Will the Yanks make a play for the Cuban defectors?


We haven’t really touched on the Cuban defector situation yet on RAB, so now is as good a time as any. As you might have heard, Yadel Marti and Yasser Gomez defected from Cuba a few weeks ago. You might remember Marti from the WBC if you payed attention in 2006. He pitched 12.2 scoreless innings and racked up a pair of saves. Gomez has compiled some gawdy stats in a Cuban National Series tournament. Both figure to garner a bit of attention once they’re officially on the market.

As Steve at MLBTR noted yesterday, the duo will be open to all suitors. Of course, their price tags might make them prohibitive to some or most of the small market teams. Plus, they mentioned the Yankees, White Sox, and Red Sox specifically, so that might be indicative of where they think they’ll land.

The last time the Yanks and the Sox were both in on a Cuban defector, we saw the term “Evil Empire” born. “The evil empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America,” the disgruntled co-owner of the Sox said after the Yanks outbid his team for Jose Contreras. Unfortunately, it was an auction that in hindsight the Yanks would have preferred to lose. After pitching to a 3.30 ERA over 71 innings in 2003, he bombed in 2004, pitching to a 5.64 ERA in 95.2 innings while walking way, way, way too many hitters (42). The Yanks traded him straight up for Esteban Loaiza, who was even worse than Contreras — though he did fare well in his 8.1 playoff innings.

I don’t know anything about these players other than what’s been printed thus far, so I can’t make a totally-informed call on whether the Yankees should consider pursuit. I guess it depends on the market. You don’t want to give more than two years to either of these guys. They’re said to be 29 (Marti) and 28 (Gomez), but who knows how old they actually are. Unless we’re talking a Juan Miranda type deal here, my instinct would tell me to pass.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. Jake K. says:

    Without knowing much about these guys or their cost, it seems that, at the very least, Gomez could bolster a weak Yanks bench. If he can actually play, it would make Nady or Swisher (preferably Nady) more expendable.

  2. Abe says:

    I wish Mike A. had info on these two guys, because I have a feeling those stats don’t tell the whole story.

  3. THU says:

    Marti looks to be somehwere in his 30s, Gomez looks young. I’d like to take a chance on him.

  4. Manimal says:

    Why not? Throw some cash at them start them at AAA and give both invites to Spring Training. How much could it take? at MOST 4 million each.

  5. Jamal G. says:

    All this just excites me more and more about the prospect of one Yulieski Gourriel defecting.

  6. A.D. says:

    Given what we’ve seen happen to proven FA, I doubt anyone is going to be shelling a ton out to these guys

  7. “You might remember Marti from the WBC if you payed attention in 2006. “

    We didn’t, but thanks for asking.

  8. Mike Pop says:

    Maybe we should pick up Gomez to give Cano a new buddy.

  9. DP says:

    Jim Rice has said “I/We didn’t worry about OBP” about 12 times. More obvious words could not have been spoken from someone who finished top 10 in the category only twice

    • whozat says:

      The thing that bugs me about that is that OBP is exactly a measurement of how often you didn’t make an out.

      He’s saying “We didn’t worry about not making outs,” and there are plenty of people out there nodding their heads in agreement as he does.

      • Yeah, I don’t really see Don Zimmer, Ralph Houk, and John McNamara not caring that their guys were burning through outs like matches.

        Just because there wasn’t a word for it doesn’t mean OBP didn’t matter. Deacon Jones didn’t get credited for any sacks, but his coaches and teammates sure as hell wanted him to “sack” the quarterback.

        • A.D. says:

          tackle for loss in which the quarterback was the player with the ball at time of tackle… tough for cheerleaders to integrate that into their cheers.

  10. jsbrendog says:

    maybe they should look at the non pitcher one. REays just signed kapler, their outfield is looking mighty fine and with burrel as dh..that will be a very good lineup esp as longoria improves, whci is scary to think about

  11. Dave says:

    Unless pedro is going to cost significantly less than sheets and by significantly, i mean less than 5 mil guaranteed for one year, why take a HUGE risk on getting some productive innings from pedro when we have such a better chance of getting at the very least 100 productive innings from sheets? While sheets seems to be considered the biggest risk since the beginning of time, his numbers tell most people that he has NEVER pitched less than 110 innings or made less than 17 starts in his 8 years career. Further, he has NEVER had what could be considered a bad season by anyones standards. So while pedro may be a little cheaper, sheets isnt too much more to pay for a much better pitcher at this point if healthy. Sheets can likely be had for 8 to 10 mil guaranteed with A LOT of incentives and a second year option. If sheets is asking for two years, then I agree he may not be worth the risk. But i would think sheets would cost no more than 8 mil guaranteed over whatever pedro’s asking price is. That is just an assumption on my part but i havent heard a single offer given to sheets in terms of money or years. It isnt a stretch to think his asking price has fallen off significantly since the beginning of the off season when he was rumored to be looking for a 2 year 30 million dollar offer.

  12. Joseph P. says:

    Here’s the big issue with these guys, and an issue further tying the Yanks hands for the rest of the winter: The 40-man is full. I don’t think the Yanks can reasonably jettison any more position players. Maybe they can DFA Ransom, figuring he’ll easily slip through waivers. They just added a bunch of guys, though, and they aren’t likely to remove them at this time.

    • A.D. says:

      true, didn’t think about that… that young pitching is really clogging up the roster

    • Mike Pop says:

      The only guys that could be DFA’d are Ransom, Giese, and Hacker right? Assuming Pettitte comes back, would adding one of these Cuban guys be worth losing another one of those guys.

    • MattG says:

      It’s the truth, and Berroa and Johnny Rodriguez ain’t even on it yet. It is time for the Yankees to start packaging arms to make room on the 40 man roster.

      But I don’t see how they can DFA Ransom. He’s the only backup infielder on the 25-man roster–or the 40 man roster.

      • whozat says:

        “It is time for the Yankees to start packaging arms to make room on the 40 man roster.”

        Thing is, there’s not much demand for those “packages” at this point. They could MAYBE try to do some stuff like they did with the add-on reliever in the Betemit/Swisher deal. Give up a more advanced/talented guy for a guy that doesn’t need to be on the 40-man yet.

        • MattG says:

          No doubt, but the Yankees traded for Albaladejo, and now Albie’s interchangeable with about 12 other Yankee relievers.

          The guys we keep talking about–Veras, Bruney, Albie, Ramirez, even Wright probably have some value in 2nd and 3rd year position players.

      • Joseph P. says:

        The point in DFA’ing Ransom is that if no team claimed him (I doubt any would), he’d still be on the team. They could then add the better of him and Berroa before the season. They might have another DFA decision to make at that point, or someone might hit the 60-day DL. It’s an interesting risk.

  13. DP says:

    What’s the website with mlb salaries?

  14. Dave says:

    After returning the entire sport of baseball to glory and being one of the best homerun hitters in history, how is mcgwire thanked by the people who love the game? He is not voted into the hall of fame where he rightfully deserves based on the most unamerican but rampant sentiment of guilty until proven innocent. Some of these all mighty BBWAA writers who dont even know who in the game is a rookie on any given year and would rather vote for marginal players over perhaps the greatest leadoff hitter of all time, feel they should be able to hold a court of public opinion in the case of mark mcgwire with only their biases and prejudices on hand.

    This vote should not be based on character flaws as much as it should be based on how the player represented the game of baseball, what they did for baseball and how they played in the sport of baseball. Mark Mcgwire with a little bit of help completely carried the game of baseball back into a new era of glory helping the sport fully recover from the strike in the early 90s. He was loved by every fan whether a cardinals fan or not who marvelled over his unbelievable power and uncanny natural abilities. He allowed himself to be used by the game and everyone surrounding it who just rode the dream that mark mcgwire created in his wake all the way up to and including the commissioner of the MLB.

    He will probably never lose the homerun per plate appearances statistic so his place will be permanently enshrined in the baseball history books as well as the memories and hearts of the fans who were lucky enough to watch him play. When mark mcgwire is such a big part of the history of the game, why pretend like he doesnt deserve a vote to the hall? And if baseball decides the hall of fame is more about the bias perceptions of a man’s character flaws rather than his natural abilities and impact on the game then the MLB should remove all of the convicted adulterers and any player with a permanent record from the hall. Further, they should go through every single medical record of any player who may be hall worthy and played in the steroid era, ensuring that absolutely no one who ever took or may have taken steroids will NEVER makes it to the hall. Too difficult – too bad … If Mark is kept out of the hall, why should someone who was left in the shadows or more deceiving be allowed to enter while someone of equal talents and impact i forced to sit out in the cold?

    I realize this is impossible so we will never know who exactly did or did not take steroids. Therefore, no one who was not proven by the US Justice system should be denied entrance to the hall based on mere opinion. Is that not how America is supposed to work? Werent we founded upon the right to a trial by a jury of our peers before being found guilty? And is Baseball not the American pass time? So Mcgwire who would be considered the savior of the American pass time at one point was found guilty of nothing by all American legal standards except in the court of public opinion. So the BBWAA writers should get off their high horse, throw their biases and prejudices aside and consider only mark mcgwire’s marvelous impact and unique ability in this vote. I realize this will NEVER happen and thats why, I have lost all respect for this organization and the Hall of Fame has subsequently lost some of its meaning which is supposed to encompass all the historic moments of baseball’s past of which mark mcgwire should certainly be apart of. Sorry for the rant but Im sure a lot of you agree.

    • jsbrendog says:

      wrong thread dude. the hall of fame one is a couple back

    • Ed says:

      Just a little context here on McGwire’s impact…

      When McGwire admitted to taking andro, andro sales soared. When he later publicly denounced andro and said he had stopped taking it, sales plummeted back down. Because of the attention he brought to andro, the FDA did further research into the topic and determined that andro should be classified as a steroid. When he took it, it was legal, so you can’t complain too much.

      But how can you ignore the whole testimony in front of Congress? “Did you take any other substances?” “I’m not here to talk about the past.” There is *zero* reason for him to not answer that question if the answer is no. If he did something like that in a court, the jury would convict him instantly.

  15. Macphisto says:

    The one thing that is interesting about Marti is his ability to come into games late in high leverage situations and be effective. If you look at El Duque’s years, outside of his time with the Yanks, I think he was most effective with the White Sox in the playoffs coming in the later innings and shutting the other team down. It seems Marti has this ability, but, who knows if it would translate at the MLB level. But, if he can that is a unique ability and is worth a look.

  16. K.B.D. says:

    Brian Fantana: “Take it easy, Champ. Why don’t you sit this next one out, stop talking for a while.”

  17. nick blasioli says:

    sign both players and put them in the minors…at least no one else will get them and if it pans out and you have to bring them up..then worry about the forty man roster….or the twenty five man roster…either way the sox dont get involved…..

  18. That guy says:

    Off topic I know but just wanted to let people know FanGraphs has released Value ratings for pitchers now. Sick to see what CC was worth the last 3 years…and then Zito :x

  19. Dave says:

    We should package nady along with aceves, geise or any other “starters” who are capable of pitching in the majors together and trade them for one decent fourth starter. Harang may be worth more than this package but the reds need starters and righty power desperately and harang is coming off a bad season so his value is down. And it doesnt have to be harang – we can just trade 2 or 3 of marginal AL starters who would pitch well in the National league as fourth or fifth starters or pen help and nady for one pitcher who will fill the last starter spot. I dont see why cash is hording all of these mediocre starters who are just taking up space at this point. Why not use them to get something of value that WE actually need?

    We have six starters under yankee control now for the next three years at the very least including CC, wang, AJ, jOBA, Hughes and kennedy. And we have a full bullpen on the forty man with cox, melancon, robertson and a few others as very viable replacements if there are injuries or ineffectiveness. So there is no room on the major league club for the 10 or so triple A starters/relievers cash has acquired over the years. Yet, some of them like cash wright, steven jackson, Dan Geise, Alfredo Aceves. Humberto Sanchez, Phil Coke, Jonathan Albadejo, Anthony Clagett, Eric Hacker and Wilkin De la Rosa may really be able to succeed as a fourth or fifth starter or reliever in the NL and have some trade value if packaged together with nady.

    i realize some of these guys may be useful to us like Albadejo, Aceves, Coke, Sanchez and Geise but we already have a full yankee bullpen adding two more guys to Mo, Marte, Edwar, veras and bruney. Add on Aceves as the fifth starter and albadejo and Geise in the pen and use cox, melancon and robertson as backups when ready and we still have about eight expendable pitchers who could be used in a trade and clear spots on the 40 man. Some of these guys have no place on the yankee club and we could use their value to acquire a fourth starter now instead of letting them waste away in triple A. What do you guys think?

  20. Abe says:

    Wow. They got rid of jdubz – happy to see that – gonna miss his yankee lineup and rotation for 2009…


    • jsbrendog says:

      i didnt even see a post from him. oh well, now we’re all safe from scorn in our mother’s basements hugging our spreadsheets

    • Abe says:

      Just a thought: it would be amazing if this could actually work in real life – there is just this really annoying co – worker or friend and all it takes to shut him up is getting rid of him like RAB just did to jdubz. This would be the single greatest thing if we could do it in real life. No more Joba to the pen talk from anyone!

    • A.D. says:

      What I found crazy is why he kept doing it, some people constantly post crazy trade ideas because they want other posters to respond with their thoughts.

      Posting the exact yankee line-up as it stands now, but with Manny instead of Matsui, is going to get either “don’t you mean matsui”, “or totally that line-up would mash”

  21. DreDog says:

    This has Kenny Williams all over it.
    KW does not let Cuban talent sign elswhere.

  22. Dave says:


    You guys dont have any stats on these two that you can post up? It would be nice to have a little more info on how good they actually were. Hard to make a decision on whether or not i think we should sign them without ever seeing them, looking at their stats or reading about their stuff. But even with the numbers on hand, they are still difficult to interpet.

  23. Manimal says:


    Yankees couldnt do this? He is a great bench player and for 1 million dollers why not? I think he is able to start in center.

    • DreDog says:

      I think the Yanks are minding the 40-man roster. We had the most players drafted in the Rule 5 draft. I am sure if we dropped someone they would be picked up somewhere. I would rather lose someone on the 40-man roster for someone better than Kapler. No knock on Kapler though.

      Didn’t a coupld of the BoSux players that made room for Smoltz, Penny, and Saito get picked up?

    • A.D. says:

      He may have not wanted NY for all we know.. though TB is really stocking OF:


      Though I suppose they have lost Hinske, Baldelli, Floyd & Gomes since last year, so break even

  24. CJ says:

    gaudy, not gawdy

  25. Jay CT says:

    Not to go off subject, but FanGraphs has dollar values for pitchers now. Sabathia is huge, and my boy Sheets is worth signing. I was really suprised to see Derek Lowe’s value also. I don’t know what the hold up is on signing these guys

  26. Don Mack says:

    Dave wrote: “We should package nady along with aceves, geise or any other “starters” who are capable of pitching in the majors together and trade them for one decent fourth starter. Harang may be worth more than this package but the reds need starters and righty power desperately and harang is coming off a bad season so his value is down. And it doesnt have to be harang – we can just trade 2 or 3 of marginal AL starters who would pitch well in the National league as fourth or fifth starters or pen help and nady for one pitcher who will fill the last starter spot. I dont see why cash is hording all of these mediocre starters who are just taking up space at this point. Why not use them to get something of value that WE actually need?”
    I’d rather package Nady with some other pitcher like Giese (but not Aceves) for a top prospect like Homer Bailey from Cincy. I like the fact that Cashman has been “collecting” pitching prospects because I’d say we’ll need we’ll need about 8 or 9 starters this season. We have C.C., A.J., Wang for #1 thru #3 but then because of an innings limit, I would count Joba and Hughes as our #4 pitchers. So we’ll need a 5th starter not named Pettitte or Harang. We would then have our choice of using Aceves, Coke, Bailey (if we get him) and anyone else who is looking good at Triple A as our 5th starter. Even if they pitched .500 ball, that’s a lot cheaper than what Pettitte gave us last season.

    Then I’d see who offers us the best deal for Swisher and with the savings, sign Manny Ramirez. We have a lot of good pitching prospects down on the farm and I expect to see Melancon in our bullpen this season. Let’s see who pans out and then package some of the others.

  27. Mike Pop says:

    This guy serious?

  28. Whozat says:

    Yep. And pretty sure he’s been warned multiple times now, and that ben threatened to use the ban hammer.

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