Mar
25

Melky on the block

By

Ken Rosenthal this afternoon reported on a development that isn’t much of a development: The Yankees are willing to move Melky Cabrera. According to Ken, the Yanks feel that Melky is a more attractive trade target than Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady and could be targeting the White Sox.

I can certainly see why the Yanks would want to trade Melky. He’s out of options, and the Yankees like Brett Gardner for his speed and on-base prowess more than they like Melky right now. By trading the youngster, the Yanks would also enjoy more flexibility for their bench while clearing up the Gardner/Damon/Cabrera/Swisher/Nady logjam. With Austin Jackson’s arrival in the Bronx looming, Melky is sliding toward superfluity, and this move could be a classic example of trading from your strengths.

At the same time, it’s tough to give up on a 24-year-old who has shown in the past that he can hit Major League pitching. He hit .280/.361/.391 during his age 21 season but has regressed in the two years since then. During Grapefruit League play this year, he is at .295/.392/.409. He’s also cost-controlled for the next four years.

In the end, though, what you see is what you get with Melky. He was never an elite hitting prospect and could be a stater on the White Sox, as Rosenthal speculates, but could be a fourth outfielder on many teams including the Yanks. We’ll see what comes of this.

116 Comments»

  1. Angel says:

    Yeah, but Melky for what???????

  2. Paulie says:

    Unless they could get a great return for trading Melky, I would not do it because I can just see Melky on another team becoming the player the Yankees thought he would be.

    • Ben K. says:

      That’s one of my points. He already is the player the Yankees thought he would be. He never projected to be a star Major Leaguer, and the Yankees certainly have known that the whole time.

      I think you are worried about his becoming the player the fans thought he might be. Those projections don’t really line up though.

  3. E-ROC says:

    Melky Cabrera for Ozzie Guillen. Its official like a referee whistle.

  4. Ryan says:

    I’d say ship him. He looked so overmatched at the plate toward the end of last year, it didn’t seem like he should’ve even been in the majors. Plus, trading Cano’s partying buddy might be good for keeping our second baseman focused. Like Angel, I’m curious what they would get in return.

    • jsbrendog says:

      Plus, trading Cano’s partying buddy might be good for keeping our second baseman focused.

      this is the lamest line of thinking ever.

      • Ryan says:

        How do you figure? There have been callers into WFAN discussing seeing Melky and Cano partying hard the night before a game. This is all fine if you’re getting it done on the field, but Cano and Melky had terrible 2008s.

        You don’t think two early 20 year olds can be bad influences on each other?

  5. teix is the man says:

    gavin floyd and taylor flowers or no deal!

  6. UNION YES. says:

    Fields or Dayan aren’t going anywhere.

  7. jsbrendog says:

    but seriously, what can you get back? a cost controlled middling infielder?

  8. Moshe Mandel says:

    I dont get the point about the logjam. There is no logjam that includes Cabrera- why would you ever give him AB’s over Swisher? It is only a logjam if he provides value that is on par with the other players in the group. Otherwise, he just wont play. There are reasons to trade Melky, which you allude to, but this is not one of them.

    • Yankeegirl49 says:

      I agree, just because there are bodies, it doesnt mean they should be out there. IMO Melky is no longer the #4 OF, he is the #5. If they can get something half way decent then move him. If he has success elsewhere, so be it.

      • whozat says:

        Yah…a more reliable fill-in for ARod would be nice. Even if you throw in an arm like Kontos or Hacker. If they could turn some pieces like that into league-average production at 3B for the month of April, that could be worth it.

        I dunno that the ChiSox HAVE that player, though :-)

    • andrew says:

      There is no logjam that includes Cabrera- why would you ever give him AB’s over Swisher?
      Well, that’s pretty much the point, he would never get AB’s over Swish, and if he’s not getting AB’s over Swish, and he’s not getting AB’s over Melky, and Swish is our #1 hitter off the bench, then Melky provides basically no role other than possibly being a late inning defensive replacement in RF. I think it would be ideal if our bench players filled roles besides “late inning right field defensive replacement.”
      It’s a logjam in the sense that, if he’s on the 25 man roster, chances are he isn’t going to go 162 games this year playing 0 innings. He’s going to be out there on the field this year at some point, but bringing nothing to the table that the Yankees don’t already have.

      • andrew says:

        and he’s not getting AB’s over Melky Gardner

      • Moshe Mandel says:

        Agreed. My point was just that the reason for him not to be on the team is because he has no role, not because he is in some sort of logjam for playing time. If you read the article, Rosenthal says the move would make sense to get Swish more AB;s, and my point was that Cabrera wont be taking AB’s from Swish. He is going to pinch run for Posada and Matsui in late inning spots, or play CF in Gardner gets PH for, and maybe he will play CF every so often if they feel the need to give Gardner a rest. Nothing is at the expense of Swisher.

        • andrew says:

          Agreed on basically everything you said except that last part.
          Although we’ve heard Swisher doesn’t like to play centerfield and that is one of the reasons why he had a rough year last year, I’d rather see Swish than Melky back up Gardner and get 10 games in CF, and maybe that is what Rosenthal was referring to. If Melky is #2 on the CF depth chart and Swisher is #3, those 10 games that Gardner rests could be 35 PA’s for Swish instead of Melky. It’s not much, but it all adds up. And you’re right, I wouldn’t call it a “logjam” over 10 games either.

  9. E-ROC says:

    If Melky is traded, who would take his roster spot?

  10. UNION YES. says:

    Bring back Jeff Marquez

  11. K.B.D. says:

    Melky for Carlos Quentin and Gordon Beckham.

  12. kSturnz says:

    i was going to say chris Getz, but he is going to start for them and rightly so, and he probably has more value than melk… chisox have a pretty decent team btw

    melk+pena for Lillibridge+?

    that won’t fly either… the highest upside talent in the lowest levels of the minors. done. but seriously, melky could still supply 100ops+. if we traded him it would be for far from nothing.

  13. Stanton Social says:

    Bottom line, better to do it now then next year. Contingent on Ajax coming up, melancon, and a plethora of others who will need 40 man spots during this season and next off-season for Rule 5 protection, Melky was toast.

    For that, he should be traded when it doesnt scream dump for nothing, which it would be at the end of next season. If it’s not going to be a fill in for Arod, I hope they get a raw but somewhat high upside low A or Rookie league type guy. That is all.

  14. radnom says:

    White Sox need a CF and a 5th starter.

    Like, need a centerfielder to the point where Melky would be a significant upgrade.

    Has the time finally arrived for the long fabled Melky + IPK trade?!?!?!?

  15. kSturnz says:

    league average CF for a CF prospect with upside and above average tools, John Shelby(AA?). I bet Chicago would do it.

  16. GG says:

    Not before the season starts, Gardners got the legs and all, but if he’s hitting .180 with a considerable sample size, you need Melky. I’m a big Grit Gritner fan and I hope he can become a legit major leaguer, maybe even force AJax to a corner.

    • Kevin says:

      quite right

    • Bill says:

      Not really. If Gardner struggles we’ll sacrifice some defense and put Damon in CF with Swisher and Nady manning the corners.

      Then if we need a real CF I’m sure the Brewers would have no problem parting with Mike Cameron.

      There’s also a possibility that Jackson could be in the mix as early as midseason.

      If we can get something of value for Melky we should trade him. Even if Gardner struggles, is Melky really much if at all better than him?

  17. Yankeegirl49 says:

    I just hope we dont end up having this same conversation in 2 or 3 years about Ajax. I know he has much better projections, but as someone who has been watching baseball forever I have seen too many “cant miss” prospects miss.

    • dkidd says:

      steve balboni says hello

      • Yankeegirl49 says:

        LOL, I have a pic of him from the Staten Island Yanks OT day this past summer. He signed a ball for me and I was thinking after he handed it to me “if you were half the player you were supposed to be, I’d be able to afford season tickets”

      • Chris C. says:

        As do Ruben Rivera, Jackson Melian, Gerald Williams, Roberto Kelly, Russ Davis, Eric Duncan, Brandon Claussen, Brien Taylor, and a slew of others who were supposed to carry the pinstiped torch.

        The Yankees vaunted bullpen is currently filled with players who were never on anyone’s “can’t miss prospect” list. And that includes Mariano Rivera.

    • GG says:

      I don’t think people even consider AJax can’t miss yet. If they did, he’d probablly be headed towards the bigs this year. Hes got can’t miss athleticism, but we all know he is still learning how to play baseball.

      • Chris C. says:

        “If they did, he’d probablly be headed towards the bigs this year. Hes got can’t miss athleticism, but we all know he is still learning how to play baseball.”

        “Learning how to play baseball” is a huge red flag. How can anyone get to the level Jasckson is at, and not know how to play baseball? What, after hitting the ball, he kept running to third base?

        That quote, which has been attributed to describing Jackson about 10 times by now, is code for “tremendously talented, but not too bright and lacks baseball instincts”.

        • Bill says:

          I think you’re taking that way too literally. More than any other sport there are a lot of in’s and out’s to baseball that can take years and years of professional training for even the smartest of players to “learn.”

          The quote “learning how to play baseball” simply means that he needs more time to develop in the minors. He has all the basics down. He can hit, he can run, and he can play defense well. The things he is learning to do is to maximize his abilities (develop his power) and make adjustments when needed. These are no small tasks and are certainly not easy to learn how to do.

  18. dkidd says:

    i know were not supposed to reference the tabloids, but lupica is comparing gardner’s grit and heart to pedroia

    and i was starting to like gardner…

  19. The Yankees are willing to move Melky Cabrera.

    In a related story, I am willing to have a threeway with Esther Baxter and Salma Hayek.

  20. With Austin Jackson’s arrival in the Bronx looming, Melky is sliding toward superfluity…

    Nice job with the 50-cent words, Ben.

  21. Rich says:

    The most disappointing thing about Melky is how his ISO D declined after a promising start in his first full season:

    2006: .080

    2007: .054

    2008: .052

    Combine that with < .400 SLG, and it’s hard to think he has as much upside as I once thought he did.

    • whozat says:

      Yeah, the IsoD in his first season is really what gave me such high hopes for him in the first place. I figured a guy who can play a good CF with that kind of plate discipline would be a good bet to have a solid OBP year in and year out. But then…well, we all saw what happened then.

  22. DCR says:

    I wish the Yankees would play Swisher in CF.

  23. Matt L says:

    I was wondering what happens to Jackson if Gardner is a legit everyday CF, like I believe he can be? Does Jackson play a corner OF position while Gardner stays in CF? Does Gardner slide over to a corner spot while Jackson takes CF? Or does Jackson take over CF and put Gardner on the bench?

    • andrew says:

      I imagine we’d see an outfield of (from left to right) Gardner, Jackson and Swish.
      And this also is under the assumption that not only does Gardner become a legit CF like you believe he can be, but that Jackson becomes one as well.

      • anonymous says:

        If Gardner hit enough to deserve a corner spot next year yeh him and his arm get sent to LF. Jax gets CF.

      • Chris C. says:

        “I imagine we’d see an outfield of (from left to right) Gardner, Jackson and Swish. And this also is under the assumption that not only does Gardner become a legit CF like you believe he can be, but that Jackson becomes one as well.”

        In that scenario, why would Gardner move?
        You’d take the faster guy, and put him in left??

    • DCR says:

      Why do you believe that Gardner is a legit CFer?

      • Jack says:

        He didn’t say he is, he said he believes he can be.

        • DCR says:

          The question still stands.

          • Jack says:

            Outstanding defense and a history of high OBP skills?

            • DCR says:

              Those OBP skills are going to disappear once pitchers realize they can blow a fastball by him. IIRC, Gardner isn’t a stud defender either. He has a suspect arm and his legs let him get away with taking poor routes to balls.

              • anonymous says:

                Ive always heard Gardner takes good routes.

              • Chris C. says:

                “Those OBP skills are going to disappear once pitchers realize they can blow a fastball by him. IIRC, Gardner isn’t a stud defender either. He has a suspect arm and his legs let him get away with taking poor routes to balls.”

                This is complete bullshit. But thanks for the effort.

          • Matt L says:

            Defensively I don’t think there is any doubt that he can be well above average. Offensively I think that he can steal 40+ bases, which is a dimension that the Yanks haven’t seen in a really long time. And while some question his ability to get on base, I think that he has shown throughout the progression of his career that it takes him time to adjust at new levels, but he eventually does very well. If he can manage to hit .280 with a .350 OBP I think he is a legit CF, and given his tools (gap power, blazing speed, and good pitch recognition) I don’t see why he can’t.

            • whozat says:

              Actually, there is. I’ve noticed him taking poor routes to balls sometimes, and there were scouting reports on him coming into this spring that said this.

              It’s not a foregone conclusion that he will be a plus defender.

              Also…you can’t steal first. If he’s not getting on base at a .330 clip at the ABSOLUTE minimum, he will not be an adequate offensive player.

              If he can manage to hit .280 with a .350 OBP, he will absolutely be a legit starting CFer…but there IS reason to doubt that this can happen. He does NOT have good contact rates. He does NOT have gap power. He has speed, and he took a lot of walks in the minors. He also struck out, a lot.

              • DCR says:

                Boomshakalaka

              • Dave says:

                His minor league stats say he is a plus defender. No Maas has them. “Takes bad routes” is scout speak garbage that fans like to repeat when they don’t know what they are talking about.

                If Gardner truly changed his a swing to where he drives the ball instead of slapping at it like a Japanese WBC player, than you can throw out his batting stats from the minors. You judge him by what he does against major league pitching in 2009. If pitchers throw him fastballs and he turns them into doubles(by stealing) and triples(with his legs) then you’ll see them back off and he’ll walk a lot like Bret Butler.

                I know it’s a shock to you stat guys, but some players get better once they hit the majors with better coaching.

                • DCR says:

                  Yes, its a real shock to us stat guys who temper our excitement about a non-prospect whose having a hot spring.

                • Jack says:

                  1. He may not have a very high upside, but he’s most definitely a prospect.

                  2. There’s a difference between tempering excitement and completely writing off a guy, which it seems like you’re doing.

                • Chris C. says:

                  “Yes, its a real shock to us stat guys who temper our excitement about a non-prospect whose having a hot spring.”

                  Gardner is a non-prospect?
                  So in other words, if the Yankees put Brett Gardner on the trade market, they’d garner no interest?

                  If you bet your car on that, you’d be cabbing it up all year.

                • Chris C. says:

                  “temper our excitement about a non-prospect whose having a hot spring.”

                  So if someone came along and called him a “hot prospect”, you’d be wetting your pants?
                  You get that hung up on symantics? I got news for you, champ……scouts don’t really know what 98% of the players in the minors will do when given a shot at the bigs. And the other 2% is strictly based on projections due to hype and skill level.

              • Chris C. says:

                “Actually, there is. I’ve noticed him taking poor routes to balls sometimes, and there were scouting reports on him coming into this spring that said this.”

                If that was a characteristic that hurt his ability to play the position, then his range numbers wouldn’t be so stellar.

                I don’t care if he runs around monument park before catching the ball. He still gets to balls that most others don’t.
                And what is all this crap about his arm?? He doesn’t throw like Cabrera, but he’s not even close to being Damon either.

              • Chris C. says:

                “If he can manage to hit .280 with a .350 OBP, he will absolutely be a legit starting CFer…but there IS reason to doubt that this can happen.”

                Well…..there is reason to doubt whether ANYONE who’s yet to play a full major league season can do that.

                “He does NOT have good contact rates.”

                Last spring, this spring, and once he got his feet wet last season in the majors (August to October), I had no problem with his contact rates, so I have no idea what the heck you’re talking about.

                “He does NOT have gap power.”

                The guy got a triple the other night on a ball that rolled about 7 feet from Jacoby Ellsbury. Then scored on a routine grounder to a drawn in infield. The fuck I care about his gap power!

                “He has speed, and he took a lot of walks in the minors. He also struck out, a lot.”

                Dude, players can cut down on strike-out totals. But you can’t teach someone speed, and it’s very difficult to teach patience at the plate as well. Gardner can only get better.

      • Chris C. says:

        “Why do you believe that Gardner is a legit CFer?”

        Why do you believe he isn’t?
        If he doesn’t well, then he may get benched. But he is indeed a legit centerfielder. I’ve seen enough of him out there to know that much!

    • Bill says:

      It depends what free agents are brought in. However its highly unlikely that either Garnder or Jackson would become a corner OF. Neither really has the bat for it.

      My guess is that there would be a competition for the CF spot. If Jackson wins Gardner goes to the bench as a great 4th OF/pinch runner and as good trade bait. If Gardner wins Jackson spends some more time in AAA to get everyday action and refine his skills so that he will be able to beat out Garnder one day.

  24. A.D. says:

    Melky for Getz? They get a nice slap hitting back-up infielder, though I don’t know Getz’s ability to play anything but 2B

    • Bill says:

      We won’t get Getz. Isn’t he slated to be their starting 2B this year? Even if he is not he is a better prospect than Melky is.

      My guess is we’ll be looking at lower level guys. In the White Sox system that could mean guys like Eduardo Escobar SS or if we’re lucky maybe even someone like John Shelby OF. However both of those guys are top 10 prospects for the White Sox, so either of those guys may be pushing our luck.

  25. whitey says:

    Grit can get it done

  26. josh says:

    do you think it was a mistake to trade for nady in hindsite. would you trade nady back for tabata right now if you could?

    • Bill says:

      Maybe, but only if I could trade Tabata for something else better. I think we definitely made the right call getting rid of Tabata this guy has talent but is a total headcase.

      Tabata also really needed a change of scenary. The guy couldn’t handle the pressure of Trenton (walking out on his team, almost quitting) what would happen if we brought him up to play for the Yankees? Pittsburg is the perfect place for him. I definitely think he can succeed in that system, but I wouldn’t be very confident in his ability to make it with the Yankees.

  27. Kulish says:

    Someone had a good idea at nomaas. Melky to ChiSox for Betemit.

  28. [...] can hardly come as a surprise. After all, the Yankees, as Ken Rosenthal reported, would be willing to trade Melky Cabrera at this point. That kind of news doesn’t leak out five days before you name the trade [...]

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