RoboKen: Yanks in on the Cameron sweepstakes


Mike Cameron is 35. He has a career offensive line of .251/.341/.445. He’s currently facing a 25-game suspension for a failed test due to a banned stimulant. And now Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Yankees may be interested in Cameron.

More from the tireless Rosenthal:

The Yankees are showing serious interest in Cameron, major-league sources say, figuring that they could trade center fielder Melky Cabrera even if they do not send him to the Twins for left-hander Johan Santana.

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is a supporter of Cameron’s; the two were teammates with the Mariners in 2000. Cameron also has recent experience playing in New York; he was with the Mets in ’04 and ’05…The Yankees likely would seek prospects for Cabrera, replace him with Cameron in center and keep Johnny Damon in left.

Rosenthal speculates that Damon would play center until Cameron’s suspension. He also feels that the Yanks would sign Cameron to a two-year deal while Austin Jackson matures.

So there’s a lot going on here. First, the Yankees clearly do not view Melky Cabrera as the long-term solution to centerfield. That mantle appears to be Austin Jackson’s. Meanwhile, the Yanks also seem willing to deal Cabrera if the right package comes along.

While we at RAB aren’t the biggest fans of Melky, this is one situation I can’t explain. Cameron at 35 is not an ideal center fielder, and his offensive production is decidedly mediocre and trending downward. Plus, at 35, he isn’t getting younger or better. If the Yanks were intent on trading Melky, they probably should have moved him after 2006 when his stock was higher. Unless he’s part of a package, Cabrera should stay in New York this year.

This is, of course, just a rumor from some “Major League sources,” and we’ll see how it develops. But I don’t like it right now.

Update 1:21 a.m.: After reading over the comments and thinking about this some more, I’m coming around on the idea of getting Cameron if the price is right. He is definitely a bigger offensive threat than Melky and would slot in quite well at the bottom of the Yankee lineup. Also, if the Yanks feel they can spin Melky off to the Pirates for Damaso Marte, I’d probably be down with that. Marte would give the Yankees a great lefty arm out of the pen. Whether the Pirates have any use for Melky, though, is another question all together.

Categories : Hot Stove League
  • Realist

    Possibly something bigger is brewing????

  • dan

    I personally think this is a non-issue. If the Yankees had any interest in Cameron, Hank would’ve told every newspaper in the city. But seriously, a low-profile move like this would be Cashman’s decision, and I don’t think he’ll go after him.

  • Gus

    good move for the yanks, cameron at 2 years is adding speed and solid defense. melky will get traded for bullpen help, maybe yankees told the twins okay, santana is too much we’ll take nathan and keep hughes. team is gonna be so nice in ’08

    • TurnTwo

      actually, this was one of my initial thoughts, too.

      i think the Yankees would absolutely trade Melky for 1 year of Joe Nathan in the bullpen; and Melky, Marquez and a 3rd prospect would be a decent haul for the RP.

      Melky and a prospect for Marte makes some sense, because the Pirates reportedly asked about Melky when the Mike Gonzalez rumors came about last year…

      I could also see him involved in another package to send to Atlanta and Milwaukee, moreso than Cincy, Chicago, and KC, where Rosenthal says he could end up. I just dont know what players in Milwaukee or Atlanta the Yankees could make use out of.

  • steve (different one)

    how is cameron’s offense “terrible”?

    i don’t get it.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Wrong phrase. Fixed it. Missed that while I was getting this up quickly.

  • Realist

    Btw, a little credit my way wouldn’t hurt as I posted this 3 hours earlier, on the Twins’ concerns on Melky’s offense ;-)

    Mark my words………….something is brewing.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Yup. Hat tip the Realist. We were all out when you posted that one.

  • Realist

    Sorry Ben , in a pissy mood! Ilove the site and appreciate all your work! let’s hope number 27 is NOW!

  • Jeff

    Cameron has a .251 lifetime batting average… considering what we’ve got I’d say that is terrible. Moving Melky for him would be a very bad move. We’ve got four much better outfeilders at it stands right now.

    • steve (different one)

      no, using batting average to judge a hitter is what is “terrible”.

      in a vacuum, i wouldn’t be in favor of signing Cameron.

      but if Melky could bring back something good in trade, the equation changes. tough to judge until all the dominoes fall.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Yeah, his sub-.800 career OPS is what’s really terrible though.

      • steve (different one)

        come on Ben, career OPS+ of 106.

        that is very good for a CFer who can catch the ball.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          I’ll show you good for a CF who can catch the ball.

          Carlos Beltran: +116
          Grady Sizemore: +124
          Ichiro Suzuki: +119

          +106 is hardly above average. Considering his trends and age, he’ll probably be around +100 in 2008. Sure, that’s an upgrade over Melky, but we’re hardly getting a stellar offensive player.

          That being said, we don’t need one. If he hasn’t lost his speed in the outfield, I’ve heard worse ideas. I just hope the returns for Melky are good enough.

          • steve (different one)

            huh? those guys aren’t “good”, they’re great.

            no one is arguing Cameron is great.

            i don’t even like Cameron that much, but you called him “terrible”. twice.

            then you said a 106 OPS+ is “hardly above average”. it’s exactly 6% above average. is that “hardly”? maybe it is, depends on your definition of “hardly” i guess.

            your point about his trending and age is a good one. and your prediction of a 100 OPS+ is logical. like i said, i would judge this AFTER seeing what Melky could net in a trade. could be a good move, could be bad.

            not saying it’s a great move, just that Cameron is not “terrible”.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

              I’ve called his sub-.800 OPS terrible. Ok. It might not be terrible, but I’m not too impressed by it. And the missing piece of my own argument admittedly is the fact that he will get paid way too much. That’s what makes it not so great.

              • steve (different one)

                the money would make it worse, you are correct.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

                  Admittedly, I was using “terrible” hyperbolically, and you were right to call me out. He wouldn’t be terrible; he would probably be about average — which incidentally is an upgrade over Melky.

                  That being said, let me just reiterate: I wouldn’t do it because he’s old, he’s trending down, and he’ll get paid more than he’s worth.

  • Gus

    adds speed to the lineup, trade melky while his value is up rather then in two years when the cameron deal would come to a close and jackson starts playing cf everyday and yes hes older but so are damon godzilla and giambi, rotating them around will help us win well over 100 games this years. hughes and joba each winning 20 of course

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Cameron can still go get it with the best of’em. He may be 35, but if the Yanks stick with Melky they’ll be looking for a new CF in 2 years anywho. It’s not like Gardner or Jackson won’t be knocking on the door by then.

    Say what you want about Cameron’s bat, but it’s still better than Melky’s. It’d be a clear upgrade.

  • steve (different one)
  • Barry

    Why waste money on some useless old fuck like Cameron, bring up Brett Gardner if you trade Melky.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Mike Cameron = above average ML player

    Melky Cabrera = below average ML player

    • Rich

      That’s certainly true to this point in time, but there is a question about the directionality of their careers from this point forward, and it may not be answered in Cameron’s favor.

      That said, I’m not opposed to signing Cameron and trading Melky, if the respective deals make sense.

      My priority is that A-Jack not blocked, be it this year or next.

    • barry

      Yea his career .251 average and .786 OPS really drops my jaw as above average.

    • http://lbaprequel.xesf.net/ LBA Prequel

      Mike Cameron = above average ML player
      Melky Cabrera = below average ML player


      Mike Cameron = 35, PED user, and going to be on a downward trend with age.

      Melky = 23, only going to improve, and positive influence on team chemistry.

      I seriously can’t believe we’re still discussing adding more 35+ year old outfielders…

      Not that they’d yield the same return, but I move Damon way before I move Melky.

      • TurnTwo

        he’s not a PED user, he got hit for amphetimines. big difference.

  • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

    i’m hoping if Melky is traded, it’s for Marte.

    Steve, re: Gardner, i dont think i ‘massively’ overrated him. BA likes him, #8 in the whole organization, ‘Best Plate Discipline’ and ‘Fastest Baserunner’ is a deadly combination. he could be Juan Pierre with patience. he could steal 60+ bases. being in his early 20s, he should only get better – Cameron in his mid 30s should only get worse. how much of Cameron’s 106 OPS+ was PED enhanced? if we’re assuming he’s free of PEDs, how much will his offense suffer? if he’s not, he could be suspended 50 games the next time he fails a test. then you factor in the money and roster flexibility and it’s a no-brainer (imo).

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      It wasn’t PED; it was a stimulant. I think with the scrutiny of the Mitchell Report, we should be sure to make that difference.

  • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

    you’re right, but it’s already his second failed test.

  • gianthinker

    I hope the Yanks sign Cam to a 2 year deal and trade Melky in a small package to the Pirates for Marte. Marte has been my #1 target all offseason and if they could pull that off I think we’d me much stronger.

  • E-ROC

    Signing Mike Cameron to a two year isn’t bad, especially if you get something of value for Melky. Huston Street? Damaso Marte? Brian Fuentes?

  • snoop dogg resident

    had i not read the report about how down the twins were on melky i would say that this deal was absolutly a prelude to the santana deal

    pesonally though and call me crazy but i would prefer corey patterson. i see more potential for him but granted their is a much higher risk that he will hit .200.

    he is available ight?

  • snoop dogg resident

    as for playing garner — he is melky with a lot more speed – alot less power, better plate discipline, but no arm at all

    BA also noted that there are questions as to whether or not gardner can hit majo league pitching. that is a scary observation when you are speaking of a AAA guy.

    he projest similar to melky – a 4th outfielder maybe a state on a bad team. the yanks ould affod to have him if he could manager to hit .260 because he can hide in that line-up but as i said – scouts are not convinced he can hit .260. if they were the twins would have asked for him over melky, but his name has neve come up despite the fact that the twins have always preferred speed over power and covet it probably more than any othe team.

  • snoop dogg resident

    woul like to see them trade melky now though – the longer they wait – the more he is exposed and the less value he brings back. by signing cameron maybe we see them offer gardner as the 4th prospect

    hughes, melky, marquez, gardner for santana

  • snoop dogg resident

    one thing about cameron that people will absolutly hate is that this guy strikes out ALOT. there will be plenty of strikeoutswith a runner on third one out or a man on second noone out – when he isin a slump he can be brutal to watch circa soriano 2003 world series or david justice 2001 playoffs

  • mustang

    Ben K. You hit right on the head with your last entry. Out of the teams that Rosenthal listed as needing Melky only Pirates have the best fit In Marte. Have you seen this guys numbers : Last year 45.1 IP, 2.38 ERA, 51 SO, 18 BB, 2 HR and lefty batted .094 of him. Marte is not a one year wonder he has strong career stats 3.18 ERA and playoff experience. He is a little old 32, but when was the last time the Yankees had a power lefthanded reliever. The Pirates need a center fielder and liked Melky from last year. If they throw in some prospects I would do it. Cameron is a better outfielder and the Yankees’ line-up can carry his bat.
    PS. Other possibilities Nathan from Twins ( but he is in his walk year) and the A’s H.Streets ( but B. Beane would ask for more than Melky)

  • Bo

    Cameron would be signed to be the 8th hitter and provide above average D.

    Its not like hes being brought in to bat cleanup and be a star.

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Mike Cameron would not be brought to the Yanks and be counted on as a difference maker. He’s a complimentary piece that would be an upgrade over another complimentary piece. No one is expecting Cammy to come in on a white horse and pull a David Justice circa 2000.

    • http://lbaprequel.xesf.net/ LBA Prequel

      It doesn’t matter whether he’s brought in for utility or a difference maker, imho. Why would you dump Melky, who could be better than Cameron in 1-2 years, than Cameron who at 35, is almost certain to decline, and has strikeout issues as someone already mentioned? Why bother adding another aging outfielder when, as far as I know, we already have an OF/DH crunch?

      Maybe I just fundamentally disagree with moving Melky, and see something in him. And I typically don’t have a ton of faith in prospects. I just see him getting a bit better, and that means he’d be better, at least, than Cameron, who I don’t consider to be anything better than average. But imho, “average” at 35 means “poor” by 37, and “average” at 23 could mean “very good” within a year or two. I’ll take my chances with Melky.

      No one is expecting Melky and a White Horse either, tbqh. All he has to do is be a solid center fielder and provide a semi-decent bat in the 8th/9th spot.

  • kenxe

    I still like Melky better. He may not be the center fielder of the future, but as a 4th of…and s hitter he would be a help down the line. He will get better as he gets older. Yes, A-Jax is the future, but we need someone right now to hold the fort. Unless we can get a good bp pitcher, keep him.

  • Glen L

    I would love this signing if melky then gets traded for marte

    cameron had a warp of 7.5 last year and 5.1 this year with an eqa of .291 and .271 respectively with fielding runs above replacement of 25 and 18 … sure he’s declining but he’d be a 2 year player at most and if the yanks are going to insert a-jax in there relatively soon, why not spin melky for bullpen help right now

    plus i watched cameron play all the time when he was with the mets and while the man LOVES striking out, he’s a very fine defender and i’d LOVE to give a-rod a friend on the team

    • barry

      “i’d LOVE to give a-rod a friend on the team”-aren’t you a sweetheart, I guess his massive paycheck isn’t enough of a friend for him.

    • LBA Prequel

      Hmm…Pie-o-My had a friend. We know how well that turned out. :lol:

      That being said, Minky and A-Rod were tight, and look what it did for his numbers. I wish they would have brought Dougie Alphabet back (not necessarily because of that factor though).

  • Glen L

    that was more of a joke than anything

  • Realist

    I like the idea of acquiring Marte , Nathan or Street using Melky plus a few others and having Cameron keep CF warm for AJax.

  • Kevin23

    The lack of respect for Melky is disturbing. Other than being worn out by season’s end from playing 11 months of baseball, Melky was solid as solid gets. Not great, but 23 for pete’s sake! A .280 hitter who can run and catch pretty damn well is not someone you trade away for over-the-hill middle relief, or especially at the same position.

    Cut Melky some f’n slack. He was nothing but a benefit to the team last year. Next guy who says he is below average needs to look at an average player’s stats. Melky would be a stud on most teams. And he’s got a great personality for the locker room. Where’s the incentive to trade him for a bunch of crap coming from?

  • Glen L

    Melky last year was actual 11% worse than an average player in terms of OPS (OPS+ 89) … so he’s actually quite a bit worse than an average player offensively

  • Bo

    Lack of respect?

    they are talking about Melky for Marte,Nathan, Street etc

    Not exactly slouches

  • Bo

    And from all accounts everyone says Cameron is one of the all time best guys in the clubhouse.

    If that matters at all.

  • Jeff

    Cameron Signed with the Brewers… good.
    If all stays the same we have the same core which is not bad considering we had the best record in the Majors down the stretch.
    I think Melky is important to the team chemistry. A-Rod seemed to be getting comfortable, especially mentoring Melk & Cano.
    Cameron would have been just another farty veteran.
    Good non-signing.

  • snoop dogg resident

    saying that melky is a 4th outfielder with no true positon (not the range for enter, or the hitting skills of a RF) is not an insult, he is a god role player – he is just built up way too muh. if cabera was as good as everyone on this blog thinks, the twis would have already aepted the yanks offer

  • frank lohosh

    Johnny Damon in center for even one inning makes me cringe.