A look at trade deadlines past: 2007

Yanks lose low scoring affair to ChiSox
Trade Deadline Open Thread: Friday

The final stop in our trade deadline series will be 2007. I mean, we all remember 2008, right? You can find 2005 here and 2006 here.

Lay of the land

At 9-14, the Yankees sat last in the AL East on April 30, 2007. Even then, it took a couple of A-Rod walk-offs to even keep them at that level. They recovered, but then fell back off, again finding themselves in the cellar, tied with the Devil Rays at 22-29. Meanhwile, Boston has the best record in baseball. By July 15 they’d hit some kind of stride, creeping into second place but still 8.5 games behind the first-place Red Sox.

At this point the offense was starting to come around. Johnny Damon had somewhat recovered from his putrid start, which included leg cramps and a reported desire to walk away from the game. Robinson Cano had bounced back after a slow April. Bobby Abreu returned to form after a May which was so bad that some wanted to trade him for Jermaine Dye, who was hitting equally poorly.

Then, of course, were Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada, who were both tearing the cover off the ball. Melky Cabrera had heated up after a slow start. Hideki Matsui and Derek Jeter were both hitting to their expectations. Only two real holes remained on the offense, and they were Jason Giambi, who was out with plantar fasciitis and a partial tear of his plantar fascia, and Doug Mientkiewicz, who after kind of turning it on was out as a result of a Mike Lowell elbow.

The rotation looked the best it had in years, though that’s not saying a lot. Chien-Ming Wang was having another standout year, Andy Pettitte was contributing quality innings for the first time since 2003, and even Mike Mussina had recovered after a shaky start (though we know how that story ended). Roger Clemens was in the rotation and pitching okay. The bullpen is what needed some serious help.

Things were just starting to get good. The Yanks had propped themselves up by mid-July, and after the All-Star Break they went on a tear.

Cashman’s moves

There were plenty of Yankees rumors leading up to the deadline, mostly focusing on acquiring Eric Gagne. It seemed like they were close with the Rangers, but it just didn’t work out. The Red Sox jumped in and got him. That was the big name. There were other little ones.

In an attempt to find someone, anyone who could pitch a scoreless inning, Cashman took a few shots in the dark. First was Runelvys Hernandez, though that experiment ended on July 7. He picked up Scott Williamson, who hadn’t pitched well since 2004. That was it on the bullpen front, though. Neither worked out, obviously.

There were a couple moves of note, though. Sick of watching Wil Nieves, the Yankees dished Jeff Kennard for Jose Molina. Then, in a surprise move which left the bullpen even weaker and spelled the end of Torre-favorite Miguel Cairo, Cashman traded Scott Proctor for Wilson Betemit.

That was it. Nothing major, just a few moves to the team going forward. This was a bit strange, because the Yankees were looking for relief help and so many relievers changed teams before the deadline. In addition to Gagne, Scott Linebrink, Dan Wheeler, Ron Mahay, Octavio Dotel, and Wil Ledezma all found new homes. The Yanks had someone better than all them, though.

How it all worked out

In early August, the Yankees decided to do something a bit unorthodox. They announced they’d take a look at first-year pro Joba Chamberlain as a reliever. The idea was that someone with Joba’s electric stuff could make a difference in the bullpen. They were right, and Joba served as the bridge to Mo over the last two months of the season. It was better than any deadline acquisition they could have made.

(Especially Gagne, who famously tanked.)

Yet even with a mostly quiet deadline, the Yankees picked up steam. Phil Hughes came back after tearing his hamstring amid a no-hitter and then rolling his ankle during rehab, pitching serviceably the rest of the way. The offense started hitting — including Jason Giambi, who came back in early August.

Despite their torrid start, the Red Sox cooled off, and found their lead as little as 1.5 games on September 23, with seven games left. They’d end up winning it, but the Yanks took the wild card with relative ease, The Yanks had almost come all the way back, by doing almost nothing.

The pickings were seemingly slim in 2007. The Yanks definitely could have used Mark Teixeira, but there was no way they could match the Braves’ package without giving up Phil Hughes, and in 2007 that was off the table (partly because he was untouchable, partly because hew as injured at the deadline). Even then, that was one helluva trade, and I’m not sure the Yanks could have matched it anyway.

It was all going so well, and they would have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for those meddling midges.

In the three years we’ve examined, the Yankees have made one big move, the 2006 trade for Bobby Abreu. Other than that they’ve gone with a series of lesser moves in hopes of shoring up a few weaknesses. I expect much of the same this year. Maybe they get a pitcher today, but I wouldn’t bet on it. The Yanks look good now, their flaws no greater than those of other teams.

Yanks lose low scoring affair to ChiSox
Trade Deadline Open Thread: Friday
  • V

    Agreed. They have fewer flaws than any Yankees team of the past half-decade. I don’t think there’s a single player available that would be worth the price at this point. Halladay for Hughes+3 prospects? Pass.

    • Bo

      Agreed. Just not Cashmans MO. If he didnt give up Hughes for Santana I cannot see him doing it for an older Halladay especially with how important Hughes is to the present team.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Yeah, especially since all indications are that Riccardi is actually pricing Halladay HIGHER than Smith priced Santana, which is kinda crazy when you think about it.

  • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

    Althought it wasn’t at the trade deadline you can say the Roger Clemens signing was their biggest move of the year. He wasnt great but he stabilized the rotation.

  • JRVJ

    What surprises me th most is that there isn’t a team out there DESPERATE to shed payroll, like the Phillies in 2006 with Abreu.

    Going into this year, I was convinced that the Yankees would end up with one or two Abreu-like deals by the trading deadline, and that hasn’t happened (yet).

    Yes, I know Yankee ownership supposedly doesn’t want to raise payroll, but come on. It’s pretty likely that the Yankees will need another starter next year, because CMW is out and Pettitte will probably not be back. Why not take on a couple million worth of salary this year if that means not having to go to free agent market, which won’t have that much of note this year?

    (And the Yankees will be shedding a good chunk of money after this season. Depending on how you do the math, the Yanks may shed all the way up to $40+MM this year, if they let Damon, Matsui, Pettitte, Molina, Nady and CMW go – though admittedly, I think it will be more along the lines of $15 to $20MM, since Molina’ll probably be back, Pettitte and/or CMW has to be replaced and I would hope Damon is back on a cheaper deal).

    • V

      I actually am VERY surprised they haven’t taken any payroll eating deals. Agreed.

    • Rob H.

      why would the yankees bring Molina back when the team has Cervelli who can serve the same purpose for the league minimum?

      But I agree with you overall about how there really hasn’t been a team that has come out and said “someone please take this salary for pennies worth of prospects”, especially with how the economy is right now.

    • http://deleted RollingWave

      sure there are, it’s called Vernon Wells.

      except that his is so massively putrid that that he’s doing so badly that there isn’t any chance you would take them unless they throw in Halladay + Lind + Romero (that isn’t a real exaggeration)

      • Bo

        No team comes out to its fan base and says they want to do that. This isn’t the NBA.

        Wouldnt shock me if they got Halladay because they took Wells or Rios off their hands and kept all their high value prospects.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          It would shock me. Cashman and the Yankee FO is too smart to take on the Wells or Rios contracts. Those deals would A) hamstring us seriously going forward and B) relieve a massive financial albatross from Toronto, allowing them to reinvest that money more smartly and thus, improve.

          I’d rather trade good prospects for Halladay than trade bad prospects for Halladay plus the Wells/Rios contractual traveshamockeries.

  • Russell NY

    Hey Joe/Mike/whoever – do you guys really think the Yankees are penny-pinching? I saw yesterday they asked a team to pay for $650,000 of some guys salary. Have the Yankees really felt the wrath of the economy to the point where they have no money to spend this trade deadline?

    • Rich M

      Joel Sherman says there might not be funds available for Cashman to make a trade.


      • Bo

        Come on people. its negotiations. why would the yanks come out and say any different? they dont want other teams figuring out their plans or giving trading partners info. relax. dont believe anything u hear this time of yr

        • Russell NY

          Exactly… Im not saying I believe any of it. Just wondering what other people thought.

  • http://deleted RollingWave

    I hazard a guess that they’ll end up finding something and get the deal done for Washburn, it would probably look along the lines of something like Kei Igawa or Sergio Mitre + Ian Kennedy + Kevin Russo or Ramiro Pena + a lower level pitcher.

    You’d think it be hilarious for them to take Igawa or Mitre or even Kennedy in any part of a deal for Washburn, but Seattle’s home field surpress HRs (espically to right handers) and their OF defense is spetacular. contact guys with modest or good control have a serious chance of doing well there. the lower level pitcher might be a guy with at least modest upsides or more (see David Phelps or Manny Banuelos )

    Taking Igawa also basically negates the difference in salary so it be easier for the Yanks to give in to an extra prospect.

    • Jeremy

      But Washburn has real value this season and the Mariners are buyers. They would not give away Washburn for a group of players who have had zero ML success and who have limited to no ceiling.

      • Russell NY

        I can understand that but this is a 2 month rental for a team that is going to lose him after this year anyway. You can’t give up an A-level prospect from him just because he is having one good year.

      • http://deleted RollingWave

        I think this is a false assumption of the Snell / Wilson deal, they’re realistically just down on Clement enough to move him, and the rest of the peice aren’t part of the future, where as Ian Snell if they can put him back together could easily do a Oliver Perez 06/07 impression going foward. and while Jack Wilson isn’t the most impressive guy ever, he’s a huge upgrade simply by not being in the negative territory like Yuniesky Betancourt was (he has a option next year)

        The Mariners realize that at least a good part of Washburn’s success this year is the awesomeness of their outfield. and competent GMs around the league knows too. so unless someone cave in and pull a Sabean / Bavasi, a reasonablly interesting package with quantity and some upsides could at least potentially get it done.

        • Rob H.

          add on to that, that the M’s want to re-sign Washburn in the offseason so he doesn’t go anywhere, the price will be higher than if they were just going to let him walk at the end of the year. Actually saying he is going to be a priority to be re-signed makes it tougher to get a trade done unless they get some actual value back.

  • batman

    tell me if im crazy-that being said
    trade for chad qualls- not sure what would get him maybe miranda + a random minor leager reliever

    then we can stretch phil franchise out to around 4 innings or so, then when Joba is coming up to his innings limit we throw Joba out for the first 3-4 then phil for 3-4, getting them both valuable mlb experience and also getting mlb value out of them.

    then october we could either stretch one out alittle bit, probably phil he has less innings, or put them in the pen and play 6 inning games.

    • http://twitter.com/themanchine Bruno

      Reports are Qualls isn’t being moved.

  • Tom Zig

    Didn’t Texas ask for Joba if we wanted to trade for Gagne? and yet the Sox traded hardly anything for him.

    • http://deleted RollingWave

      ehh, David Murphy’s been a very good 4th OF for them, and Engel Beltre is still just 19 (he’s sucking, but you cna’t write off a 19 year old sucking in A+ )

      • Bo

        Supposedly they asked for Melky n Kennedy.

      • Tom Zig

        So they took a Melky and a guy really far away from the majors. But they demanded one of the best pitching prospects in baseball at the time from us. Why are other teams such cock blockers to cashman?

        • http://deleted RollingWave

          They also took Kason Gabbard but that’s not the point. basically, yeah. teams seem to put a huge premium when dealing with the Yankees, except maybe the Pirates.

  • Bo

    Tough to compare ’09 to past years for two reasons.

    One this team is better and more complete and actually has good starting pitchers. And more importantly the farm system is better and deeper.

  • Jake H

    It does seem as if Cash only makes small moves. He has kept the farm in good standings.

  • Chip

    I know this is completely off topic but go check out noMaas, they’ve outdone themselves

    • Willy Wonka

      It was fantastic.

  • Mike bk

    maybe this is off topic but does Heyman actually do any reporting any more or does he just feel the need to say something every so often whether it is real or not. yesterday he was claiming seattle asked for Joba or Phil and other reporters shot that down and now this morning he decides, well if they didnt ask for those two they must have asked for Jesus.

    • Mike Pop

      I think alot of writers hear something and then bs on it a little.

      I mean, I hate when people say “a scout tells me, Joba is a thrower not a pitcher”.

      I find things like that funny cause it seems like Jayson Stark bs’s alot.

  • zs190

    Slightly off topic, but will we have a trade deadline open thread today? I want to talk this year’s deadline but don’t want to go off topic…

    • Reggie C.

      Rest assured Zs, the RAB guys will give us the open thread pretty soon. Rumors hopefully start picking up by mid-day.

      I wouldn’t have opposed a trade for Teixeria back in ’07 as it would’ve relegated Giambi to DH, and Teix’s salary wouldn’t have blown the salary structure. We would’ve definitely lost Hughes and possibly Cano in that deal.

      • Mike Pop

        Well, i’m glad they didn’t.

  • E-ROC

    Jose Molina for Jeff Kennard is another smart move by Cashman that goes not noticed by many.