Nov
11

The RAB Guide to Sanity During the Hot Stove Season

By

Five months without baseball can make people go insane. Hell, we’ve been without baseball for just a week now and I’m already to the point of missing Michael Kay. Missing Michael Kay. This is serious stuff, this baseball withdrawal. Thankfully, we have the hot stove season still ahead of us. Baseball will always be about what happens between April and October, but there’s an understandable fascination with the yearly rebuilding process. We’ve already gotten into it heavily on RAB.

We all want to see the Yankees repeat as champions, so we want them to make moves that best position them for that. Unfortunately, this often leads to fans concocting unrealistic scenarios and then screaming when they don’t come to fruition. This is nothing but counterproductive.

Major League Baseball is a complicated machine. What makes sense to you and me might not make sense to the guys running the teams. It leads us to sometimes question those in charge, and sometimes rightfully so. Other times, there’s a factor at play unknown to all of us, but known too well to the GM and his staff. It can lead to some tumultuous times, but I think we’re all calm and sane enough here to put it in perspective.

When evaluating what the Yankees should do, and what they have done, there is one principle to keep in mind, and that comes with one addendum. Understand this, and you’ll understand a lot more about why teams make the moves they do and why they avoid others:

Teams have limited resources, and they must use these resources as efficiently as possible in order to build the best possible team.

Addendum: The game goes through this cycle every year, presumably forever.

This means we have to evaluate moves not only in a vacuum, but also as compared with all other possible moves. This perspective involves exploring options for not only 2010, but also for seasons further in the future. The Yankees’ front office, however, will likely only look a year or two ahead.

Resources refers to not just money, but also to the team’s players. Available funds and young talent are the two main forms of currency in baseball. The Yankees have made it clear that they will keep their payroll around the 2009 level, if not a bit lower, so that should put expectations in line. We know how much they can spend, and we know what players they have in the system. That should give us an idea of what the team can do.

The Yankees have holes and weaknesses. They’ll continue to have holes and weaknesses, with the idea that they’ll be fewer and less severe than other teams. To accomplish that, they’ll deploy their resources as efficiently as possible. Not to pick on him, but commenter ledavidisrael showed us an example of this yesterday when he mused on how J.J. Hardy would help the Yankees. Hardy is a good player, and if his bat recovers he’ll help the Twins. But why would the Yankees use their precious resources on him when they already have one of the best infields, if not the best, in the league?

The infield is not a weakness for the Yankees, so they should use as little of their resources on that as possible. They should look to any weaknesses, both on the major league roster and in the system, and use their resources to strengthen them. For the Yankees, that means pitching, as it does every team, and the outfield. If the team is going to make moves this winter, it should be with those weaknesses in mind.

They can improve the pitching and outfield mainly through free agency and trades. These will be the two major topics of discussion over the next four-plus months, as they are every off-season. In an effort to keep everyone as sane as possible, let’s go over some of the finer points of the off-season. I did this last off-season, but I’m much better equipped this time around, thanks to some work by a few good writers.

Your trade proposal sucks

As fans, we love to come up with trade proposals to help our team. That’s great, but 99.999999999% of the time, the trade proposed is unrealistic. This might be for a number of reasons, both obvious and non-obvious. Fans overvaluing their team’s prospects is the main reason for ridiculous trade proposals, but there are plenty of others.

Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star tackled this subject a few months ago. He shows us, through first-hand experience, why a trade proposal from an outsider rarely makes sense.

Once, in a casual conversation a few years ago, a member of the Royals’ front office gave me a homework assignment. He wanted me to come to him with a doable trade idea that would make the Royals better.

“And realistic,” he said. “Don’t have us trading Jimmy Gobble for Albert Pujols.”

The next few days or so, I wore out Baseball-Reference and Baseball Cube and all the other nerdy sites even more than usual. I came up with something, I can’t remember exactly what, but I vaguely recall suggesting either DeJesus or Teahen to the Cubs for a deal involving Ryan Theriot and other parts.

The Royals’ executive considered it for a few seconds, acknowledged that it made sense in the obvious ways I pointed out, then listed two or three reasons it didn’t make sense, reasons that I hadn’t considered and most likely never would’ve known without that conversation.

Brian Cashman cannot control other GMs minds

Many players will be available this off-season via trade. While the Yankees might have seemingly unlimited financial resources (even though they don’t), they certainly don’t have unlimited player personnel resources. In fact, plenty of other teams have much more in the way of player currency, which usually consists of prospects.

For a recent example, the Tigers have reportedly made Edwin Jackson available. Maybe the Yankees see Jackson as a more cost-efficient alternative to John Lackey. Jackson would also come with less of a commitment, as he can become a free agent after the 2011 season. So instead of Lackey at five years and, say, $90 million, Jackson could be had for two years and, with arbitration raises, perhaps $15 million. That sounds like a much better deal, even if Lackey is a better pitcher.

We run into the resources problem immediately. Yes, Jackson would be cheaper than Lackey, but he would cost the Yankees plenty in player resources. Is that worth the trade-off? Maybe, maybe not. But even if the Yankees decide it is, the have to get Dave Dombrowski to accept their offer. Other teams will also present offers, and if the Yankees is not the best, the Tigers will not accept it and Jackson will be elsewhere in 2010.

Fans might scream at this, saying Cashman could have added this player or that to the offer to make it more enticing. But then we’re back to the Mellinger argument. Each team has its own list of wants and needs, and they’re going to take the package that best fits those. Slapping Kevin Russo on top of a package doesn’t necessarily fulfill the Tigers’ needs. There’s also a point where the players going to the Tigers would be too great an expenditure of resources, even considering Jackson’s relative cheapness.

Misinformation abounds

We’ll see the Yankees connected with many names this winter — we’ve already seen them connected to Lackey and Holliday. The Yankees have financial resources, so agents frequently connect their clients to the Yankees, hoping that the specter of the Evil Empire can help raise the bidding. That the Yankees spent heavily last off-season will only increase this activity this off-season. Until we start to hear something substantial, take rumors as just that. You’ll know when the Yankees start to get serious about someone.

Teams might not be interested in the Yankees spare parts

This doesn’t happen nearly as often as it did a few years ago — or perhaps these people are commenting elsewhere — but fans sometimes want to sign a player whose position is already filled. The solution to the logjam is to trade the incumbent. We saw this last winter a bit with Adam Dunn. He’d be the DH, but the Yankees already had Hideki Matsui. Many fans thought the Yankees should have dumped Matsui on the Mariners and then signed Dunn. This rarely, if ever, happens.

If the Yankees don’t want a player, it’s unlikely that another team values him highly enough to give back anything of significant value in a trade. It’s nice to think another team will help out the Yankees, but that is never the case. This is especially true when we’re talking about older players. There are plenty of older players on the free agent market. Why wouldn’t a team go out and get one of them, rather than use their own resources to acquire someone from the Yankees?

GMs are not idiots

OK, some general managers seem to make more foolish moves than others. Dayton Moore and Ned Colletti, for quick examples, have seemingly handed out a few more ill-advised deals than other GMs. That doesn’t mean they’re always ripe for the fleecing. J.C. Bradbury of Sabernomics has broken down some general manager myths, and explains why they’re just not true. They include:

  • GMS can buy low and sell high. “For this to work, the GM on the other team has to be a colossal moron.” J.C. explains further here.
  • The number of free agents at a position affects the price of free agents at a position. “The problem with this is that the free agents have come from somewhere. A high number of players looking for new teams means that there is a corresponding number of openings that teams need to fill.” The exception is when teams have already filled the position from within, but then there are also teams which wish to upgrade at the position.
  • Every trade has a winner and a loser. “Mistakes happen, but as a general rule, all parties to trades are winners.” In their minds, at least. Trades might work out in favor of one part eventually, but that’s information not available at the time of the deal.
  • Players peak at 27 and old players are worthless. “The aging process is gradual, more like the Minneapolis Metrodome than an Egyptian pyramid.”

The Yankees have a plan

By the time they’re done evaluating their situation, they’ll come up with a few plans, actually. There’s the primary plan and then a number of backup plans in case one aspect or another of the primary plan falls through. Last year the Yankees got lucky. Their Plan A worked out. That won’t always be the case, and it likely won’t be the case this year. In any case, the Yankees will act according to their plans. If something unexpected comes up they might alter the plan, but otherwise they’re going to act consistently with it.

Keep all this in mind throughout the off-season, and maybe you’ll stay sane. Forget it, and you’ll pull your hair out while screaming at Cashman for not acquiring this player or that. I think we’ll have a much happier comments section this winter, though, if we take heed of all this.

Categories : Hot Stove League
  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    Logic and rational thought have no place on the hot stove.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Melky and IPK for Pujols, or Cashman is an idiot.

      • http://thesportshernia.typepad.com/blog/images/2008/05/04/melky_cabrera_cant_believe_it_phixr.png Drew

        If I gotta lose Melky, I want Looper also.

        • Chili Davis

          Negotiating rights to Rick Ankiel or GTFO

      • jwb

        That’s an overpay. Kennedy threw almost 25 AWESOME innings last season!

      • Jason

        This isn’t a blog post, it’s a thesis. Brilliant!

        Personally I am perpetually annoyed and slightly nauseated at all the Yankees fans that crave and genuinely believe every position should be filled with all world superstars. I enjoyed this season more then any since 96 because this team had some underdogs, some kids who rose up from obscurity, the characters and the stories gripped me. I hope Brian Cashman keeps on doing what he’s been doing.

    • Free Mike Vick

      Logic, Rational, Sanity.

      Meet Hot Stove. http://www.closertonature.com/.....StoveF.jpg (safe)

      OW…that BURNS.

  • http://thesportshernia.typepad.com/blog/images/2008/05/04/melky_cabrera_cant_believe_it_phixr.png Drew

    Your trade proposal sucks

    By far my favorite part.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Yeah. Kinda wish I saved that for its own post.

      • JMK aka The Overshare

        You didn’t manage your resources efficiently there, Joe.

    • DSFC

      As George Costanza once said…”I figured out a way we could get Ken Griffey Jr and Barry Bonds, and we wouldn’t even have to give up that much!”

  • JMK aka The Overshare

    Paging mryankee, you are needed in the thread. mryankee, your car’s lights are on…

    • Zack

      We can get Halladay 50cent on the dollar!1!

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

        IF WE DON’T GET HIM WE’RE STANDING STILL AND TEAMS THAT STAND STILL NEVER WIN!!!!

  • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

    Joe, this post is long, and Imma let you finish, but Rebecca’s was longer.

    • Jordan

      IETC.

    • Anthony

      Meh, I’m really hoping this meme dies out sooner than later.

  • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

    Teams might not be interested in the Yankees spare parts

    Melky Cabrera and IPK can get you anything. Haven’t you learned over the last 2.5 years? They’ve been RAB-comment-traded so many times.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Being RAB-comment-traded is as valid as the SALCS.

      • Salty Buggah

        So…those trades will happen? The SALCS was right this year…

        • The Scout

          I like to call those proposed trades “pocket lint” deals: you give me the star I want for the lint I have at the bottom of my pocket. The suggested trade always comes with a detailed (that is, labored) explanation of why the lint would solve the other GM’s problems, e.g., “Shelly Duncan could play right field there.” Any deal idea that includes Kei Igawa is a pocket lint trade, by definition.

  • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

    I want to believe Drayton Moore has already exceeded his really stupid move quota for 2009, but I’m almost as interested in what he does as what the Yankees do.

    • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

      Dayton Moore even.

      I always manage to combine him and Drayton McLane into one horrible baseball move making monster.

  • Brooklyn Ed

    Ian Kennedy for Joey Votta. ha!

    • Reggie C.

      If there’s any semblence of possibility to that MLBTR guess , Theo Epstein will lead the charge followed by Omar Minaya. Both squads could use a quality slugger, and Votto just started his career.

      Caveat: Reds get to decide the bidder’s top 3 prospects. That’s not even including the Reds likely wanting 1 young, cheap, productive major leaguer too.

      yeah… Its time to go nuts.

      • pat

        Caveat.. the Reds are trying to shed salary. Why trade the guy making a half million bucks?

        • whozat

          because you can maybe get the team to take Arroyo too?

          • Mike bk

            you only deal votto if they give you stuff back and they take an albatross deal, kind of like the jays should have done w Roy. instead of asking for the moon, take less, dump your junk and start over.

            • JGS

              even if they were getting Halladay with him, no one was touching Vernon Wells with a ten foot pole. in 2011, Wells will make more than Teixeira, and the same as CC

        • A.D.

          Cause they do have another 1B waiting in the wings making less, but yeah it doesn’t make sense. Personally if I’m the Reds I move Votto to a corner OF (where he played some in the minors) spot when Alonso is ready

  • radnom

    I find (at least during the past two offseasons) that most members of this site (myself included) tend to not be guilty of the classic “IPK + Melky” trade but rather overreact to that part of the fan base and completely shoot on the other side. Example A – when we were all thinking Damon would be needed (or maybe even too little!) to land Swisher.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Yeah, on that one we musta been thinking…I don’t know what the hell we were thinking.

      • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

        We were thinking a lot more than Kenny Williams was for sure.

        • radnom

          Haha definitely.

          No one could predict that much of a steal.

  • Omar

    Well where’s the fun in this?

    • jim p

      That there are GMs who sometimes act like “colossal morons.” Think “letting Swisher go” for example.

  • Dela G

    i want KING FELIX!

    Trade Melky, Brett Gardner, IPK and the ghost of kei igawa.

    That should suffice, right?

    or would that only suffice in a different era

    [/alex gonzalez’d

    • scoopemup

      Montero,Hughes,Ajax,IPK for the King and Franklin Guteriez.

  • Omar

    I also think it’s safe to call Bill Smith and Kenny Williams an idiot. One traded an AS caliber OF for a bench player and a guy whose probably no better than a 2 starter in the PCL, and the other traded the game’s best pitcher two years ago and can’t expect contributions out of any of the guys he acquired in 2010. There are bad GMs out there, no Bill Smith likely won’t trade Denard Span for Zack McAllister (though if he gave up Santana for Carlos Gomez, Keven Mulvey, Delios Guererra, and Phillip Humber who knows) and Kenny Williams likely won’t deal Danks for AJax/IPK/Betances/Melky…but they still do plenty of stupid things. Jim Hendry also strikes me as the guy who makes plenty of dumb decisions…they’re out there for sure.

    • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

      Kenny Williams is not an idiot but his puzzling moves (like Swisher) are extremely puzzling.

      • radnom

        Even if he absolutely had to deal Swisher you still gotta figure he could have squeezed out a little bit more – even from the Yankees.

      • jwb

        Kenny Williams gets rid of players Ozzie Guillen doesn’t like. Sometimes he gets a good return, sometimes he doesn’t.

  • Salty Buggah

    Jackson is available? Get it done Cash-homey. We need to buy low on this. I think Shelley Duncan and Juan Miranda might work?

  • Alan

    So..you’re saying we CAN’T get Zach Greinke for Nova and Coke? Well, I’ll be damned.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      And all this time you just thought Cashman was an idiot.

      • Free Mike Vick

        he is.

        • Jack

          You fogot your massive sarcasm tag.

          • Free Mike Vick

            SARCASM ALERT FROM FMV!111!!!1!!

  • http://twitter.com/JamalG_BB Jamal G.

    Unfortunately, this often leads to fans concocting unrealistic scenarios …

    What, like saying the Yankees should sign CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett? I remember fantasizing about punching people who kept posting that in the temple.

  • Free Mike Vick

    So…are we supposed to take this thread seriously??

    if so…i have a lot of rethinking to do when it comes to a mega trade that would bring all the AL & NL Cy Youngs and MVPs of the past 5 season to the Bronx…..well atleast the ones who aren’t already here.

  • ARX

    “The Royals’ executive [...] acknowledged that it made sense in the obvious ways I pointed out, then listed two or three reasons it didn’t make sense, reasons that I hadn’t considered and most likely never would’ve known without that conversation.”

    Kinda wish he had been more specific; obviously some fan proposals are just wacko, but it wouldve been insightful to know ther thinking, especially since it sounds like Mellinger really did his homework.

  • jim p

    Well, say what you will, I’m just astonished Cashman hasn’t landed Pujols by today. What is he doing? Imagine Pujols’ bat in our lineup, him and Holliday, and Halliday. This winter is looking like a failure already.

    What?

  • Mike bk

    so who will be the biggest name traded this offseason?

    • Rey22

      Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

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

        William Van Landingham.

    • JMK aka The Overshare

      Melvin Crousett.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        YOU TAKE THAT BACK!!!

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

          Melvin cannot technically be “traded”, because he already belongs to the whole world.

          He’s right here… in our hearts.

  • Renny Baseball

    It’s not as bad as 5 months.

    91 days to pitchers and catchers…

    • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

      but i somehow find spring training boring. The off season is fun, especially when you win as large as we did last year – and I don’t mean just CC, Teix and AJ but in particular Swisher since it was not just money talking but also smarts.

  • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

    I think the big question for us is how many 1-4 starters will the Yankees have come spring training. Counting Gaudin as a no 5 starter you already have

    CC
    AJ
    Joba
    Hughes

    as potential 1-4′s

    Pettitte is likely to return

    If you sign Lackey, Harden or Bedard the’d have 6 good starters which might stunt Hughes development and tehre’d be almost no room to bring back Wang.

    Not suggesting any specific trade, but would you see them sign Lackey, Harden or Bedard and then trade Hughes for a premium outfielder? I think that is generic enough not to fall into the “Your trade proposal sucks” category. Who do you think we could get for Hughes?

    • Januz

      I actually think that winning the World Series makes it LESS likely that they will sign a Matt Holliday or John Lackey (The reason being, the demands by ownership and fans will not be as great, since they are not going through a nine-year title-less stretch). They are in a position where they can wait to trade for a player in July if necessary, and keep in mind, that Cashman is willing to do just that (He said NO to Santana, and rolled the dice he could sign Sabathia (Just to keep Phil Hughes)). Another possibility is this: The player who might be needed could turn out to be Montero, and they need a spot for him (Left Field or DH?). I would rather take a chance on him, then a guy like Holliday, who for all his publicity, knocked in 100 or more runs THREE times (Not exactly a Hall of Famer). Lackey who won over 14 games exactly ONCE, is even less of a need (Unlike last year with Burnett). I would prefer to sign Andy and if possible Damon.

      • currambayankees

        From everything I am hearing a snail would play a better OF then Montero. The guy is either a DH/C not of for him specially not the spacious LF of Yankees Stadium.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Who do you think we could get for Hughes?

      Hughes by himself? Probably not as much as we think.

      • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

        he’s young and cheap. If you use him to get someone with only 1 year left it might get you something interesting if you throw in a couple of teir 2 prospects?

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

      Not suggesting any specific trade, but would you see them sign Lackey, Harden or Bedard and then trade Hughes for a premium outfielder?

      No. Not in a million years.

      I think that is generic enough not to fall into the “Your trade proposal sucks” category.

      You are correct. Calling for the Yankees to sign John Lackey and then trade Phil Hughes for a premium outfielder is not a “your trade proposal sucks”.

      It is, however, a “Your understanding of the Yankees short-term and long-term planning strategies sucks” and a “Your methodology for constructing a consistently successful baseball team sucks” and a “Your ability to read the available options both now and in the future for how to improve this team sucks” and a “Your cost-benefit-analysis decisionmaking sucks”. It’s all of those things.

      • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

        Except that a lot of people talk about the Yankees being in the running for Lackey. If we signed Lackey we would have a fixed 1-3 in the rotation for 4 years at least and you then wonder where Hughes fits in. If Hughes doesn’t fit in, he might be worth more in a trade for us than as a back up starter.

        I’m not saying we shoud sign Lackey or another free agent SP, but if we do and Pettitte is coming back I could see taht Hughes is worth more to someone else than to us.

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

          Except that a lot of people talk about the Yankees being in the running for Lackey.

          Irrelevant. “A lot of people” are often wrong. Don’t say what you think other people are saying, say what you think you believe in.

          If we signed Lackey we would have a fixed 1-3 in the rotation for 4 years at least

          If we keep Joba and Hughes, we’d have a fixed 1-4 in the rotation for 4 years at least, and well beyond that, since Hughes and Joba are both 8-9 years younger than Lackey.

          and you then wonder where Hughes fits in.

          No you don’t. He fits in in the rotation. This should not be an issue of debate.

          If Hughes doesn’t fit in, he might be worth more in a trade for us than as a back up starter.

          He’d only be a backup starter IF WE STUPIDLY SIGNED JOHN LACKEY. The best way for us to avoid Phil Hughes becoming a backup starter is to not stupidly sign older pitchers in front of him to block his path.

          I’m not saying we shoud sign Lackey or another free agent SP,

          Yes you are. Don’t lie to our faces. That’s exactly what you’re doing. We wouldn’t be having this conversation if that wasn’t exactly what you were doing.

          but if we do and Pettitte is coming back I could see taht Hughes is worth more to someone else than to us.

          I agree. In the scenario you outlined, where you intentionally, deliberately, purposely, and foolishly made Phil Hughes worth less to us than he would be worth to someone else, I agree with your statement that in that fucked up scenario, Phil Hughes would indeed be worth more to someone else than to us.

    • pete

      hughes could probably get you matt joyce

  • SS

    I must say, this is the best RAB post ever.

  • mryankee

    Hello boys this is my kind of thread. My boy Edwin Jackson is available? The Tigers must be very optimistic about the rest of their staff. Its to early for my Yankee centric trade suggestions. Just remeber Barry Bonds as Matsui’s replacement. I will check in later with the rest of my thoughts.

    • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      We wait with breath that is bated.

      • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        PS:

        “Hello boys this is my kind of thread.”

        You clearly didn’t bother to read a word of Joe’s post.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      I’m just gonna shoot this out there in regards to Edwin Jackson: no trade proposal involving him coming to the Yankees is a good one.

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

        Seconded.

        List of players under contract to another team that the Yankees should consider trading for this offseason:

        none

        [end of list]

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          I have always been curious what it would take to get Verlander.

        • MattG

          Without looking at every contract, I can feel fairly confident this is false.

          • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

            +1

          • Zack

            I think his point is that the price tag would be too high for any player with a good contract; and anyone with a bad contract (Arroyo, Wells, Bradley) arent worth the money, prospects, or playing time.

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

              Bingo.

              A) Good players under contract to other teams would cost too much in terms of prospects.
              B) Mediocre or bad players under contract to other teams wouldn’t really help, or have a place or role on this team, since it’s pretty stacked already.
              C) We have no gaping or glaring holes to fill that would necessitate a bold and daring trade for an elite talent under contract to another team; all we need are small patches and plugs, and all those patches and plugs can be acquired through free agency where it only costs us money and not money AND prospects.
              D) All of our long-term strategic player acquisition goals can be met either through internal promotions by our elite young prospects, or through future year free agent markets where the talent pool is greater.

              We don’t need to trade for anyone. Period. For every single potential trade scenario this winter, we’re better served filling that player acquisition slot through either free agency or internally and waiting for a better solution further down the road.

              • IRememberCelerinoSanchez

                You are 99.99 percent right.

                I would only suggest you leave the door cracked for a deal like the Swisher/Betemit swap last year. Remember, that deal was genius not only because we got Swisher for Wilson freakin’ Betemit and Jeff Marquez (and agreeing to swap Nunez for Teixeira, which time will tell if it matters). But, as importantly, the deal opened up two spots on the 40-man before the Rule 5 draft.

                The Yanks are in a similar situation this year, maybe even worse than last year, regarding the Rule 5. A lot of guys will be exposed. If a deal comes up in which the Yanks can open up some slots on the 40-man AND fleece the other team (like Swish for Betemit), Cash has to pull the trigger.

                But I agree with your A to D points fully.

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

                  Fair enough.

                  I just think people get a little hung up on the Swisher deals too much. Deals like that are rare. A deal where somebody gets something for relative nothings does not happen frequently, so expecting it or building scenarios around it is generally fruitless.

    • toad

      Just remeber Barry Bonds as Matsui’s replacement.

      I’d rather sign Yogi.

    • jwb

      “The Tigers must be very optimistic about the rest of their staff.”

      No, the Tigers are pessimistic about their local revenue streams and terrified of the $100M+ in salaries they have committed, plus their seven arbies. Ok, Ramon Santiago is not so terrifying, but Verlander and Jackson aren’t included in that $100M.

  • AndrewYF

    So it’s finally confirmed: Kenny Williams is a colossal moron.

    • Bo

      How is he a moron? Doesnt he have a title under his belt in Chicago? Thats something that isnt easy to do

      • Jack

        Wait, aren’t you always bitching about Cashman? He has multiple titles under his belt.

  • tony

    Great post – I really enjoyed reading this with my coffee.

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

      I’ll give you Melky and IPK for your coffee. Deal?

    • Raf

      Kei Igawa for the rest of your coffee cake as well.

  • currambayankees

    If you’re missing Michael Kay, you need some serious meds. I

  • http://twitter.com/hopjake Jake H

    This is what Boras is doing to try to drive up Damon’s value. It’s hard to see all this info and not have your mind start to go to that.

  • KDB

    Melky, IPK, Gaudin, and Mitre for King Felix. How on earth could
    Seattle turn a package like that down??????

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      I think they’d need to throw in Gutierrez, too. You know, just to make it fair.

    • http://theyankeeway.mlblogs.com/ Keanu Reeves

      I got those kind of trades last year in fantasy baseball all the time:

      Gaudin, Correia, Bud Smith, and Joel Pinero for Tim Lincecum

      Lol, as if the quantity made up for the lack of quality

  • Tubby

    Brian Cashman cannot control other GMs minds

    I think there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. I predict there will be another Betemit for Swisher type of deal this winter.

  • Tampa Yankee

    So my IPK and Melky for Sizemore, Igawa and Gardner for Justin Upton and AJax and Brackman for Braun trade proposals to fill in our OF (Swish DH’s) for next year are out the window? Damn you, you socialists!

    • Jordan

      Braun DHs.

  • cr1

    The off-season isn’t needed to make me miss Kay. Joe Buck took care of that in the post-season already.

    And any time I want to miss Kay during the regular season I can just wait for Fox’s turn to broadcast a Yankees game.

  • http://www.twitter.com/matthewharris84 Matt :: Section 105

    Not even mentioning the massive amounts of miss-information during this time…it’s impossible to listen to any sports talk radio, because fans make trade proposals that are crazy.

    Actually, maybe it is a good time to listen, for the comedic value.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Any comedic value gets taken away when the host inevitably thinks Joba should go to the bullpen.

      • Zack

        My favorite is when they say Joba is only an 8th inning guy, yet then they turn him into the centerpiece of a trade for Halladay or whomever.

        • http://www.twitter.com/matthewharris84 Matt :: Section 105

          Joba and Shelly Duncan for Hallady…done, fit him for pinstripes…

  • Bo

    Thanks for encouraging all the Melky/IPK trade jokes. Most didnt need the encouragement. At least now they can say they were kidding.

  • Jeremy

    An additional factor to note: Cashman moves with ninja-like secrecy.

    Most of Cashman’s biggest signings and trades have come with little to no public warning. The ARod trade is my favorite example – one minutes ARod was going to the Red Sox, MLB nixed the trade, and then ARod was suddenly a Yankee. I don’t think anyone saw this coming.

    The Abreu trade was similar. We got him for next to nothing in terms of players, the trade was a pure salary dump. Came out of nowhere.

    PeteAbe basically called anyone who thought the Yankees would sign Teixeira an idiot who knew nothing about baseball. He was a Yankee beat reporter but he didn’t have the slightest clue that Cashman was wrapping up a Teixeira signing.

    This all just backs up the point about the general worthlessness of published trade and FA rumors, especially when it comes to the Yankees. Cashman never shows his hand.

  • MattG

    I don’t rank pitching among the Yankees’ weaknesses, assuming Pettitte returns. They seem to be 8-9 deep in the rotation, and 8-9 deep in the bullpen (with some overlap). If there is a weakness in pitching, it is a reliable back-end starter–if that exists. Most reliable backend starters aren’t backend at all, because they are so reliable!

    These are the Yankees’ 2 weaknesses: The outfield is subpar, and they are old. Unlike winter ’08, there is not person on the market that perfectly addresses these weaknesses. I am hoping they can do something creative in a trade to acquire this year’s Nick Swisher.

  • A.D.

    I enjoyed this post, I think we see 2 types of proposals, the redic for the bad i.e. the IPK + Melky for someone good, or those people trying to make sure they aren’t those people, and thus offering top prospects for filler.

    Either way, just goes to show, not that easy to be a GM.

  • Greg G.

    So, how many times in the next few months’ of comment threads will Mike, Joe, and Ben be linking back to this post?

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

      A shitload.

  • cr1

    My personal key to sanity during the off-season is to focus only on areas of real need and ignore all the distractible 12-year-olds foaming at the keyboard about their fantasies.

    Last year that meant paying no attention to anything that did not relate directly to our getting, as I put it last October, “two of the top available pitchers and an actual firstbaseman”. Thank you, FO.

    This year the mantras I am beaming at NYY’s organizational shoppers are “construct a credible outfield” and “don’t forget a reliable mid-rotation innings-eater”.

    Focusing on the essentials makes it easier to skim the comments and scroll on by the folks who’ve been playing too much fantasy ball.

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

      My personal key to sanity during the off-season is to focus only on areas of real need and ignore all the distractible 12-year-olds foaming at the keyboard about their fantasies.

      Well said.

      This year the mantras I am beaming at NYY’s organizational shoppers are “construct a credible outfield” and “don’t forget a reliable mid-rotation innings-eater”.

      “Construct a credible outfield”: That can be accomplished with some grouping of Swisher, Melky, Gardner, Damon, and possibly Jerry Hairston or Mike Cameron. We don’t need anything beyond that to construct a credible outfield. JMHO.

      “don’t forget a reliable mid-rotation innings-eater”: Sounds like Andy Pettitte. That’ll do it, nothing beyond that. Maybe J-Douche or Noah Lowry or something like that on a bullpen swingman/minor league deal. No Lackey/Harden/Sheets/Vazquez/Wolf/Garland/Pinero/Washburn, though. Nothing like that. That’s beyond what we need. Again, JMHO.

      • cr1

        tjsc/RU,I don’t have any ambition to dictate specifics (just like last year I didn’t have any great preference for AJ or hope for Teixeira) but I do want to see certain problems solved.  I agree there are various ways to construct a credible outfield.  I am less hopeful than you that it can be done without acquiring a proven major league outfielder so we don’t have two iffy positions out there populated by  make-do platoons.  One, yes.  But I am afraid to count on Damon every day going forward and if Girardi has to keep  switchng him in and out that will make two unstable outfield positions — something to be avoided if possible, IMO.I’d love to believe that Andy Pettitte would be a “reliable mid-rotation innings-eater”, but I see him as increasingly a five-and-fly guy.  By innings-eater I mean somebody who can be counted on to regularly go seven and save the bp for the predictable melt-downs of the too-young (our whole kiddy corps), the too-crazy (AJ) and the too-old (Andy).  Maybe we already have someone who can take this role (perhaps Aceves?) but the aging Andy in my view doesn’t fill it.  I could be wrong but that’s how I’m seeing things right now.

  • thurdonpaul

    is it opening day yet ? :(

  • Camilo Gerardo – your inception? fuck perception, go with what makes sense

    Melky + IPK can get you something good. just saying..

  • http://www.twitter.com/matthewharris84 Matt :: Section 105

    With all this being said, what does it take to get Halladay?

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  • Jason

    SP: Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Chamberlain, Gaudin
    RP: Aceves, Coke, Robertson, Marte, Lyon*, Hughes, Rivera
    C: Posada, Cervelli
    INF: Texeira, Cano, Jeter, Rodriguez, Pena, Hairston Jr.
    OF: Swisher, Cabrera, Nady, Matsui, Gardner

    Other: Mitre, Wang, Kennedy, Bruney, Ramierez, Jackson

    Maybe a low risk/high reward gamble on Kelvim Escobar or Erik Bedard, just because that kind of signing didnt work for Boston last year doesnt mean its not worth the gamble.

    Thats my 2010 Yankees. Competitive, and more cost effective then 2009. With a reserve of resources to play in the following years free agency market or at the mid-season trade deadline.

    I do jump for either Felix Hernandez or Curtis Granderson with the understanding that either costs me Hughes or Joba, and Austin Jackson, and/or maybe Jesus Montero and change.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Do you really think the Yanks will start Gaudin over Hughes?

      (that was a rhetorical question)

      • Jason

        I think with Hughes innings limit and the issues with those limits Joba experienced they will keep Hughes in the bullpen at the start of the season and work him into the rotation as the year goes on. That also allows a chance for the Yankees to flesh out an adequate 8th innings replacement during the year. Maybe David Robertson is that good, maybe Joba bombs out of the rotation, maybe they make a trade or a signing, or Marte is truly all the way back. We know none of this now, and we wont know until the season begins to pan out.

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