Musings on Marte’s Type A status

Bullpen coughs it up for Hughes
Step aside Jim Hall

Last week, we ponedered the Damaso Marte question. The Yanks, long in the hunt for an effective lefty out of the pen, hold a pricey $6-million option on Marte. Last week, I advocated re-upping with Marte. It is, after all, only money.

Today, we introduce a new wrinkle into the debate. Eddie Bajek released his Elias rankings for relievers, and Marte seems to have earned himself Type A status. (Of note is Kyle Farnsworth. He didn’t even garner Type B status. We’ll find out about Pudge later today.)

Bajek speculates that the Yankees will decline Marte’s option. I don’t agree with this conclusion, but the Type A status makes things interesting. If the Yanks let Marte go and if they happen to sign two or three Type A free agents this year, they recoup the draft pick they lose by letting Marte go.

Now, I know a lot of Yankee fans and analysts are high on the idea of getting more draft picks. After all, if you throw enough things against the wall, something’s going to stick. But I approach draft picks more guardedly than that. Simply put, draft picks are an unknown quantity. The best can’t-miss prospects miss, and the guys in the later rounds that some team takes a flyer on becomes an All Star. Having more picks in the first round just gives a team like the Yanks a little more margin for draft error.

But the Yankees have another advantage: They have a lot of money. They have money to spend on Major League-ready free agents; they have money to spend on international free agents. If they miss out on one of their draft picks because they feel Marte — or a similar player — has a role to fill at the Big League level, then so be it. They’ll just snap up the next best guy on the international scene.

This news about Marte’s status isn’t surprising. It just adds one more dimension to the decision Brian Cashman and Co. will have to make in three or four weeks, and on this one, I don’t really know the answer. I like Marte’s stuff, and I like his left-handedness. But if the Yanks opt to safeguard some draft picks, I can’t argue with that decision either.

Bullpen coughs it up for Hughes
Step aside Jim Hall
  • dan

    Keep ’em. If Coke can hold down the spot, then trade Marte mid-season for prospect(s) to a team in need. If Coke can’t, then we still have Marte.

  • Patrick T

    Even if the Yanks decide they don’t want him, I can’t imagine they wouldn’t be able to acquire something better than 2 draft picks for him in a trade. I’d be very surprised if they declined the option, far more likely they’d pick it up and then deal him.

    • brockdc

      Or, keep him for ’09 and then you still have a shot at draft picks when he walks after the season. Why they’d just want to rid themselves of a pitcher they’ve coveted – and rightfully so – for like three years is a mystery.

      • Hitman

        Assuming he doesn’t get knocked around by AL pitching or gets hurt especially at his age. Not worth the gamble.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos

          However, since he seems to be pretty comfortably a Type A (with a full 14 guys between him and Type B), it stands to reason that he’d have to have a pretty damn horrid season to lose that Type A status.

          So, all we have to do is limit his disastrous outings and use him judiciously and intelligently, two things we should be doing anyway, and two things that should be easy considering the significant depth we have in the 2009 pen.

          I think we can be pretty confident that Marte will still be a Type A next offseason as well. I’d put the odds at 80-20.

  • Tim

    I would be shocked if they let him walk for draft picks. My thinking here is that if they pursued that course then they let Tabata go after a half a down season in AA for Nady and two draft picks. I am not a big fan of Nady and saw Marte as the key for that deal. I believe that if Marte is not going to be with the club next year then the Yanks need to pickup his option and trade him for a good prospect in AA or AAA. I just don’t see how Marte’s value has declined so much in the last few months that you write off the good prospect you invested in him.

  • Aaron

    While the two draft picks as compensation for losing Marte would be nice – especially considering the possibility that a number of picks will be forfeited due to signing free agents – I ultimately believe that Marte will be back with the Yankees to start next season.

    First, his option is very affordable compared to most “top” middle relievers. With his track record and being left-handed I think we can all agree that he’d pull in a free agent contract at more than $6 million a season at this point in time.

    Second, while we’ve all taken a liking to Phil Coke and his potential I don’t think we’ve seen enough of him just yet to simply hand the lefty reliever job to him. I think the best scenario would actually be to start the season with both Marte and Coke in the bullpen. Besides, it couldn’t hurt to have two lefties out there would it?

    Come midseason if the team needs to move Marte I don’t envision that being a major obstacle. Lefties are always in demand. The Yanks could get a prospect or two from some other club that could simply be further along than any draft picks would be. Plus, by that point maybe Coke is ready to take over and Marte has become simply a luxury.

    There’s a lot that could play out over the next season. Additionally, if Marte remains consistent there is the liklihood that he’ll still be a Type A after the 2009 season and we’ll just get the draft picks a year later.

    • Hitman

      Considering Cashman’s trade history do you really trust him to make a good trade?

      • steve (different one)

        the intelligent fans have spoken.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos

          DAMN! I was just about to go there… touche, Steve.

      • Steve H

        please list the trades he’s made, and rank them good or bad. I know I absolutely trust him to make a good trade.

  • Joey

    I say keep him, and hopefully after next season he’ll remain a type a and then let him walk, but my main reason for keeping him is the eventual injury that will occur in the bullpen (a la Bruny) and the fact that we can never have too many good relievers. As said above, if Coke works out and we avoid any major injuries, we can always trade midseason for other prospects

  • Januz

    I always have been in favor of letting Marte go for draft picks. The goal has to be to catch up[to the Red Sox and Rays, and until they develop a solid system, they will be behnd both organizations. I am not saying Marte is a bad player, but they are not winning titles because of him. If they let him go, and get two draft picks for him, and sign Teixeira, and thus lose two picks. When you throw getting rid of Giambi’s contract into the mix, you are essentially trading Marte and Giambi for Teixeira (Since the picks are a wash). Who would not do that trade?

    • Ed

      You only lose one pick if you sign a Type A free agent. The player’s old team takes one pick (usually your first rounder) from you, and a pick between rounds 1 and 2 is created for that team as well.

    • radnom

      Ok. OR

      You trade Giambi and two picks for Marte and Texiera.

      I would much rather do that.

      You don’t decline the option.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      A) Signing a Type A free agent (like CC, Tex, etc.) from another team costs us only one pick, not two. The second pick the other team receives is a sandwich round pick granted from the commissioner’s office.

      B) “The goal has to be to catch up to the Red Sox and Rays, and until they develop a solid system, they will be behind both organizations.” I don’t know if you noticed, but we already have a damn good farm system, and we built it largely without accumulating massive picks via free agent departures (like the Sox) or by perennially finishing at the bottom of the league (like the Rays) but rather by going overslot and snagging premium talent that other teams don’t have the financial will to sign and nurture. There’s lots and lots of ways to build a good farm system; picking up Marte’s option isn’t going to hinder our ability to continue stocking that farm.

      C) As I said above, there’s a very, very good chance that the two picks we’d get for letting Marte walk this offseason will still be there next offseason, so why not get the benefit of having a good reliever under contract at a cheap price for another year and THEN get the two picks?

  • JeffG

    I think we have to push for CC and Tex and and another two starters (Moose/Pettit/Burnett). The reality is we’re going to be running at the top of our budget. With Coke and plenty of good options out of the pen, I think the money picks saved by letting him go might will give us the flexibility to go after our bigger needs.
    Now if we could hold him and trade for something better that would also be an option, but I can’t say I could really predict the market for that.
    Also I worry about him replacing the high priced setup man we just got rid of, and being some of the same. I’m not sure if he was overused but he didn’t strike me as being that dominant. Shivers – Farnsworth.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      It’s 6M. It’s pocket-change to the Yankees. His option isn’t going to tip the scales in one direction or another in terms of any other financial decision we make.

      And Marte isn’t remotely as crappy as Farnsworth was. I don’t know what games you were watching if you thought that.

      Marte’s career ERA+ and WHIP: 137, 1.252
      Kyle’s career ERA+ and WHIP: 98, 1.404

      • JeffG

        Way late (was at work) but:
        Not games he pitched for the Pirates… If you watch those all the better to you. I was watching the games Marte pitched for the Yanks (ERA 5.40 WHIP 1.309) I know it wasn’t long but he sure didn’t look that special to me. How many times could he not get the lefty out even toward the last weeks? Just wasn’t very dependable for the big outs.
        Kyle this year for the Yanks (ERA 3.65 WHIP 1.353). Before Carl the heartbreaker came to the Yanks he looked pretty good and his numbers weren’t too bad either, especially for the couple years leading up to his contract (semi-similar to those of Marte).
        6 mil pocket change? …that’s one way to look at it but we’ve got to sign F/A pitching I’ve heard that we think Tex is too expensive… that 18 mil for this year turns into 12 mil. I know the one year look isn’t the whole story but it starts there.
        If you actually get to read this I’d be surprised but if you do – your post about the union “leaning” on players – hilarious.

  • Steve

    OK, maybe someone can clear up the whole draft foe me. If the Yanks sign more than one Type A free agent, how can they keep losing their 1st round pick? They only have one. Do they lose the ones they would receive from other teams from the Type A’s they’ve lost?

    Lets say the Yanks sign
    CC (Type A)
    Burnett (A)
    Tex (A)

    and the Yanks lose
    Abreu (A)
    Mussina (A)
    Giambi (Type B)
    I-Rod (B)

    In that order. Who gets the Yanks pick and what picks do they have?

    BTW-I know they can’t lose 28A from not signing Cole.

    • Joseph P.

      The Yanks would lose their first, second, and third round picks because of the three FA signings. They would gain picks, which they could not lose, for any Type A to whom they offer arbitration and who signs with another team.

      • Steve

        Thanks. I guess in the order in which they signed them?

        Sign CC first-MIL gets the Yanks #1
        Sign Burnett next-TOR gets Yanks 2nd rounder

        • TurnTwo

          no, then it goes by quality of FA…

          so while Sabathia and Lowe would both be FAs and Type A’s, if the Yankees signed both, then the Brewers would get the first round pick, and the Dodgers the second round.

          I would imagine if they also signed Teixeira, then the Brewers get the first round, Angels the 2nd round, and then the Dodgers get the third round.

          there is a formula on how they weight players and figure this stuff out, but thats the way it would go… not just by order or how quickly a team signs a player.

          • Steve

            “no, then it goes by quality of FA…”

            The Elias ranking. Gotcha.

            CC being at the top of the list would mean MIL gets the pick.

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos

              Yup. Answering your question directly, :

              Lets say the Yanks sign
              CC (Type A) – Our first rounder goes to Milwaukee
              Burnett (A) – Our second rounder goes to Toronto
              Tex (A) – Our third rounder goes to Anaheim

              and the Yanks lose
              Abreu (A) – we get a first rounder and a sandwich pick
              Mussina (A) – we get a first rounder and a sandwich pick
              Giambi (Type B) – we get a sandwich pick
              I-Rod (B) – we get a sandwich pick

              BTW-I know they can’t lose 28A from not signing Cole. AND a second rounder for not signing Bittle.

              In your scenario we lose our first, second, and third, but get 3 incoming first rounders, 4 sandwich picks, and a second rounder.

              • Andy In Sunny Daytona

                mmmmm sandwiches.

                • tommiesmithjohncarlos

                  Quit cogitating, Steinmetz, and use an open-faced club! A sand wedge!

              • Eric

                of course we only get a 1st-rounder and a sandwich pick from a type A if the team that signs Moose or Abreu is not picking in the top 15, and has not already signed a type A free agent that is higher in the Elias ranking.

                • tommiesmithjohncarlos

                  Good points.

                  Although I can’t imagine anyone who’d be signing Moose would be in the bottom half of baseball. Moose ain’t leaving the Yanks to go pitch for a rebuilding team struggling to make the playoffs (which rules out the Orioles, unless they also sign Burnett, Sheets, and Manny…)

                  It’s probably either the Phillies, us, or nothing.

    • pat

      you only get picks if you offer someone salary arbitration and they decline it to sign somewhere else. Unlikley in the cases of moose and andy as they are both likely to play for the yanks or retire. We have our compensatory picks from not signing cole and bittle, as you said those are untouchable. Same goes for any picks we receive from the arbitration process (abreu or marte as an example) the only picks we would lose are our normal first second and third rounders should we sign 1 2 or 3 type A free agents. Sign one you lose your first, sign 2 you lose first and second, i think the limit is three type you can sign. IMO i think bobby is the only type a FA we are going to offer arbitration to because there seems to be enough interest from other teams who will sign him to a 2 or 3 yr deal. So basically we’re looking at 2 guaranteed first round picks 1 in the supplementary round and 1 in the 2nd round.

      • Steve

        “Unlikley in the cases of moose and andy as they are both likely to play for the yanks or retire. ”

        Andy, maybe. Moose I don’t think so. He’s said he’s going to “keep his options open” and “look at what teams are offering me” although the Yanks are clearly his “first choice”. The Yanks will offer him arbitration, and I would imagine he’ll decline it. Either because he’s retiring or wants to test the FA waters. His next contract will either be for multi year (to pursue 300 wins) or he’s done. He’s said as much in interviews. He’s either going after 300 or going home. The Yanks wont offer him multi years, so it will be elsewhere.

        They might do the same w/Andy just to protect themselves. They could offer him the 9 mil they want to and then try to work something out before the hearing.

        BTW-With the $$ the Yanks pay free agents, I always suspect they have an automatic arby-decline clause in the contract anyway. Which they simply pay a little extra for. Its legal, the Dodgers did it with Manny when they traded for him.

        • pat

          moose also said that if he comes back it would only be for a team in the AL and only for a team near his home (somewhere in pennsylvania i think). That pretty much only leaves the yanks or a return visit to the currently rebuilding orioles (well or the sox but i dont think hes looking to do that but what do i know im just a dork in front of a computer like everyone else). Personally i wouldnt mind seeing him come back for 2 yrs with an option as his new pitching “style” relies more on guile and finesse than power thus making it less physically demanding and easier to sustain (moyer and wake are prime examples of this ). I think a salty vet who can give you 200 ip at league average or better while tutoring the young guys and giving the occasional “brian youre not paying me less than pavano” soundbite is a great thing to have.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos

            Although, the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series may change Mussina’s thought process a bit, no?

            • pat

              i think he doesnt wanna go to the nl because he doesnt want to have to hit for the last 3 yrs of his career.

    • kgSturnz0r17

      crew gets our 1st rnd, halos get the 2nd, tough break for jays; they get 3rd rounder

      get a first and supp for Abreu, Supp picks for the Giambino and Pudge.

      I’m sure Mussina and Pettitte would deny arbitration, but would they play on dif teams?

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        I’m not sure who would have the higher Elias ranking between Burnett and Texy (although I personally hope not to bother signing Burnett and having to find out).

        I wouldn’t count on us offering arbitration to Giambi. I know, i know, handshake agreements and all… I just don’t but Giambi walking away from the $15M plus he’d probably get in arb.

  • TurnTwo

    i wouldnt screw around with Marte. pick up his option, and mark him down for his innings in the bullpen and just be done with him.

    of all the difficult decisions that need to be made this offseason, let not throw this onto the pile and over-complicate things.

  • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

    I thought Marte had a buy out if they did not pick up his option. A small amount? Am I wrong here?

    If they did not pick up his option is he not a free agent? I thought if we did not pick up his option we can not offer arbitration????

    Anybody out there that can clear this up?

    • steve (different one)

      there is a 250K buyout.

      if they decline the option year, he does become a free agent. and like all free agents, the Yankees can then offer him arbitration.

      • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

        Thanks for the response. So can the same be done for Giambi then?
        I thought I read that he was a type A or B????

        • steve (different one)

          they can. though it’s more risk for less reward since Giambi will likely only be a Type B.

          one thing people are forgetting about Giambi, it’s possible that Giambi will sign elsewhere BEFORE the deadline for arbitration.

          there is no penalty to the team who signs him and that would grant the Yankees an automatic sandwich pick.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos

            That would be pretty awesome. Let’s get Giambi’s agents on the phone with the other 29 teams pronto.

            • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

              Yeah at this point if we could get anything for getting him off the team I am for it.

              I know he still hit 30 plus homers this year but our team D is terrible and he is a good part of that reason. At best he is a one dimentional player.

              If we end up getting Tex for first, we will have by not cutting Giambi and eating his deal a few years back when we should have and put Pena at first, we will be paying AGAIN for a long time for that mistake.

  • Bo

    They’ve been searching for a lefty in the pen for about 6 years now. And they are going to let a good one walk because of 6 million dollars?

    These are the Yankees here.

    Draft picks are overrated especially with how bad the Yankees picks have been the past 12 years.

    • pat

      Not a fan of joba hughes melancon suttle romine robertson betances ajax kennedy laird brackman mcallister lassiter higashoika marshall obrien richardson mitchell or coke? If anything since cashman reorganized the front office draft picks mean more now than anytime before that.

      • steve (different one)

        Draft picks are overrated especially with how bad the Yankees picks have been the past 12 years.

        yes, let’s lump 1996-2005 in with 2005-2008 when the Yankees revamped their entire organization and re-focused on the draft.

        the Yankees have been drafting very well for the last 3 years.

        they made one mis-step, Cole.

        • Bo

          Draft picks are great but isn’t a sure thing in his prime all star better than a late first rounder?

          Isn’t having Marte for another yr before you let him go better than getting two picks this yr? We’ll get 2 picks for him but they’ll be a yr from now.

          • steve (different one)

            Draft picks are great but isn’t a sure thing in his prime all star better than a late first rounder?

            yes. absolutely.

            if that was the point you were trying to make, i agree.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        Pat, while you’re correct in listing all those names and illustrating that draft picks are indeed valued now more than they were before, and rightly so, the majority of those players were neither first rounders nor sandwich picks.

        Meaning that we could pick up Marte’s option and still draft a few players like that this coming June.

        • pat

          dude i know having marte is more valuable right now but im just saying that to say the yankees are crap when it comes to the draft is stupid. Im all for keeping him for the yar then offerimg him arbitration next year

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos

            Very true. I’m just trying to tamp down some of the “WE MUST GET MORE DRAFT PICKS!!!1!!! TEH SOX AND RAYS!!!1!!1!” talk.

  • Steve S.

    The draft picks are sort of the topping on letting him go.

    $6M is cheap for a closer, $6M is expensive for any middle reliever. The only discount comes in that its not a long term commitment. I think they should keep him but if they are holding firm on that $185 to $180 range, and intend on paying CC $23M, Marte might be an easy way to cut costs. Not arguing that they should do it, but assuming this new rumored self imposed restriction, they cant add the arms into the rotation that they need and pay Marte that much when he might be more of a luxury (considering the greatest strength on this team is that bullpen).

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      “The only discount comes in that its not a long term commitment.”

      But that is a damn significant discount. If the contract option in question was for the next two or three years, instead of one, I don’t think you’d hear any of us advocating for picking it up.

      • Steve S.

        No agreed. I was just commenting on some of the people saying that he is cheap at $6M for a middle reliever, I think that deserves some qualification. And I think they should pick it up just because he provides some insurance for Melancon as the eighth inning guy and the prevention of the Joba in the bullpen theorists.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos

          Very true.

          I’d personally say that $6M is cheap for us, not cheap for everyone else. We’ll make Marte’s salary in hot dogs and beers on one homestand.

          • Steve S.

            It is, but if Cash continues with this Puritan-like self inflicted budget then it might be an issue.

            • steve (different one)

              you mean $180M? or $30-40M higher than the next highest team? is that really “Puritan”?

              and we’ve had this discussion before about “self-inflicted”. you have no evidence for this, and i would consider it fairly unlikely that Cashman is the sole decision maker on the budget.

              i know, you will dust off some quote where Cashman calls the payroll “embarrassing” and from that, draw the conclusion that Cashman is only trying to lower the payroll to prove how smart he is.

              • Steve S.

                Being facetious Steve, you’re too sensitive about your boy Cash.

                • steve (different one)

                  word. my bad.

                • Steve S.

                  But you are right I do feel Cash sometimes wears the payroll like a scarlet letter and we have had that argument in the past so it wasn’t such a leap by you. But this specific comment was geared towards that.

                • Steve S.

                  correction wasnt geared towards that

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos

              Brian Cashman = Hester Prynne

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos

                For continuity’s sake, Steve S., I want in noted for the record that I name-dropped Hester Prynne before you said that Cashman wears the payroll like a Scarlet Letter.

                Subconsiously, I influenced your comment.

                • Steve S.

                  My fault, it was influenced and should have followed your comment.

  • Yank Crank 20

    I don’t understand how a lot of people are ready to say Phil Coke is our lefty reliever, and we can just cut ties with Marte to get draft picks. Draft picks are nice but I consider these things too:

    1) We haven’t had a solid lefty reliever since Mike Stanton left.
    2) Phil Coke did a great job but in an extremely small sample size, and according to Chad Jennings he may be placed back in the AAA rotation next year.
    3) We gave up a lot of pieces, including a high-ceiling talent in Tabata, to get Marte. I doubt we threw him away for Nady and a rental reliever.

    Like everyone says, draft picks are nice but we can hold on to Marte and take advantage of his Type A status next season and see if Coke is going to start or be a reliever. I say pick up the option.

  • Capital T

    Pick up his option, keep him for the year and hope he retains his “A” status for next year. At that point you know what Coke can do and you can then offer Marte Arbitration (unlikely for a pitcher to accept a 1 yr deal due to inevitable injury concers) and get the 2 picks in 2010. This also leaves the door open for a mid year trade

  • Jay

    The biggest problem with factoring in what was traded away for Nady/Marte is that none of us know what Cashman’s thinking was a the time. He may have wanted Nady and/or Marte long-term, or he may have wanted one or both for draft picks (Nady makes it easier to let Abreau go for a pick, Marte brings his own pick).
    If they’re serious about bringing the payroll in at around $180M, I think Marte’s gone. That’s too much $ for a middle-reliever on a team a) trying to get younger/cheaper and b) stocked with young bullpen arms.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Personally, I think a much bigger problem is people considering/factoring/discussing the Tabata-Nady-Marte deal at all when evaluating whether or not to pick up Marte’s option.

      The past is the past. Don’t try to make past deals better or worse by applying their rubrics to the present or future. Marte’s option decision should be couched in terms of what’s best for the 2009, 2010, and 2011 Yankees, not in terms of what’s best for a trade that happened three months ago.

      • Doug

        basically, sunk costs fallacy.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos

          Or, to use a poker metaphor, don’t throw good money after bad.

  • Mike Pop

    Keep Marte for David Ortiz !!!!! Thats why we got him and thats why we will keep him

  • Bo

    The pick up his option is a total no brainer. They didn’t trade Tabata and 3 pitchers for 2 months of Marte and a yr of Nady.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Right, but for the wrong reasons.

  • swb

    If a team with a top 15 pick were to sign marte like the tigers we would only get a supp pick and a 2nd while the tigers would immediately improve

  • Baseballnation

    I scrolled what I could for most of the comments and have yet to see the plausible scenario. Since the picks scenario has been dealt with let’s talk of what’s likely to happen.

    I think the yankees need to pickup up Marte’s option. Hello, the guy is the obvious set up man of the club, and while he might platoon it the 8th with somebody else the compensation picks we would get from him will more than likely be there next year when he’s a free agent.

    Giambi will be let go. Sandwich pick

    I-rod will be let go. 1st and a sandwhich.

    Mussina more than likely will be resigned.

    Andy may or may not retire. I don’t think they resign him. 1st and a sandwhich if he plays and they don’t resign him.

    Abreu will be resigned whether we like it or not.

    That’s 3 first rounders, three sandwhich picks and the bittle compensation

    The yankees stand to only lose 2 first rounders if they sign C.C. and Tex.

  • dkidd

    keep marte. with joba’s inning cap, we need every arm we can get

    FWIW, my completely subjective/anecdotal/non-sabrmetric sense is that a lot of things went right for the 08 bullpen. maybe the league was getting to know some of the new guys? anyway, to assume that our bullpen is miles deep and a position of strength is asking for trouble. i’ll bet the bullpen regresses slightly in 09

    by the same “reasoning”, the offense HAS to improve, with or without tex

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