Feb
11

Past Trade Review: David Justice

By

The Yankees were coming off two straight World Championships in 2000, however their offense was lacking compared to the past few seasons. Both Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill were in the middle of their worst offensive seasons with the team, which hurt considerably in the lefthanded power department.

In need of a long ball threat, GM Brian Cashman tried to acquire Sammy Sosa from the Cubs and Juan Gonzalez from the Rangers, however nothing came to fruition. He then turned to Indians’ GM John Hart, who was looking to move the aging David Justice to free up a lineup spot for a pair of up-and-coming mashers named Russell Branyan and Richie Sexson. About a month before the trade deadline, the two sides completed the following deal…

Yankees Received
OF David Justice

Indians Received
RHP Jake Westbrook
RHP Zach Day
OF Ricky Ledee

At the time of the deal, Justice was hitting .265-.361-.582 for the Indians, whacking 21 homers in 68 games. However, he had slumped to .283-.386-.476 in the two prior seasons, and there was concern that a precipitous fall from grace was imminent.

Westbrook, then just 22-years-old and just six months removed from being acquired in the Hideki Irabu trade, appeared in just three games for the Yanks, allowing ten runs and 19 baserunners in 6.2 IP. He bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the majors for the next two years, and didn’t settle into a full-time role with the Indians until 2003. After taking over a rotation spot in mid-July of that year, Westbrook ran off a 13 start stretch in which he posted a 4.14 ERA. His peripherals weren’t good (34 K, 34 BB in 71.2 IP), but Cleveland’s days as a powerhouse were over, and they were looking for any young contributors they could find.

During his first six-plus years in the majors, Westbrook posted a perfectly league average 100 ERA+ in 130 starts and 40 relief appearances, chipping in close to 900 innings. The Indians gave him a big contract extension (three years, $33M) before he could reach free agency, however the team only gets credit for his first six years of control in the trade because that’s all they acquired. They negotiated the extension on their own after the fact. During those years of team control, Westbrook was worth 8.2 wins over a replacement level pitcher.

The 22-year-old Day was the Yanks’ fifth round pick in 1996, and at the time of the trade he had a 2.56 ERA with a 147-46 K/BB ratio in 119.2 IP split between Low-A Greensboro and High-A Tampa. He was one of the team’s better pitching prospects, and Cleveland sent him right to Double-A after the trade. Day never appeared in a single game with the Indians, who instead traded to the Expos straight up for Milton Bradley at the 2001 trade deadline. As you probably figured, Day contributed zero wins over replacement to Cleveland’s cause, though Bradley certainly helped.

Ledee, a 25-year-old platoon outfielder for the Bombers, was hitting .241-.332-.419 with seven homers at the time of the swap. His time with the Indians would be short lived though, as they flipped him to Texas for David Segui a month later. I remember hearing at the time of the trade that Ledee was the first player in history to play for three different teams that won their division the previous season in one year. He contributed just one-tenth of a win over replacement to the Indians’ cause.

As for Justice, he was everything the Yanks could have hoped for and then some. In the first four weeks after the deal, he hit .347-.449-.653 with six homers, and his final line with the Yanks in 2000 was .305-.391-.585 with 20 bombs. All told, Justice was a .286-.377-.584 hitter that season, clubbing a career high 41 homers.

His hot hitting carried into the playoffs, when he hit a solo homer off Kevin Appier in Game Five of the ALDS, pushing the Yanks further out ahead of the A’s and eventually sending them home. Justice completely torched the Mariners in the ALCS, picking up eight RBI in the six games. His three run homer off Arthur Rhodes in the 7th inning of Game Six turned a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead, and the Yanks would eventually hold on for a trip to their third consecutive World Series. His efforts won him ALCS MVP honors, and a few weeks later the Yankees were World Champions.

That fall from grace happened the next season, when Justice hit just .241-.333-.430 with a then-career low 18 homers in 2001. The Yankees did get back to the World Series, though Justice was traded across town to the Mets for Robin Ventura after the season. In his year and a half in pinstripes, Justice provided the Yanks with 3.5 wins over replacement, almost all of which came during the second half of 2000.

Here’s a round up of the WAR data…

As you can see, Cleveland’s haul in the trade was more than twice as valuable as Justice was for the Yanks, almost exclusively thanks to Westbrook. However, just like the Chuck Knoblauch trade, the Yankees got exactly what they wanted out of the deal in the World Series victory.

There we times during the mid-2000′s that the Yankees could have really used an innings eater like Jake Westbrook in their rotation, but I wouldn’t have traded that Subway Series win for it. This one is another win-win; the Indians got six years of a league average big league starter plus more, and the Yanks got another championship. Both sides would do this one over time after time.

Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky, AP

Categories : Days of Yore
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada
    • bexarama

      Damn, who’s prettier there?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        David Justice may win the tiebreaker for his snazzy Malcolm X hat.

        More gratuitous Halle Berry circa late 90′s-early 2000s:

        http://cm1.theinsider.com/medi.....5;500.jpeg

        It’s pictures like this that prevent me from becoming an atheist.

        • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Melvin-To-America/193013541601?ref=sgm Andy In Sunny Daytona

          She’s like a fine wine, you expose her to air and she turns to vinegar…..wait, that’s not right…

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            She reminds me of my Jeep; I wanna ride it
            Something like my sound; I wanna pump it
            That girl looks just like my car; I wanna wax it
            And something like my bank account; I wanna spend it

    • Thomas

      Here are two great Gilbert Arenas quotes

      Interview 1
      Interviewer: If you were invisible for one day and could spy on a famous person, who would it be?
      Gilbert Arenas: Besides Halle Berry? . . .

      Interview 2
      Interviewer: Now what feels better, nailing the buzzer beater or having sex?
      Gilbert Arenas: (laughs) Damn. You know what, a buzzer beater because it’s harder. You can get sex every day. (laughs) If it was sex with Halle Berry? I’d take Halle Berry. (laughs)

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Interview 3
        Jarvaris Crittendon: Where’s my money, Gilbert?
        Gilbert Arenas: Man, I ain’t payin you s$%t.
        Crittendon: Really?
        (click click)
        Arenas: Yeah, b$%&h. (click click) I said I ain’t payin you s$%t. We got a problem?
        Crittendon: Yeah, mo$%&+=#er, we got a problem.

        … aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, SCENE!

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          wasnt it the other way around? crittendon owed arenas, so arenas joked hed kill crittendon and was like pick which gun you want me to use?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Meh, details.

        • Thomas

          Not trying to be mean, but just to let you know, it is Crittenton with a T not a D.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Thanks. My bad.

    • Amy

      I know, I know, Halle Berry’s hot and all and there are more men here than women, but seriously … damn, David Justice.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    As you can see, Cleveland’s haul in the trade was more than twice as valuable as Justice was for the Yanks, almost exclusively thanks to Westbrook.

    And, when you add in Milton Bradley for Zach Day, which is probably fair, it becomes a landslide. Day wasn’t a 0.0 because he sucked. he was a 0.0 because he was flipped in a prospect-for-prospect trade. Without Day, they never get Bradley, and Bradley was effective back in the day before he got fat, drunk, and stupid.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Bradley adds another 4.7 WAR to the Indians haul, FWIW.

      http://www.baseballprojection......adm001.htm

    • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Melvin-To-America/193013541601?ref=sgm Andy In Sunny Daytona

      Then the Yanks have to count the Robin Ventura haul for Justice, then the Ventura haul for Bubba Crosby and Scott Proctor, then the Scott Proctor for Wilson Betemit, then Betemit for……yes you guessed it….Swishalicious. See, the Dave Justice Tree keeps producing fruit.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Yeah, normally I’d agree that you can’t start including subsequent trades, but the Day for Bradley one-for-one prospect flip seems to be a fair exception to the rule to make. Claiming that Day netted the Indians zero value and that the Justice trade was essentially Justice for Westbrook and Ledee alone (value wise) isn’t an accurate snapshot of the trade, IMO.

        • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Melvin-To-America/193013541601?ref=sgm Andy In Sunny Daytona

          I like to believe that Ca$hmoney knew what he was doing the entire time….Jacob Style.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Except for the whole, you know, getting stabbed and dying part, of course.

            • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Melvin-To-America/193013541601?ref=sgm Andy In Sunny Daytona

              Jacob is counteracting the entire stabbing, omnipotent style.

          • DP

            Does this mean Theo Epstein is going to convince Joe Torre to stab him and then Theo kicks him into a fire?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              Assistant GM Jean Afterman: Ilana

      • Mike

        …and Ventura was worth 4.0 WAR in his first year (2002) alone, which basically evens the trade right there.

    • Rick in Boston

      I don’t believe it was strictly a prospect-for-prospect deal. It was “get the best deal you can” because Loria and Bradley had a bit of an altercation.

      Source: http://www.baseball-reference......on_Bradley

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Fair enough. Still seems like the Indians should get SOME credit for Bradley, if not necessarily full credit.

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

          Well sure, but even if we give them credit, is going to change the perception of the trade? I’d still consider it a win-win.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Agreed. Just haggling over minutia.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        huh, milton bradley was traded to the a’s from the dodgers for andre ethier because beane didnt think ethier would amount to much in the major leagues

        oops.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Billy Beane: supergenius.

          http://cdn.buzznet.com/media-c.....eyball.jpg (safe)

        • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Melvin-To-America/193013541601?ref=sgm Andy In Sunny Daytona

          Due to the poor lighting, he must of misread his spread sheet in his garden apartment.

          • bexarama

            Due to the poor lighting, he must of misread his spread sheet in his garden apartment mom’s basement, while writing Moneyball. /MSM’ed

      • bexarama

        Milton Bradley has had a productive major league career which has been plagued by controversy and personality issues.

        But his name is so delightful :(

        And I too thought the Bradley-for-Ethier deal was pretty funny.

  • gc

    Ahhh, Arthur Rhodes. I actually remember being very excited when they brought him in to face Justice. It was one of those instances when I just knew something very good would happen. He CREAMED that pitch!

  • Steve H

    One of my most vivid memories of the Justice era was during a game at Fenway. IIRC, Tino was batting with Justice on deck. The crowd was extremely quiet, then someone yelled out from the stands, as clear as can be, “Hey Tino, Justice beats his wife!!!” That became a fun catchphrase for a few years.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

    awesome.

    can’t wait fo the glenallen hill one haha

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      I’m giddy with anticipation for the Jose Canseco waiver claim writeup.

      • Rick in Boston

        I wonder if George Mitchell printed out the 2000 Yankees roster, put it on his dartboard and started tossing darts at it to make his list.

        • bexarama

          ietcvvm

  • Bo

    Without Justice they dont win the 2000 title. A great trade.

  • Rick in Boston

    Including Justice, only four Yankees with 200 AB’s OPS+’d greater than 100. Of course, those four were pretty darn good: Posada (139), Jeter (128), Feared Williams (140). That offense was a whole lot of meh.

    • bexarama

      Scott Brosius’ OPS+, 2000: 70 o_O

      • Rick in Boston

        Sure, let’s sign him to an extension and trade Lowell for Ed Yarnell.

        • Steve H

          Don’t forget, OPS+ does not include grit.

          • Rick in Boston

            But grit can only be displayed in the form of a neck beard and/or facial hair. Lowell’s grit >>>>>>>>>>>>> Brosius’ grit.

        • DP

          Considering Lowell is very unlikely to change our fortunes up to 2003, I’m very happy with the 3B we have instead.

          • bexarama

            No no no, Lowell > A-Rod, Selena Roberts told me so!

            http://query.nytimes.com/gst/f.....A9619C8B63 (SFW, not SF sanity.)

            • DP

              I love when supposedly national reporters get all wistful and start talking about streets in Boston, as if 98% of SI’s readers have any clue what the hell Boylston Street is.

              • DP

                SI New York Times

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        brosius hit a clutch hr in the 01 WS. without him they dont last as long as they did.

        -Bo

        • Rick in Boston

          Ugh, outside of that one AB, Scotty B went a grit-tastic 3-23 on the series.

          • bexarama

            That was like everyone’s batting line in that series though, which is what happens when the team you’re playing uses the two best pitchers in the game that year to get fifty-eight percent of the outs in that WS.

            • bexarama

              Buuuut it’s a problem that’s unfair to baseball and needs to be solved when the Yankees use only three starting pitchers through the playoffs and can depend on Mariano for six-out saves.

  • http://www.lennysyankees.com lenNY’s Yankees

    Wow! I was just thinking about this trade from 10 years ago. Thanks for the analysis, RAB!

    • DP

      I was reminded of the infamous Jon Miller call of Mike Lowell’s fourth homer in a row against the Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball. That dinkus of a pitcher who allowed four homers in a row against the Red Sox was Chase Wright.

      I was just thinking about the highlights of the Red Sox 2007 season. Thanks for the analysis, Lenny!

      • bexarama

        a. This might have been probably the worst regular season game ever. I blame ESPN.
        b. Aaagh remember when ESPN played the clip of those home runs when the Yankees were ahead by three in that Sabathia vs. Beckett game in late August at Fenway? ESPN >:(

  • Brian

    I was looking at the 2000 Yanks baseball reference page while I read this. Am I the only one who forgot that Glenallen Hill played for that team? Or that he hit .333/.378/.735 in 143 PA? WTF?

    • mike

      GA Hill went bezerk (as i recall) in August, but really cooled off down the stretch, and his cooling off combined with the need to get Canseco some at-bats really put ice on him

  • mike

    I always thought the best part of the trade for Justice was the fact the Yanks made a move a full month before the trade deadline, really getting an additional month’s production from Justice because of their ability to eat some $ – it would have cost prospects either way.

    I always remembered in the late 80′s-early 90′s when the Yanks played the A’s, whenever there was an incident, the Yanks would come out of the dougout and the Canseco/ McGwire/ Dave Henderson/ Steinbeck/ Parker etc would be physically intimidating, especially when seeing it in person- and I always wished for a little retribution once the Yanks had those giants like Hill and Canseco toward the end of the year.

  • vinny-b

    Justice carried the yankeees on his back for weeks at at time following the trade. Without him, the Yankees don’t win the World Series. And possibly, don’t win the division.

    anyone who doesn’t know, either isn’t a NYY fan, or is very young.

    to date, the David Justice trade is the best one Brian Cashman ever made.

    fact

  • Ted Nelson

    Haven’t read all the other comments, but how can you not include Bradley’s wins? I also disagree with not adding the Westbrook wins after the extension: they could not have signed him to an extension were he not under their control in the first place.

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