So Chien-Ming Wang is down for what could be a while, a gigantic blow to the Yankees’ playoff aspirations. When discussing replacements, the first name to pop up is CC Sabathia and rightfully so. He’s young, durable, a Cy Young Award winner, a lefty, and a strikeout machine. The problem is that Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro is going to expect a hefty bounty for his hefty ace, again rightfully so. The initial reaction is one of desperation, the “give them whatever it takes” mentality, but Brian Cashman can’t operate like that for obvious reasons.
So what do the Yankees do? Do they mortgage the farm for CC? Do they go with a patchwork rotation until Ian Kennedy and/or Phil Hughes are back, and hope they pitch up to expectations? Do they hope a kid like Alan Horne or Dan McCutchen step up (neither has been particularly impressive in Triple-A)? Has Dan Giese shown enough to be trusted every 5th day? Whatever solution Cash goes with, he’ll be heavily scrutinized. It’s part of being the Yanks’ GM.
While CC is the most desirable option, the price might not be right. Bill Gates didn’t get rich by bending over backwards for IBM, and the Yankees won’t make the playoffs by overpaying for established players, no matter how great they are. Here’s a handful of players that could be had on the cheap, or at least cheaper than Carsten Charles. Fun starts after the jump.
A workhorse and a veteran of the AL East wars, Lowe had a a miserable start to the year, but since May 23rd he’s posted a 2.00 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP while throwing at least 7 innings in all 5 outings. More importantly, his GB/FB ratio sits at 2.39 over that span. Lowe will earn $10M this year, and will certainly be a Type-A free agent after the season. He would be a three month rental, and the Yanks coud either choose to keep him around next year and beyond, or collect the picks. The Dodgers have lost 5 in a row and are currently 5.5 GB of the first place D-Backs, maybe Colletti decides to move Lowe while his value is high. The Dodgers could use middle infoeld help and, of course, pitching.
The big, burly sinkerballer has already told CC to “go where you’re comfortable, not where the money is [when you hit the FA market],” which too me is a giant sign that Millwood is miserable in Texas. He’s got a limited no trade clause, but that might not be an obstacle if he really wants out of Arlington. Millwood’s having a not so stellar year, and is due to make $31.5M through 2010 (his deal can be voided if he pitches <540 innings from 2007-2009 – he’d need to throw 295.1 IP between now and the end of 2009 to reach that goal), the two factors that make him readily available. He’s been through the grinder with Atlanta, and he doesn’t seem like the type that would be scared off by New York. If the price is right, you could do worse. Texas needs pitching, pitching and more pitching.
Greg Maddux/Randy Wolf
Talk of a Padres’ fire sale was never ending a month ago, but they’ve climbed to within 6.5 GB of Arizona after winning 7 of their last 10. Perpetually looking to unload salary and build for the future while trying to win now, Kevin Towers’ two best trade chips are Maddux ($10M this year, 115 ERA+) and Wolf ($4.75M, 100 ERA+), crafty veterans that should bring a decent haul in return. Maddux takes the ball every 5th day like clockwork, but Wolf boasts sexier strikeout numbers and throws from the portside. The Padres need help everywhere except first base.
Remember how much Peter Gammons’ whined about how disgraceful it was that A-Rod’s opt out announcement came during Game 4 of the World Series? How come he wasn’t complaining when Paul Byrd’s steroid allegations popped up right before Game 7 of the ALCS? Hmmm. Anywho, Byrd is having a typical Paul Byrd season: lots of hits allowed, not many strikeouts, almost no walks, and oodles of innings eaten. He’s not flashy, but he’s just about league average and will give you everything he has each time out. If nothing else, I trust Byrd more than I do Kei Igawa. Cleveland needs players that can slug more than .350.
Erik Bedard and AJ Burnett are also a possibilities, but at that price you might as well just go ahead and trade for CC, who’s better than either of ’em. If the Yanks want to go super bargain basement shopping, Victor Santos, Kirk Saarloos, and old friend Randy Keisler are having good seasons in Triple-A, while Brett Tomko and Steve Trachsel were both recently DFA’ed. Livan Hernandez and David Wells are also readily available. Not the most desirable options, I know, but I’d figured they’re at least noteworthy.
For the record, I want the Yanks to stand pat for now. IPK should be back this month, and Giese has shown enough to warrant at least one start. The Yanks could put together a package to acquire CC at any time (Hughes, Cano, Ajax should be plenty), so there’s no need to rush into it and have Shapiro take advantage of obvious desperation. If you’re looking for a real darkhorse, here’s a good one: Al Aceves. Last year he pitched in the Mexican League, roughly equivalent to Triple-A.
What do you guys think, who else could be a reasonable fill in?