Nov
23

Going after the big Fish

By

Josh JohnsonLate last week we got word that contract extension talks between the Marlins and righthander Josh Johnson had reached a stalemate, and there doesn’t appear to be any way around it. “We made it clear that it was going to be this year or it wasn’t going to happen,” said Matt Sosnick, Johnson’s agent. “It was now or never. And the Marlins agreed.”

Johnson’s camp was looking for Zack Greinke money (four years, $38M), but the Marlins reportedly offered just three years and $21M, which is Nate Robertson money. Instead, the two sides are now preparing their arbitration cases, which should result in Johnson making somewhere around $5M in 2010. A team friendly salary for sure, but the Marlins are looking at a $36M payroll for next season with $32M already committed before arbitration raises to Johnson and nine others. The Fish will surely trade off some expensive players this offseason, it’s what they do.

Considering where he is in his career, Johnson’s trade value is as high as it can be. He had a tremendous season in 2009 (5.5 WAR) and still has two years of team control left. As we’ve seen in the past, guys with just one year of control left don’t bring as big of a return. The price will surely be steep, but if you’re going to unload some of your best young players, Johnson is the kind of guy you do it for.

There’s always concern whenever you import a pitcher from the National League and stick him in the AL East, however Johnson isn’t like most pitchers. He has true front-of-the-rotation power stuff that enables him to do the two best things a pitcher can do: strike guys out and generate ground balls. Here’s the list of pitchers who struck out at least eight batters per nine innings, walked no more than two-and-a-half batters per nine innings, and got at least three groundballs for every two flyballs in 2009:

  1. Josh Johnson

That’s it. Not Felix, not Lincecum, not even Greinke. No one else. Just JJ. His fastball is a legit mid-90′s heater, and he backs it up with a sharp mid-80′s slider and split-change that he probably doesn’t use often enough. He’s got a huge powerful frame (listed at 6′-7″, 250 lbs on the Marlins’ site) that screams durability and innings eater. The Yankees got a first hand look at him on June 20th of this year, when he allowed just three hits and one run over seven innings against our beloved Bombers. Here’s the video highlights from that game.

Joe Girardi is familiar with Johnson, having managed him in Florida during his rookie campaign in 2006. Of course, there’s the incident in when Girardi sent Johnson back out to mound after an 82-minute rain delay, which was followed by Johnson experiencing some forearm tightness, and soon enough Tommy John surgery. That’s the only injury of Johnson’s career, so it’s not much of a red flag considering how well he’s recovered. In fact, his innings buildup had been textbook up to that point.

Year Age Level Innings IP Increase
2002 18 Rookie 15 -
2003 19 Low-A 82.1 +67.1
2004 20 High-A 114.1 +32
2005 21 Double-A/MLB 152 +37.2
2006 22 MLB 157 +5

Johnson was drafted in 2002, hence the partial minor league season. He probably threw another 40 IP in high school that year, so don’t sweat the big jump. The rain delay game was on September 12th, 2006, what ended up being his last outing of the season. If he finishes off the month healthy, he’s probably at 180 IP with a +28 IP increase on the season.

Looking around at some other instances in which a pitcher of Johnson’s age, caliber, and cost were traded, the return seems to be pretty consistent: two top young players with two or fewer years of service time, plus some lesser prospects. Think Javy Vazquez (the first trade), Dan Haren (the second trade), and Josh Beckett. All three fetched two young stud players plus some lesser prospects. Let’s use that as a blueprint.

As I see it, the Yanks have three players that qualify as true studs: Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and Jesus Montero. Austin Jackson is a notch below those guys. As for Joba and Hughes, I think you have to draw a line and make it one or the other, not both. That means Montero has to be included in the deal. Fine. That’s life, you have to give something to get something. The Marlins have been looking for a catcher of the future for years, and Montero would fit that bill. Plus they could always flip him elsewhere. Whatever they end up doing with him, I don’t really care.

Getting back to Joba and Hughes; both have four years of team control left, but Joba has proven more in the big leagues up to this point, primarily by staying healthy as a starter over a full season. I consider both guys to be interchangable, and I don’t really have a preference who stays and who goes. I know it’ll hurt, but think about it, if those guys reach their ceiling, what will they be? Well, pretty much what Josh Johnson is right now. I don’t see how you’d have a problem giving up a young guy that might turn into that kind of a pitcher for a young guy that already is that kind of pitcher. I guess you can let Florida pick between them, then begrudgingly agree to make it sound like they got the guy you want to keep. Whatever, I’m not exactly an expert at negotiating.

As for the rest of the package, I’d make pretty much everyone else in the farm system fair game, plus the younger guys in the big leagues: Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner, Ramiro Pena, Frankie Cervelli, David Robertson, and Phil Coke. Florida wouldn’t have any interest in Robbie Cano because a) he’s getting expensive (owed $19M over the next two years), and b) they already have a second baseman in Dan Uggla. Even if Uggla’s traded, Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan would take over at second, his natural position.

Obviously some guys are more valuable than others based on where they are in their careers. K-Rob™ is more valuable than Mark Melancon, Ramiro Pena is more valuable than either Eduardo Nunez or Reegie Corona, etc. You’d prefer to keep the guys already in the big leagues, even if means giving up that one extra second or third tier prospect. Let’s assume that Zach McAllister – who is basically the Yanks’ best starting pitching prospect in the minors – is part of the deal, as is Eduardo Nunez. The names really aren’t important, I’m more concerned about prospect status. Any combination of a Grade-B and a Grade-C prospect will work. If you want to call it Arodys Vizcaino and Abe Almonte, that’s fine with me, I don’t care.

So, is a Johnson for Joba, Montero, McAllister, and Nunez fair? Thanks to the wonderful world of spreadsheets and sabermetrics, we can find out. Using the trade value calculator created by Sky Kalkman of Beyond the Box Score and my WAR/salary assumptions, we can determine that Johnson has a trade value of $52.6M, while Joba is worth $31.8M in a trade. Victor Wang’s research says that top 10 hitting prospects (Montero) are worth $36.5M, Grade-B pitchers (McAllister) $7.3M, and Grade-C hitters age 22 or younger (Nunez) $0.7M. That makes the total value of the Yanks ‘package $76.5M.

So yeah, maybe that package would be overpaying. Perhaps Florida should kick in a prospect, or maybe even one of their nine other arbitration eligible players since they’re looking to unload some of those guys. I’m not going to get hung up on a difference of 45.4% when there are so many assumptions in play. On the surface, that four player package is at least on par with what the Red Sox gave up to get Josh Beckett, if not greater. However, the Yanks aren’t absorbing $18M worth of Mike Lowell, and Josh Johnson now is better than Beckett was then (Beckett’s WAR the year before the trade was 4.0). Beckett just had the added hype of being the second overall pick and a highly touted prospect and World Series MVP. I feel comfortable saying that package is at least in the the ballpark.

It’s not often you get a chance to acquire a pitcher of Johnson’s caliber. A young, power arm with his best years still ahead of him. This isn’t 32-year-old Roy Halladay, or Johan Santana coming off a sketchy second half. Johnson’s a bonafide franchise cornerstone type of pitcher that will be paid below market value for the next two years, possibly longer if he’s down with re-opening discussions about a contract extension after a trade. He’s not Felix Hernandez, but he’s not far off. The Yankees would do well to bring him to the Bronx.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images

Categories : Hot Stove League

187 Comments»

  1. Dwnflfan says:

    Paying 150% for something is not a sound strategy for long term sucess.

    • JMK aka The Overshare says:

      Agreed, but the counter to that is there’s far less guarantee the Yankee players will be worth those millions, whereas it’s a safer bet Johnson hits his. You’re trading unknown commodities for a known one, and he’d be pretty cheap considering his projected value. That said, I don’t think there’s a need to do it when other options will be on the market for just money.

      I wouldn’t be broken up if we gave up Joba, Montero, Z-Mac and Nunez for Johnson. Nunez will likely never amount to anything, Z-Mac is a back-end rotation starter, which, while valuable, isn’t the type of player you build around. He’s exactly the type you trade. Joba’s best-case is he becomes Johnson and Montero, yeah, that would sting but you need to trade value to get value. So really, for very valuable commodities, we trade Joba and Montero for Johnson, way more proven and still cost-effective.

      I’d do it.

      /rambling

      • guru says:

        i think it can get done without hughes or joba. throw ian kennedy in there place and add another prospect or young player. so kennedy, z-mach, montero, nunez and then someone like pena or melancon or robertson. that way we hold on to the two young guys. we will be giving up montero but we have depth at catcher in the minors and still have cervilli and more importantly austin romine

        • JMK aka The Overshare says:

          i think it can get done without hughes or joba. throw ian kenny in there place and add another prospect or young player.

          No. That would never happen.

      • andrew says:

        Agreed, but the counter to that is there’s far less guarantee the Yankee players will be worth those millions, whereas it’s a safer bet Johnson hits his.

        But isn’t the idea of the calculations that the factor in that our minor leaguers are less likely to reach their potential?

      • Dwnflfan says:

        While everything you said is true, the Yankees going to the Marlins are not sure things, it is also true that JJ is hardly a sure thing going forward either. They don’t make sure things in baseball injuries can erase a sure thing in the blink of an eye.

        I would not trade two players, (Montero & Joba), that have a very solid chance to be worth as much or more than Josh Johnson down the road for JJ. II also would have Nunez as a B player not a C but maybe that’s just me. The $36+ million of value for Montero is too low if it turns out he can play catcher.

        This is the kind of trade that is more likely to blow up in your face than pay off due to the # of quality players you’re sending. The only way I would do it would be if the Yankee brass doesn’t think Montero can catch and has serious concerns with Joba’s mental make up.

        I like it better than trading that package for Halladay though.

        • JMK aka The Overshare says:

          Right, but I didn’t say JJ was a sure thing. I said he’s a known quantity, ace-material (he’s proven it), with a favorable contract and also, his physiology suggests he’ll be able to continue to do so. I merely said he was a safer bet. There are no guarantees.

          I would not trade two players, (Montero & Joba), that have a very solid chance to be worth as much or more than Josh Johnson down the road for JJ. II also would have Nunez as a B player not a C but maybe that’s just me. The $36+ million of value for Montero is too low if it turns out he can play catcher.

          Joba has the chance to become JJ, an ace in his mid-20s. I can’t speculate on the chances it happens, but for argument’s sake, we’ll call it a wash. The thing is, if we’re to assume, just for shits and giggles, Joba and Montero reach their absolute ceilings, then yeah, it isn’t a great trade for the Yanks. But if that’s the case, Johnson nullifies Joba, so really, you lost on Montero. That would suck. No argument there. But what are the chances he can remain at catcher? No idea. His value, while still great for his hitting prowess, takes a dive if he’s at a different position. But what are the chances both Montero and Joba live up to their potential? I’d say not very good.

          I’d take the safe bet and get a mid-20s ace you can be pretty sure will throw 200 innings with an ERA until 3.50 in the AL East over two guys that may or may not be close to matching that value. You can’t trade those two for a guy in his early 30s asking for big money, but for an ace about to enter his prime, I’d pull the trigger.

          This is the kind of trade that is more likely to blow up in your face than pay off due to the # of quality players you’re sending.

          Respectfully, I disagree with you here. I’d say there’s a better chance Joba and Montero don’t get anywhere close to living up to their hype than there is of Johnson not being close to the caliber of pitcher people think he is.

          • Camilo Gerardo - your inception? fuck perception, go with what makes sense says:

            then you’re a moron

          • Dwnflfan says:

            Not a great trade if Joba and Montero reach their ceilings? That is the definition of understatement. In that scenario you just dealt a player with Pujols lite ceiling for squat and threw in a potential back end of the rotation pitcher and a player with potential to be an above average ML SS.

            I understand your position, I just think it’s too much. I like the idea of dealing for a young stud starter instead of Halladay but the price in prospects is too in this scenario. Agree to disagree here.

            And Camilo…behave yourself or get lost.

    • Union says:

      Joba worth 31mil in trade value? I wouldn’t pay the guy 3mil. I really doubt he’ll ever amount to much, especially the way he has been handeled.

      • Brad says:

        I could not disagree more.

        Joba was mishandled, not injured or ruined. He was going through learning pains, including the learning of how to deal with a pitching coach who is trying to teach a Randy Johnson “swing and miss” talent to pitch to contact (?!?!). Once Eiland realizes that 6 innings of dominant pitching is better than 9 innings of 3 run pitching (when you have a strong bullpen), Joba can go back to throwing his 86 mph 4 seamer and slider, rather than a 92 mph 2 seamer and curve and change.

        Joba is about one year away from reaching ace potential that Johnson is at now.

        I would do the deal if Hughes replaces Joba. Joba will be at 200 innings this year, while Hughes will be at 135 with Joba type rules in place.

    • ceci says:

      The Marlins would never go for this trade. Phil Hughes is no big deal. The Marlins got 7 players for Miguel Cabrera and unloading Dontrelle Willis. Why would they accept 4 average players for someone of the caliber of Josh Johnson. The Marlins are shrewd. The Yankees do not have enough in their farm system to get JJ.

    • soxfan13 says:

      First off, this deal would never get done without Hughes or Joba, and putting my loyalty to the sox aside, neither are truly top prospects anymore. Montero may be the real deal, but who knows. As for the comparison to the sox package, I would have to respectfully disagree. No one in that package even remotely comes close to comparing to Hanley Ramirez. The guy was projected and compared to guys like Nomar and Vlad before ever reaching the majors, and in time, he may be better than both of them. This is just pure Yankees speculation and how rumors get started when there’s nothing to go off but hope. Bottom line is that that 4 player package isn’t close to the package the sox gave to FL for Beckett/Lowell, and even if you think it is, there’s no way that gets it done in my opinion. And also, to the guy who suggests Ian Kennedy is a suitable replacement for Hughes and Joba is smoking something good.

      • andrew says:

        In all fairness to Montero, he has been compared to guys just as good as Nomar and Vlad, if not better…

      • Jay says:

        And, Montero doesn’t have the work habit/attitude questions that Hanley had. Add that to the fact that the Sox weren’t convinced he could stay at SS, and Montero is just as good a prospect as Ramirez was at that time.

        While you can argue that Joba and/or Hughes aren’t ‘top prospects’ anymore, they’re certainly on par with Anibal Sanchez.

  2. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    Joba, Montero, Z-Mac and Nunez for Johnson and Stanton.

    Problem solved.

  3. mryankee says:

    Way way way to much for Josh Johnson. I like him and wouldlove to have him. No way you include Montero. I would say one of Joba or Phil and then maybe Zmac and kennedy. He has not pitched in the AL east has had injury issues. You have to be conservative with what you give up for him.

    • He has not pitched in the AL east has had injury issues.

      So you mean like A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett? And Pedro Martinez in the mid-1990s? I see.

      • Chris says:

        I don’t agree with his larger point, but the AL-NL divide is much larger now than it was when those guys made the move. It’s not just the DH that makes the transition difficult, it’s also the fact that for the about the last 5 years the AL has had superior talent overall (and having good pitchers move from the NL to the AL is part of the cause for that).

      • Well…JJ did have TJ. That’s not insignificant.

        /still would love JJ on NY
        //not defending mryankee

      • Bill says:

        If he turns out like AJ Burnett, no offense to Burnett but that’s not a great deal. I mean Hughes/Joba, Montero, + for a young AJ Burnett? I would not do that deal, sorry AJ.

        As for Beckett and Pedro for that matter these guys were much more established when they were traded. Beckett was a World Series MVP and Pedro was probably the best pitcher in baseball at that point (coming off a season of 1.9 ERA, 305 strikeouts, and .9 WHIP).

        Josh Johnson is a fine young pitcher but he is not in the same league as either Beckett or Pedro at that time. He’s a lot closer to Burnett. So with that said I think he would have success in the AL, but I’d pencil him in as a #2-3 starter not a #1.

        Considering that I wouldn’t deal any 2 of Joba, Hughes, and Montero. I’d go Hughes and a few other good prospects (maybe Jackson), but beyond that I think we’d be overpaying. And to be honest I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Hughes or Joba went to the Marlins and put up stats similar to JJ’s.

        Montero is a guy I’d only include in a deal for elite level young talent basically guys that you’d need to include Montero to have any shot at.

        • Josh Johnson’s 25 year old season: 209 IP, 1.16 WHIP, 8.22 K/9, 3.29 K:BB, 3.06 FIP

          Josh Beckett’s 25 year old season: 178.2 IP, 1.19 WHIP, 8.36 K/9, 2.86 K:BB, 3.27 FIP

          • mf says:

            I don’t know how much difference it makes, but Beckett did have 4 (really) good seasons in the big leagues before the trade. Johnson has about 2 full seasons (and not in a row). I think you could make the case Beckett was more established. I also think you could easily make the case the Sox overpaid.

        • BBQ says:

          Yankees think all they have to do is say this is the Yankees and everyone will kiss their ass and do want theysay NOT

      • Wayne Deleo says:

        I wouldn’t mind having Josh Johnson as our fourth starter, but there’s no way he’s a 1 or a 2 at this point. All this talk about WAR and projected dollar value is bull. Johnson pitches in the NL, which basically has little or no hitting, outside of Phillie.

        Other than Phillie, no one in the NL East or the rest of the NL, for that matter, could finish higher than third in the ALK East, and 80% of the NL couldn’t finish higher than fourth. Who cares what his WAR is against a bunch of Punch & Judy hitters. And here’s the proof: Phillie, the only honest to god great hitting team in the NL DESTROYED the supposedly great Johnson, as outlined below:

        Werth, who hit .268 for the year, hit Johnson at a .375 clip last year.
        Rollins hit .250 last year, but hit .308 against Johnson.
        Howard hit .279 last year, but hit .333 with 2 HRs & 7 RBIs against Johnson (REAL IMPRESSIVE, huh?)
        9 Phillies hit between .500 and .273 against Johnson, and only one really good hitter (Ibanez) didn’t hit him well
        As a team, Phillie hit .288 (again, real impressive, huh?) with 4 HRs, 6 doubles & 1 triple in 156 ABs.

        Want more evidence?
        Lance Berkman hit .500 against him with 1 double & 1 HR in 6 ABs.
        Carlos Lee, 1 HR in 2 ABs
        Pujols hit .333 with 1 HR in 9 ABs
        Fielder hit .300 with a 3B (I didn’t even think that was possible, given his heft)
        Jim Thome saw him 1 AB, went Um-Um, and promtly hit a 3-run HR against him.

        I’m completely underwhelmed! His 3.23 era last year, and lifetime 3.40 era translate into an approximately 4.25 to 4.60 era in the AL East. He’s a 2 pitch pitcher (67% fastballs, 25 sliders); Boston will kick his ass from NYC to Maine once they’ve seen him a couple of outings & realize he has 2 freakin pitches, with one being their favorite: a fastball.

        The bottom line is this: good hitters will kick the crap out of a 2-pitch pitcher, even at 95 mph: this guy is no better than Joba or Hughes at this point! And you guys want to give up Joba & montero for him, plus more prospects. STOP IT! before some nitwit in Yankeeland listens to you & pulls off this boneheaded trade.

        Stop relying on WAR & all of those supposedly scientific methods of studying players when you’re looking at an NL pitcher or hitter. Overall, the talent in the NL is somewhere between AAA and the Kansas City Royals, for god’s sake.

        And the Yankees would have to be INSANE to trade Montero or Ajax for anybody less than King Felix.
        Montero might end up being one of the best hitting catchers of all time, and I recently read that his defense is much underrated. Let’s also not forget that Jorge was never a great catcher, but his all around play (especially his bat) helped us win 5 WS. So, maybe Montero can do the same.

    • Moshe Mandel says:

      Is there any pitcher you would trade Montero for?

  4. Moshe Mandel says:

    Makes more sense than a Halladay deal, but I am still loathe to give up Montero.

  5. Mike HC says:

    I think that is too much. Johnson had a second half era of 4.00 last year. I’m not ready to give up Joba and Montero and others for a guy that had one really good half in the NL East.

    And with all this trade talk for Halladay and Johnson, I still can’t get by the fact that we can just sign Lackey and keep all of our top prospects. Or we can wait till next year, and sign one of those starting pitchers and still keep all of our guys. Halladay and Johnson and good, but they are not good enough to justify giving up the farm system for them.

    • mryankee says:

      Just because next year there is a batter market does not mean you dont stay involved this year. You do not know if Hallday will get to F/A and if you can upgrade you rotation with a Halladay or Johnson for a reasonable price you have to consider that idea. Lackey does not even belong on the same field with Halladay in terms of talent so I would not be satisfied with Lackey over Halladay and if you sign Halladay you are still giving up two 1st round draft picks.

      • mryankee says:

        excuse me if you sign Lackey you are giving up two first round picks

      • Just because next year there is a batter market does not mean you dont stay involved this year.

        True. But, there’s lots of degrees of “staying involved”. We can stay involved and ultimately stand pat, because there are no appealing moves to be made.

        You do not know if Hallday will get to F/A and if you can upgrade you rotation with a Halladay or Johnson for a reasonable price you have to consider that idea.

        Yes. Neither of them are remotely likely to be had via trade for “a reasonable price”, however. So, we must exercise patience and wait for them to hit free agency. Players have an incentive to hit free agency, especially since they know we are interested in them and can pay them more than anyone else will.

        Lackey does not even belong on the same field with Halladay in terms of talent so I would not be satisfied with Lackey over Halladay…

        Agreed.

        …and if you sign Halladay you are still giving up two 1st round draft picks.

        No, you only give up one first rounder. The other pick (the sandwich pick) gets created out of thin air.

        • “Players have an incentive to hit free agency, especially since they know we are interested in them and can pay them more than anyone else will.”

          They also have an incentive to take guaranteed money when it’s offered to them. Especially pitchers.

    • Chris says:

      He was probably tiring towards the end of the season – he passed his previous career high for innings on August 14. It certainly seems like he was getting pulled earlier from games to limit his innings for the season.

      • Mike HC says:

        I think Johnson is very good, but I think Joba is closer to Johnson than he is getting credit for. I think Johnson is getting a bit overrated here and Joba a bit underrated in this scenario. Joba is also close to two years younger than him.

        Joba also had a far better first half then second half, probably for similar reasons as Johnson. Adding Montero and Joba, plus others. for just Johnson is just too much in my opinion.

    • jdbick says:

      the reason why you upgrade his year and not wait is obvious. the three top pitching free agents next year (Halladay, Beckett and Lee) may/probably wont be available next year Phillies and sox are both discussing exentions and halladay will choose who he wants to go to (he has a full no trade clause) based on who can afford his extension demands and there are more teams that if they aquired a guy like halladay would be a comeptitor than just the yankees.

      As for Lackey I think he is good but nothing near the credit he has been given this offseason, he will be expensive, he has a history of getting hurt…like this season and there are half a dozen other teams that are going to go after him.

      Does it suck to give up montero and a decent pitcher, yeah but if you trade for johnson then the chances of it coming back to bit minimal as apposed to sending them to toronto who plays us 18 times a year.

      • Mike HC says:

        So basically, you are willing to trade Lackey, Joba, Montero, plus two other serviceable prospects for Halladay. Plus, Halladay will make more money for the next 4 years than all of those guys combined.

        Personally, that does not sound like a good deal to me. I would rather have Lackey, plus all of those young guys, for less, or at the very least the same amount of money as just Halladay.

  6. Johnson’s camp was looking for Zack Greinke money (four years, $38M), but the Marlins reportedly offered just three years and $21M, which is Nate Robertson money.

    Unless Jeffrey Loria is flat broke (and I mean F-L-A-T), that’s an incredibly dumb move to refuse that deal and go to arb/put Johnson on the block. Josh Johnson is a soon-to-be 26 year old stud, an ace in the making, and you won’t give him a 4/38? That’s not even a 10 AAV deal. You gotta be shitting me.

    I know nobody goes to LandSharkJoeRobbieProPlayerDolphin StadiumFieldArena, but at some point in order to make money you have to spend money. You’re moving into a new park in 2012; you want Johnson and HanRam to be the co-titans of your young, burgeoning team.

    Losing Johnson because you’re only willing to go 3 years at 7 per instead of 4 years at 9.5 per is ridiculous. Even if JJ never reaches Greinke’s heights (and frankly, only about 2 or 3 pitchers on the planet will), that contract is still a gift. If JJ’s agent offers you a 4/38 counterproposal, you say yes before the last word is out of his mouth.

    Loria: FAIL (as usual). He’s the Donald Sterling of baseball.

    • Ed says:

      Unless Jeffrey Loria is flat broke (and I mean F-L-A-T), that’s an incredibly dumb move to refuse that deal and go to arb/put Johnson on the block.

      Even then it doesn’t make sense. Josh Johnson signed for 4/$38m is going to be even more valuable in a trade than he would be with just 2 arbitration years.

      I know nobody goes to LandSharkJoeRobbieProPlayerDolphin StadiumFieldArena, but at some point in order to make money you have to spend money.

      The problem with the Marlins though is they have two approaches to profitability. One is the traditional approach, building a competitive team with a large fanbase that people want to see. The other, which they have chosen, is to cut expenses to the minimum, and put the revenue sharing checks straight into their pockets. They’ve got the second approach mastered. I think they’d prefer to switch approaches, as pulling that off successfully is far more profitable, but, the transition is slow, painful, and involves losing a lot of money – or at least making a lot less than they make now.

      • Yeah.

        No matter how you slice it, this is dumb. Sign him to the extension. If you can’t find the extra 17M between now and when you have to pay him, trade him later.

      • Stuckey says:

        “They’ve got the second approach mastered. I think they’d prefer to switch approaches, as pulling that off successfully is far more profitable, but, the transition is slow, painful, and involves losing a lot of money – or at least making a lot less than they make now.”

        They won it all in 2003 and in what, 97, the ONLY team other than the Yanks and Sox to win in twice in the Wild Card era.

        And remember, the won it in ’03 after firesaling the ’97 team. They’ve been reasonably competitive in ’09, ’08, ’05, and ’04 and only really terrible (’07) once since ’03.

        I think Loria is perfectly happy with their current approach. Don’t see him transitioning any time soon.

        • Ed says:

          They won it all in 2003 and in what, 97, the ONLY team other than the Yanks and Sox to win in twice in the Wild Card era.

          ’97 is what I consider a bought championship. They stacked the team with expensive players they couldn’t afford, won the World Series, then traded them all away.

          Loria bought the team in ’02 and left things mostly as they were. The management approach really only changed to the current model after winning the championship in ’03. Between ’97 and ’03 they weren’t nearly as frugal as they are now.

          I think Loria is perfectly happy with their current approach. Don’t see him transitioning any time soon.

          Their new stadium is all about transitioning. He’s happy with the current approach because it’s the only viable approach with their current stadium deal. Their lease is so bad that if they packed the stadium full every night, the increase in revenue wouldn’t be that. (Remember, the Miami Dolphins actually get the majority of the money the Marlins generate at the stadium). Once they move into the new stadium, the benefit of drawing more fans is much, much greater.

          • Stuckey says:

            Fair enough on the since 2003 stuff, but the point remains they’ve been competitive AND by most accounts profitable most of this decade.

            The won 87 games this year. The question is, how much are those 5 extra wins that will usually get you into the crapshoot that is the playoffs worth?

            The Marlins have found something of a formula that keeps them respectable AND their payroll low. I don’t see the GREATLY altering that formula. Perhaps tweaking it a bit to bring in some veteran support to their young players?

            But I suspect you’ll still see Uggla and Ramirez and Johnson all traded off before they become cost prohibitive.

            Not sure I ever see them signing long-term deals with their young stars.

  7. mryankee says:

    I would be very cautious about dealing for Johnson as he has never pitched in the American League where National League pitchers do not tend to fare very well. I understand the upside and if he could be had for a reasonable package then I say go get him. The injurys and lack of experience against AL lineups is a major hang up.

  8. CB says:

    Victor Wang’s research uses very limited statistical methods and models the data he’s interested in a very rudimentary way. In turn those results tend to bias upwards the value of prospects.

    Again and again using Wang’s research it is invariably the team that receives prospects that “wins” the trade and much of that has to do with the manner in which he “weights” the data. Empirically, when you go back and look at trades it’s not that clear cut that prospects are the gold mines his research suggests.

    Also, the endpoint of interest in Wang’s methodology is to create the most efficient team possible – not the best team. From that point of view the Florida Marlins are the optimal team in baseball because they usually are right at the top in terms of dollars spent per win. That’s not really the goal of the yankees.

    These just aren’t good statistical methods and the inferences that can be drawn from that data are very, very limited.

    • JMK aka The Overshare says:

      From that point of view the Florida Marlins are the optimal team in baseball because they usually are right at the top in terms of dollars spent per win.

      That’s cool and all, but it’s not their dollars spent per win. They’re a welfare team.

      • Ed says:

        That’s cool and all, but it’s not their dollars spent per win. They’re a welfare team.

        Based on the revenue estimates Forbes throws around, it is their dollars spent per win. Their annual profits tend to match the amount of money they receive in revenue sharing.

  9. I’m a little annoyed with myself for feeling this way, but I don’t really love any of the trade ideas I’m hearing… And what I’m annoyed with myself about is not that I don’t like these specific ideas but that I think that if I don’t like these ideas, I just won’t like any idea, and I don’t like that I feel like I’m that far to one extreme. But… I’m not so sure I’m just afraid to give up prospects or anything like that. I think, with the current make-up of this roster and the players the Yanks have in the development system, I just see more value in developing these guys than in selling some of them off in order to land a big fish (or “Fish”… Very cute, Axisa). If the Yanks didn’t have a rotation headed by CC and AJ and, probably, Pettitte, I think I’d be much more prone to agree with ideas regarding trading for Halladay or Johnson, etc… But, to paraphrase TSJC, that’s an ‘if things were different, my opinion would be different’ kind of deal. The Yanks don’t have any big holes – They have a very strong top of the rotation and some of the best position players in all of baseball. I think if there was a big hole to fill I’d be down with trading prospects to fill it, but in the absence of such a hole, I think the value of developing the prospects and, in all likelihood, winding up with at least a couple of cheap All-Star caliber players outweighs the value of plugging another ace into the rotation. I expect one of Hughes or Joba to be in the same class of pitcher as Josh Johnson and, at the very least, to be effective MLB starting pitchers, and I expect Montero to be a big league bat at either C or DH or elsewhere… And you’re throwing in a couple more prospects in addition to that haul… I just think that’s way too much value to give up for Josh Johnson when you don’t have a big hole in your rotation to begin with.

    • Agreed on all points. You are a gentleman and a scholar. I promise to not make fun of your weight for a whole day in reward for this well said comment.

    • A.D. says:

      I agree with what you’re saying, and it’s also the nature of a team just winning the WS. It’s harder to easily identify some gaping hole, or an “if we only had this” situation, when you are the champions of baseball, and don’t have a significant player departure.

      • I disagree with your implication that we’re overvaluing this team because we’re basking in the glow of victory. It’s the nature of a really really good team, not the nature of a team just winning the WS. I don’t think TSJC will mind me speaking for him on this matter – I know both of us were against trading for Santana 2 years ago, and I can’t remember another situation, prior to the WS victory, when either of us was in favor of trading these prospects.

        This opinion hasn’t been shaped by the WS victory, it’s been shaped by the Yankees’ MLB and MiLB personnel and philosophy.

    • Jackson says:

      Couldn’t have said it better myself

    • toad says:

      Tempting as Johnson is I think these are excellent points. Someone above mentioned that we have no guarantee any of the proposed package will reach stardom.

      But that’s not the issue. You only need one, maybe, or two solid well-above average major leaguers. The odds of that happening are pretty good. Any time you trade a package of prospects for a star you have to think in those terms, not evaluate the prospects individually.

      Just to pick some numbers for illustration: Suppose Joba has a 50% chance of being a star, Montero 25%, and the other two guys 5% each. Then you have a 2/3 chance of getting at least one great player out of the group.

      You can play these sorts of games forever, and argue about probabilities, etc, but the principle stays the same: Evaluate the package, not the individuals. It’s exactly the same idea as diversifying financial investments.

      A secondary point is that I don’t think the trade values are very meaningful. SImply multiplying WAR by a constant doesn’t really help us understand the deal. First, it doesn’t do anything but change the scale – like measuring in meters instead of feet. Second, wins are worth more to some teams, including the Yankees, than others. Also, and here is where the argument for Johnson is strong, IMO, I think playoff wins need to be measured and valued differently than regular season wins.

  10. currambayankees says:

    I wouldn’t do that trade because the two young pitchers you are referring to helped you reach the WS and will probably continue to develop with one of them or maybe even both of them just maybe ending up being what JJ is now or better. Aside from that you are adding your top hitting prospect, who may in short order be taking over for Posada. You also plan on adding a few more prospects for good measure. Too much to give up when you have in house solutions plus you already have the top of your rotation set and next years FA pitching class looks pretty good too.

  11. Josh says:

    If the proposed deal is overpaying by 50%, what about substituting a lesser talent such as Ajax or Kennedy for one of Montero or Hughes/Joba?

    How would a similar package look for Felix?

    • leokitty says:

      It would take a lot more to get Felix than Johnson. He is younger and better and it would clear out the farm system of any top-tier talent plus Joba or Hughes.

      • AndrewYF says:

        Of course, the Red Sox could get Felix simply by trading Lowrie, Bowden, and Kalish. Then they’d be able to afford to trade Buchholz straight-up for Adrian Gonzalez.

        It would be giving up a lot, but you’ve got to give up something to get something.

        For Diamond Cutters, this is Peter Gammons signing off.

  12. Rose says:

    So, is a Johnson for Joba, Montero, McAllister, and Nunez fair?
    He’s not Felix Hernandez, but he’s not far off.

    So if it takes all that to get Johnson from the Marlins…what the hell would it take to get Felix Hernandez?? I would have assumed more than that for him anyway…but HOW MUCH more??

  13. I love Josh Johnson, but I love Montero more.

    • Hmmm… I’m not sure if I agree with you on that subjective judgement. I might actually love Josh Johnson more if he were here.

      Here’s what’s undisputably true, though: I don’t know if I love Jesus Montero more than Josh Johnson, but I know we NEED Jesus Montero more than Josh Johnson.

      Jesus Montero fills a need. Josh Johnson just further strengthens a position of relative strength already.

      • Rose says:

        Yeah but we have a lot of very good depth at the catcher position in the farm. Our pitching depth in the farm is significantly worse.

        • I disagree with that statement.

          At catcher, we have Montero and Romine, and then we have three high-upside kids that are MILES AND MILES away from making an impact in anything. Higashioka, Murphy, and Sanchez are good prospects, but none of them are even 20 yet and none of them have made it out of Low-A ball.

          Those kids at the back end are comparable to some of the excellent but raw kids we have on the pitching front, like Vizcaino, ManBan, Heredia, but the upper levels still have guys like Kennedy, Nova, McAllister, and the Fat Sanchezes, and we still have bounceback lottery tickets with good upside in Brackman, Betances, Garcia, etc.

          More significantly, though, we don’t really have an impending big league NEED for a new young starter like we do have an impending NEED for a new young bat, whether that bat plays at catcher, DH, or even LF.

          Excepting Andy from the convo for a second, since he’s a vet likely to retire at some point, CC and AJ are locked into 2/5ths of the rotation, and Joba and Hughes are near-locks for the two more spots. We only need to find one new young pitcher, amongst the numerous names listed above. On offense, meanwhile, Posada’s near his end (opening a natural spot for Montero), plus, Damon and Matsui are either leaving now or will be gone within a year or two, and Jeter and Arod are both moving into the wrong side of 35.

          Our lineup is aging at a more alarming rate than our rotation is. Montero will either need to be our catcher soon, or at least our LF or DH soon. He fills a more direct need than Josh Johnson would, since Johnson would be just 1/5th of a rotation that likely has 4 solid members in the other slots (and plenty of decent 5th starter options in the pen and as longshots further down).

          When you look at it in a tiered structure of
          1) What the big league picture looks like
          2) What the high minors looks like
          3) What the kids at the low-levels of the minors looks like

          We have a greater paucity of position player youth in position players than at starting pitcher, IMO. Higashioka, Murphy, and Sanchez are great young catching prospects, yes, but they’re too far away (and Romine’s ceiling is too low) to use their presence to justify trading away Montero, who is an elite bat who will be needed to replace SOMEONE, whether that’s Posada at catcher or elsewhere.

          • Rose says:

            You put this in very good perspective and I appreciate a response like this. Speaking of which, my stance on the matter is to keep everyone instead of trading them all away for one very good pitcher. My view is similar to the honorable judge reinhold’s. I was just suggesting that because I’ve heard so much about our depth at catcher…as well as negativity about our starting pitching depth down there (Brackman, etc). But I agree with this perspective you have.

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

            I’m predicting that Gary Sanchez will be a hybrid of Montero and Romine. We can call him Jestin Romtero.

        • currambayankees says:

          The problem with that is that Montero is at the top of that depth and is the best hitter right now on that depth chart. The next closest catcher Romine is tad bith better on D but is a step down with the O. In addition he’s a little bit farther away then Montero.

      • mryankee says:

        I actually agree with you that the Yankees starting pitching is strong. I lean more towards the chance to be very strong. Are you confident that the starting pitching now can win it all again? Would you feel differently if a Halladay-or any other top starting pitcher joined the Sox? I believe the question should be how does your starting pitching compare against your principal opposition. Red Sox-Rays-Angels etc.

        • Mike HC says:

          I semi agree with you here, I would just get it done using a different method.

          I agree that the Yanks should not stand pat just because the rotation this year got the job done. The Yanks did not run into a team that had two true ace type pitchers. It is quite possible that our competition will be much tougher in the future.

          Now, having said that (shout out to Curb Your Enthusiasm), I would not try to upgrade the rotation by giving up our top young players. We can just sign a top free agent and keep all of our prospects, regardless of what the Sox, or how any other team decides to build their team.

          • I agree that the Yanks should not stand pat just because the rotation this year got the job done.

            For the record, I’ve never said we should stand pat this offseason because we don’t need to get better.

            I’ve said we should stand pat this offseason because there are no moves to be made that would make us better, except for moves that would A) cost too much in terms of prospects and thus, weaken us in the future or B) cost too much in terms of dollars for non-elite players and thus, restrict our financial and roster flexibility, weakening our ability to put the best team possible together in the future.

            I’m not standing pat because our team is perfect. I’m standing pat because all the ways to make our team better that are available THIS offseason are too flawed or risky to truly be worth it, and they probably make our team WORSE in the long run.

            • pete says:

              agreed. if the sox go out and get halladay, then it really doesn’t matter what we do – they will be better on paper than we will. A front three of Halladay-Lester-Beckett with Wakefield and whoever else in there, is, on paper, a rotation that won’t be bested. So I’m not for risking the future to maybe equal the sox because of how good they’re going to be for one year. We will be able to make moves through free agency in the next two offseasons that will enable us to equal them at the top, and we won’t lose our footing at the bottom the way they would have to if they made a trade like this.

              I’m sure they’re thinking the same thing. Lester-Beckett-Buccholz could be just as good a front three as CC-AJ-Andy, if not better, so it would be foolish to make a big trade now rather than try to get in on the Joe mauer bidding.

              I think it’s tough to stomach, but people have to realize that there is always going to be the inherent risk that the sox will be better than we are, on paper or on the field. This is why we have to optimize our long-term and short-term strategies not necessarily in a vacuum, but healthily removed from direct comparison to the sox. The sox did this last offseason, and while I personally think it was foolish of them to pass on Tex when the yankees were so close to their limit and the sox hadn’t done much of anything, spending-wise, but as far as not being overly concerned w/ CC or AJ, they made the right move.

        • currambayankees says:

          The Yankees do have some pitching depth aside from Hughes and Joba. They also have Nova and MAC in AAA. Coming up to AA or already there will be Bleich, Mitchell, Pendleton, Phelps, Pope. I would make a trade just to make a trade. The Yankees should stand pat unless this guy come cheap.

        • currambayankees says:

          You can’t worry about who the Blosox are signing or trading for because then you are going screw up your own system. Sometimes it’s better to keep your own prospects and see how they develop then give a ton of them away for one player. Instead of trading they can just sign an FA next year.

  14. Riddering says:

    As a sentimental fan who would mourn the loss of Joba, Hughes, or Montero I say…

    DO IT, CASHMAN. DO IT.

    If the Marlins really offer up such a valuable player–one with minimal concerns surrounding him–I’d want the Yankees to go after him. A trade like this would hurt but I feel that Montero is such good trade bait because of his value and the fact that the Yankees have catchers coming out the wazoo in the minor leagues. So, it would be more like a flesh wound really.

    What this says about the Marlins organization is another thing completely. (Oh, and pulling up their contract list and seeing Proctor’s name gave me a jolt. I almost forgot about that.)

    • Ed says:

      A trade like this would hurt but I feel that Montero is such good trade bait because of his value and the fact that the Yankees have catchers coming out the wazoo in the minor leagues. So, it would be more like a flesh wound really.

      One thing to keep in mind with that thinking – Montero is a potential star. While there are tons of catchers in the Yankees system, there’s a huge dropoff from Montero to the rest. The others are all nice to have but not amazing guys.

      Montero’s a guy you build around. The other catchers in the system aren’t.

  15. Scooter says:

    So you’re telling us not to mess with the Jesus?
    http://www.entertainmentearth......r=BBP01026

    It cracks me up that you can get a Donny figure. Hopefully there’s a Walter figure as well

  16. Trade or not, I’ll be alright.

    • Albert says:

      I’d try hard to keep Montero.
      Maybe Hughes, Jackson, ZMac, Nunez and Melancon get’s it done…

      I’m a big josh johnson fan, but if we’re throwing montero in there, we could probably start talking about groundwork for a Felix trade if you’re willing to part with Hughes+Montero+3 B prospects

  17. Mike P says:

    I think the Yanks shouldn’t make these kind of trades because part of the expense in prospects is linked to Johnson’s (and the like) status as cost effective team controlled players. That simply isn’t as valuable to the Yanks as to other teams. Hence from the Yanks’ perspective, they are partly paying for what others consider valuable. That is negating one of your main competitive advantages: extremely flexible payroll.

    I think the Yankees should continue the strategy of signing elite free agents, developping and keeping as much young pitching as they can and trading for quality players that have higher salaries than most teams want to pay. That way, you deal from strength accross the board.

    Finally, if the Josh Johnsons of the league keep being traded from broke (or stingy) teams to teams that value cheap team-controlled players, the higher the likelyhood they hit free agency (where the Yanks have the best chance of anyone to get them).

    The biggest cost of not completing these kinds of trades is the risk your direct competitor makes it instead.

    • Ed says:

      By the same token though, a large part of the reason the Yankees value Hughes and Joba is that they’re cost controlled. If they weren’t, there would be less incentive for the Yankees to hang on to them – instead you’d have to jump at the chance to trade them for more established players.

      Even the Yankees don’t have the money to fill a team up with CC & AJ type contracts.

  18. dzop says:

    A “split-change” is actually called a “forkball”. Makes you sound stupid when you make up new names for old pitches.

  19. arosen15 says:

    I like Johnson a lot. But honestly if we put Joba in Florida does anyone really think his #’s wouldnt be similar if not better then Johnson? So conversely…

  20. TLVP says:

    Not on topic but, congtaulations to Mauer for a well deserved MVP – can’t believe Teix beat Jtr for second though

    • TLVP says:

      By the way can you believe Greinke was on 4 ballots and not a single top 5 vote?

      Logically any vote or Greinke should be a top 3 or top 4 vote in my book. You can exclude him based on your selection criteria against picthers and losing team players, but if he’s on the ballot he should high up.

      I mean either you include pitchers or you don’t. Either you include losing team players or you don’t.

  21. Steve H says:

    I know it’s pretty irrational, but I don’t want to trade Jesus under (almost) any cirucmstances. The Yankees system has been doing a fine job of developing pitching in recent years, but are still behind in position prospects. I would rather trade both Joba and Hughes than one+Jesus. The one way I’d consider being okay with a Jesus trade is if the Yankees truly feel #1 he cannot catch, and #2 cannot play the OF. If he’s just a 1b/DH type, I’d say move him out in the right deal. And since the Yankees themselves know a hell of a lot more about Jesus than we do, I would begrudgingly trust them if they were to trade him. It’s pretty easy to find a DH in the free agency, not an ace pitcher. If Jesus were to be relegated to DH at a young age, it’s Joba/Montero/Mccalister, etc. vs. Johnson+Free agent DH.

  22. [...] Yankees Blog, RiverAveBlues.com explores the possibility of the Yankees making a move for Florida Marlins All-Star pitcher Josh Johnson. I believe the talk [...]

  23. Christina says:

    Joba and Hughes true studs?LOL!Maybe in your mind. It would take a lot more than 3 players. How about 5 for 1? Did you see what it took to trade Miguel Cabrera? The marlins maybe be cheap but not stupid.

    • Steve H says:

      That was a 6 for 2 deal, with no Montero by the way. And you can’t say Willis was a salary dump in that trade, as they gave him a big extension after the fact. He had value then, so don’t say it’s a 5 for 1 trade when it clearly wasn’t.

  24. sabes says:

    “Here’s the list of pitchers who struck out at least eight batters per nine innings, walked no more than two-and-a-half batters per nine innings, and got at least three groundballs for every two flyballs in 2009″

    I really hate this statistical cherry picking. It’s cheap and pretty useless.

  25. 28wooohooo says:

    I think the Yankees could make a trade without giving up Hughes, Joba or Montero. I think a Melky Cabrera, Romine, and Kennedy deal would net Josh Johnson. Montero shouldn’t be traded at all.

  26. themgmt says:

    “He’s not Felix Hernandez but….”

    Then why trade Montero for him instead of for Felix?

  27. Bo says:

    I think they’re more apt to target Felix than Johnson.

  28. Rob in CT says:

    Johnson is basically what we hope Joba or Hughes can become. I like both of “our” guys, but I would surrender Joba or Hughes + some secondary prospects to get Johnson.

  29. pete says:

    i’d give up one of joba or hughes, because i think it’s very unlikely that either is better, and johnson is, in yankee dollars, almost just as cheap. I would not, however, give up montero in a trade, and I doubt a trade proposal without montero gets it done. Right now we have a legit ace in his prime, one reliable (albeti inconsistent) vet, another likely reliable vet, and two guys who’ve shown that they are at the very least capable of succeeding. Our system also has a lot of pitching prospects in the B-range, which give us enough depth not to have to worry too much about filling it out in the next few years. And while we do have depth at catcher, we don’t have a single bat that we know is likely to produce at the big-league level in our system. With our aging stars, the combination of Tex and Montero could be enough to allow guys whose offense is average but play good defense to fill out our roster, rather than overpay for veterans.

    In my mind (biased, sure, but I don’t think wholly incorrect), montero is pretty close in value to johnson. He could be the centerpoint, along with ramirez, stanton, uggla, coghlen, et al, of one of the best young offenses in the game. Meanwhile, the rest of their staff, especially if johnson is replaced by hughes or joba, who could likely become dominant, ace-type pitchers in the NL, and you’ve turned them into an absolute beast of a team for the next half-decade at least.

    Now think of the yankees with Johnson replacing Joba. The difference is likely to be big between those two, but they have a farm system devoid of offensive talent or high-end pitching talent. They would become dangerously top-heavy, with the top, other than CC and JJ, being generally old and in decline. Overall, the yankees would improve some, but not tons, over the next two-three years, before they likely start to regret the trade.

    I think that if a trade turns one team into potentially the class of the NL while the other team, which was already the class of the AL, improves, but not all that significantly, in the short term, but mortgages its future to do so, then there are problems with the trade.

    In sum, I think it’s certainly a trade that would be 100% worthy of strong consideration, but I think the eventual outcome of that consideration would be that the yankees would have to pass. The yankees have and are likely to continue to have a lot of success drafting and developing pitchers, along with acquiring them through free agency, because there simply are more high-end pitchers likely to fall in drafts than high-end hitters. They are too lucky to have Montero to trade him away for a pitcher of whose caliber there are others the yankees could either potentially develop (or even have) or acquire through free agency.

    • A couple of points:

      1. I’m not nearly as sanguine as you about the stability of the rotation behind Sabathia. It’s easy to forget, but Burnett is still an injury concern, and obviously Pettite’s age has to be something of a concern as well. I’d be cautiously optimistic about a Sabathia-Burnett-Pettite-Joba-Hughes rotation, but I wouldn’t have any problem with trying to get another guy at the top either. Everyone after Sabathia has a big question mark, IMO.

      2. I think the concerns about depth are ameliorated to a large degree by Johnson’s age. I mean, I’d share your concerns to a much higher degree if we were talking about a guy who was 31-33 years old, but Johnson turns 26 in January, he’s got basically his entire prime ahead of him, and he’s already a legitimate frontline starter. IMO, you can afford to sacrifice depth to get a player like that.

      The way I see it, if you trade Hughes/Joba, Montero, and 2 or 3 B/C level prospects, you’re basically trading away some depth to get a 26 year old ace, as well as trading Montero to cash in the potential of Hughes/Joba. And you keep one of those guys too. And of course Montero may never materialize as the player we’re all imagining either. All in all, I’d have a hard time turning that deal down.

      • pete says:

        i understand, and johnson’s age certainly makes him a much much much more attractive trade target than halladay. Believe me I think i’d be able to live with the yankees getting JJ to compliment CC, push AJ into his appropriate #3 spot, etc. But I still feel like Montero is our only position player of real, mlb-impact offensive value, at least at this point, in the minors. He’s a stud, don’t get me wrong, but his numbers last year were worse, in the same division, than Javy Vasquez, JA Happ, and Tommy Hanson, one of whom has shown that while a quality and reliable innings eater, he is probably not a frontline ace type, and certainly not in the AL East, and two of whom were rookies (among whom only one has ever even been considered a true No. 1-type prospect). I really and truly believe that Joba, if traded to the Marlins, would within two years be pitching at the same level as johnson. I also believe that Montero’s offensive production would likely replace Johnson’s value in a couple years. Trading both for him, plus others, screams overpay to me.

        Don’t get me wrong, I think Johnson’s a very attractive pitcher – great frame, durability, stuff, cheap, young. But in NY next year he’s probably around a 3.75/200 guy. That’s not something Joba’s incapable of doing within two years, and besting later, and he’s probably around a 4.00-4.25/175 guy next year, so even for next year, the difference isn’t huge.

        Both montero and Joba are less proven than Johnson, sure, but it’s way too possible that BOTH match his value over the next few years to trade them both for him.

  30. Amol says:

    Those are some rosy WAR projections you’re using to evaluate Johnson. You’re projecting him to significantly outperform Beckett, Haren and Vazquez in their age 26-27 seasons. While he certainly has the ability to do that, I think you should probably be a little more conservative when making valuations for a trade. Using those players’ careers as a guide, I used 6.5 and 5.0 for his next two season’s WAR and got a value of $43.4 million, making this deal far less appealing.

    That said, if the Yankees can sign Johnson to the deal he was looking for ($38 million over 4 years), he might just be worth it.

  31. Preston M says:

    Marlins fan here, and this deal won’t get done without Joba or Hughes. Personally, I’d take Hughes over Joba, I see more upside. Also, the Marlins could kick in Matt Lindstrom and Jai Miller (and Andrew Miller if they want a project with some upside), if that would get David Robertson in there. So I could see a deal of Johnson, Lindstrom, Miller, and Miller for Hughes, Montero, Robertson, and Brettt Gardner.

  32. Bobby says:

    Letting Montero go would be a big mistake. Jorge isn’t getting any younger, and there are plenty of other pitchers available that wouldn’t cost giving up a potential franchise catcher of the future. Johnson isn’t worth that much.

  33. Vinnie G says:

    Hughes, A Jackson, Romine, Mccalister, Heredia, and either Mark Melancon or Phil Coke. For Josh Johnson and Cody Ross

    Instead of 2 A level, I gave 1 A and 4 Bs and took off a contract.

    Mike would they hang up the phone on that offer?

  34. Since_77 says:

    You need to be careful bringing a pitcher from the NL to the AL East.

    • Jack says:

      There’s always concern whenever you import a pitcher from the National League and stick him in the AL East, however Johnson isn’t like most pitchers. He has true front-of-the-rotation power stuff that enables him to do the two best things a pitcher can do: strike guys out and generate ground balls. Here’s the list of pitchers who struck out at least eight batters per nine innings, walked no more than two-and-a-half batters per nine innings, and got at least three groundballs for every two flyballs in 2009:

      1.Josh Johnson

  35. chriso says:

    Hmmm. I’d posted just a bit earlier this evening about the idea of the Yanks trading for Johnson…

    Anyway, I agree that Johnson would be a great addition and would be worth giving up young players to get. In principle I NEVER like the idea of trading young pitching talent for older players.

    As for who those young players might be…I’m OK with Joba, or Hughes, and Montero. After that, though, I’d be a bit less generous. McAllister, OK. but, after that, it would have to be a lower level player and not Nunez because the Yanks are really thin at SS and Jetes ain’t gonna play forever. Two young starters and a stud young hitter is plenty. I don’t think, frankly, that there is another team out there who could afford to give up players the caliber of Joba and Montero (most organizations don’t have two young players with that kind of potential whom they don’t “need”).
    McAllister is only projected to be a back-end-of-the-rotation sort, but he IS solid. He’d be able to step in to the Marlins’ rotation in 2010.
    Do I think that Joba/Montero/McAllister for Johnson would be a fair deal? I don’t know if I’d go that far. It would be painful for the Yankees, for sure. But Johnson is going to be every bit as good as Roy Halladay. You’ve got to give up something to get back talent like that. And, at 25, Johnson’s got a lot of years ahead of him.

  36. Jimmy P. says:

    No way am I trading Montero in a package for JJ. Yes I would like to have JJ on the Yanks but in my book Montero is untouchable except for a guy like Felix. My trade proposal would be either Joba or Hughes, Ajax, Z Mac, and 2 or 3 prospects from the following list(Romine, Nova, Pena, Kennedy, Melky, Gardner).

    With all the bats that are leaving in the next 2 to 3 years(i.e. Damon, Matsui,Posada etc.) Montero is going to be a super star. I’ve heard comparisons to Albert Pujous. I don’t care if he’s going to be a DH. We’ll need his bat so I think it would be a big mistake to trade him.

  37. godfather says:

    jj is too solid a pitcher to dismiss without finding out what the cost would be…at an age where i don’t buy green bananas, nice to see nyy is in good hands with you young zealots…i’ve had my fun, going all the way back to that dimaggio guy in center

  38. ledavidisrael says:

    Hughes has put up 1 WAR Per 36 IP in the Al East.
    Joba Has put up 1 WAR per 42.5 IP in the Al East.
    Josh Johnson has put up 1 WAR PER 44.8 IP in the NL East.

    Im aware that Hughes and Joba have had time out of the BP which could skew numbers like this. But they have also pitched in the toughest division in baseball. In a much smaller ballpark. They are also both younger.

    If it was simply hughes or joba + b level prospects it would be different. But when you add montero in the trade becomes less desirable. The team is going to need cheap position players for years to come.

  39. Glen L says:

    Honestly, where does everyone see Montero playing for the yankees? He’s not going to catch at the MLB level and from everything I’ve heard there is no reason to assume he can successfully play the outfield.

    That leaves DH … the yankees will always be able to spend money and buy a FA bat that should give you a very fair approximation of Montero’s hitting ability.

    I understand and generally agree with the comments re: trading top prospects with an aging MLB core. Montero just isn’t as valuable to the yankees as he would be to another team.

  40. Soxhater says:

    when are the rest of the yankee fans in the world going to realize that Ian Kennedy is terrible. we’d be lucky to get a bucket of balls back for him. He has got awful “stuff”, and his control is not as great as he is given credit for. Joba and Hughes could be legit, but i think joba should be in the pen, he and Mo could make games 7innings long. Hughes has a 2nd or 3rd starters make up but really has alot to prove. In my oppinion you’d be lucky to give up just Joba or hughes and not both to get Josh Johnson. Although personally if your going to give up that kinda talent, why not get felix and give up a tiny bit more…

  41. trent says:

    sign ben sheets.

  42. chriso says:

    The comment about Ian Kennedy being “terrible” is, well, terrible. IPK has got stuff the equivalent of any number of mediocre starting pitchers in the big leagues. A #4-#5 starter is all he ever was expected to be and he’s still on track to be that. I don’t think he’s going to pitch for the Yankees. but watch: after he’s traded to the NL, he’ll thrive.
    As for the various comments about Montero, those that suggest he’s going to be a ML catcher are, no doubt, by people who have never seen him catch. He’s bad. He’s got a good arm, but he just doesn’t have the quick mobility that catchers need. And, with a thick body–especially thick legs–he probably doesn’t have range for the OF, either. What this means is: he’s a future DH and/or first baseman. It would take a major leap forward in AAA this year for him to be considered a viable catching prospect.
    But Montero is, without doubt, a monster at the plate. He does everything well and could handle ML pitching now.
    As for trading him, that’s a decision the Yanks would make only after very, very careful deliberation about the absolutely right deal. In principle, it could make sense to trade him for a young stud pitcher. It wouldn’t make any sense to trade him for any hitter or for an aging pitcher. On the other hand, holding onto him for the sake of holding onto him probably doesn’t make any sense, either.
    He’s blocek at first base for years. A-Rod will get a few DH starts in 2010, and more as time goes by. Posada will get more DH time that A-Rod in 2010 and even more in 2011. Even Jeter could see a few DH starts here and there. And both Matsui and Damon are viable DHs and one of them, at least, is likely to be retained. If Montero can catch, he obviously has a place in the Yanks’ lineup. But, if he can’t catch, there wouldn’t be too many at-bats for him over the next couple of years.
    Finally, I’m all for signing Ben Sheets and don’t advocate trading Montero or Joba/Hughes unless a great deal comes along (Halladay is NOT that great deal!!)

  43. WayneD says:

    I wouldn’t mind having Josh Johnson as our fourth or fifth starter, but there’s no way he’s a 1 or a 2 at this point. All this talk about WAR and projected dollar value is ridiculous. Johnson pitches in the NL, which basically has little or no hitting, outside of Phillie.

    Other than Phillie, no one in the NL East or the rest of the NL for that matter, could finish higher than third in the AL East, and 80% of the NL couldn’t finish higher than fourth. Who cares what his WAR is against a bunch of Punch & Judy hitters. And here’s the proof: Phillie, the only realy good hitting team in the NL destroyed the supposedly great Johnson, as outlined below:

    Werth hit .268 for the year, but hit Johnson at a .375 clip.
    Rollins hit .250 last year, but hit .308 against Johnson.
    Howard hit .279 last year, but hit .333 with 2 HRs & 7 RBIs against Johnson (REAL IMPRESSIVE, huh?)
    9 Phillies hit between .500 and .273 against Johnson, and only one really good hitter (Ibanez) didn’t hit him well
    As a team, Phillie hit .288 against him with 4 HRs, 6 doubles & 1 triple in 156 ABs.

    Want more evidence?
    Lance Berkman hit .500 against him with 1 double & 1 HR in 6 ABs.
    Carlos Lee, 1 HR in 2 ABs
    Pujols hit .333 with 1 HR in 9 ABs
    Fielder hit .300 with a 3B (I didn’t even think that was possible, given his heft)
    Jim Thome saw him 1 AB, went Um-Um, and promptly hit a 3-run HR against him.

    I’m completely underwhelmed by Johnson! His 3.23 era last year and lifetime 3.40 era translate into an approximately 4.25 to 4.60 era in the AL East. He’s a 2-pitch pitcher (67% fastballs, 25 sliders); Boston will kick his butt from NYC to Maine once they’ve seen him a couple of outings & realize he only has 2 pitches, with one being their favorite: a fastball.

    The bottom line is this: good hitters will kill a 2-pitch pitcher, even at 95 mph: this guy is no better than Joba or Hughes at this point. And you guys want to give up Joba & Montero for him, plus more prospects? Stop it before some nitwit in Yankeeland listens to you & pulls off this boneheaded trade.

    Stop relying on WAR & all of those supposedly scientific methods of studying players when you’re looking at an NL pitcher or hitter. Overall, the talent in the NL is somewhere between AAA and the Kansas City Royals.

    And the Yankees would have to be insane to trade Montero or Ajax for anybody less than King Felix. Montero might end up being one of the best hitting catchers of all time, and I recently read that his defense is much underrated. Let’s also not forget that Jorge was never a great catcher, but his all around play (especially his bat) helped us win 5 WS. So, maybe Montero can do the same.

  44. Trent says:

    Again. Sign Ben Sheets.

  45. [...] talked about Josh Johnson before, and others are mentioning the Marlins’ ace as well. MLBTR mentioned that Keith Law thinks Johnson could [...]

  46. [...] Going after the big Fish As rumors of pitchers swirled around baseball, Mike urged the Yanks to look at Josh Johnson. The [...]

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