The Marte question

Braves interested in the X man?
Adding a cutter to the repertoire can help...

Ponders Peter:

I can see where the Yankees might not want to pick up the $6 million option on Damaso Marte, who had problems throwing a strike in the AL. But wouldn’t it make sense to pick it up and then try and trade him? If you agree to pick up $3 million, you could get a pretty good prospect or two in return.

I disagree. After a rough first few appearances on the Yanks, Marte threw 2/3 of his pitches for strikes. He also threw 11 stellar innings over 15 appearances, allowing nine base runners and striking out 13. He did the job the Yanks expected him to do.

In today’s market, $6 million for a solid bullpen arm seems to be a little bit high, and while the 2008 Yanks proved that the bullpen-by-veteran approach is largely unnecessary, Marte has a role on the Yanks next year. He can be that power lefty out of the pen the Yanks haven’t had since the glory days of Mike Stanton. He can set up for Rivera, and he can solidify the back end of the game.

I don’t advocate signing three Marte’s and three Farnsworth’s for the rotation. But Marte offers up something the Yanks haven’t enjoyed in a while. Phil Coke is still an unknown, and the future of the pen is up in the air. Bringing Marte back is a move the Yanks can afford, and they should do it.

Braves interested in the X man?
Adding a cutter to the repertoire can help...
  • Bo

    Is this even a question?

    They’ve been searching for a lefty for the pen for years and they will let him go because of such little (to them) money???

    No chance.

    • radnom

      Yeah, Pete Abe is a joke sometimes. This is a no brainer.

      Also, all the people who rave about Coke after a solid September and maintain that (paraphrased)

      “Kennedy has no future in this organization…I know stuff and he doesn’t have the stuff to be a major league pitcher”
      should be shot.

      • B

        Marte will be back. No question, they’ve been trying to get him back ever since they traded him for Enrique Wilson!

        Kennedy on the other hand, is banished to AAA unless they trade him(which I see as unlikely because he has little value).

  • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    I agree with Bo. I usually cringe when people deal in absolutes in these threads, but I don’t see how letting Marte walk is a defensible position. I’ll be surprised and disappointed if the Yanks let him walk, I just don’t understand the reasoning.

    • Pete


      Marte is what the Hawkins signing *should* have been — a veteran presence (along with Mo) to complement the stable of rookies…

  • A.D.

    I agree, while the yanks have some nice prospects in the pen with Cox, Melancon, Coke, etc. I think you keep Marte, he’s a trade able commodity, if they yanks are in it or out of it next year, and he should be a type A or at least a type B next year.

    With the press around Marte this year on teams interested, if the yanks kids in the pen perform (something like Edwar, Veras, Melancon, Mo shutting the door from the 7th and later) they can always trade him down the stretch for a vet piece (like Farns this year) or look to pull a prospect out of a team desperate for a reliever.

    Basically Marte is probably more valuable on the baseball market than 6M dollars for a big market team, and figure that Marte was over used in Pitt before the trade, Yanks should be able to limit inning, and keep him fresh.

  • stuart

    I agree 1 yr. $6 mill. is a good deal. If Coke is for real with marte they are loaded from the left side…

    It is 1 year….

  • Ivan

    Marte got off to a bad start, and since then pitch very well. He still has the stuff, and he has some experience which helps. I mean yea 6M is a little high but it’s only for one year. Besides, yanks like people have mention on this blog, haven’t had a good lefty since Mike stanton and considering that Phil Coke is an unknown, it’s really a no brainer here. Plus, there is the potential to have two very good lefties with Marte and Coke.

  • Bill

    No question he’ll be back. Every off-season we’ve been looking for a power lefty to add and now we finally have one.
    Marte also takes pressure off Coke, allowing him to devolop in less-pressurized spots. Idealy Coke devolops in a dominant LHRP this year, and they can let Marte walk next year while collecting two draft picks. Thus, they avoid a long term contract. Maybe Chase Wright or Zack Kronke also devolop into solid LHRP options next yr and one of them can join Coke in the pen in 2010.

    • Pete

      >> or Zack Kronke >>

      Wow, at first I thought you had grossly misspelled Zach ‘Greinke’, but then I realized you had only a minor typo in spelling Zack Kroenke


      • Pete

        and who doesn’t completely *suck*, fwiw.

  • Kevin M.

    Look at it this way….if it was Marte’s option he’d almost certainly opt out of the contract….on the open market he’d probably be good for 4 years/$20 million. It’s well known how much Cash loves one year deals….this is truly a no-brainer.

  • Slugger27

    yeah im with most of u. this is a no brainer.

    they go thru no-name ineffective lefties for years, find a decent one, and now pete questions keepin him? its a ONE YEAR commitment. its 6 million dollars. thats nothing. fuentes will get at least 3/30 and probably put up worse numbers

    the Type A free agent status is a non-factor. it’s about as important as the draft pick loss in the CC signing ((aka = the significance is non-existent)) especially since im pretty sure they can just have the same pick in the 2010 draft

    not really even worth debating, the option is a no brainer

  • NC Saint

    Can the Yanks decline the option and still offer him arbitration?

    • TurnTwo

      this is the only way i see them declining the option.

      decline the option, offer arbitration, and negotiate a long(er) term deal, say for 3 years for $12-15 million instead of 1 year at $6 million.

    • Slugger27

      the answer is yes, and yes hes type A and hes they could receive picks

      i think the general consensus is though, hes more valuable for them next year than a pick in the draft would be

      besides, i believe ((not positive)) they can still get the same picks for 2010

      • NC Saint

        Well, they can get the same picks if he’s still type A, but that’s not a guaruntee. I know everyone around here has a hard on for lefties, but I don’t see how a nothing-special middle-reliever is worth the money plus the opportunity cost of two draft picks. I don’t even see how it’s a close call.

  • pat

    They’re gonna bring him back bc they’re gonna stick with coke as a starter as long as possible.

    • TheLastClown

      Does Coke remind anyone else of a left handed IPK? I’m not averse to letting him stretch out & start games in AAA or whatnot, but as a potential starter he’s got to be after at least Hughes & Aceves in the line of succession.

      Conversely, he showed how valuable he could be as a reliever. I wonder if IPK would make for a good reliever also, or whether he’d rather go to another team and curse the Yanks before becoming a career RP.

      • CountryClub

        Coke showed that he has better pure stuff than IPK (and I havent given up on IPK). I’ve heard that Coke gained a couple of ticks on his FB when he moved to the pen. So if we assume that’s correct, that means he’s throwing 91 – 93 as a starter with that nasty slider.

        • Reggie C.

          If Coke’s throwing 92-94 next season, then his optimal usage would be in the bullpen. Marte has got some years on that arm, and though he’s worth the option today, he might not be worth picking up long term beyond 2009. If Coke can throw strikes with the regularity that Marte has shown this season, then Coke is gonna find himself in pinstripes for a long time.

      • pat

        i dunno abt an ipk comparison. I think coke sits a litte higher in velo is more a fastball slider combo with a developing changeup. Kennedy is supposed to be a true 4 pitch guy Fb change curve slider and a developing 2seam.

        • TheLastClown

          I know, but I’m done considering what IPK is “supposed” to be.

          I like the kid, and I want to get value out of him. But if he’s going to be continually judged by his hype & last year’s/some of this year’s AAA performance, we’re going to be continually disappointed.

          Kennedy has shown *when he looks right* command of the fastball @ 88-91, and excellent curve and a good change. The slider didn’t impress me too much.

          Coke, while a few ticks higher in velocity, I think is quite similar, and I think more valuable in any regard because he’s left handed. More to the point, if he’s going to be a long-term option for the Yanks to keep, I say bullpen, simply because there are going to be a lot of guys vying for the rotation slots, and he can actually help the team win from the pen. If he’s NOT a long-term option, and seen as more valuable in a trade, then obviously let him start & kill in AAA to drive his value up.

          And the comparison to IPK was meant to serve less as a statement that the two of them are identical, to maybe offering a solution for IPK himself, namely coming out of the bullpen to focus on 1, 2, or 3 innings at a time, and succeed in the Majors. He’s already proved he’s too good for AAA overall, and that he gets too much in his own head when he pitches for the Yanks. I don’t want to see him turn into a AAAA guy, or be traded for garbage.

  • CountryClub

    Also, don’t be so quick to say that Coke is a reliever. He had a real good year as a starter in 2008, and with the stuff he showed in the majors, he would be much more valuable as a starter. The Yanks should start him off next year in AAA and see what happens. He can always fall back to the pen if things dont work out.

  • Axl

    I’ve always hated National League pitchers coming over…especially bullpen guys lately. But it couldn’t hurt picking up his option I guess…

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Yup. It comes down to this:

      Damaso Marte’s value to the 2009 Yankees AND players acquired in a midseason trade for him OR compensation picks 2010 June draft >>> $6M in 2009 dollars AND compensation picks 2009 June draft

    • Ol Dirtay

      Marte isn’t really an “NL” pitcher. He pitched 279 games with the White Sox from ’02 to ’05, struck out more batters than innings pitched every year but one and never had an ERA higher than 3.77. He’s pitched well no matter where he’s been. Money is the biggest advantage the Yankees have and for them to let go of Marte because of 6 million is nuts.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos

    Okay, PeteAbe, I’ll bite…

    “…Damaso Marte, who had problems throwing a strike in the AL.”

    Marte in the AL, 2008: 80 batters faced, 10 BB (12%), 24K (30%), 2.40 K/BB

    Top five lefty relievers (non-closer) in IP, AL:
    J.P. Howell – 370 batters faced, 39 BB (10%), 92 K (25%), 2.36 K/BB
    Rafael Perez – 313 batters faced, 23 BB (7%), 86 K (27%), 3.73 K/BB
    Darren Oliver – 291 batters faced, 16 BB (5%), 48 K (16%), 3.00 K/BB
    Scott Downs – 290 batters faced, 27 BB (10%) 57 K (20%), 2.11 K/BB
    Matt Thorton – 268 batters faced, 19 BB (7%), 77 K (29%), 4.05 K/BB

    STFU, PeteAbe.

    (btw, Matt Thorton is pretty damn good, no?)

    • Count Zero

      Abraham is a dick. This is definitely a no-brainer on a one year option.

    • TheLastClown

      You’d think that people who get paid to write wouldn’t scribble inflammatory nonsense…, wait, they get paid to do that….well….maybe you’d hope that people who pay for news to read wouldn’t want to read such nonsense….no wait….they pay exactly for that…hmmm…

      It’s just remarkable that critical thinking and analysis *not just of baseball* is done better on a blog by people who are interested than by the people who pay/are paid for actually documenting these things.

  • Januz

    I am not in favor of bringing Marte back. If he was a youngster, or even in his early 30’s, I might feel different. But with Coke, and maybe Sanchez (They need to make room for him) Letting him go frees up an additional spot on the 40 man roster (Not to mention draft picks).

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Coke and Sanchez are both promising kids with bright futures, but as 2008 showed us, it’s always a good idea to have some veteran backup plans around, because kids often struggle.

      And, Marte’s only a one year commitment for relatively cheap money. Come the ’09 trading deadline, if Coke and Sanchez are lights out, Marte can be flipped for good value easier than a pancake.

  • Hitman

    The yankees did fine without a lefty and I believe Coke is good enough that we can get by with him. Picking up Marte’s one year option at 6 million is pointless unless the yankees plan on pulling off some sort of trade right afterwards.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Okay, though, but even if you truly believe we don’t need him, doesn’t it make sense to keep him anyway and then deal him for something at our leisure?

      It’s a one year, $6M contract. That’s “walking-around money” for Big Bank Hank.

      He’s a way above average lefty reliever signed to a deal even small-market teams can afford. That’s like practically the most tradeable thing ever. Every single team in contention will be ringing Cashman’s phone come August.

      • Hitman

        Well that’s assuming that a 34 year lefty still has what it takes to do well in the AL. If he stinks then he’ll be worthless in any kind of deadline deal. If the yankees want to spend 6 million to pull off a beneficial trade in the offseason I don’t have a problem with that. But to quite honest I have absolutely no faith in Cashman’s ability to make good trades.

        • Joseph P.

          Geeze, because the Nady, Abreu, Sheffield, and Johnson trades, were so fucking bad.

          • Hitman

            Please try and put away the pom poms and try to look at Cashman’s trade history rationally.

            • Joseph P.

              You’re probably the type of person who thought the Javy Vazquez trade was bad.

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              If you’re going to accuse someone of making an irrational argument, you should probably explain why such argument is irrational or perhaps even, I don’t know, explain why a contrary argument is more valid. Simply saying “I disagree” and attempting to undercut the reasoning of someone’s argument doesn’t quite get the job done.

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos

                Well, he’d likely point out five or six odd trades or signings that didn’t work, ignoring dozens that did, and also ignoring the fact that all the 29 other teams in baseball also have some bad trades or signings over a decade mixed in with some more that work out pretty well, and further ignore that for all the Pavanos and Igawas and Weavers he’ll note, Cash has on the balance been right a lot more than he’s been wrong, and definitely has a better ledger sheet than most of his peers, all in an environment with less margin for error since he works for the only ownership group in the country that will not allow for a single down year and must remain competitive while planning for the future at the same time, a mandate unique to the Yankees.

                So there, I paraphrased Hitman’s argument for you and deconstructed it to save us all some time. You’re welcome.

    • Bo

      Pointless? having a shutdown pen with two talented lefty’s is now pointless??

      6 mill to the Yanks is pocket change. In this market 6 mil for one yr for a top reliever is priceless not pointless.

    • Jamal G.

      Stop being wrong.

  • NC Saint

    ‘Pointless’ is perhaps a bit strong, but I’m with Hitman. Marte is nothing to write home about. I’d take the picks and run without a second thought. And while it might be true that we could get the same picks next year, it’s not a foregone conclusion. He’s in the middle of the type A pack, so a shitty year, (or a shitty year according to the system the 12 year-old with ADD developed for classifying these guys) could cost us a pick.

  • JRVJ

    Folks, it may be that I’m misunderstanding, but I don’t think Pete Abe was pushing to have Marte shown the door – I think he was running through the scenario of what should the Yankees do if the decision is made not to pick-up Marte’s option.

  • Januz

    I would be very happy to see Marte be shown the door (For the same reason I would do a trade sending Nady for Kochman)………….. The Yankees need to get younger, and hungrier.
    The concept of THREE FIRST ROUNDERS (Their own, one for Cole, and one for Abreu), and extra Supplimentals and 2nd rounders are really appealing. They are almost in the same shape as the Eagles (Older and behind the Giants, Dallas & Washington in the standings). They are not winning in 2009, I would just as soon rebuild, cut payroll, and sign no free agents.

    • Hitman

      Actually it’s 4 first rounders if they let Marte go.

  • Lanny

    Who cares about draft picks?

    These guys have hit one home run since 1993.

    One!!! Joba.

    I don’t care about draft picks. These guys can’t find one gem anywhere so I’d rather take the all stars in their primes. And Marte is the best lefty in the league. For 6 mill it is a flat out no brainer.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Wow. Somehow, you’re so wrong and so right at the same time. Impressive.

  • Januz

    Marte is not the best lefty reliever on the team (Phil Coke), let alone the American League. As for picks, when they won, they had good home grown players like Rivera, Jeter, Posada, and Petitte. They stopped winning when the broght in the Pavano’s of the world.
    Their drafts were ranked number one in Baseball America in 2006 & 2007. That publication is about as pro-Yankee as Boston Dirt Dogs! That tells me something.
    PS: Can anyone think of a more poetic World Series than Dodgers (And Manny & Nomar) over the Red Sox? Donnie Baseball getting his ring, and Joe Torre getting NUMBER FIVE!.

    • Steve H

      Phil Coke has how many innings, and has done what exactly at the major league level? I’m high on Coke, but to anoint him the best lefty on the team is a bit much. He has proven nothing. Remember IPK’s call-up the previous September, and how promising that was? Yeah, he earned a spot in the rotation and won how many games?

  • RollingWave

    They should pick up the option then keep him avalible but not without a really good return.

    he isn’t and shouldn’t be untradable. but there’s no need to dump him

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