. There may even be a chance that Joba and/or David Aardsma come back at some point this year so there is no need for them to look outside of the organization for relief help.


The starters have been pitching tremendously in June and on the season they are 5th in the A.L. with a 4.14 ERA. The one disturbing trend is that they lead all of baseball in HRs allowed with 65 and are 27th overall in opposing hitters OPS at .780.  However, all the starters are pitching better as of late and right now the top 3 of C.C., Andy Pettitte & Ivan Nova look pretty strong.  Kuroda is solid as a #4 and Hughes is OK as the #5 man. So the question is, can anyone out there help them? Read the rest of this entry

Say No To Garza

Now that the MLB Draft is over teams will really start to focus on their plans for the trade deadline. The first major rumor for the Yankees this year was that they are interested in Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza. Garza is a familiar name after pitching 3 years for the Rays. Garza had a breakout season last year, but has struggled this season going 2-4, with a 3.99 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 8.4 K/9.  Garza may be the best pitcher on the market this year, but may be one the Yankees would be wise to avoid.

It may too early to write this article since a lot can happen between now and the trading deadline. You do not know who will be pitching well or who will be injured. However, if the deadline was today I would avoid Garza and probably would avoid him on the real trade deadline as well. The recent surge of the Yankees has been led by the starting pitching. C.C. Sabathia has not been quite as dominant as he usually is, but he is nobody to worry about. Andy Pettitte has been the ultimate stabilizing force for the rotation. Even the most optimistic Yankees fan could not have predicted how dominant he has been. Hiroki Kuroda has not gotten enough credit for the job he has done. Kuroda is 5-6 on the year, with a 3.46 ERA, and a 1.25 WHIP. Also, he has allowed 3 runs or less in 9 out of his 12 starts. Kuroda is a solid #3 starter even in the AL East. Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova are wild cards, but have shown signs that they are ready to pitch to their talent level. Hughes has allowed 2 runs or less in 4 of his last 5 starts. Nova showed what he can do last season and fired a gem Wednesday against the Rays, so maybe that will get him back on track. The 2009 Yankees won the World Series with C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte as their 2 best pitchers, so they proved that they can win with that combo already. I am confident that Kuroda, Hughes, or Nova are all capable of being a solid # 3 pitcher and that one of them will step up.

Matt Garza is not an ace pitcher, but Theo Epstein may try to sell him as one. The Cubs are in desperate need of young players and will try to get a haul for Garza. They overpaid for Garza to begin with and will want to recoup that talent. Garza was outstanding last season going 10-10, with a 3.32 ERA, a 2.25 WHIP, a 2.95 FIP, and 9.0 K/9. However, that season is an anomaly when you compare it to his career stats and it’s not a coincidence that his breakout season came in his first season in the NL. Garza was a nice #3 pitcher for the Rays in the AL East, but was never a #1 or 2, as he averaged a 3.85 ERA over his 3 years in Tampa. Garza also struck out less people in Tampa than in Chicago, as he struck only 7.01 batters per 9 innings. In addition to that Garza’s FIP was only 4.24 in Tampa. Another warning sign to me is that this would be the third time in his career that Garza would be traded. The Twins, Rays, and now perhaps the Cubs felt he was expendable so why should the Yankees pay a big package for him? Very few great players get traded 3 times in a career. Maybe it was because he was with two small market teams who wanted to get something for him, but it may not be a coincidence that the Twins and Rays traded him.

A lot of the improvements Garza made last season have not been there this season. This combined with only 1 stellar season in the NL leads me to believe he is only a #3 pitcher in the AL East.  The Yankees may need to trade for a starter at the deadline and Garza may very well be the best one available, but that does not mean they should target him. Trading is about value and I have a feeling Theo Epstein wants a lot more than what Garza is worth. The Yankees could probably trade for somebody for less who would do almost as well, or just stick with what they have. I don’t think Kuroda is much worse than Garza if he is worse at all. The Yankees farm system has taken a slight hit this year so they really can’t afford to give away any big pieces in the wrong deal. The Yankees should not be buying Matt Garza as a pitcher who will put them over the top.

Would EJax take 2 years?

EJax is eerily similar to Matt Garza

Despite the clear need for a starting pitcher, most Yankee fans want no part of Edwin Jackson.  Despite the fact that he’s been a solid pitcher with great stuff and a chance to improve at the age of 28, he isn’t attractive to the Yankees because of his perceived cost. 

Scott Boras is looking for a 5 yr deal for around $15M per season which based on the contracts given to Burnett, Lackey, D.Lowe, Buehrle & CJ Wilson, is pretty much what the price has been on the Free Agent market.  That being said,  all of those contracts were colossal busts with the exception of Buehrle & Wilson where the stories have yet to be written.  So no one is knocking down the door for Jackson at that price.

If I had to guess I’d say he’ll have to come down to 4 yrs @ $11-12M to find interest.  However, even that is more than the Yanks want to spend because of the payroll flexibility they’d like to maintain heading into 2014.  That being the case, perhaps there’s room for compromise that helps all 3 parties – Yankees, Boras & EJackson.

What if the Yankees offered $15M per season for 2 years?  Boras gets the $15M he asked for, Jackson pockets $30M and re-enters Free Agency at still young age of 30 and the Yanks get a #3 starter with #2 potential while still not touching their 2014 Payroll.

I’m not excited by the prospect of Jackson and $15M is more than I’d be comfortable paying him, but for only 2 years it’s not a bad idea. Let’s do a quick comparison of Jackson and Yankee trade target Matt Garza over the last 3 years:

Jackson 35 30 623 3.96 3.93 7.08 3.03 44% 0.92 4.06 11.2
Garza 33 32 605 3.73 3.89 7.96 3.05 40% 1 3.85 9.7

 Comparing stuff, Jackson averages 94.5 MPH on his Fastball and throws a nasty 87 MPH Slider, which is his best pitch.  He throws a 2-seamer and mixes in a Change & Curveball about 11% of the time.

Garza is a little more well-rounded but averages 93.7 MPH on his Fastball and throws an 86 MPH Slider as his out pitch.  He also throws a 2-seamer and mixes in the Change & Curve slightly more at 23%, although neither are effective pitches.

So their numbers are nearly identical, they were born 2 months apart and their stuff is very similar too.  What would be the difference in cost?

Garza will likely earn a combined $21M over the next 2 years in arbitration before becoming a Free Agent.  From what we hear, he would also cost 1 or both of Banuelos & Betances plus more in a trade.

If you could get Jackson at a cost of $30M over the next 2 years and KEEP Banuelos & Betances, wouldn’t that be a much better scenario?  You could also even out the costs by picking up$24M of AJ Burnet’s contract to dump him on someone. That would save the $9M difference and make the net cost of Jackson the same $21M that Garza would make.

I like Garza as a pitcher and think he’s tougher and a better all-around pitcher. But Jackson’s stuff and nearly identical numbers as Garza over the last 3 years is hard to ignore.  I know the chances of Jackson accepting a 2 yr $30M deal are slim but if it comes down to accept a 4 yr-$40M deal with Baltimore or a 2yr-$30M deal with New York, which would you choose?  Boras has done the unconventional before and last yr steered Rafael Soriano to the Yanks as a set-up man on a closer’s deal.  It’s not entirely impossible.

I’m not sure this is a good idea but it’s food for thought.  Would you be interested in EJax for 2 years?

Yankees Mailbag: Garza, Joba & Nunez

Betances would likely have to go for Garza

Have 3 questions today. If you would like your question to be answered in the mailbag, email Mike at Here we go:

@willpanagiotis asks:

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. 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.

@JFABBY23 asks:

Q) How is Joba doing with his rehab sessions? 

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.

@Team_Punk asks:

Q) Do you think trading Nunez is an option? what kinda starter could we get?

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.

Spanning the Yankee Blogs: Garza, Jackson, Prospects, Nova, PED’s

Hello all and welcome to another installment of Spanning the Yankee Blogs. If you’re new to the site, every week,  I link the best articles out there in the Yankee “blogosphere”.

Enjoy the links……..

* An A-Blog for A-Rod has released their Top Yankee Prospects as well.  Here is 5 through 1.

* Bleeding Yankee Blue opines that Boras will mess things up for Edwin Jackson.

* NY Baseball Digest feels that Matt Garza is worth the asking price.

* Pinstripe Alley details what to make of Anaheim’s spending splurge.

* River Ave Blues thinks out loud about Ryan Madson.

* Road to Yankee Stadium has an interview with Yankees Pitching Prospect Shaeffer Hall.

* The Captain’s Blog says MLB’s loose lips could sink PED Policy.

* The Yankee Analysts discuss the  realistic expectation for Ivan Nova in 2012.

Yankees unlikely to get Garza

Yankees unlikely to get Garza

by Matt S.

Sources told ESPN New York’s Wallace Matthews that the Yankees are unlikely to trade for Matt Garza.  The Cubs want young pitching in return, and the Yanks are refusing to give up top pitching prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. Garza, 28, is also drawing interest from the Blue Jays, Tigers, Red Sox and Marlins. He posted a 3.32 ERA and 197/63 K/BB ratio in 198 innings this past season for Chicago.


No “real favorite” for Garza says Heyman

No “real favorite” for Garza says Heyman

by Matt S.

There’s “no real favorite” in the Matt Garza sweepstakes, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. It’s a five-team derby, according to the report, between the Yankees, Blue Jays, Tigers, Red Sox and Marlins. Chicago is seeking young pitchers, which is why New York’s Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, Detroit’s Jacob Turner, Boston’s Anthony Ranaudo and Toronto’s young hurlers have been bandied about in rumors. Florida would likely build a package around Class-A outfielder Christian Yelich and perhaps available youngsters Matt Dominguez, Gaby Sanchez, Chris Coghlan or Jose Ceda. Garza, 28, posted a 3.32 ERA and 197/63 K/BB ratio in 198 innings this past season. He’s arbitration-eligible for two more years.

Open Thread

Yankees #2?

Good evening everyone. Above is a picture of Garza. Would seeing him in Pinstripes fulfill your New Year’s wish? He could help solidify the rotation quite a bit for the Yankees. Any thoughts? Jon Heyman says the Cubs are prioritizing young pitching, something the Yankees have a plethora of.

Well, here’s an open thread- talk about whatever you wish. Two bowl games are on ESPN tonight one of which was the Heisman winner for Baylor University Robert Griffin III. Enjoy the night.

* We have a new setup with the Header atop of the blog.  We feel it makes the page look much cleaner.  We hope you enjoy it.

Yankees Mailbag

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 or contact us on Twitter (@yankeefansunite). Let’s get started…

@NataliaYank25 asks:
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.

Will asks:
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.

Cubs willing to trade Matt Garza this offseason

Cubs willing to trade Matt Garza this offseason

by Mike D.

Via Buster Olney, other MLB organizations are of the strong belief that the Cubs are “open for business”, regarding Matt Garza. In fact some teams expect the right-hander to be dealt this winter. As with any starting pitcher on the market, the Yankees are figured to have interest in pursuing Garza. In 2011, he pitched to a 3.32 ERA / 2.95 FIP / 3.19 xFIP line, with a 8.95 K/9 in 198.0 for Chicago.

Hot Stove Targeting: Matt Garza

Garza is an AL East-tested winner in his prime

With the Cubs coming off a 71-win season, there have been rumors that everyone on the team is available.  To the Yankees, nobody on their roster would be more attractive than Matt Garza.  A soon to be 28, AL East tested pitcher with strikeout stuff, Garza is just the type of guy the Yanks are looking for.


Since becoming a full-time starter in 2008 with Tampa, the strong 6’4″ 215 pound Garza has ranked 28th amongst MLB pitchers in WAR, having made at least 30 starts in each of the last 4 seasons.  Over that period he has compiled a 44-41 record with a 3.72 ERA/ 3.92 FiP / 4.01 xFiP.  He’s had a 7.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 over that time also.

Garza has shown a propensity for missing bats and had a career high 8.95 K/9 & 11.2% Swing/Miss rate in 2011.  Overall, 2011 was his best season in almost every aspect as he also had career highs with a 3.32 /2.95 / 3.19 line and only a 0.64 HR rate despite pitching in HR-friendly Wrigley Field.

Year Tm W L ERA GS IP SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9
2007 MIN 5 7 3.69 15 83.0 67 1.542 10.4 0.9 3.5 7.3
2008 TBR 11 9 3.70 30 184.2 128 1.240 8.3 0.9 2.9 6.2
2009 TBR 8 12 3.95 32 203.0 189 1.261 7.8 1.1 3.5 8.4
2010 TBR 15 10 3.91 32 204.2 150 1.251 8.5 1.2 2.8 6.6
2011 CHC 10 10 3.32 31 198.0 197 1.258 8.5 0.6 2.9 9.0
6 Seasons 52 54 3.83 149 923.1 769 1.303 8.6 1.0 3.1 7.5
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/21/2011

Garza’s arsenal consists of a  Plus, 4-Seam Fastball that averages 93.7 MPH and hits up to 96-97 at times. He throws the 4-seamer 38% of the time and also incorporates a 2-seam FB that gets better downward action that he threw 16% of the time in 2011.  Garza has a Plus Slider that is his most effective offering.  It averages 86 MPH and is clearly his Out pitch that he goes to over 40% of the time with 2-strikes on hitters.  He also features a Curveball & Changeup but they are definitely his secondary offerings as they lack the effectiveness of his Fastballs & Slider.

Garza does not show any discernible platoon splits as he’s actually a little more effective vs lefties in his career:

vs LH Hitters  .239/.316/.373/.689

vs RH Hitters .261/.315/.410/.726

Another positive is Garza is proven in the AL East.  In 3 seasons, he never had an ERA over 3.95 or a WHIP over 1.26. And those stats were accumulated during his 24-26 year old seasons which is quite impressive.  His post-season experience only consists of 5 starts but he was a solid 2-1, 3.48 ERA & 1.29 WHIP.  He was MVP of the 2008 AL Championship Series when he threw 2 excellent games against Boston to vault the Rays into the World Series.


This season Garza had the highest GB rate of his career at 46.3% but this was a big difference from the 35.8% he produced in Tampa in 2010 where he also had a high 1.23 HR/9.  It seems Garza made some adjustments when pitching in Wrigley by throwing  more 2-seamers and keeping the ball down in the zone to limit HRs and Fly balls in general.  However, it’s possible that 2011 was a bit of an outlier and he his GB% will dip down closer to his career mark of 41%.  As we know, RH fly-ball pitchers aren’t ideal in Yankee Stadium but I think Garza has the stuff to succeed there and if he pitches the way he did in 2011, he really isn’t a fly-ball pitcher anymore.

Fit for the Yanks?

Without a doubt, he would help the Yankees.  He would slide right in as their #2 starter and supply 30 starts/200 ip of solid baseball.  The questions are….is he available and what is the price?

Cubs Perspective 

New president Theo Epstein * GM Jed Hoyer have taken over a Cubs organization with little talent on the Major Lg roster and a depleted Farm system that ranks as one of the worst in MLB.  Matt Garza is one of the team’s few attractive assets along with Carlos Marmol, Starlin Castro and Ryan Dempster.  Epstein has made it clear that everyone is available and although Garza would be a good building block, trading him could also be a tool to re-build the barren system, especially considering he only has 2 more seasons of team control before hitting the open market.  Garza made $5.9M in 2011 and will probably get somewhere close to $8-9M in arbitration this season.

What Would it take to Get Him?

One thing the Cubs do have is money.  So there is no reason they need to trade Garza, but as mentioned it may be the best way to quickly re-stock the system.  The Cubs gave up 5 prospects to get Garza from TB including their 1st and 4th best prospects at the time and 2 useful players that showed promise with the Rays in Sam Fuld & Robinson Chirnos.

I would think the price for the Yanks would be pretty steep considering they’d be getting 2 years of a solid pitcher in his prime.  From a Yankee persepective, it seems Cashman is very reluctant to give up Montero or Banuelos unless he is getting a true #1 starter.  So  it seems any package would start with Dellin Betances along with either Romine or Nunez, a pitcher from the Noesi/Warren/Phelps bunch and a 4th prospect.  Do you guys think that is fair from a Yankees and Cubs perspective?  As a Cubs fan, would you trade Garza or try to build around him?  Let me know what you think?

Afternoon Notes: Wilson, Garza, Gonzalez, Danks, 40-Man Roster

The Yanks have expressed particular interest in White Sox hurler John Danks. Chicago on the other hand is a big fan of NYY Triple-A catcher, Austin Romine.

Via Joel Sherman of the NY Post:

— Brian Cashman would like to do something this offseason, before Christmas, but he won’t unless the prices drop from where they are now. (Sherman)

— Symbolic of the Yankees’ current lack of enthusiasm, when C.J. Wilson’s agent requested a meeting in New York, he was told “we’ll get back to you.”

— The Yanks have looked into a possible trade for Cubs’ starter, Matt Garza. However, a Chicago official said trading Garza would be “very, very unlikely”.

— Among their particular likings is left-hander Gio Gonzalez of the Athletics. Billy Beane, talking about the availability of Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill, said, “In our situation, we are open to anything.” However, Oakland is looking for an ace return for either Gio or Cahill. This probably implies a package centered around Jesus Montero or Manny Baneulos.

— They also favor ChiSox lefty, John Danks, who will be a free agent after this 2012 season. Sherman notes that Danks is “very” available, with the sudden Chicago rebuilding process. The asking price for Danks appears to be similar to that of Billy Beane’s in Oakland. The Yanks don’t view Danks as worth that kind of price, especially considering they’d only be getting one year of him. However, don’t shut the door on this trade possibility. Sherman adds the White Sox are very keen on a number of Yankee prospects, including a “particular fondness” for Austin Romine.

Via Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News:

— On a different note, the Yankees added infielders David Adams and Corban Joseph, outfielder Zoilo Almonte, and right-handed pitchers, D.J. Mitchell and David Phelps to their 40-Man Roster. It seems likely that the latter two will see at least some time in the majors next season.

A little about each of them.

Almonte batted .276/.345/.459 with 15 homers and 18 steals between High- and Double-A this season. He’s an unexciting talent but one the Yankees felt they couldn’t lose in the Rule 5 draft.

Joseph, 23, hit .277/.353/.415 with five homers and 58 RBI over 499 at-bats for Trenton this season. The former fourth-round pick is below average defensively and hasn’t progressed much with the bat, but the Yankees are still holding out hope that he’ll be a useful piece of the roster eventually.

Adams batted .370/.421/.509 over 29 games in an injury-shortened 2011 season. The former third-round pick has little in the way of tools but profiles as a solid backup at the major league level.

A former outfielder from his college days, Mitchell doesn’t have much upside but has a nice minor league track record, having held a 3.28 ERA over three seasons, including a 3.18 mark at Triple-A in 2011. He probably has a better shot to eventually earn a roster spot for the Yankees as a middle reliever, though.

Phelps is now off-limits for the Rule 5 draft. A former 14th-round pick, Phelps posted a nice 3.19 ERA and 90/26 K/BB ratio over 107 1/3 innings at Triple-A this season. Though his ceiling isn’t high, Phelps boasts a 2.61 ERA in his minor league career and has a good shot of being a useful back-end starter or middle reliever for the Yanks one day.

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.

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.