Now isn’t the time to trade Melky

A little bit o' self-promotion
Futures Game, USA Baseball musings

To the pro-Melky contingent on RAB, our stance on the Yanks’ young center fielder tends to raise some eyebrows. We’ve burned plenty of pixels urging patience when it comes to Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes, but we’re more than ready to send Melky packing.

We aren’t the only Yankee fans ready to wave good bye to Cabrera. In today’s Sun, Steve Goldman pens a piece urging the Yankees to trade Melky sooner rather than later. He writes:

Cabrera is a bundle of contradictions: a functional defensive center fielder with a great arm but unexceptional range; a mostly inoffensive hitter whose hot streaks are outnumbered by deep slumps; a young player with a better future in front of him, but not a great future, and a switch-hitter who has almost no offensive value against left-handed pitchers. Taken together, these competing facets make Cabrera a difficult player to get a fix on.

If you saw him at midsummer last year, when he batted .325 AVG/.375 SLG/.482 OBP from June through August, or this April, when he hit .299/.370/.494 with five home runs, you could have been forgiven for thinking that he had taken a dramatic step forward and was now on his way to becoming a two-way impact player and a 10-year All-Star. If you saw him last April (.200/.238/.213) or September (.180/.236/.220), or this season over the last eight weeks (.231/.280/.308 in 47 games), making outs while attempting to slide into first base, you might be wondering why he’s not been sent to Double A for a refresher course in basic baseball 101.

Unfortunately, the latter Cabrera appears for more often than the former.

That, in essence, is our case against Melky. We were patient with him, but we’ve seen him play now for parts of three seasons in the Bronx. While one might expect a player to get better over time, Melky has, in fact, put up worse numbers in each of his three seasons. As Joe noted early, since his aberrant April, Melky has managed to hit just .231/.280/.308 in nearly 200 plate appearances. If the young pitchers aren’t showing signs of improvement after such an extended look, well, then their supporters and the Yanks will just have to move on.

However, I have a bone to pick with Goldman’s piece. The Pinstripe Bible scribe believes that the Yanks should attempt to package Melky for some pitching come the trade deadline. In principle, I agree, but now does not strike me as the time to trade Melky. With this two-month slump fresh in everyone’s mind, Melky’s stock as at a near-low. The Yanks should have attempted to move Melky last winter when teams were still interested. Now, they’re somewhat stuck with him unless they want to sell low.

So the team finds itself in something of a Catch-22. They shouldn’t be playing Melky because he’s not producing, but if they want to move him, they need to play him in the hopes that he can catch fire for three weeks and raise his trade value. Perhaps in three weeks, we’ll be singing a different tune, but if the Yanks want to get a return on Melky — or see if he actually improves — they’ll have to hold him for now.

A little bit o' self-promotion
Futures Game, USA Baseball musings
  • Steve S

    One flaw in the argument here. If the good people at RAB figured it out and Steve Goldman figured Melky out. Then why would a hot streak suddenly increase his value to people that are actually paid to evaluate talent? He isnt a stock. If a team is interested in Melky as a piece to a deal, then two weeks of what is a Melky hot streak wont make a difference.

    The only thing that should hold the yankees back is if they think Gardner is ready and capable.

    • Mike A.

      Then why would a hot streak suddenly increase his value to people that are actually paid to evaluate talent?

      Many GM’s have proven themselves incapable of making scuh evaluations. They could be pressured into making a move to save their job or something. You never know.

      • TurnTwo

        yeah, some from another organzation might see a hot streak from Melky as returning to the norm, rather than what most would see as him producing above his average.

        its true; you never know.

      • Casper

        Ideally he catches fire for more than 3 weeks, then you really have a tradeable commodity on your hands. I recall a similar discussion re Melky on an RAB thread during April when he was hot. But, back then, the consensus seemed to be that he was more valuable than the return you could expect in a trade. Someone even tossed out the name Harden, hypothetically, and the consensus seemed (in my opinion) to be that you couldn’t give up Melky for Harden (that Melky was more valuable). I guess I bring that up to point out that, with a player like Melky (of whom I share the RAB opinion), the right time to trade him is probably when there will be the biggest public outcry AGAINST trading him. (Full disclosure – I did not advocate the hypothetical Melky for Harden trade, I was unsure. So I’m not speaking ill of anyone who advocated either way in that discussion.)

    • Ben K.

      Additionally, if you trade a player in the midst of a bad spell, a rival GM will wonder why exactly this player is on the block. Is something wrong with them long-term? Are they hurt? Why is the team giving up on them?

      If the Yanks are more willing to trade a player who is doing relatively well, teams will look at that and see something they can use. It’s about the psychological spin of things. As silly as that sounds, that’s how it works.

      • Art Vandelay

        If what you guys say is true, then GMs are even stupider than I thought (Steve Phillips notwithstanding). This isn’t fantasy baseball or something. Considering that it’s their job, I find it pretty hard to believe that GMs would be looking at Melky in terms of one month of hot or cold hitting rather than his overall value and long-term potential. That is, it doesn’t take a genius to look at Melky and see why the Yankees might be looking to trade him: he’s a streaky hitter ranging between slightly above league average to decidedly replacement level (or worse) and they have another, possibly equally effective internal option to take his spot (i.e. Gardner). I can’t see how a GM would consider this some sort of panic move by the Yankees and not see it for what it plainly is.

        • Ben K.

          I realize that’s exactly what it sounds like and I wish I could explain this better, but I’m running into a wall on it. If GMs and scouts are seeing a young player when he’s hitting, they’ll see the potential to succeed. If they see the young player when he isn’t hitting, they’ll see someone overmatched at a certain level. It’s not stupidity as much as it is context. Does that make sense?

          • TurnTwo

            that makes sense… especially if said young player has a track record, albeit short, in the majors before.

          • Casper

            It makes sense… We do it, too.

  • Ben

    I don’t know if you want to chalk Melky up as done just because of two bad months of play. All players go on streaks, and as a young player, it would seem to me that they would probably go on longer slumps because it gets into their head a little quicker then with a veteran like Jason Giambi. I don’t know if the sample size is big enough to label Melky as a never will be, and he should get more time to develop into the player he has potential to be. Also, I have seen him make some pretty spectacular catches in the field, so I don’t know how bad his range really is.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona Beach

    Who would get more in a trade right now? Melky or Brett? Whom ever gets the most in return, trade.

    • Billy Smith

      If I were a GM I wouldn’t pick up a player that hasn’t seen a major league at bat. The Yankees have a surplus of talent in the minors but I would like to see them showcase that a little more.

  • TurnTwo

    this is where the yankees can afford to ride melky out. they dont NEED his production to be a successful offensive team, so they can afford to try and work thru this a little bit and build his value back up.

    but, if the deadline comes and goes, and gardner is still producing at about the same level, and same with melky, there is no doubt they should then sit Melky at that point in favor of some new blood.

    as i said in the last thread, just because we shouldnt have to count on major production from Melky to score runs doesnt mean we have to settle for absolutely nothing from the 9 hole.

  • Guiseppe Franco

    George King is reporting that Justin Christian has been promoted to the big club.

    No corresponding move has been announced yet.

    As with anything George King reports, we need to take this info with a grain of salt until a trustworthy source confirms it.

    • TurnTwo

      he’s not on the 40 man roster…

      maybe they are using the spot forfeited by Steven White, and will use Karstens instead of Ponson on Friday after all?

  • Old Ranger

    I for one, have been more then critical of Melky as an underachiever. I have never asked for him to be traded, I have faith he will get his act to gather. Being a switch hitter makes him a valuable commodity, if he can put his game in line.
    Yes, I want Brett/Justin put on the team…use one of them as a platoon with Melky or giving Johnny/Bobby a day off here and there. Brett can change the way other teams play us, as can Justin. Justin is a righty, whereas Brett is a lefty…take your pick. Justin would fit better (righty bat), but Brett is a bit better. 27/08?

  • JohnnyC

    Goldman seems to think Seattle would value Melky in trade for Bedard. For the Yankees’ part, it’s a no-brainer. For the Mariners? Why would they want Melky?

    • TurnTwo

      they wouldnt.

      strike that… maybe Bavasi would have valued him, but thats why they just fired him.

    • Old Ranger

      Switch hitter, young with good defence and a bit of speed (not great). 27/08?

    • Billy Smith

      I don’t know about other people but I don’t see Bedard producing in a big city where he’s under the microscope. He hates the media. I have seen him compared with Mussina in how he doesn’t like the media. The bid difference is Mussina has fun messing with them, Bedard just hates them. He’ll get eaten alive in the papers. Bavasi made some bad signings but Bedard hasn’t been worth it and cost him the job.

      • TurnTwo

        yeah, id stay away from Bedard, too. he’s sexy, being a LHP who can rack up K totals, but reportedly he’s very weak mentally and has chronic injury conditions.

  • Reggie C

    About time the “trade Melky” movement gets some ink. I just hope the Yankee brass can see it clear as well.

  • Billy Smith

    In a perfect world Melky would be a platoon player and needs to be moved once Gardner proves that he belongs or Ajax gets a shot down the line. Going from an everyday player to a platoon would not sit well with Melky. Could a whining Melky bring down Robby?

    • A.D.

      Can Cano really go lower?

  • Geno

    Cashman should ship Melky back to Scranton for a bit. Let him ride the bus around the country for a while. In his place, let Christian or Gardner have a shot at it. I think this approach would do two things.

    First, it would light a fire under Melky’s ass. He’d either crumble or respond by lighting up AAA.

    Second, it would give other guys a chance to shine. You never know, Christian or Gardner could be very valuable pieces in this offense.

    • Bob

      yes, but if he crumbles he has no trade value…

      • Geno

        Unless he really turns it around, I think we’re at that point now.

  • Steven S

    Justin Christian called up.

    That brings this year’s ex-indy leaguer total for 3 if you’re counting.

  • Cam

    Sums up my feeling on Melky and the situation I’m in in Fantasy Baseball to a tee. Thanks.

  • We Want Mike Iona

    Nice! I’m excited about Christian

    • stefan

      Who’s Mike Iona? I only know of a pitcher named Inoa…… :-P

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona Beach

        Mike Iona, you know, that guy that college got named after.

  • Adam

    the flip side of melky catching fire for a few weeks is that, if he does, then the yankees themselves would not want to trade him. after all, if he hits .300/.375/.500 for a few weeks, then it would be hard to justify shipping him off and replacing him with gardner. really, it’s not like we’re going to get much for melky anyway.

    maybe they should trade gardner instead if his stock is perceived to be higher. it’s not like he is the long term solution in center field anyway.

  • A.D.

    I’ll be even happier if the Christian call-up means that Karstens is starting friday, if the Christian call-up is real, who gets sent down?

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona Beach

      Probably Abreu, he’s been slumping, time to ship him out.

      • Geno

        Yeah, too bad he’s out of options.

  • austinNYfan

    If Melky was traded he would be an add-on. The real power of the deal would be calculated in the prospects given up.

    Would the Yankees be better served if they tried to convert him into strictly a LH hitter?

  • A.D.

    Unless some team is obscenly high on Melk I don’t see them trading him, unless it’s part of a large package, his only value for a trade is going to be in a package or if he can put at least a half a season of good Melky

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I’m tired of the Melky/Robbie dancing/prancing. They remind me of last year’s collapsible Mets. These two have nothing to be dancing and prancing about.

    I say send Melky down and let him ride the bus in Scranton for a while.

    • jsbrendog

      agreed. i hate the mets, esp reyes, and theyre whoa we got a run off (insert washington nationals pitcher here) lets chest bump and hip smash and canoodle.

      you lost. celebrate when you win something and if youre slumping, you have got to be kidding with all that ish until youre streaking, if at all…

      rabble rabble rabble

    • NewYorker

      Right on the money! Cano will mature without his dance partner.

  • Bo

    They should have traded him last winter. Especially with Jackson hot on his heels and Gardner ready.

    • TurnTwo

      but Gardner wasnt ready yet. thats where you get questionable with the argument.

    • TurnTwo

      but i agree, last offseason was where you should have moved him, if you were ever going to.

  • Adrian-Retire21

    REason Melk is tradable is because he’s the easiest to replace.Anybody can hit .240 10 homeruns and 60 to 70 rbis like maybe gardner.Hughes and Joba are irreplacable so those you keep.Your future center fielder isn’t Melky or JOse Tabatha it’s Austin Jackson who’s been great (unlike Tabatha) since he’s promotion.

    If the right deal comes along you have to trade Melky when he’s value is high.Look at Kennedy he’s stock is low unlike last year.Cano is another one you don’t trade because he unlike our some of our pitching prospects has proven he is one of the best young talent around for more then year. He’ll hit .400 the rest of the year like last year.

    • jsbrendog

      joba or hughes could probably match what melky and cano are doing now :-P

  • ChrisS

    Does Ajax get a promotion to AAA, or does he stay at Trenton all season?

    • TurnTwo

      i dont think AJackson is going anywhere yet.

    • dan

      Maybe for the last month or so, and for the playoffs, if he keeps hitting well in Trenton.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos

    Thank you for this thread.

    I expect a corresponding “Now IS the time to trade Ian Patrick Kennedy” thread.

    With the trade deadline approaching, we need to have a thread about what players on our roster are truly untouchable. Phil Hughes should be. IPK should not.

    • Geno

      Trading Kennedy would be selling way low. Why do it?

  • devin

    justin christian starting in left field at pnc park tonight? i guess moehller is gone?

    • Ben K.

      It’s Traber. He’s the one gone.

      • E-ROC

        There is a God!

      • E-ROC

        According to PeteAbe, Justin Christian will be starting.

    • devin

      any chance he plays well enough to supplant melky? i dont kno wat took them soo long hes hittin well hes right handed wit speed n and of he shulda been on our bench a long time ago. not like hes a young blue chip guy

  • http://Anotherlefty Peedlum

    What is the scouting report on Justin Christian? Can’t find much on him. Kind of surprising its not Gardner.

  • BillyBall

    Not to toot the ole horn but I was actually the one that got destroyed here on RAB for posting a trade involving Melky. I agreed with the RAB commentators on not trading the big three, (big 3 sounds ridiculous now). And I stand by that regardless of zero production YTD from Hughes and Kennedy. Prior to the season starting I would have included Kennedy in the right trade. I was also for trading the Melk man and Robbie Cano. My point of contention was that I felt if we could have packaged Melky for a pitcher and bring up Gardner we are making the lineup better based on the speed he adds. The defense would benefit with the added range. I also stated that Cano lacked speed and range that a second baseman should have and with Jeter’s defensive demise I figured maybe eventually he can move into the 2nd base spot and we can improve the SS spot with a better defensive player. Now I was ripped for even suggesting trading Cano and I must admit besides his offensive woes this season, his defense has been more than surprising. His range has even been better than I thought it would. I would have included him in a deal for a Santana in order to save the pitchers and top farm players.
    About a month ago I suggested including Melky in a trade with a Jason Marquez or another pitcher like a JB Cox for Rich Harden. The opinions on the board was why would I want to trade a young player like Melky for an injury prone pitcher. I agreed with that in my posting and I stated it was a gamble, but when healthy Harden is a legit ace and maybe he can match Beckett. Well he has shown that twice this year by pitching 2 great games against Boston. I honestly feel that window has closed as Melky value is lower than before. But who knows! I suggested making this trade in order to make room for Gardner which would help offensively and defensively. Make no mistake in thinking that I feel Gardner is a better hitter than Melky, which is not saying much. Gardner is a big strikeout guy. But what he adds to the lineup would scare other teams. It’s the ability to change game plans with his speed!

  • vinny-b

    there is not a bigger melky fan, then I.

    at the same time, it is time for Gardner to be called up. NYY needs to find out, when they have in Gardner. He needs to play everyday, and he will supplement a yankee line-up, instead of wasting his production in scranton. He will NOT be a drop-off from melky.

    it may be intelligent, to trade Melky by the trade-deadline. We have Gardner, and AJax lined-up in trenton.

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  • Old Ranger

    Justin, not Brett…good call. I commented on which of the two to bring up (2:57), I said it was a flip of the coin, but I would pick Justin because of his right handed bat and pop. I also stated, Brett was the better, instinctive and faster player. I like this call-up. Gives the team a lot more speed and very good defence. Justin should do alright, good kid and nice hard-nosed player. 27/08?

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    I think replacing Melky in centerfield is going to be alot more difficult than people think. Folks seemed convinced that a nearly 25 year old minor leaguer (Gardner) is going to come up and produce at a mojor league level. I’m not convinced he’s any more than a good triple AAA player.

    If the right trade comes along make it, I have no problem with that but make sure we get something back. Melky has not been the problem this year, the thin starting staff, the breakdown (yet again) of Hughes and Kennedy (who I think is overrated) the flop that is Hawkins and water seeking it’s level (Rasner) have been the key issues in 2008.

    One more issue which I consider much more of a concern than Melky, Cano. Robinson can be an impact player in a way Melky could never be, but right now I wonder if he has the fire to make that happen.