Rumors: Melky for Gagne

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We’re hearing and reading a lot of reports that the Rangers would trade Eric Gagne to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera. With Kyle Farnsworth’s recently ensuring his one-way ticket off the Yanks and Melky swinging a hot bad, this is a trade I would make in a minute. I don’t see Melky exceeding his current production levels, and I think his value is as high now as it will ever be. This move solidifies the pen and lands a decent return for a player who will be a fourth outfielder at best or a starter on a lesser team.

Teixeira packing for Atlanta
Yankee Stadium construction behind schedule
  • DKA

    That’s absolutely crazy. I would not trade Melky Cabrera for a rental-type player.

    In the off-season, one of the big questions the Yankees have to answer is whether Melky Cabrera is the starting centerfielder on a championship-caliber team. He is incredibly strong defensively with an arm that’s becoming very respected around the league. He is a solid .280-.300 hitter with some pop to his bat at what is still a young age. To me, the answer to that question is “yes, he is.”

  • John

    Gotta disagree with you Ben. Melky is good enough to play center, young and cheap.
    9 innings of Melky in center is worth more to this team than 1 inning of Gagne every other day. Especially since Gagne is going to hit a bunch of escalators in his contract and basically double his salary in the next month (if he’s closing for Texas).
    Cash has shown he’s willing to make the other guy blink, and that’s what is going to happen here. Either Daniels takes the lesser package or we all go with the teams we’ve got.

  • mehmattski

    And then Damon back in CF for the next two years? No thank you. Gagne’s 31 and is a free agent after the season. Since FA classes are based on three years of production, I doubt that Gagne walking would even get a draft pick in return. Forgetting the future, I think the downgrade in CF is not worth the upgrade in the bullpen, this season.

    Damon Money for Gagne? Absolutely.

    Clippard Marquez for Gagne? Absolutely.

    Melky for Gagne makes the team worse now, and much worse for the future.

  • Ben K.

    I’m mostly concerned with Melky’s offensive production. He’s not a lead-off hitter; he doesn’t do an especially great job of getting on base; he doesn’t hit for much power yet. I love his arm; I love his range. But is the trade-off worth it?

  • John

    The trick is to get a manager who won’t use him as a leadoff hitter. A lineup of Jeter-Abreu-Giambi-Arod would sit fine with me.

  • Mike

    Finding quality 4th outfielders is a lot easier than finding quality late inning relievers.

    It’s a no brainer.

  • Mike

    Dye to Boston for Wiffy Mo and a minor league pitcher, hopefully one named Clay.

    Just a rumor I read at YF vs SF, but it appears to have some teeth.

  • brxbomrs

    I think many here are forgetting that Melky turns all of 23 in a few weeks.

    The two month rental inre Gagne is right on as well – and what about his health – he ain’t throwing 97-98 anymore.

    Also, who plays CF for the Yanks? Brett Gardner (talk about no power and he’s a year older than Melk).

    Damon won’t stay off the DL if he;s in the OF every day – we know Torre would trot him out there otherwise.

    If you do a sort of Melk’s defensive stats as a CFer he’s at the top of the list in MLB in RF and ZR.

    Those who think he is just a 4th ofer need to reconsider – its not so much the player he is right now, but its what he can grow into – and if you’ve been watching he’s ripping the ball a bit more now.

    Also if finding quality 4th ofers is so easy – explain why there is such a demand?

  • brxbomrs


    Melk was hitting close to .400 as a #2 hitter with Jeter behind him and he’s actually pretty productive as the #9 guy.

    His stats for July are .300 /.400 /.500 . Is that indicative of the type of hitter he really is or will become – no – he’s a slap hitter – but when he hit leadoff a few days ago he worked every AB and he’s been conssistent in getting on against pretty much anyone the other team throws on the mound.

    The kid does everything you could ask and he;s young enough not to just trade for a set up man who most likely won’t be here next year.

  • Mike

    Melky’s a ‘tweener – too good to be a “true” 4th outfielder, not good enough for a full-time job. Maybe they think he’ll hit more in Texas.

    And I didn’t say it was easy finding quality 4th outfielders, I said it was easier to find a quality 4th outfielder than it is to find quality relief help. I have no idea what Texas is thinking if there’s any truth to this rumor.

  • Bart

    You must be trying to start a debate —
    Gagne is broken – he will never again be what he was or even as reliable as Vizcaino

    Melky has upside — he has Damon level OF skills with and more speed (comparable age); possibly the best arm of any current CF, and may grow into some power. His OB and avergae shpuld both improve. He shoud be retained unless there are better players in the farm system, or (playing 3 dimensional chess here) there is a series of moves beginning with him that results in a plus center fielder or corner for more than 3 years.

    Nothing short of another Mariano who can go 2 innings will help the Yankees BP, because St. Joe is clueless — If his instincts were all good – “every button he pushes works” in the firts 4 years – he has been a tactical DOLT – which is his real managerial career pattern since the series with the Angels – in 2002

    While I am at ir – Clemens, Pettit, Musina are all old – the Red Sox, and Tigers among others don’t put 3 inning of pressure on the pen day in and day out — the Yankees need 7 inning or 7 plus inning guys — one vet can be useful – three is the epitome of a decline

    Where will these guys be in Oct-

    Joba an Hughes might have been the answer but all the arteries are clogged — but then there is St Joe and his handling of rookies — Casman is litterally fraid of Joe runining these kids

    And I love what Joe T has meant to the Yankees — he is not the right general for this team or the wars they will fight

  • Kyle

    I say no dice, I think Melky could easily hit .300/.360/.440 or so which combined with his defense would make him a solid center fielder.

    Offer Texas Clippard and Marquez and maybe another low level prospect and see if they blink. They arent going to compete this year and could use to rebuild with some young players.

  • Ben K.

    Gagne is broken – he will never again be what he was or even as reliable as Vizcaino

    Eric Gagne this season: 33.1 IP, 23 H, 12 BB, 29 K, 2.16 ERA, making him better than any Yankee reliever not named Mariano.

  • Tom

    How many more years do the Yankees have Melky under contract? Gagne’s gonna be a 2-3 month rental, while Melky would be with the team for a few more years at least. Melky has the chance to start next year maybe (I think Abreu’s contract is up) and would be more useful to the Yankees.

  • brxbomrs


    Melk in your opinion is a “tweener” – all at the ripe age of 22 and 11 months.

    I believe that is being a bit short-sighted.

    Look at Rod Carew’s 1st 1000 AB’s or Bernies or alot of guys.

    You aren’t giving Melky any room to improve – He’s not 29 like Endy Chavez.

    BTW, since he started playing everyday he’s hitting over .320.

    If Melky is a 4th ofer than what are Damon and Abreu?

    This Yanks team needs more than Eric Gagne to bring home a title or even make it to the post season

    Once the competition starts getting better in August – Damon, Abreu, Matsui are all going to revert to their varying stages of offensive decline. That 8th inning guy isn’t going to save them. Neither is Wilson Bettimint (sp)

    What many here aren’t recognizing either is Melky saves lots of pitches – the last few years our old creaky rotation and journeyman pen was totally spent come September – thanks to guys who didn’t make the plays they shuld have – and that many times you never see in a box score.

    You can trade Melk, but it has to be for a young promising player – not a rental.

    Hopefully Cash truly realizes how much Melky means to this team and to alot of fans who prize guys who actually make it through our system and Torre has no choice but to let play b\c they are that good.

  • The Scout

    Relax. This is a bad deal, and the Yankees won’t do it.

    First off, the Yankees have internal options such as Chamberlain, so they won’t pull a panic deal.

    Second, the team is not so close this year that a deal for Gagne would surely put them over the top. If you are going to trade an important piece of the future, you better be as close to certain as possible that the return will result in a winning team.

    Third, as others have suggested, Melky is a very fine outfielder. At .280 ba./360 oba, 12 home runs, 70 rbi, he outperforms most center fielders. He has excellent range, even if he sometimes chooses the wrong path to the ball. The trick will be to flank him with higher output offensive players. It’s easier to find corner outfielders on the market than centerfielders.

    If Cashman is even thinking about this deal, he should heed the words of Nancy Reagan, former first lady: “Just say no.”

  • Stuart

    I agree with the no posters. I do not make that trade under any circusmtances.. He is 22 yrs old and I doubt he will be but he is doing better then Bernie by far at the same age..

    the Yanks have no alternative CF… Damon with his arm cannot play CF but he can play Left….

    Gagne is a rental a very good rental but a rental….

    No more old guys who get hurt…………

  • Jeteupthemiddle

    I’m mostly concerned with Melky’s offensive production. He’s not a lead-off hitter; he doesn’t do an especially great job of getting on base; he doesn’t hit for much power yet. I love his arm; I love his range. But is the trade-off worth it?


    But the thing is, Melky is starting to hit for power and is doing a great job of getting on base.

    His numbers are badly skewed by 1 month of poor production.

    Consider that since April 28, Melky has posted a line of:

    .317 AVG
    .377 OBP
    .467 SLG

    This spans 259 ABs.

    Now consider that in 1994, one Bernie Williams posted the following line:

    .289 AVG
    .384 OBP
    .453 SLG

    The obvious caveat being that Bernie’s numbers span 409 ABs. However, also consider that 1994 was Bernie’s age 25 season and this is Melky’s age 23 season.

    Obviously Melky had a putrid April, but he has been improving greatly since. I’m not saying that Melky will one day develop into the clean up hitter that Bernie Williams developed into, but considering Cabrera is under contract for at least 3 more years with the Yankees at a fairly cheap rate, I can’t fathom making such a trade for an old reliever who will walk at the end of the season.

    This is especially true when we consider that the Yankees may have options in AAA who can equal Gagne’s production.

  • Stripes

    The Newark Star Ledger article cited as the source of this trade rumor actually says that Cashman does not want to trade Melky for Gagne:

    “And in return for Gagne, the Rangers asked for outfielder Melky Cabrera, whom Cashman also doesn’t want to trade.”

  • Ricochet

    Melky isn’t anything specail, IMO he’s a dime a dozen player but to trade him for rental no thanks.

    Now if Texas want to turn around and deal Saltalamacchia with Gagne then Yes I would build a package that included Melky and some of the top Yankee pitching prospects not named Hughes or Joba.

  • Dude

    i wouldnt do the trade for all the reasons stated:
    1. Melky 22 vs. Gagne 31. Melky improving, Gagne not.
    2. Melky 2nd best CFer in AL (after Coco). 12 FRAA, so JUST his D has won a game for the Yanks. Damon in CF? Scary.
    3. Melky’s cheap for the next 3.5 years. Gagne a 2-month expensive rental.
    4. Joba might be near as good as Gagne.
    5. Gagne’s not enough to make this team a lock for the playoffs.
    6. our other OFers are old, and get injured every year. Melky’s had a lot of bumps & bruises but keeps playing solid.

    PS: i enjoy watching him play, he keeps the team loose, and is best friends with Robbie.

  • Andrew

    I think Melky is overrated by Yankee fans, but I wouldn’t trade him for Gagne. If the right trade came along, however, I wouldn’t be opposed to trading him.

  • Jeteupthemiddle

    Andrew, I suppose I agree that I am no opposed to trading Melky (though, I would be sad…no matter the return, he is a personal favorite of mine on a list that has nothing to do with stats).

    However, I think I am opposed to trading him mid season when the Yankees don’t have another real option for centerfield.

  • batty

    How’s this for a poll:

    If the key to getting into the post season this year is to trade Melky for Gagne would you do it?


    Most would say no. He’s an investment down the line, and an upgrade over Damon in defense.

    Ian Kennedy though…I’d make that trade. You never know with pitching prospects, giving one up would not be the worst thing. I bet Melky stays at or around his level for the next 5-7 years, Gagne’s worth 1.3 or so and may not even want to resign because he wants to close, not setup. I drool having him setup for Mo though, damn!

  • sleepyirv

    No offense Ben, but this is an awful, awful, awful deal.
    The team needs bullpen help, but the solution is probably in AAA somewhere between Britton, Edwar, and Joba. Melky is basically the only guy we have a can play CF well. This deal allows us to have Gagne for a couple months, watch him leave, and end up with nothing. Melky is cheap, young, and not embarassing himself. Try one of the other kids in the pen before you throw him away.

  • Mike A.

    Think about it, what’s more likely to happen down the stretch:

    The Yanks make the playoffs because Melky hits .300 and makes a handful of great catches in the OF, or…

    The Yanks make the playoffs because they have an 8th inning guy that can come in and actually pitch to 3 batters without giving up a run (not to mention spell Mo in the 9th inning once in a while during a prolonged winning streak, something the Yanks will need to have if they want to play in October).

    I love Melky and I love having kids on the team, but my money’s on the latter.

  • C-Note

    you guys are lost- Melky is hitting about .380 the last month and Gangne is alwasy one throw away from his season being over

    BTW- who plays center if Melky is gone???? and please don’t start with that Brett Garnder bullshit

  • C-Note

    and what’s “A LOT OF REPORTS”??? The link you put up says CASHMAN not willing to trade Melky for Gange

    Multiple Sources are saying CASHMAN does not want to make that trade

  • Luddy Bazcej

    wouldnt do melky for gagne. clippard and marquez, like someone said, sure. nothing wrong with that package.

  • sleepyirv

    Mike, those situations don’t have to be either/or. We can have Melky AND a guy to pitch the 8th without embarassing himself. And I would always pick a position player over a relief pitcher any day of the week, especially a CFer. An one-inning player really has to bring it to equal the value of a good full-time player.

  • Frank

    I think the question that nobody’s answered is:

    Is Gagne a difference maker for winning the Series or not?

    And my answer is: Hell no! Not unless he can hit left-handed pitching and play 1B. This team has too many holes.

    Meanwhile, I can’t believe how many people are down on Melky. Look at those numbers again from Jeteupthemiddle at 3:39 pm.

    “Consider that since April 28, Melky has posted a line of:

    .317 AVG
    .377 OBP
    .467 SLG

    This spans 259 ABs”

    Considering he’s yet to turn 23, plays an outstanding CF, and could still hit more more power as he matures (to become a RF), folks still want to trade him?

    I guess those same folks would have traded Bernie Williams too….for Larry Andersen. He’s was a pretty outstanding reliever once upon a time too.

    Wow, and I was thinking this site was showing promise for good objective analysis. This post? Not it.

  • Frank

    Clippard and Marquez for three months of an overpriced 8th inning guy? When they have Britton, Edwar, and maybe Chamberlain in the system? And when they got a 503 ERA+ from Bruney last year?

    Wow, Yankee fans are spoiled that just making the post-season means that much. Too bgad no one remembers who “makes” the post-season and this team hasn’t proven they’re anything more than a mere qualifier.

  • Steve

    Interesting. In reality, the trade would be this:

    Melky Cabrera for Eric Gagne (2 months), 2 1st round picks

    Considering how the Yanks always take the questionable signability players who should be in top 10, I’d take it.

    However, if they do this, they should go out and get a backup outfielder who is a very good fielder.

  • Ben K.

    Congrats, Steve. It only took 33 comments for someone to point out the kicker. Those two first round picks are key.

    Meanwhile, C-NOTE, your argument is flimsy. Sure, Melky’s hitting .380 over one month but that’s a terrible sample size. Anyone can end up hitting .380 over the course of less than 100 at bats. Meanwhile, what makes you say Gagne’s one throw away from his season being over? He’s throwing the best he’s thrown in years. Everyone who sees him says he’s throwing free and easy, and he’s utterly dominating. I could also say Melky’s one slump away from having a terrible season. That’s the same argument you’re making.

    As for multiple reports, next time, I’ll link to every single source I can find for the deal :)

  • TimH

    You are insane, Gagne one slider from another opeartion, and the thought of Johnny Damon with all his injury issues now until Oct? And thinking Melky is at the top his mountain. You are so wrong, pass the crackpipe please.

  • Mike A.

    Joba tonight: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K.

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  • Frank

    Heard in 1994 (when the bullpen went Howe, Wickman, Xavier Hernandez, Paul Gibson, Don Pall):

    “They can get *Rick Aguilera* for Bernie Williams!? You’ve got to do it! Bernie is never going to hit enough to be anymore than a 4th OF”

  • C-Note

    No Ben K, your argument happens to be flimsy

    ANYONE CAN HIT .380 over a month???? AT 22? with a gun for an arm?

    did you watch any of the Boston Masacre II last year?

    do you actually watch baseball??????

    So, does, JoBA striking out the side make any difeerence

  • Luddy Bazcej

    Don Pall…jeez thanks for taking me back in time :)

    I didnt realize theyd get 2 draft picks if Gagne walks. Makes it quite a bit sweeter. But who replaces Melky? Thompson, Reese and Gardner are no Melky’s.

  • Frank

    Of course, the fact that Melky has hit .317 (with a .467 SLB) in the last *259 AB* is easy to miss (seeing it’s nowhere in this thread).

  • tonyb

    The problem with trading Melky is that we DO NOT have another player capable of playing a plus center field. While Damon’s legs have returned, his arm is a joke, and it costs us runs. The whole league knows to run on him.

    I don’t see the logic in trading our only good outfielder (who makes Abreu and Matsui better at their respective positions) for a rental. Melky is 23, can hit from both sides, run, field, throw, and steal a base.

    We also have to think about who the free agent center fielders are next year. I think they’re all overpriced and overrated, and I can see us getting stuck with an ugly contract to fill the void left by Melky – I don’t think we’re sticking with Damon next year. Keep Melky, and find another way to get Gagne.

  • Frank

    How about another “soft-tossing” righty:

    Career mL totals:
    Greg Maddux – 491 ip 7.92 h/9 0.29 hr/9 2.75 bb/9 5.66 k/9 1.19 whip
    Clippard – 585 ip 7.95 h/9 0.77 hr/9 2.51 bb/9 9.44 k/9 1.16 whip

    Yup, Clippard’s a bum. Meanwhile, Maddux got absolutely shelled in his first 32 starts in the majors. I’m not saying CLippard will become Maddux, but there’s nothing that says a control righty WILL fail, just that have to have pinpoint control. And Clippard shown he can – esp in that K:BB rate.

  • pokerbroker

    Trading Melky is futile. The author of this post is going to have to explain how trading away our best fielding outfielder will improve this team. I thought this was a joke the first time I read the headline.

  • Frank

    Whoops – wrong thread – sorry

    But Tony – How about Torii Hunter!!!!!

  • pokerbroker

    I’m going back to Lohud for some cogent analysis. Trading Melky?? The author of this site hasn’t got a clue.

  • Jeteupthemiddle

    Of course, the fact that Melky has hit .317 (with a .467 SLB) in the last *259 AB* is easy to miss (seeing it’s nowhere in this thread).


    Except in my post about 25 comments up. :wink:

  • Frank

    I know jete – I copied and pasted it again. That comment was pure snark.

  • Jeteupthemiddle

    Sorry Frank, my sarcasm meter must be broken.

  • Ben K.

    I’m going back to Lohud for some cogent analysis. Trading Melky?? The author of this site hasn’t got a clue.

    You have fun with that. The comment section in this post alone has more cogent analysis than any of the comments on LoHud. That’s not a criticism of Pete, just of those who read his blog.

    I see you’re all more sold on Melky than I am. To each his own. Clearly, Brian Cashman sides with all of you, and I’m not afraid to admit that maybe I’m wrong. But we’ll see what happens. I would love to see Melky turn into a legitimate every-day centerfielder. But the power and the OBP need to go up.

    Meanwhile, C-NOTE, dude, calm down. It’s an opinion. It’s probably not the correct on considering how everyone else disagrees. But to respond to my own that anyone can get hot for a month, observer this. Neifi Perez in 2000 hits .350 for a stretch of 157 at bats. That hardly makes him a career .350 hitter. It happens.

    It seems like the Yanks aren’t trading Melky for two months of a rent-a-pitcher. So the point is moot anyway.

  • Frank

    Ben –

    Melky’s been doing it for the last 250 ABs. Please learn to consider bigger samples and don’t make arguments around the smaller ones.

    Otherwise, you’re right on the OBP and SLG. But he’s moving in the right direction, especially for a 22 year old.

  • Ben K.

    Over his last 255 ABs, Melky’s at .318/.378/.467. If that’s his career production, then I would switch my support of this trade. But we’re still talking about a relatively small sample size. Trust me, Frank, I know all about sample sizes.

    (And just to be a huge pain, here is Neifi Perez in 2000 over 258 at bats hitting .326. He’s a career .267 hitter. It can happen to anyone over a 250 AB sample size.)

  • Rich

    Trading Melky for a rent a player would be beyond stupid.

    I would rather lose.

  • Rich

    And to the person who made the specious comparison about what was likely to happen down the stretch, tell me what is more likely to happen in 2008 and beyond.

    That’s right, Melky would be a big contributor and Gagne would be on another team.

    Wow. Just. Wow.

  • pokerbroker


    Your thoughts on this ridiculous possibility are so extreme, it goes beyond rational debate. My knee jerk response was to the thought that a respected yankee mind would even entertain, let alone defend such a preposterous transaction.

    Pete and any other good columnist would not post such garbage, unless it hit mainstream media, and even than would systematically dismantle the merit of a terrible terrible trade. Not only did you post this garbage on your blog, you defended it aggressively. It harms your reputation as a yankee blogger and as someone capable of insightful commentary on the yanks. It also smells of tabloid sensationalism designed to attract eyeballs.

    The fact that you have even gotten a response to such drivel is amazing in and of itself.

    Let go of this trash thread and lets move on to better and more meaningful discussion. I know you are capable of it.

  • Ben K.

    I need to defend myself from that last post. First, Peter Abraham is not the God of Yankees Baseball. Sure, he runs a good blog, but he’s posted enough inane dribble in his time as well. It happens. Just because he didn’t post on this rumor doesn’t mean it wasn’t a rumor. The link in the piece is to a mainstream media source. Ed Price, a well-respected writer, and Dan Graziano filed the report. It’s a valid rumor. But that’s all it was.

    Anyway, my analysis isn’t inane drivel. If you want to know why I don’t have a high sense of hope for Melky, just look at his numbers. Plenty of people compare him to Bernie Williams. Well, Bernie managed to get on base in the minors at a clip nearly 80 points better than Melky did. That’s not a good sign for Melky’s future. Meanwhile, this kid has flashed ZERO power in any professional level. He now has a whopping 39 home runs in over 2200 ABs. We have better outfield prospects behind him in the Minors and can afford to trade him.

    Sure, Melky’s defense is great, and the kid’s got spunk. But scoring runs and not spunk wins you games, David Eckstein adulation aside.

    Finally, I said RUMORS. I never said it was happening. There is absolutely no denying that this was a rumor that obviously isn’t going to come to fruition. I also said I could be wrong. I don’t see Pete Abe saying he could have been wrong when he was dumping on Vizcaino for months at the beginning of the season. And his tongue-in-cheek post on Damon the other day just a week after he advocated benching him. Come on.

    I’ve also willingly admitted that I could be wrong. I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m not sold on Melky; that’s my opinion. Maybe I’m wrong and Melky will turn into the second coming of Bernie. But I doubt it.

  • Joseph P.

    Wait. Someone respects Dan Graziano?

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