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Hot Stove Targetting: Matt Cain

The San Francisco Giants were able to win the 2010 World Series largely because of their tremendous starting pitching. They had a young group of electric starters, including Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner. With their 2010 victory, the Giants looked well poised to make another run at it this year. However, the team declined greatly in the second half of 2011, and San Francisco didn’t even make the playoffs. One of their problems, is that they are offensively deprived. Because of this, GM Brian Sabean may be open to trading some of their plentiful starting pitching for offensive production. The name that pops out, besides Lincecum (who is untouchable), is Matt Cain.

Positives

Since 2007, Matt Cain has been one of the top pitchers in the National League. Cain has averaged roughly 211 innings pitched, each year, since his first full year of 2006. When looking at his stats, one thing that immediately jumps out is consistency. Since 2007, Cain has either maintained or improved his BB/9, K/9, HR/9, and H/9 every single year, with only a few minor exceptions.

BB/9 K/9 HR/9 H/9
2007 3.56 7.34 0.63 7.8
2008 3.76 7.69 0.79 8.5
2009 3.02 7.07 0.91 7.6
2010 2.46 7.13 0.89 7.3
2011 2.56 7.27 0.37 7.2

Throughout Cain’s career he has kept his platoon splits very much the same. Right-handed batters have hit Cain for .228 AVG / .295 OBP / .365 SLG, while left-handed hitters are similarly hitting .227 AVG / .301 OBP / .359 SLG. One thing we’re looking for is the ability to get lefties out just as easily as right-handed batters. We all know what a short porch right field is at Yankee Stadium, so a right-hander who struggles against lefties is of little desire. Matt Cain is not that way, as evidenced by his platoon splits. And, although he has been pitching in a very pitcher-friendly ballpark, his numbers on the road are still pretty darn good: .236 AVG / .307 OBP / .376 SLG. Another great quality of Cain’s is his consistency throughout the season.

ERA WHIP K/BB
March/April 3.38 1.23 1.83
May 3.71 1.26 2.00
June 3.44 1.23 2.39
July 3.05 1.2 2.10
August 3.01 1.16 2.92
September/October 3.53 1.12 2.5

Unlike certain pitchers the Yankees have, cough-cough-A.J.-cough, Cain seems to pitch well in every single month of the season. There are no Burnett-Augusts, etc. Consistency goes a long-way in stabilizing a rotation.

As far as Cain’s repertoire goes, he has three above-average pitches: a low-nineties fastball (90-94mph), a mid-eighties slider, and an excellent change-up of about the same speed. He also features a curveball, but it is an overall lesser pitch.

FB SL CH CV
Usage 63.9 12.7 11.9 11.3
Mph 92.4 85.8 85.5 77.9
+/- 14.6 2.5 4.2 -1.

A huge factor of the Yankees’ search for starting pitching, postseason pitching. Although the sample size isn’t too big, Matt Cain has started 3 games in the postseason, all in 2010, and pitched tremendously well. He did not pitch less than 6 innings in one start, and didn’t even allow an earned run. Cain certainly came in the clutch for San Francisco in the playoffs, and that is exactly what the Yanks are looking for.

Negatives

If you were to only read the positives from above, Cain would be the perfect pitcher for the Yankees to acquire. However, unfortunately, Matt Cain is not a perfect fit for the Yanks. Earlier, I mentioned how he has been pitching in an extremely pitcher-friendly ballpark. Cain is a pitcher that would be classified as a moderate strike-out, fly-ball pitcher. Although by a slim margin, he gave up more ground-balls than fly-balls this past season, in other years, Cain has been a decisively fly-ball pitcher.

GB/FB GB% FB%
2007 0.89 39.4 44.5
2008 0.76 33.2 44
2009 0.92 38.9 42.4
2010 0.78 36.2 46.6
2011 1.07 41.7 38.9

Because Yankee Stadium is an undoubtedly hitters-ballpark, fly-ball pitchers typically don’t fare too well. However, there is such thing as pitching-to-the-score, or in this case, pitching-to-the-field. One of the reasons Cain has such a high fly-ball rate, is that he knows he can get away with giving up fly-balls. If he were traded to the Yankees, Cain would absolutely have to make adjustments.
One last disadvantage of trading for Matt Cain, is that he will be a free agent after this coming 2012 season. That means, if a trade was made, you would be giving up prospects for 1 year of Cain. You could, however, give the “Cliff Lee Argument”, that by letting him get a year’s taste of New York, you increase your chances of re-signing him in the 2012-2013 off-season.

A Fit for the Yanks?

In my honest opinion, despite the negatives I brought up above, Matt Cain would be an excellent fit for the Yankees needs. Although he may give up more home-runs, the really good pitchers adjust their game, and I believe Cain could do that. He would bring stability and consistency to the Yankees’ #2 spot. These are qualities you simply aren’t assured by other potential free agent / trade targets out there.

From the Giants’ Perspective

Matt Cain is in line to make $15MM this next year. There have been indications that the Giants will not be in the running for big-time offensive free agents like Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder. However, that could change, as the Giants will need improved offense if they want a shot at winning next year. They might possible trade Cain and his $15MM contract to someone, to clear up room to spend on Pujols or Fielder, to improve over Aubrey Huff. It makes even more sense for the Giants to trade Cain, considering his contract his up after next season.

Cost for Yanks?

The Yankees would likely have to give up a considerable amount of talent for Cain. Think somewhere in line with Cleveland’s deal for Ubaldo Jimenez. I really do not want to trade Montero unless it is for someone who is a clear #1, like King Felix, or Cliff Lee, for that matter. One possible route would be to pick up Nick Swisher’s option and include him in a trade for Cain. Carlos Beltran is a free agent, and the Giants will have to replace him. They have a very good prospect in Brandon Belt who played a good amount of left-field for them last year, so Swisher could complete their outfield along with center-fielder Andres Torres. San Francisco did lose their top pitching prospect, Zach Wheeler, trading for Beltran, so throw in Dellin Betances and you’re certainly getting somewhere. The only players I would hesitate to put in a deal for Cain would be Montero and Banuelos.

Overall, I would love for the Yankees to trade for Matt Cain, for the right price. If San Francisco asks for Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, or a combination of both, then I’d hang up right there. Remember, you’d only be getting a guaranteed one year of Cain. Although there are distinct disadvantages to Cain (i.e. his GB/FB rate), in my opinion he is just the reliable #2 the Yankees need.

Yankees Mailbag: Prospects, Posada, Montero, Pitching, Hughes vs. Nova, Jimenez

Here is this week’s mailbag. If you would like your question to be answered in the mailbag, email Mike at yankeesfansunited@gmail.com. Here we go:

Darrin says:

Can the prospects provide real help this season? Can Montero’s offense really contribute to the lineup as the DH? If he does DH for them, what what happens with Jorge?

 Darrin, I think the prospects can provide some help this year. Jorge Posada is now on waivers and even though its tough to see him on there, he did go back to his struggles from April and May during the month of July. Montero could bring some instant power to the DH position that Posada just can’t do. Manny Banuelos is rising up to AAA and his swing and miss ability will be a reason why New York uses him as the second lefty in their pen with Boone Logan in September. Adam Warren is another guy the Yankees like in their organization and he could get a start or two towards the end of the season if the Bombers have everything clinched.

This one was from @marka42. His question was:

“With 3 highly regarded catching prospects in the system and Montero the poorest defensively, why not try another position for Montero?”

 Marka, the reason Montero would have to be at catcher is because most of the other positions Montero does not fit and the Yankees have sufficient backups at those positions. The only other place where Montero could play is at DH. Montero’s catching skills are not the best, but he is the most Major League ready because of his bat. They could use him as the backup to Martin down the stretch, get him some at-bats, and give him some vital experience should the Yankees want to use him on the postseason roster.

This one was from @GeneMoney13. His question was:

“Could we get another pitcher for a small price?”

 Gene, in terms of a starter, I think the Yankees will stand pat at the waiver wire deadline. They have six quality starters as Joe Girardi is showing Yankee fans by going with a six man rotation at this point and time. I could see them adding another lefty, but right now, all signs point to maybe Manny Banuelos being the second lefty that is called up into the bullpen in the coming weeks. I would like to see the Yankees obtain Randy Choate from the Marlins if he is put on wiaivers, but Florida is looking to get as many wins as they can go into their new stadium next year. Look for the Yankees to go with basically the same pitchers for the rest of the season.

This question was from @gardnerbrett11. His question was:

“Will Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova’s next starts be observed as to who gets the rotation spot?

GardnerBrett11, it appears that the organization is observing their next starts. If they are, they have to be very impressed from what they got out of Phil Hughes last night. He took a gigantic step in re-establishing his spot in the 2011 rotation and his importance to the team in October. Putting Hughes in the bullpen would be a Joba-esque move that could really mess with his development. If Nova continues to succeed, the Yankees will find a place for him, even if it is as a long man. However, that will cause Hector Noesi to probably go back to down to Scranton.

The next question was from @YankeesGalaxy. His question was a 2 part question:

“Do you think the Yankees standing pat will pay off? Can you trust Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon in October despite their success?”

YankeesGalaxy, I think the Bombers standing pat will pay off. They got a great start from Phil Hughes last night and getting Hughes back to form is just as good as making a trade for a top line pitcher. Brian Cashman made the right decision by not pursuing Wandy Rodriguez and the $39 million he has left on his contract. I am starting to trust Garcia and Colon a lot more. Garcia, I trust a lot because he continues to put up quality starts despite the lack of velocity on his fastball. He has been in postseason baseball before with the Seattle Mariners and a pitcher can dwell on that experience in October. Colon has shown great resiliency especially when everyone thought he lost it after that debacle against the Blue Jays. If these two have to pitch a closeout game in October, I would have trust in those two over say A.J Burnett.

The next question was from @PrimoBledBlue. His question was:

“If Phil Hughes begins to struggle, will he be sent down and reduce it to a normalized Yankees 5-man rotation?”

Primo, even if Phil Hughes struggles again, he is not going back down to Scranton. The more likely scenario would be that Hughes go back to the bullpen and Ivan Nova would take his spot in the rotation. We will see next week if Hughes can continue his positive progression to let Girardi go back to a five man rotation.

And the final question is from @nyerkid625. His question was:

“How do you think Ubaldo Jimenez will do for the Cleveland Indians?”

Nyerkid, even though the Indians paid a lot to get Ubaldo, I think they will get a good return this season. Jimenez has pitched better the last two months and is starting to re-gain the control on his fastball that he had in the first half of 2010. The one reason I did not want the Yankees to obtain him was that he had a lack of control. Take a look at his game logs for this season and you will find a lot of games where he walks three batters or more. Kind of reminds you of A.J Burnett, doesn’t it? He will keep the Indians in the pennant race, but it will be tough to take down the Tigers and Justin Verlander with just one guy. They will need pitchers like Justin Masterson and Carlos Carrasco to give him some supporting help.


Rumor Roundup Thread

Here I will recap any rumors that have occured throughout today, and I will update it as more come. Remember, this is all starting to boil up, as the deadline is tomorrow at 4PM EST. Any updates will be made at the top of the current list of rumors.

 — UPDATE, 7:50PM: And now Ubaldo is off the market. Troy Renck reports that a deal in which Jimenez would be traded to the Indians is just about done. Jimenez has been scratched from tonight’s start. Indians’ prospects, Pomeranz, Matt McBride, and Alex White have all been scratched. Joel Sherman says the Yankees took all their top prospects off the table and offered Phil Hughes, plus, and the Rockies were infuriated.

 — UPDATE, 6:57PM: Well you can cross off 2 more pitchers from the remaining trade market. Hiroki Kuroda reportedly told the Dodgers he will not waive his no-trade clause and will remain in Los Angeles. Also, Jason Marquis has been traded by Washington to the D-Backs. Not that Marquis would be the answer to the Yankees pitching needs anyway.

 — UPDATE, 6:30PM: Jon Heyman says the Yankees have called the Twins about Francisco Liriano, but were old he is not going to be traded.

Joel Sherman believes that the White Sox have really fallen “out of love with (Matt) Thornton”. They would “love” to move the $13MM owed to Thornton from ’12-’13. Reportedly, the Yankees have been watching the left-hander closely.

 — According to Yahoo’s Tim Brown, the Yanks have inquired upon Twins outfielder Denard Span, who the Nationals have strong interest in. He says that it “could be part of something bigger.” Meanwhile, Joel Sherman says the Yanks could potentially have the intention to trade for Span, and then flip him over to Washington for reliever Tyler Clippard. Sherman adds that Clippard is very good against left-handed batters (.181 BAA).

 — ESPN’s Jim Bowden lists the teams involved in the Heath Bell sweepstakes, and says the Yankees are one team who is kicking the tires. I doubt they have much interest in trading for Bell though, as the price would presumably be pretty high. However, Joel Sherman notes that one of New York’s most trusted scouts, Bill Livesey is scouting the Padres’ relievers.

 — Tim Kurkjian of ESPN says “Source said ‘someone who should know told me that the Yankees are all over Ubaldo Jimenez.'” This only validates the Yankees interest in Jimenez as a pitcher. However, they are not interested in paying the Rockies’ high price for Jimenez.

 — SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that the Rockies asking price has indeed dropped a tad today. Instead of the Rockies asking for Nova, Betances, Banuelos, and Montero, they are “only” asking for Nova, Betances, and Montero. (note quotation marks) To me, that is still high, for what the Yankees don’t know is a “sure thing”.

 — The Rockies will have a scout watching Ivan Nova make his start versus the Orioles tonight.

 — Heyman also reports that 2 teams involved with  Ubaldo have “enhanced offers for him.”

 — Well the Yanks won’t have to worry about facing Baltimore’s relief pitcher, Uehara tonight. Heyman confirms that he has been traded to Texas for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter.

 — Buster Olney says that “Other teams believe that the Rockies’ best chance, for making a Ubaldo Jimenez deal, is with the Cleveland Indians.”

 — Hiroki Kuroda has finally indicated that he may be open to a deal with the Rangers, the Red Sox, or the Yankees. Gordon Edes says Texas has been pushing hard for Kuroda.

Morning Bits 7/30/11

Good morning all…. No win last night but at least Boston lost as well.

Here are your morning links.

* Savy deadline deals are not a Yankee specialty.

* Soriano is very glad to return to the Yankees.

* The talks between the Yankees and Colorado have stalled for Jiminez.

 

 

 

 

AL EAST STANDINGS

EAST W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10
Boston 64 40 .615 33-19 31-21 571 438 +133 Lost 2 6-4
NY Yankees 61 42 .592 2.5 34-22 27-20 531 402 +129 Lost 2 5-5
Tampa Bay 55 50 .524 9.5 24-25 31-25 444 420 +24 Won 2 4-6
Toronto 54 52 .509 11 27-25 27-27 503 487 +16 Won 3 7-3
Baltimore 42 60 .412 21 26-28 16-32 422 531 -109 Won 1 4-6

Open Thread: Trades, Arabu, Jimenez, Scouting Trenton

Good evening, everyone. Busy day for rumors and trades.

There weren’t any Yankee-related trades today, but here is what went down:

  1. The Mets officially traded Carlos Beltran to the Giants for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler and cash considerations.
  2. The Cubs agreed to trade Kosuke Fukudome to the Indians for minor-league outfielder Abner Abreu, and reliever Carlton Smith.
  3. And the blockbuster: The Rays traded infielder Felipe Lopez to the Brewers for cash. Milwaukee will use Lopez for infield depth due to the injury of Rickie Weeks.

The Yankees appear to have the best shot at Jimenez, but there are no indications that they will meet the Rockies’ asking price, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).

Josh Norris the Trentonian’s Trenton Thunder beat writer says that scouts of the Rockies and the Mariners are at the Double-A game. He also says that a Phillies scout is there. The Thunder is playing the Richmond Flying Squirrels, an affiliate of the Giants, and Dellin Betances is pitching.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Buster Olney says that the Rockies asking price for Jimenez has not changed and remains “very high”.

The Dodgers are not currently taking offers for Kuroda, according to Newsday’s Ken Davidoff.

And on a very unfortunate note, former Yankees pitcher, Hideki Arabu was found dead in a home outside of Los Angeles. He played three seasons with the Yankees, after becoming one of the first Japanese players to come over to play in the Major Leagues in the US. Jack Curry wrote a fabulous article remembering the late, Hideki Arabu.

Mailbag, 7/28/11: Jimenez, Kuroda

Hello all. Only one question submitted to us today regarding the trade deadline, but here it is!

Darrin asks: Will the Yankees eventually get Jimenez? I think he is too good to pass up and when Cashman sees the holes in this rotation he is clearly the best upgrade for the long term. Kuroda is just a 1 year fix.

Well Jimenez is one of what looks to be just 2 starting pitching options on the market for Cashman and the Yanks. He is a very good pitcher with great stuff and I’m sure he could handle tough lineups like those of Texas and Boston. Not only does Jimenez help with this second half and postseason, but in future years as well. Kuroda would only be under contract for this year and is not a long-term rotation solution, as you said. The only few things that are holding the Yankees back from trading for Jimenez are (1) the asking price which is for at least 2 or 3 of Banuelos, Betances, Montero, Nova, Hughes, and Romine, and (2) his consistency. The Yanks would be willing to give up the farm system (exaggeration) for Felix Hernandez, but not for Ubaldo, as he is a lesser pitcher, and less of a sure thing. Because of the Rockies’ high asking price, the Yankees haven’t made significant strides in a deal for Jimenez. I’m sure when and if Colorado lowers the price for Ubaldo, Brian Cashman will jump right on him, as he would be a very, very solid option for the #2 spot in the rotation moving forward.

Trade Rumor Notes: Kuroda, Jimenez

LIVE UPDATES:

12:14PM:

Jon Paul Morosi says that the Yankees and Red Sox are both expected to scout Erik Bedard tomorrow night in Seattle.

12:10PM:

According to Buster Olney, non-NYY executives “perceive…(the Yankees) are not close to doing anything at the moment.”

*  *  *

Here are some notes involving the latest on Hiroki Kuroda and Ubaldo Jimenez:

  • Joel Sherman notes that the main reason that the Yankees are pursuing Kuroda is that they are uncomfortable about 2 things: (1) the price of Jimenez and (2) the rotation situation.
  • According to Buster Olney, the Yanks are looking for a rotation stabilizer, a.k.a. someone who is consistent. Therefore, he sees Jimenez as less of a fit than Kuroda.
  • However, a trade for Kuroda again seems difficult. Kuroda recently told MLB.com’s A.J. Cassavell that, “My honest feeling is that I can’t fathom wearing another uniform than the Dodgers uniform right now.”
  • Danny Knobler mentions that if Kuroda indeed does not permit a trade, then there may be a 2 team battle for Jimenez between the Red Sox and Yankees.
  • Andrew Marchand makes a valid point about the Hughes vs. Nova for the MLB rotation sweepstakes. He says that if the Yankees make a move for Kuroda, Jimenez, or another pitcher presumably- neither Hughes nor Nova will be in the rotation.
  • Buster Olney says that the Yankees are mainly concerned about the asking price of Jimenez. If they are going to trade 2-3 high-end prospects, then they want a near-certain return. And why not?  Montero, Banuelos, and Betances are elite prospects.

As already said in Matt’s Morning Bits earlier, we’ll keep you updated with any rumors of validity and of interest.

Afternoon Notes: Chavez, Soriano, Laird, Jimenez

AFTERNOON NOTES: CHAVEZ, SORIANO, LAIRD, JIMENEZ

by Mike D.

 

Via Joel Sherman, Eric Chavez will be activated today. To make room for Chavez on the MLB roster, Brandon Laird will be optioned down to Triple-A Scranton. Also, Sherman says that the plan is to activate Soriano tomorrow. This is because Soriano already pitched 2 days in a row, so he wouldn’t necessarily be in best shape to also pitch today.

Sherman says that according to scouts, “Soriano threw 93mph in rehab, but word was Soriano also was either pacing, saving himself or not overly interested — or is that just the usual.” Hmm. I’d imagine it’s probably a little bit of all those three.

On the tradefront, Sherman mentions that the feeling he is receiving from executives is that the Rockies “want to find (a) trade for Jimenez”. This is surprising considering we’ve heard that the Rockies don’t necessarily want to trade Jimenez. He notes that the Yankees, Red Sox, and Reds are all still calling, but shockingly the Blue Jays are also kicking the tires.

NYY vs. SEA – 7/25/11

 

Let’s make it 16 straight losses for the M’s, Freddy. As mean as that sounds…

Lineup:

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher DH
Russell Martin C
Andruw Jones RF
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Brett Gardner LF

Pitchers:

Freddy Garcia (8-7, 3.21) vs. Jason Vargas (6-8, 3.94)

And some deadline notes/rumors before the game:

  • A rival executive tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Yankees will add a lefty relief pitcher via trade. Duh!
  • Joel Sherman of the NY Post says that the Yankees will not trade Manny Baneulos, Dellin Betances, Jesus Montero, and Austin Romine unless a premier, number 1 starter becomes available.
  • Also according to Sherman, the White Sox have spent a considerable amount of time scouting the farm systems of the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies. In case Edwin Jackson becomes available (or even John Danks), the two teams could potentially make a trade.
  • The Yankees like A’s lefty Gio Gonzalez quite a lot, and would “pay big to get”. Despite Oakland falling out of contention, they are still refusing to talk Gonzalez. If he did become available, Gonzalez would be one hell of a guy to get, as he is only 25, and has a 2.67 ERA.
  • Jon Paul Morosi now says that the odds of an Ubaldo trade are around 50/50. Sherman says that the Yankees are concerned “about Ubaldo’s inconsistency, all-out delivery (arm trouble?), (and) coming to AL East.” If there truly are these concerns, then the Yankees should by no means give up 2+ top prospects for Jimenez.
  • Bob Klapisch says the Yankees are interested in Hiroki Kuroda, but have had no recent discussions with the Dodgers. It’s also known that Kuroda may not accept a trade to the east, let alone a trade at all.

Enjoy the game. Lots of rumors going on, with 5 days remaining until the day of the trade deadline.

2011 Trade Deadline: 5 Starters the Yankees should look into

Over the past month, I have noticed a lot of concern from Yankee Nation on Twitter and Facebook about the team’s starting pitching. Yes, the Yankees have CC Sabathia, who they can trust in a big spot. However, the other four starters are still a question mark. With the recent rumors of Ubaldo Jimenez and even rumblings of Felix Hernandez rolling around, starting pitching is something I wanted to address this week in the trade deadline series.

Keep this in mind: Next Friday night, I will be recording a special trade deadline podcast over at YanksGoYard.com where I will break down what the Yankees need in more detail and give my take on who they will obtain next Sunday by 4:00 EST. I want to hear from you guys as always. Questions and Comments as always will be taken for the show and put on air.

Well, let’s get to it. Here are five pitchers I think the Yankees will look at to help the rotation, but they are in no particular order.

  1. Wandy Rodriguez (Houston Astros) – The Yankees would love to have another lefty in their rotation for the playoffs, even if it is from the lowly Houston Astros. Rodriguez is not the sexiest choice, but he is a very efficient pitcher. He is 6-6 with a 3.67 ERA in seventeen starts. Now, his record is not pretty in any of his seasons in the Lone Star state. The positive on Rodriguez is that he has a 1.37 WHIP, which is pretty good and he has only given up 44 ER in 17 starts. The negative is that he is under contract till after the 2013 season, where he will make $13 million. The Yankees are a team that will spend money, but not that much on a number three starter at best.
  2. Anibal Sanchez (Florida Marlins) – I have been sticking up for Anibal for the past two weeks on Twitter. We all know this guy has no-hitter stuff since he has thrown one and nearly threw another one back in April. He is 6-3 with a 3.52 ERA and has great stuff. It shows with his two complete games. The only problem is Florida might want to keep him and put him in the rotation of the future in their new ballpark. The only starter they are really putting on the block is Ricky Nolasco. His strikeouts are up (9.3 K/9), but his asking price might be way up despite being a free agent. I would love him as a Yankee, but I do not see that happening.
  3. Chad Billingsley (Los Angeles Dodgers) – You know that a lot of teams will be looking at players from the Dodgers because of their financial situation. One of their pitchers in Hiroki Kuroda has already publicly he said he would not play on the East Coast. Former Yankee Ted Lilly just got a new deal with LA last year, so why not take a look at Chad Billingsley. The former Dodgers’ ace is 8-8 with a 4.07 ERA in 2011. Can the City of Angels afford to pay him over 10 million dollars in the next few years? Probably not. The guy does have postseason experience, but he is only 1-2 in four starts and went 0-2 in the NLCS back in 2008. Kuroda is a more reasonable option, but with his lack of desire to change time zones, I look for the Yankees to pursue Billingsley or Lilly as they always do.
  4. Ryan Dempster (Chicago Cubs) – This name came across me when I was listening to Mike Francesa’s conversation with SI.Com’s Jon Heyman on Tuesday. He has pitched much better in the past two months. He went 3-1 back in May with a 2.55 ERA and impressed the Yankees back in June during the series at Wrigley Field. His contract expires at the end of the year, but has a player option of $14 million. New York has Colon and Garcia who have pitched more effectively than the 7-7 Dempster, but Chicago might give them the right hander for practically nothing since they are trying to dump payroll.
  5. Ubaldo Jimenez (Colorado Rockies) – Yes, I saved the best for last. Jimenez has not been the same Ubaldo that went 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA before the All-Star break last year. I find it rather strange that GM Dan O’Dowd wants to trade him even though his contract is very manageable over the next couple of years. Ever since he defeated the Yankees back in June, he has seem to regain some of that arm strength on his fastball. The only problem is he doesn’t control his pitches well and pitching coach Bob Apodaca has tried very hard to fix those issues. The price is reportedly very high on his services and it’s not surprising since he is 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA in the month of July. Unless the price goes down, I don’t think the Yankees will trade for him.

2009 – No Roy Halladay

2010 – No Cliff Lee

2011 – Why would it be yes Ubaldo?

The Ubaldo-Yankees Rumors Begin

THE UBALDO-YANKEES RUMORS BEGIN

The Yankees have been watching Ubaldo Jimenez closely. They had a scout at his last start (which was very good). And according to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Rockies and Yankees are a good match to make such a blockbuster trade. Heyman notes that the Rockies like Montero quite a lot, as a first baseman. They also like top prospects: Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos…and who wouldn’t? However, Jon Heyman emphasizes that the Yankees do not want to include Betances, Banuelos, and Nova. Bull****. The Yankees made a huge mistake last year by not including Eduardo Nunez in a deal for Cliff Lee.

They’d be stupid if they didn’t learn from that mistake, of holding onto prospects so much. I mean, if the Rockies are willing to trade Ubaldo for a package of: Jesus Montero, Ivan Nova, and another 1 or 2 mid-level prospects, that’s a deal.

They do have Austin Romine on his way (who is a defensive stud), and I believe they could get away with trading Montero.

I’m going to go out on a limb and give Brian Cashman a pretty good plan. Here it is: Trade for Ubaldo Jimenez to boost the rotation with a strong #2 starter for this year and years to come, while giving up Jesus Montero, Ivan Nova, and 2 mid-low level prospects. Then, with Montero gone, there could be complaints that the future Yankees offense will be diminished. Well, as I mentioned in an article a few days ago, Prince Fielder is a free agent after this season. Enough said. What do you think about that?