It’s almost too quiet out there

Jews for Jesus (Montero)
Keeping up in the arms race

During my wanderings around Baseball Reference Wednesday afternoon, I found myself on the page for the 2003 Yankees. As I read over the team roster, I was surprised at the number of moves the team made in June. To gear up for their epic postseason series against the Red Sox, Brian Cashman was a trading fiend.

The party really started in early June when the Yankees traded March Thames to the Rangers for Ruben Sierra. A few weeks later, they added Karim Garcia and Dan Miceli. Armando Benitez made his way from Queens to the Bronx in mid-July, and Jesse Orosco joined him six days later.

As the deadline neared, the pace picked up. Dan Miceli was out on July 29 and so was Raul Mondesi. In were Dave Dellucci and Bret Prinz. On the 31st, Brian Cashman landed himself Aaron Boone, Bubba Crosby, Scott Proctor and Gabe White. He wasn’t yet done though.

As the waiver deadline didn’t arrive until the end of August, Cashman kept working. Benitez, thankfully, was gone by August 6, and the Yanks netted themselves Jeff Nelson in return. On August 25, the Yanks received Felix Heredia off of waivers from the Reds, and they traded Jesse Orosco six days later. And then, Cashman was spent.

Six years later, we find ourselves once again on the brink of the trade deadline, and while the rumors are swirling, the Yankees have added, well, just Eric Hinske. All is quiet on the Yankee front. While the Red Sox were adding Adam LaRoche and Chris Duncan — good luck with them — the Yankees warrant nary a word in Ken Rosenthal’s latest.

This below-the-radar turn for the Yanks is rare. Generally, the Yankees are in on everyone and make a deadline splash. This year, though, the holes are less obvious. They could use a starter — we’ll tackle that question in the morning — and they could use a bullpen arm. If the right outfielder were available for the right price, the Yanks would probably be mentioned there too. They have, for what it’s worth, been scouting Oakland, but they’re also about to begin a four-game set against Matt Holliday and the A’s. I wouldn’t read too much into that.

A few days ago, Brian Cashman, while staying a bit coy, expressed his pleasure with the state of the Yankees. “I’m very comfortable with the decision we made back with the Santana situation,” he said to Tyler Kepner. “Right now, we’ve got Sabathia where the Santana money is, I’ve got a center fielder in Melky, I’ve got Phil Hughes performing for us, and I’ve got Swisher in right, which Jeffrey Marquez was in the deal to help me get.”

In other words, Cashman isn’t about to sell the farm and pay out of the ear for another pitcher. Roy Halladay won’t be arriving in New York.

Cashman also noted that the July 31st deadline is largely a pointless one. “The waiver stuff is not going to prevent deals in August,” the Yanks’ GM said to Kepner. “Guys are going to get through because people will be afraid to claim and get stuck with the money they can’t afford. The July 31 deadline is more of a fictitious one now, anyway. It’s not like it was when Steve Phillips and I were going haywire, taking everybody off the wire. Those days are dead and buried, because no one can live with a mistake like they used to. The economy’s changed, and it’s affected everybody.”

There will be no more Jose Canseco waiver grabs, but there could be some moves. So for now, the Yankees remain on the sidelines and silent, enjoying their two-game lead over Boston. But the deadline is still eight days away, and there’s much dealing to be done. It won’t stay this quiet forever.

Jews for Jesus (Montero)
Keeping up in the arms race
  • Little Bill

    Who is Karim Garcia?

    • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops
      • Nettles Hughes

        I think Little Bill was making a reference to a Pedro Martinez ESPN interview.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Yeah, but I thought CBLL’s response was appropriately humorous, too.

  • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    With the second best record in all of Major League Baseball, the Yankees don’t have to make any drastic moves.

    • Danny

      yup, a pitcher would be nice though. Not an ace like Roy and Lee but someone that can just be consistant. We still dont know what we are going to get from Mitre.

    • Little Bill

      Yeah, and Hinske was already brought in to solidify the bench. No moves are needed with the best lineup in baseball. The top 4 starting pitchers aren’t going anywhere and Mitre might be an adequate #5 so they might just go with what they have. I could see them adding a reliever because Bruney hasn’t been good since he came back. This is already one hell of a team.

      • Mike Axisa

        The top 4 starting pitchers aren’t going anywhere…

        There’s always injuries, though. That’s what worries me.

        • cookie monster

          definitely, i have no confidence in mitre. one more injury and this team could be in big trouble.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Yup. One more injury, and we either have to change our “no moving Hughes out of the bullpen” stance or pitch Kei Igawa.

            That’s right, you heard me.

            • Nickel

              But we have Josh Towers!

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      The Yankees don’t have to run around looking for deals (other than maybe some pitching depth) because this year’s team doesn’t have any big hole to fill, not because they have the second best record in MLB. On this date in ’03 the Yankees were in first by 2.5 games and had the third best record in MLB (best in AL), but like Ben wrote, they were very active in the market that summer.

      As the team approaches the trade deadline their goals/philosophy/strategy should be shaped by the needs of the team and the personnel at-hand and available on the market, not the standings.

  • Brooklyn Ed

    They have, for what it’s worth, been scouting Oakland

    acquiring Brad Ziegler would be nice.

    • Mike Axisa

      Nah, those submariners that don’t strike many guys out have a short shelf life. Lefties tattoo him and he’s not young.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I’d rather have Michael Wuertz. He may have the best put-away slider in the entire league.

        2.72 ERA, 2.10 FIP, 11.5 K/9, 2.53 BB/9, 0.58 HR/9, 1.26 WHIP.

  • Brian

    Karim Garcia….IETP

    Looking at the current bullpen is enough to see the wholesale change in the Yanks plans, and the treads of Cashman’s loafers. Hughes, Coke, Robertson, Melancon. Even Aceves is a farm grab. The last relievers of note that the Yanks acquired are Marte, Albaladejo, Chris Britton (ahem, strike that from the record), and Bruney three years ago. Count Mariano and 5 of our 7 relievers are draftees, with Aceves on top of that.

    Clearly the goal is to fill from within. And it feels good.

  • OmgZombies!

    The best move they can make is to put Hughes back in the rotation.

    • Adam

      ive been sayin it for weeks. relievers generally cost less prospects than starters, they always cost less payroll than starters. move hughes to the rotation, then get a decent back end bullpen guy, doesn’t have to be heath bell or anything a joe beimel type perhaps. But the key is patience with hughes. They need to give hughes time to settle in as a starter in the majors. he hasn’t really been able to do that because of injuries or stupid managerial moves like taking him out and replacing him with a guy with a 10 ERA. hughes always took a few starts to adjust to a new league then he was lights out.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I agree. But, to placate the “BUT OUR PEN IS TEH AWESOME!!!” group, I’m all for trading for another reliever so that Hughes’s spot isn’t given to a far less trustworthy option like Albaladejo or Claggett.

      • Bo

        Keep dreaming. They are not breaking up that strength now. Have you not been seeing how good they have been as a team since Hughes took over there???

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Bo, I specifically just said that I wouldn’t be “breaking up the strength.”

          I’m not talking about pulling Hughes from the pen and replacing him with nothing, I’m talking about trading for a Danys Baez or a Mike Wuertz to replace Hughes seamlessly so that we can put him in the rotation WITHOUT weakening the pen.

          Trade for a reliever and you kill two birds with one stone.

  • JGS

    During the World Series last year, they brought up an interesting stat–Joe Blanton became just the second pitcher in the last thirty-something years (since free agency, basically) to be traded mid-season and win a World Series game that year (and the first was Jeff Weaver in 2006).

    Translation: championship-caliber teams are not the ones missing a Roy Halladay or a Cliff Lee at the deadline, they are the ones missing a small piece to put them over the top

    • Salty Buggah

      That makes sense though I’m also sure that some is just coincidence. A team that looks like the best championship team in the regular season may not make it to the WS most of the time because the postseason is a crapshoot. And if some do make it and the recently acquired pitches (and doesn’t get the win), it becomes too small of a sample size.

  • Riddle

    I could see a Duchsherer & Zeigler package or something to that effect. With a series against the A’s, the Yanks could get a good look at some bullpen arms…

  • Manimal

    Some bullpen help would be nice, but not necessary.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Agreed. The Yanks really don’t need to make a move until or if Mitre does horrible. They can fix that problem internally with multiple options. If they use someone form the pen (Hughes/Aceves) then another quality bullpen pitcher would be nice.
      Other than that I don’t see why the Yankees need to make a move and they don’t especially need Lee/Halladay.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Especially when Marte comes back. If our pen is Mo-Hughes-Aceves-Coke-Robertson, then we can take those last two spots with Bruney and Marte and let them throw low-leverage innings all August and September long while they round into form.

        Of course, we’ll have to give them some medium and high leverage innings too… even if it blows up in our face a time or two. It’s worth it in the long run.

    • Little Bill

      They should see if they can get Jessie Orosco back because he pitched so well in 2003. What was he, 45 that year? So he could probably come out of retirement and be that one guy who puts this team over the hump. What a pickup Orosco was that year.

  • Angel

    Aroon Harang!

    • JobaWockeeZ

      That you Francesa?

  • Salty Buggah

    What could we get Duke for from the A’s? McAllister+?

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I don’t think the Yanks would have to give up that valuable a piece in exchange for Duchscherer, do you? The guy’s injured and the Yanks would be getting him for less than half a season.

      • Mike bk

        agreed. he is making 3.5 mil and is a FA after the year while not pitching in the bigs since last august. probably a lower value minor leaguer should get it done.

        • Johan Iz My Brohan

          what kind of package would you suggest?

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Zack Kroenke and Alan Horne.

      • Salty Buggah

        Oooh right. My bad I forgot he was a FA at the end of the year and kinda forgot about the injuries (I knew he was hurt but not so much as I found out in the article yesterday on RAN) too.

        So how about a guy like Angelini?

        • whozat

          I don’t know how much value he has…WDLR? Nova? Maybe Angelini/Lassiter + a fat Sanchez?

          • Salty Buggah

            If no McAllister, then no Nova either.

            • whozat

              Nova doesn’t have as much of a track record as ZMac, though, which makes me less confident in his probability.

              • Salty Buggah

                True but still. He’s always had the stuff but this year he is finally showing results so I think the Yanks will keep him. How about Venditte? Beane loves guys who are doubted but keep showing results and keep getting guys out. (I’m joking)

                How about a Russo or an Corona type?

    • Bo

      Why would anyone want him? Hes been hurt all season.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Because he’s about to not be hurt.

  • Dela G

    we are just a bullpen arm away

    i truly believe it

    • Johan Iz My Brohan

      Brett Tomko calling….


      • Dela G

        haha icwudt

    • Stryker

      well, marte IS coming back soon (we hope)….he’s been out for so long that it’s almost like acquiring a bullpen arm all over again. but yes, i do agree that another reliever in addition to marte would be ideal. it doesn’t even have to be a flashy big name reliever, either. someone like russ springer could fit in just fine while a revolving door of coke/bruney/marte (when he comes back) takes over the 8th and hughes can be stretched out and inserted into the rotation with no problem.

      i highly doubt it’d take much to snatch up springer, either. i know bum trade proposals are a joke most of the time, but maybe somebody like a george kontos could do the trick.

  • Tony
    • Salty Buggah

      I hope its not for Sherril. That would help the O’s future pitching even more.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Heh. The way you misread that made me laugh.

  • Jeffrey

    If I could pick any bullpen arms from the A’s to add to the Yankee bullpen it would be Andrew Bailey or Mike Wuertz. You could throw Craig Breslow in there too since he is pretty good. You want the low WHIP and ERA along with close to 1K/IP or more, less than .4 BB/IP, less than .7 H/IP, and they better come close to facing less than 4 batters per IP. Basically this kind of guy is on par or better than the current Yankee bullpen members as a whole and definitely better than Robertson, Bruney, and Melancon.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Agreed on all counts. Bailey > Wuertz > Breslow > Ziegler.

      Bailey’s not going to be available, though. You’d have to bowl Beane over to get him, and it’s not a good idea to ever bowl a team over for a reliever.

  • andrew

    its pretty simple, trade to get a set-up man like chad quallis, and move hughes into the rotation.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      The D-Backs have basically said they’ll need to get “blown away” to move Qualls.

      The three super-elite relievers mentioned this year, Valverde, Street, and Qualls are all probably off the market.

  • Moshe Mandel

    What about Tyler Clippard? Guy seems to have reinvented himself out of the bullpen. A reader at my blog pointed me towards his stats- small sample, but an ERA near 2, a WHIP under 1, and more than a K an inning. He was always a fave of mine, would love to take a shot on him.

    • whozat

      Can we send them Alby back for him?

    • Jersey

      I’ve seen Clippard pitch a couple times in person here in DC. He definitely has looked like a different pitcher, and he’s been money out of the pen in a very short time. He still sits at 90-91 with that fastball, but his location appears much improved.

      That said, it’s the NL and only nine games.

  • Jeffrey

    I don’t see Chris Duncan or Adam LaRoche really helping Boston that much, but I think the Yankees truly need the make a move that can put them over the top. The biggest thing they could do is acquire some extra pitching. One possibility could be Brian Bannister from the Royals. Another bat like Josh Willingham would simply be a luxury.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Willingham intrigues me. Always has.

      • A.D.

        Plays the corners and can be an emergency catcher, not bad.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          True, but he hasn’t caught a game in like forever.

    • johnny

      This is exactly what they tried to do in the off season too, get these guys that “could” turn into something like Saito,Penny,Smoltz…but they refuse to make the big move. Duncan and LaRoche are just like that guys that could step it up and be something…but we have to see if LaRoche likes the boston pressure cooker now that they are 2 gms out.

  • RustyJohn

    What do you think a lefty starter like Bedard or Washburn from Seattle would fetch? With Beltre apparently coming back sooner rather than later their need would appear to be offense at SS, catcher, DH or a 4th outfielder. With Hinske on the team, do you do Swisher for Bedard or Washburn?

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Uhh it’s going to take a lot more than Swisher to get Bedard or Washburn….a hell of a lot more.

      But it’s not like the Yanks need them. They can fix the starter hole internally and if they need to, they can get a quality bullpen arm. More likely than not it will be cheaper to get a quality bullpen arm than a quality starter.

    • Matt ACTY/BBD

      Absolutely not. Eric Hinske has a horrible platoon split and should not be given an everyday role unless someone goes down to injury. Also, trading for either one of those guys probably wouldn’t be too smart. Bedard’s not the healthiest of guys and Washburn is likely pitching well above his head, as evidenced by his 5.18 tRA*.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      What do you think a lefty starter like Bedard or Washburn from Seattle would fetch?

      Since they’re two of the best pitchers in the AL this year, a lot. Since Seattle is still in the race and both players have expressed interest in resigning with the Mariners in the offseason and the team is comfortable with a 100M+ payroll so they can afford them, a whole buttload of a lot.

      With Beltre apparently coming back sooner rather than later their need would appear to be offense at SS, catcher, DH or a 4th outfielder.

      They don’t need a 4th outfielder, they need a SECOND outfielder. Luckily for your scenario, Nick Swisher similarly isn’t a fourth outfielder, he’s a second outfielder. So, semantically, you’re wrong on both ends of the equation, making you right by accident.

      With Hinske on the team, do you do Swisher for Bedard or Washburn?

      Yes, I do. So does Cashman. Jack Zduriencik doesn’t, though, not in a million years.

      • Chris

        I wouldn’t touch Washburn. A flyball pitcher in the NYS? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Eh, I’d take Washburn. Not for Swisher, though, he’s too valuable.

          I guess my “Seattle wouldn’t do that” was more along the lines of Seattle wouldn’t trade any of their big three pitchers unless they were getting multiple prospects that can make them demonstrably better for 2010.

          • Chris

            I might be open to Washburn as a salary dump (like they tried last year), but not for someone with even one iota of upside.

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Yup. And that ship has sailed.

  • Jeff

    I think that the Yankees are going to use the next week to see what Marte has for this year. If he can come back and contribute they may do nothing. If he shows that he can’t, I think they will trade Michael Dunn for John Grabow to get another lefty in the bullpen.

  • Little Bill

    Buster Olney just said the Red Sox and Rays will make the playoffs and not the Yankees. He cited starting pitching as the reason- Pettitte is declining, Joba has been poor, and CMW is a question mark. Apparently he didn’t see Joba’s last start. Pettitte has been up and down all year.

    Last time I checked the Red Sox had 2 of their starters on the DL and Bucholz lasted only 4 innings last night. Smoltz hasn’t been good either. DON’T THE RED SOX ALSO HAVE PROBLEMS OLNEY, YOU STUPID STOOGE! The guy writes A-Rod’s epitaph and then pushes it all on the scouts when A-Rod does well. Who is Karim Garcia?

    • Jersey

      You (and everybody else) really should turn off ESPN. They provide crap, but it doesn’t mean you have to accept it.

    • johnny

      Buster Olney is just like Peter F-ing Gammons, they are both Red Sox fan boys…who think that the Sox are the “Model Organization” and the good guys. As a yankee fan, I think that even if Joba and Andy are up and down the rest of the season, that our offense is actually getting better.
      The Sox on the other hand have nothing going right now, no one is hitting…I watched the game the other night jason bay is hitting .250 I was shocked…he is essentially putting up swisher numbers.
      What the yankees need to do is take advantage and put as much space between them as possible. The fact remains that we have yet to beat them this season…we need to put them away early.

  • Jersey

    For what it’s worth, I had a dream last night that they made a deadline deal in which they traded Swisher…I don’t know who for though, I just remember being disappointed he was gone. I also dreamed I battled with a giant black mamba. Probably shouldn’t read to much into any of this nonsense.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      So, we’re trading Swisher for Kobe Bryant?


      • Steve H


      • Jersey

        Haha, I just lobbed it up there for ya

  • KayGee

    How about a guy like Rafael Betancourt if he can come cheap? He’s pitched well lately after some injury/ineffectiveness early..makes #3.5 million this year (prorate that) and has a club option that can be declined next year…not exactly the 8th inning answer but could be a decent arm to add to the pen…holds righties .179 BAA…thoughts?

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I’m game.

  • Tampa Yankee

    This scares me a little: “Indians considering trading ace Lee to Rays” (according to Fox Sports)

    • Rob H.

      I don’t see that happening only b/c the Rays of all teams aren’t going to trade the type of prospects that the Indians are going to want for Lee.

      • Bo

        I’m sure the Indians will be asking for Price.

    • V

      I don’t think Lee bumps the Rays ahead of the Yankees.

      The Red Sox, maybe. (He might bump the Rays ahead of the Red Sox, that is).

      • V

        Also, it’s GOOD for the Yankees if the Rays trade some of their future studs for a 1.5 season rental.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Agreed. I don’t want Lee on the Rays, but if it’s at the cost of, say, Desmond Jennings and Wade Davis, it may be worth it.

          • V

            Jennings? Hell yes. Get him out of the East.

            • Tampa Yankee


        • Tampa Yankee

          I was thinking that as well. I just wonder if the Rays could convince CLE to take Kazmir (who TB was soured on greatly and would like to move his $), Brignac and others while not giving up the likes of Davis and Beckham.

  • Bo

    Can’t see them not getting another arm for the pen especially with Bruney not being effective and getting a back end starter to add depth makes sense. Can always put Mitre in long relief.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
    (safe for work… possibly not safe for life)

  • Frank

    What this team needs is a RH hitting, multi position player (like Mark DeRosa) who can be an upgrade for Ransom and provide the RH OF bat this team needs. Unfortunately, DeRosa isn’t avaialable. Willingham would help, but he’s not an infielder. Mark Teahen would be ideal except he’s a LH hitter.

    • V

      Yeah, there ain’t too many of those. And the Yankees weren’t trading Melancon+ for DeRosa. Supposedly, the PTBNL was not an insignificant piece to the trade.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Yup. I like DeRosa, but I’d rather have Melancon and a significant PTBNL than him. DeRosa’s not big enough of an upgrade in big enough of a role to justify giving up much for him.

  • Tank Foster

    Does Cashman need to do anything?

    I don’t doubt the Yankees need another starting pitcher and another relief pitcher. Trouble is, whether making such deals makes any sense depends on what’s available. I’m thinking that right now, either there aren’t any players being shopped around who are upgrades on internal options, or the available upgrades have too high a price tag.

    There’s also the cat-mouse element. At the moment, it appears the Yankees are probably a bit better team than both the Rays and Boston. If Boston made a big move significantly upgrading their team, the Yankees might be more pressured to gamble on something like, say, a big prospect/trade package for Lee or Halladay.

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