Jan
09

Stealing Juan Cruz

By

juan-cruzEarlier this week Buster Olney noted that baseball’s free agent compensation rules are working against some of the remaining free agents, pointing out that teams are reluctant to forfeit high draft picks for guys that are considered complimentary players. Jason Varitek and The Orlandos – Hudson & Cabrera – immediately come to mind. Another such player is Juan Cruz, the ex-Cubs’ prospect and Diamondbacks’ setup man. Having declined arbitration after making $1.9375M last year, Cruz hit the free agent market for the first time in his career this year with the Type-A designation stamped on his back. For most teams that means losing their first round pick, but the Yanks aren’t in that spot.

KLaw’s 7th best available free agent (sub. req’d), Cruz’s calling card has always been his control, or lack thereof.  Once considered the sixth best prospect in the game by Baseball America (back in ’02) because of his live arm, Cruz’s descent from future ace to setup man was due to his inability to throw strikes with any consistency. He threw strikes with only 58.6% of his pitches as a rookie in ’02, improving slightly to 61.1% in ’03 and 61.8% in ’04. He’s sat right around that level ever since. By no means is it a great strike rate, but in the last few seasons he’s established himself as effectively wild.

Like I said, Cruz has a seriously live arm. It works quick and easy, allowing him to pump fastballs that have averaged just about 94.5 mph the last few years. His slider is equally electric, sitting in the low 80′s with sharp break. He still has a hard changeup left from his days as a starter, but he rarely uses it (he threw it just 4.1% of the time last year). You can get a glimpse of how filthy Cruz can be in these highlight clips from 2006 and 2007, unfortunately MLB.com doesn’t have anything from last season.

While throwing strikes and limiting walks are his weak point, Cruz’s biggest asset is his ability to miss bats. Hitters made contact on just 66.0% of the swings they took on Cruz’s pitches last year, down from 69.9% in ’07 and 77.4% in ’08, meaning he got tougher to hit as he entered his prime (which, obviously, makes sense). He allowed less contact last year than K-Rod (69.3%), Joe Nathan (70.0%), Jon Papelbon (77.2%), Mo (76.3%), Joakim Soria (75.1%), Carlos Marmol (73.6%), you name ‘em. Opponents hit just .192 off Cruz last year, and his strikeout rate over the past two seasons is an ungodly 12.62 Kper9, the best in baseball by more than half a strikeout. His CHONE projection for ’09 is solid in case you’re wondering: 68 IP, 3.31 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 11.51 Kper9, $6.1M in value.

In a world where Kyle Farnsworth is guaranteed $9.25M in his age 33 & 34 seasons, locking Cruz up for say, $3-4M per year for his age 30 through 32 seasons would be a steal. The Nationals, Dodgers and Brewers (at least before they locked up Trevor Hoffman) have expressed interest in Cruz this offseason, and I suspect bullpen starved teams like Detroit and Texas may be lurking in the weeds. Having already coughed up their first, second and third round draft picks as compensation for Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, all the Yanks have to lose for signing Cruz is their fourth rounder, hardly a deal breaker (here’s a list of all the Yanks’ fourth round picks, basically a whole bunch of nothing). Combine that with the down financial market for free agents, and what’s not to like?

There’s no such thing as too much bullpen depth I say, especially when you’re talking about super high strikeout guys like this. I’d love to see the Yanks lock Cruz up, sit him next to Edwar Ramirez in the Derek Zoolander Center For Children Who Can’t Read Good Mariano Rivera Center for Relievers Who Can’t Pitch Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too, and see what happens. They just might get something special out of it.

Categories : Hot Stove League

252 Comments»

  1. AndrewYF says:

    Who doesn’t like Jim Beattie and Stan Bahnsen?

  2. THU says:

    I’d love to get him, but are the Yankees smart enough to? I personally think they are done with moves.

  3. A.D. says:

    I like the idea very much

  4. Ryan S. says:

    That’d be an amazing thing for us – we might as well abuse the hell out of the compensation pick system while we can … Juan Cruz (or any other Type A) is much less expensive for us than for any other team right now. Juan Cruz is definitely worthy of being part of that all valuable bridge to Mo. My only wish is that Juan Cruz had a higher Elias rating than CC so we could screw over the Brewers more (imagine getting a 3rd round pick for Sabathia LOL).

  5. Yankee1010 says:

    I would avoid him just so that I don’t have to see the following line of reasoning: 1) the Yanks are looking at Juan Cruz for the bullpen; 2) this must mean the Yanks’ bullpen is not good enough; 3) Oh my God, who is going to pitch the 8th inning?!?!?!; 4) Wait a second, doesn’t that Joba kid have awesome stuff?; 5) The Yanks MUST, ABSOLUTELY, use Joba in the 8th inning.

    George King, Justin Sablich, Fatcessa, etc., I’m looking at you.

    I hope the Yanks don’t do it just so that I don’t have to hear that BS any more. I’m about 2 more “Joba Debates” away from stabbing a “Joba-to-the-pen” mental midget with a trident. Then I’d have to lay low for a while. That could lead to me losing my job. And bunking with someone named Sleazy Pete. Not fun.

  6. Reggie C. says:

    Why not… Aside of the 2 early comp picks, the ’09 draft is already going to be uneventful for the Yanks. What’s another round of picks at this point…

  7. frits says:

    He’s been on the DL a few times w/ shoulder soreness, right? The only thing that concerns me is his delivery is a bit unorthodox and potentially troubling. I can’t find a good super slo-mo video of it, but there are a lot of moving parts and I wonder about his long-term durability. Of course, he’s not a starter, so those concerns are minimized some.

  8. Rob says:

    You guys never fail to amaze me with simple, practical ideas. Count me in.

    Question is: Where were you on Baldelli!? He would have been a perfect platoon companion for Gardner/Melky.

    • Mike A. says:

      I think once they picked up Teixeira, pushing Swisher to the OF, it made Baldelli unnecessary. They can’t have seven 25-man roster spots tied up in OF/DHs.

      If they didn’t pick up Tex, sure. I like the move for the Sox, they got him dirt cheap.

      • Rob says:

        I damn well hope they’re not planning to carry both Gardner AND Melky – not with Damon and Swisher both able to play CF.

        And Matsui should never play the field.

        So with Baldelli, that would have been five OFs – which wouldn’t have been bad, especially since Swisher is also the backup 1B in an emergency. The utility guy is never going to play (Ransom) and Molina makes a decent four man bench.

        • …not with Damon and Swisher both able to play CF.

          Very few people feel they actually are capable of playing CF. Certainly not the Yankees braintrust (nor should they).

          • Rob says:

            In an emergency, just like Swisher for 1B.

            • Jay CT says:

              Well in an emergency, Cano, Jeter, ARod, Ransom, and just about anyone else you can name could play another position. That does not make it a good idea. Ozzie just said today that he takes full blame for Swishers bad season. He said that he shouldn’t have forced the idea of him in CF.

              CAN WE PLEASE STOP STICKING SWISHER IN CF?

  9. rbizzler says:

    Agreed that Cruz would be a steal at this point. It might also mean the end of the compensation system as it is presently constructed when the CBA expires.

    • Mike A. says:

      Hey, the Yanks aren’t breaking the rules, just taking advantage of them.

      • The additive property:

        A) George Steinbrenner was a supporter of Richard Nixon.
        B) Richard Nixon said “If the president does it, it’s not illegal”.
        C) Therefore, whatever the Yankees do is within the rules, because we’re the Yankees.

      • rbizzler says:

        I agree wholeheartedly, but I believe that there is a growing number of owners that are extremely bitter as to how this offseason has played out. While I understand that this winter has been unique in that the Yanks not signing Cole and Bittle gave them an opportunity to indulge in Type A’s without bankrupting their status in the 2009 Rule Four, some other owners don’t see it that way. My assumption is that they will be looking to close these ‘loopholes’ during the next CBA negotiations.

        Think the Brewers owner (a millionaire from Cali) would be bitching about a salary cap if the Yanks signing of Tex didn’t bump the MIL comp pick to the second round? Probably not.

        If the Yanks think that the system is already dead, then they should burn it to the ground and sign Cruz. If they, for whatever reason, decide that it is in their best interests to lay low for the rest of the offseason and not ruffle any feathers, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least.

        • Sweet Dick Willie says:

          My assumption is that they will be looking to close these ‘loopholes’ during the next CBA negotiations.

          Why don’t they just write two sets of rules, one that applies to The Yankees, and one that applies to the other 29 teams.

          I mean, revenue sharing and the luxury tax were specifically written to apply to the Yankees.

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

          “I agree wholeheartedly, but I believe that there is a growing number of owners that are extremely bitter as to how this offseason has played out.”

          True, but this happens every time the Yankees make a big offseason splash, and then it subsides during the offseasons during which other teams (like the Mets with Beltran/Santana/etc. or the Cubs with Soriano etc.) make big splashes. You just have to tune it out and wait until it passes. No reason why their bitching this time around should bring about any more change than it has in the past.

          • MattG says:

            But it has brought some major changes in the past that have been written solely to damage the Yankees. The luxury tax is nothing more than a way to steal the Steinbrenner’s money.

            This is what they’ll do–the team signing a pick will lose it’s pick, and have to pay the other team’s pick slot money. The owners will love it, because it’ll harm the team signing free agents, and the union will love it, because it will inflate bonus money. If the Yankees have to give the Brewer’s pick slot, then the Brewer’s pick will be able to weasel out a few dollars from the Brewers, too.

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

              Maybe. Maybe not. Conjecture, unless you have a special DeLorean we don’t know about.

            • Old Ranger says:

              One problem with this deal…the Players Union!
              The union gives less then “0″ for the draftees (not enough money for them), they always go for the big bucks. If such a plain was implemented, teams wouldn’t sign very many FAs…therefore, the union is out more money from the players. Deals like A-Rod, CC and Tex received would not come to fruition, why would a team pay twice for a player?
              No, I can’t see it happening.

  10. TurnTwo says:

    if it were that simple, why wouldnt teams like Bahstin and Anaheim and Philly, and Atlanta, blah blah blah, have the same interest?

    he’d be a great assest to any of these teams at this reduced rate… so whats the real deal here?

    • Mike A. says:

      Well, they’d have to give up a first round draft choice for him, which they may be reluctant to do since he’s just a reliever.

      • Reggie C. says:

        I thought the Phils lost their 1st rounder to the Mariners by signing Ibanez?

        Losing a 2nd round pick + supp pick for a reliever still stings though..

        • Mike A. says:

          Yeah true, forgot about Ibanez. Heh, what a terrible signing.

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

          Well hold on, you don’t “lose” a supplemental pick when you sign a type-A FA, do you? Isn’t it just created out of thin air and given to the team that lost the FA?

          • Mike A. says:

            No, the team that signs a Type-A loses one pick, but the team that lost the player gets two. The sandwich round picks just pop out of midair, and they can’t be lost for signing free agents.

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

              Right… So the Phils, per Reggie’s example, would just lose their 2nd rounder, the supplemental pick is irrelevant to the Phils.

  11. Dave says:

    Note to self: Play Zoolander drinking game tonight.

  12. Zack says:

    The Yankees want to make their bullpen as strong as possible so the public/players never calls for Joba to move to the bullpen.
    I’d love Cruz, especially for a 4th rounder, but with Coke, Ramirez, Bruney, Marte, & Veras do we need him or have room? We still need room a guy there who can throw 2-4innings in a blow out

    Joba had a 2.65 era as a starter, why does everyone say he cant make it as a starter?

  13. RPB says:

    I think that the Yanks should sign him and then trade him to a team that might otherwise be interested in him but reluctant to lose a 1st rounder. The Yanks lose nothing and stand to gain a low-level prospect type. Or they could keep him.

    • Evan in NYC says:

      As history has shown, the bullpen is a rotating door save Mariano Rivera and the closer types. Bring him on if we can land him for a 4th round pick. We can always use another reliever who is not named Kyle Farnworthless.

    • usty says:

      If the Yankees started doing this, being a Type-A clearinghouse, I’m 99% sure it will give Peter Gammons a second aneurysm.

    • emac2 says:

      I say we do the same with Veritek

      • GOOD GOD MAN, NO. HAVE YOU ALL GONE INSANE?

        If we sign Jason Varitek, the Sox get our 4th rounder and a free sandwich pick that will be among the top 45 selections. Meanwhile, we will be stuck with a crappy catcher who nobody wants and who is utterly untradable.

        If we don’t sign hem he’s either going to resign with them or NOBODY IS GOING TO TOUCH HIM AT ALL, MEANING THE SOX GET NOTHING.

        Us signing Jason Varitek would help the Sox and hurt us.

        Please, people take a second and think before you speak.

    • steve (different one) says:

      you can’t trade a FA you just signed until May or June. something like that.

    • dapuj says:

      Even in a perfectly efficient market, the best the Yanks could do by signing Cruz and then trading him to a team that didn’t want to lose their 1st rounder would be something in value between a 2nd and 4th round pick. Not sure that’s worth it. And that ignores the fact that you can’t trade a newly signed FA.

  14. Mike says:

    Do the same with veritek to replace cash. This would leave the redsox without a catcher making them deal a young pitcher to replace him also screwing the redsox out of a first round pick

  15. CB says:

    The point of the book Moneyball wasn’t statistics. It was about finding inefficiencies in the market for talent and then exploiting them to get high value for the investment.

    The yanks signing Cruz is something they should strongly consider as it would be further exploiting a real inefficiency in the market. Giving up a draft pick for a set up reliever is severely limiting the demand for Cruz’s services.

    It’s far “cheaper” for the yankees to sign him than for anyone else at this point. The same thing would be true for signing Ben Sheets should Pettitte not come back. Give Sheets a 1 yr/10M offer and see if he’s desperate enough to consider it.

    It looks like the yankees may have understood this principal for a while. If you want to continue developing through the draft the best way to use the free agent market is to not sign anyone for a few years and then stack a series of signing together in one winter. That way you lose your top picks only in one draft rather than serially one year after another.

    • Mike A. says:

      If you want to continue developing through the draft the best way to use the free agent market is to not sign anyone for a few years and then stack a series of signing together in one winter.

      I agree, but this year also kind of the perfect storm of free agents. Having two premium guys like CC & Tex, plus a third quality guy like Burnett available doesn’t happen every year.

      • CB says:

        Absolutely. It all depends on the supply of talent to make this model work. But if you do project substantial talent will cluster in one particular year and you can remain patient in the off years then there’s real payoff for taking this approach.

        Next year they will likely need a new DH. Sign a DH off the market next year it will cost them potentially a 1st rounder. Sign Adam Dunn this year and it’ll cost a 4th rounder. I don’t expect them to actually sign Dunn but if they could they would really be sitting pretty going into 2010 both at the major league level and in the draft.

        MLB is going to change the compensation system. More than a salary cap I’d guess that will be the outcome of the yankees spending this winter.

      • steve (different one) says:

        also, money coming off the books and new stadium. yada yada.

        it really was the perfect storm.

        that said, the state of next year’s FA class was clearly a motivating factor in the Teixeira signing, so perhaps this entered their peripheral thinking.

        • CB says:

          I don’t think that was so peripheral. If the stories we’re hearing now of how the Tex signing happened are true then basically Cashman had to convince Hal of why they should sign Tex. He had to present a compelling case. And I can’t see Cashman not doing that in the context of the limited talent available next year and all of the holes that could develop on the team as older players leave.

          Next year’s supply of talent had to have a major impact on the degree of the yankees demand for talent this year.

  16. Josh says:

    NO Mike, just a fourth rounder… read the whole article lol

  17. Yankees_Universe says:

    I don’t think D-backs care about first rounder right now. One of the reasons mentioned by their GM for not offering arb. to Dunn was that they may not be able to afford paying 1st round picks.

  18. Yankeegirl49 says:

    Yankee1010…that was great!

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

      There’s a “reply to this comment” link in each comment-box, you can use that link and reply directly to a particular comment (i.e. Yankee1010′s commetn above).

      • jsbrendog says:

        lol do you have a notepad doc with that saved so you can cut and paste it (a la my facepalm) cause you should if you don’t :-P

  19. Ray says:

    Yankees shouldn’t make this move. They have plenty of young guys who should be able to pitch ‘effectively wild’ out of their bullpen. I like the logic of chasing Class A FAs in this depressed market. I say trade Cano to the Royals for DeJesus, trade Nady for a bag of baseballs and sign Orlando Hudson.

  20. Nady Nation says:

    What is this, a center for ants?!

  21. Chris says:

    No Josh. You don’t get it. Varitek is a type A free agent. If another team signs him, they get a 1st round pick. Except the Yankees would only give up a 4th. Therefore, the Red Sox would in fact lose out on a 1st round pick.

  22. Robert Goulet says:

    LA-DA-DEE-DA-DA-DAAAA…..GOUUULET!!!!!

    Ok, while I’m probably overreacting cause I’m sick and not feeling well, is anyone else scared that Boston just got Smoltz? When healthy, the guy can still be dominant with electric stuff and if his shoulder wont allow him to be a starter, using him in the 7th/8th next to Okijima and co. would be pretty devastating.

    Perhaps I’m looking too much into this due to the insanely biased RSN Media. ESPN is officially a joke – those fucking haters have spent more time addressing the Yankees payroll and the amount of money they spent this offseason than the actual players on their roster. For every “The Yankees got CC, AJ, and Tex” there are 2: “The Yankees have the highest payroll in history and their spending is out of control.” In regards to Peter Gammons, that guy was was officially allowed to throw out his Viagra after hearing of the Smoltz signing. When interviewed on ESPN, Gammons acted as if Smoltz was the second coming of Moses. And does anyone watch the MLB Network??? They now have Kevin Millar on as one of the commentators on “Hot Stove” and he almost fell off his chair when describing the impacts of Smoltz and Baldelli.

    In the end, I’m not sure what to believe. Can Smoltz be the kind of mid/late season game changer that can either shut a game down after the 7th or give the Sox rotation the kind of depth and security that the Yankees could only dream of? I guess time will tell.

    What i DO know, is that the Yankees need to add another arm into the rotation. And I’m talking about a REAL arm – one that is reliable and without an innings cap (i.e. NOT Hughes, Acevedos, and IPK). The Yankees rotation is thin:

    1) CC – lock
    2) AJ – not sure (hopefully lock)
    3) Wang – lock
    4) Joba – not a lock because of his innings limit (he wont even be able to make it to September/October if he can only pitch 180 innings as a starter)
    5) Hughes/IPK/Acevedos – absolutely not a lock.

    In the end, the Yankees rotation, while extremely talented and potentially nasty, certainly doesnt possess the depth or security that one would hope who just spent a lot of money trying to get back to the playoffs.

    My suggestion – GO GET ANOTHER PITCHER! (even Pettitte)

  23. Dave says:

    Law’s article does not have cruz seventh – i AM assuming he is ranked seventeenth in that article. Seventh for a setup man with a market like this year’s would be absurd. Even sheets and k rod are not in the top ten. Why Lowe is in the top five is beyond me – those rankings are very poor seemingly following the ridiculous line of logic that Lowe is right up there with CC and Burnett as quality free agents. Lowe doesn’t have a tenth of the talent that cc and burnett have and the big 3 talk consistently got on my nerves this off season but i digress.

    Cruz has improved in each of the past 3 season so i dont quite understand the projection that his whip will shoot back up to 1.31. Do these projections take into account something that I am overlooking? His high walk totals are a concern but with that kind of hit total being at least 20 less than innings pitched there is a lot to like. And I would certainly like to add another bullpen arm as there is absolutely no guarantee like many seem to think that edwar, veras and bruney will all be solid for us next season as pen arms are highly volatile. Actually, I am pretty sure veras will be in the minor leagues by years end and robertson will permanently take his place.

    And 4 mil is a good price for his arm but our primary need right now is a starter. We need another starter to stabilize the rotation and keep our pitching depth far, far more than we need another reliever with 40 walk potential. If we sign both a starter and cruz – fine but i would definitely not sacrifice passing up on a fifth starter to add cruz to the pen so if we only have money for one please, please I hope the yankees get the starter.

  24. D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a The Last Don says:

    My knowledge of this guy is too limited to offer a good opinion of him. I do however like the idea of making a good deal for a valuable player and taking advantage of the current system.

    We should play the angles more, and use our smarts and resources to pummel the other team on any and every occasion.

  25. Bob Michaels says:

    try to trade with KC for Greinke.

  26. CA Yanks Fan says:

    With the Yankees set to keep Joba in the rotation, I love the idea!

  27. pat says:

    You sign this kid and all of a sudden a package of xavier nady coupled with a jose veras or edwar ramirez starts lookin reaaaaal attractive.
    Oh and sweet writeup mike this is the meat and taters that keeps us comin back.

  28. dlcb says:

    For about two-thirds of the league (the bottom 15 teams, Yankees, Mets, Phillies, and any other team that has already sacrificed their first pick for a type A), Cruz would only require a 2nd round pick.

    What is the difference in value between a 2nd round pick and a 4th round pick? $2mil? $2.5mil? That difference is significant, but it is not going to prevent those 20 or so teams from devaluing Cruz by so much that the Yankees can pick him up for pennies.

    And I would much rather have the Yankees spend their resources elsewhere. There are plenty of capable relievers in the minors.

    Beside, you can alway put Joba in the pen if you need to. j/k

    • Zack says:

      Has cruz received ANY offers though? Teams might like him, but not for the 1st round pick. Personally i think teh bullpen is our strength, but hey for 2yrs/8m with an option? or maybe he’ll want one year, its tough to walk away from that arm because of a 4th round pick

  29. GG says:

    Dunno if anyone shared it already, bu Neyer has a great link about the salary cap being a bad idea in his friday filberts:
    http://umpbump.com/press/2008/.....-bad-idea/

    • GG says:

      Shouldn’t the Nationals fans (all four of you) be angry that their team had a 2007 payroll of $37MM when the organization made $43.7MM? To me, that’s far more offensive than what the Steinbrenners are doing.

  30. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    We’ve already signed 3 type A FAs. Can we sign another one without losing one of ours first? I keep getting conflicting information on this subject.

    • Zack says:

      our 1st round (and second round i believe) are protected because we didnt sign our guys from last year, which means they cant be taken away due to FA signings

      • Sweet Dick Willie says:

        Poorly worded on my part. I meant without losing one of our free agents, e.g. Abreu. There is a limit on how many type A FAs teams are allowed to sign. I thought we hit that limit with 3, but I could be mistaken.

      • Those protected pick are extraneous to the question Willie was asking.

        I don’t know the exact answer, Willie, but I think “losing” Pettitte, Mussina, and Abreu would give us three extra type A’s we can sign. That’s my guess.

        • Evan says:

          I think the Yanks can sign 6 or 7 type As total. 3 or 4 based on the calculation involving number of types As and Bs and then the team gets additional one for all the As that were lost. That way a team would typically be able to resign its own players and then add what ever the set formula number is.

      • Should be working says:

        Limits on free agent signings
        If only 0-14 players in all of Major League Baseball file for free file for free agency, no team may sign more than one “Type A” or “Type B” player (terms defined below).

        If 15-38 players file for free agency, no team may sign more than 2 such free agent players.

        If 39-62 players file for free agency, no team may sign more than 3 such free agent players.

        If 63 or more players file for free agency, then there are no such limits applied. Furthermore, a team may sign as many type A and B free agents as it has lost, regardless of the limits above.

        Found this in a baseball article. This makes it sound like its Limit + Type A’s you lost.

        • Joe B. says:

          But then when you take into account that the 63+ refers to total number of FAs, not just Type A or B, and that teams are allowed another Type A/B for every 24 FAs, it puts the number of Type A/B allower per team at 9. Someone recently clarified this rule. It’s not an issue at all.

  31. Un-Named Yankee Source says:

    Anybody looking for a Quality infielder. Looks like Nomar would be a nice addition, and he can play all 4 infield positions!

    Rosenthal suggests veterans such as Nomar Garciaparra, Frank Thomas, and Jim Edmonds could go the Kenny Lofton route. Lofton, a capable player, sat out the 2008 season when his salary demands weren’t met. As I mentioned yesterday, we’ll soon see which former stars are willing to play for a pittance (if you consider more than $500K a pittance).

  32. Jonathan says:

    I hope yankees are not done yet, first off they should not trade Nady he is to good of a bat, but in the past eight years the yankees always made mistakes in the free agent market, the always get the big guys but they fail to get those middle of the road free agents to sure up the team.

    • steve (different one) says:

      i would have to say that is a gross mischaracterization of the yankees’ “problems” of the last 8 years.

      • Evan says:

        Seriously though we have been in the playoff’s every year but 1 the last eight and in the WS twice in that time. The yankees mistakes have pretty much been not team structure but bad play in the palyoffs possibly due to lack of strike out pitchers which are an advantage in the playoffs. We have added those and have a strong bullpen. If anything one of cashmans strengthes has been finding middle and low guys and picking them up (Smalls, Chacon, Bruney, etc.)

        • Bruno says:

          The yankees mistakes have pretty much been not team structure

          Wouldn’t a lack of bat-missers be just that, bad team structure? I agree with the point of your post, just pointing out a minor contradiction in it’s wording.

          • steve (different one) says:

            i’m not really comfortable lumping 2001-2003 in with 2004-2008.

            there was nothing wrong with those teams except for some bad luck and running into a hotter Angel team.

            the 2004-2007 teams had lousy pitching. they pitched OK in 2008 but had lousy offense.

            but none of this had to do with not signing more “middle of the road” FA’s.

  33. [...] RAB makes a case for Juan Cruz. At this point, I don’t think any free agent relievers are really [...]

  34. Januz says:

    The Yankees have guys like Bruney, Veras, Marte, and Ramirez, and quite likely, Melancon to set up Mariano. Phil Coke is also a possibility if he does not start. That does not include future possibilities like Cox, Sanchez, and Venditte. This is a strength of the team, they don’t need Cruz.
    Jim Edmonds is different, that is a good 1 year stop gap while waiting for Jackson. I don’t know why Boston chose Kotsay over him? He is right up there with Paul Blair, Andruw Jones, and Griffey Jr as the best defensive centerfielders I ever saw. In addition, even in an off year, he hit 20 home runs. That would be a good sign, unlike Cruz.

    • Bruno says:

      Cruz would be a good signing, just not a necessary one.

    • A.D. says:

      Edmonds isn’t a good CF anymore, he’s -17 UZR/150 rating from last isn’t pretty. The Yankees are better off running Damon out there

    • He is right up there with Paul Blair, Andruw Jones, and Griffey Jr as the best defensive centerfielders I ever saw.

      And just like Jones and Griffey, Edmonds is probably too old and broken down to play a good CF now, in 2009.

      Jim Edmonds, CF UZR/150:
      2002: 1.4
      2003: -0.7
      2004: -10.4
      2005: 6.2
      2006: 2.7
      2007: -3.2
      2008: -17.6

      Oh, and he also turns 39 in June and CHONE predicts him to put up a .228/.326/.413/.739/.328.

      Pass.

  35. Dave says:

    Nineteenth overall makes far more sense for cruz and seventh remaining – thanks for the clarification.

    Signing cruz and then, trading nady, relievers and aceves for Harang just sounds too god to actually happen or too smart to be reality or something like that. But that would be a sweet deal. Signing cruz makes vera a spare part especially with robertson and melancon/cox on their way up at some point.

    Coke could go back to the pen as well which adds even more to the pen if harang comes to the yanks. Harang is almost guaranteed to have a comeback year – i think with the yankees already having posada, matsui, cano and swisher as possible comeback player of the year candidates, harang would guarantee the yankees victory in that award category.

    CC, Wang, AJ, Harang and Joba is a rotation to drool over. Harang not only fills the innings eater role but they will be quality innings for the most part to boot. Rivera, Marte, Cruz, Ramirez, Bruney, Robertson, Coke, Geise and the prospects is pretty damn solid as well. Where do I sign?

  36. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    since I’m clearly obsessed and quite OCD about this).

    Hey, there are clearly worse things to be OCD about (like winning the inaugural RAB Fantasy Football League).

    Waiting…3..2..1 now!

  37. GG says:

    what is KC going to do with DeJesus anyway?

  38. Yankee1010 says:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/articl.....rId=rss_kc

    OK, Dayton. We get it. You have no idea how to build a baseball team. You don’t need to belabor the point.

    • “A right-handed batter, Bloomquist, 31, played seven seasons with the Seattle Mariners. He had a .263 average in 540 games and played every position in the infield and outfield. “

      That sounds like the gritty resume of a David Eckstein or a Mark Grudzielanek! No need for further evaluation, sign me up!!!

      • Mike A. says:

        Italics tag left open … FAIL.

        • Italics tag left open … FAIL.

          I’m an idiot.

          Hey Mike, speaking of failing, remember when you tried to beat me in the playoffs of the first round of the Inaugural RAB Fantasy Football League playoffs, but failed miserably? I do; it was the first of three straight playoff wins that lead me to the Championship title.

          I can’t believe you really thought Leonard Weaver, Antwaan Randle El, Kevin Walter, and Todd Heap could measure up to my boys in a fantasy football matchup. It’s almost as laughable as you thinking you could measure up to me personally in a physical attractiveness contest, a testicles-size contest, or a pleasuring Mike’s girlfriend contest, three things I would win respectively with one arm, one testicle, or one of your girlfriend’s legs tied behind my back. It pains me a little to say it, because you’re a nice guy, but we both know it’s true. If you need to cry on someone’s shoulder, I understand. Just make it Joe’s, Rafi’s, jsbrendog’s, Jamal’s, or SAMIAMSPORTS’s, and not mine. I don’t want your mascara to run on my expensive clothing. It wouldn’t be a good look for me.

          Because I’m a champion.

          [ Fantasy Football Championship Bragging Rights Name Drop #28 of 1000 ]

          • Bruno says:

            or one of your girlfriend’s legs tied behind my back

            That’s exactly why I love these. I’m SO joining next year. RAB Fantasy Baseball? Did you guys use Yahoo or ESPN?

      • KW says:

        His slugging was nearly 100 points lower than his OBP (which was a very respectable .377). yikes!

        • Bruno says:

          I didn’t even realize that was possible. Yikes! is right!

        • Yankee1010 says:

          I love how Moore says he’s a “on-base guy” when his career OBP is .322. Well, I guess it’s all relative because he may actually be considered an “on-base guy” on the Royals now.

    • “He’s an on-base guy, a speed-type player and a hustler,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “He’s a Craig Counsell-type who really plays hard, hustles and knows how to play.”

      Bloomquist is regarded as an “igniter” who is also well-regarded for his leadership abilities.

      I have no idea how the phrase “on base guy” accidentally fell into that mountain of useless, empty, vapid prose. Probably an oversight.

      Apparently, a lifetime OBP is .322 now makes you an “on base guy”. I apologize for all the hurtful things I said about Andre Dawson’s HoF candidacy. My apologies to Mr. Corky Simpson.

      And Dayton: kudos on saying “hustle” twice on two sentences. I know you’re eagerly awaiting the day the White Sox fire Ozzie so you can sign the manager of your dreams.

  39. rossdfarian says:

    I’ll take a pass. This would be a good signing if the Yankees didn’t already have a solid pen and tons more waiting in the wings. Save the $3.5mil, Cash.

  40. Weren says:

    I am not sure that the Yankees can sign any more Type A’s without first losing Pettite to another team. Check out page 74 of the 2007-11 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

  41. [...] Would the Yankees try to steal Juan Cruz? River Avenue Blues brings up a Cruz signing earlier today. I have to admit, if the Yankees have money to burn, it’s a great idea. Cruz [...]

  42. Bret the Hitman says:

    Getting Juan Cruz would add more flexibility and value.

    Coke could be stretched out into long reliever/spot starter and make a few cherrypicked starts to boost his value as a starter. He wouldn’t be needed in late innings but instead serve a Mendoza type role in the pen.

    Humberto Sanchez could be turned back into a starter in AA/AAA and would no longer be needed for the pen. He needs more innings anyways.

    Having Coke and Sanchez along with Hughes, Kennedy and Aceves allows us to more gracefully severe the ties with Pettitte and use that 10 mil to lengthen the bench.

  43. Al says:

    I’m through with spending even 2-3 million a year on bullpen arms. Bullpens are the hardest to project year in year out. Didn’t we learn our lesson from…. oh I don’t know… Farnsworth, Karsay, Paul Quantrill?

    If Cruz gets hurt of flops in the AL East… you’re stuck with him on the roster. I like having the flexibility – if Edwar struggles – send him to Dunder-Mifflin and call up Melancon or Horne. Plus the Yanks have so many arms in their system, not all of them will be starters. I’d rather convert some of the less durable ones into relievers then blow 12-15 mill over 3 years on a 30-year old reliever.

  44. Al says:

    Brett – Two rules of baseball – never believe what you see in March and never believe what you see in September. Coke looked great in the final month – but the jury is still out.

    Sanchez has a future in the pen – he lacks the durability to start.

    With Pettitte – maybe my sentimentality factors in here… I’ve been following his career since he filled in for Jimmy Key in ’95… but I’d give him 12M. Look what Carlos Silva is making (albeit he signed in a bull market).

    He’ll eat innings, he’s durable – and 14-15 wins with a 4.30 ERA from a #4 starter is not out of the question with Andy.

    Plus he keeps the seat warm for Hughes who steps in for the 2010 season.

    This year – Hughes, IPK, and Aceves give you much needed insurance… There’s no need for Sidney Ponson this way.

    Plus you’ll need one of them WHEN Burnett goes down with elbow tendinitis in the middle of May.

  45. gio says:

    Why do you all have such huge boners for Harang? Maybe I’m missing something, but he just seems like a grossly overpaid NL stater. If the Yankees are willing to pay his contract, why not just sign Pettitte and pick up a low-cost a 7th/8th inning guy for Nady? I’m all for trading Nady. He has one of the longest swings ever. It seems like his swinging for the fences every at-bat. Maybe he’s just used to being the clean up guy on most of thet teams he’s played for and hasn’t realized he’s hitting BEHIND guys like ARod and Teixeira. But whatever it is, it’s turned him into an all-or-nothing guy on the Yanks.

  46. BJ says:

    Why not sign manny too and screw the Blue jays out of a pick as well? And then Sheets to give the Brew Crew an extra what’s for. I think since we only have thee Type A’s leaving that would be the most we could do (this scenario assumes we don’t re-sign Pettite) but I think that might be enough to convince everyone just how fu@ked in half the system is. Its not like we’re winning any popularity contests as is, might as well add a few decibels to the chants that we buy our pennants.

  47. [...] this is why the Yanks haven’t stolen Juan Cruz. He makes more sense for them than for the teams which would have to surrender a first rounder. Yet [...]

  48. [...] Orlando Hudson, Orlando Cabrera, Manny Ramirez, Oliver Perez, Jason Varitek, Ben Sheets, and Juan Cruz. While there are various issues factoring into their current unemployment, for a number of them the [...]

  49. [...] wasn’t long ago that Mike suggested that the Yankees sign reliever Juan Cruz. The reasoning: he’s a Type A free agent, which means teams will have to sacrifice a first [...]

  50. [...] wanted the Yanks to sign Juan Cruz back in early January, but alas, they never showed serious interest in him and Cruz ended up with the Royals. The terms: [...]

  51. [...] also like to take this opportunity to note just how poorly Juan Cruz is pitching. Mike talked about stealing him for just a fourth round pick over the winter, but Cashman did not pursue it. Then, when the Yankees bullpen was terrible in the [...]

  52. [...] years but couldn’t find a job because no one wanted to give up a high pick. I actually wrote a post imploring the Yankees to sign him since, at the time, they would have only surrendered a measly [...]

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