Mar
23

Report: Yankees place Gaudin on waivers

By

The battle for the fifth starter’s spot appeared to lose a candidate overnight, as Ed Price reports that the Yankees have placed righty Chad Gaudin on waivers. Several things can happen now…

  1. Someone claims him. The waivers are irrevocable, so whoever claims Gaudin will get him and his entire $2.95M salary, no questions asked.
  2. He clears, and the Yanks send him to the minors. They’d still owe him his full salary.
  3. He clears, and the Yanks choose to flat out release him. They’d still owe him 45 days termination pay, which would be $737,500 according to Ken Rosenthal.

Considering that he’s bounced around so much (six teams in seven seasons), I’m willing to bet Gaudin’s been outrighted off someone’s 40-man roster before, which is essentially what the Yankees are doing. Under that assumption, Gaudin has the right to refuse a minor league assignment and elect to become a free agent, however he would forfeit his entire salary by doing so. Given the current economic climate, I can’t imagine he’ll find more than $2.95M on the open market, so it seems unlikely that he’ll go this route. If he does, his agent will have given him some bad advice.

For the second straight year, Gaudin had a tough going in Spring Training. Last year the Cubs decided to cut him loose too close to Opening Day, so they had to pay him his full $2M salary. The Padres signed him for the league minimum, then flipped him to the Yanks in August. He’s allowed 16 hits and ten runs with a 5-5 K/BB ratio in 9.1 innings this spring, covering four total outings (two starts), which is obviously pretty bad. However, did the Yankees fall for the trap of Spring Training stats by waiving Gaudin instead of Sergio Mitre?

Sure, Mitre’s had an impressive spring (14 IP, 3.21 ERA, 14-3 K/BB), and with an $850,000 salary it’s less likely that he would have cleared waivers. Maybe the Yanks felt this was the best way to keep both players in the organization, since Gaudin’s hefty salary makes him less attractive than most of the other back-end types floating out there. I hope that’s the case, because there’s nothing in either player’s track record to suggest that Mitre is better option going forward than Gaudin.

In over 460 career innings in the American League, Gaudin has been the definition of league average. His 4.25 ERA equals a 101 ERA+, his .271 batting average against isn’t much worse than the .265-ish league average (basically one extra hit every 142 at-bats), and his 6.5 K/9 is right around the 6.8-ish average as well (one fewer strikeout every 30 IP). His walk rate (4.2 BB/9) is definitely high (~3.4 league average), but he mitigates it somewhat with a strong groundball rate (43.7%). There’s nothing sexy about league average, but it’s very valuable in the role he’s expected to fill.

Mitre, on the other hand, has never been league average at much of anything, even before having Tommy John surgery. Even in his best season (2007), he put up a 4.65 ERA (93 ERA+) and a 4.8 K/9, both below average by any measure. And that came in the NL, in a pitcher’s park. His groundball rate (59.7% career) is spectacular, but missing bats and avoiding contact is the name of the game in the AL East. Oh, and Gaudin’s more than two full years younger.

The move to waive Gaudin all but assures that Mitre will open the season as the long man in the bullpen, yet there’s not much to suggest he’s the right man for the job beyond Spring Training stats. Thankfully, we’re talking about two guys that amount to spare parts, though for all intents and purposes they represent the Yanks’ sixth and seventh starters. Hopefully Gaudin clears and they’re able to stash him away in Triple-A for the time being. It would be a shame to lose him for what amounts to salary relief.

Photo Credit: Gene J. Puskar, AP

Categories : Pitching
  • Will

    Anything that moves Sergio Mitre closer to meaningful innings strikes me as unfortunate news.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Seeing as how the winner of the “Who stays and who goes” battle between Mitre and Gaudin would be the 7th man in the bullpen, i.e. he’d be in the LaTroy Hawkins Memorial Zone (pitching once every two weeks in a blowout), I think there’s no need to worry about either Mitre or Gaudin pitching meaningful innings.

      The chain of events that would have to happen to cause Mitre or Gaudin to get meaningful innings means we’re so wracked with injuries, the season is probably a Mettastrophe anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

    However, did the Yankees fall for the trap of Spring Training stats by waiving Gaudin instead of Sergio Mitre?

    Sure, Mitre’s had an impressive spring (14 IP, 3.21 ERA, 14-3 K/BB), and with an $850,000 salary it’s less likely that he would have cleared waivers. Maybe the Yanks felt this was the best way to keep both players in the organization, since Gaudin’s hefty salary makes him less attractive than most of the other back-end types floating out there.

    That.

    All winter long, we were trying to find the perfect 6th starter, a guy who has big league experience and can pitch well enough in a short spurt to be a quality spot starter, but couldn’t find anyone willing to take a possible one-way ticket to Scranton, twiddling his thumbs and waiting for an opportunity that may never come. A guy like Duchscherer, for example; he wouldn’t have signed here because he’d know that we’d either have him sitting in the pen or sitting in AAA.

    Well, Gaudin’s large salary makes him the perfect AAA “Break glass in case of emergency” option.

    • DreDog

      This makes perfect sense. I like your explanation. Also, if he really sucks in AAA, then you can cut bait.

  • Dela G

    Man i thought that he would def be a reliable option out of the bullpen for long relief, especially after the superb job he did last year

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Sure, but we already have Mo, Jobaphil Chamberhughes, Marte, D-Rob, Aceves, and Park in the big league pen, plus Melancon, Logan, Nova, Romulo, etc. in the minors at the ready. It’s not like Gaudin was an irreplaceable bullpen necessity; we have lots of guys who can do his job.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    So if Gaudin was ahead of Joba in the 5th spot battle, and Gaudin gets cut, that can only mean Joba is next, right?

    Sincerely,
    George King

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      I overheard Chad Gaudin saying to Mo Rivera, “When are you going to hang them up, Forty-Two, and give me a chance to be the new closer? It’s what I want to do. I want to be the closer. It’s in my temperament.”

      That’s a direct quote. 100% accurate.

      [Ed. note: that's not actually 100% accurate or a direct quote.]

      • ned

        I don’t think it was Gaudin who supposedly said that. Wasn’t that quote attributed to Joba?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Repeated for emphasis:

          [Ed. note: that's not actually 100% accurate or a direct quote.]

      • Mick the Quick

        Poor Gaudin, without the billy-goatee he lost his mojo…

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

    I’ll just quote myself from a discussion with Moshe Mandel on Twitter:

    I’m fairly certain this decision had more to do with the notion that the Yankees don’t see Chad Gaudin’s performance as being worth ~$1.4M more than Sergio Mitre’s.

    The roles that Alfredo Aceves, Gaudin and Mitre will fill are going to be inconsequential from a value standpoint because those three will not pitch any high-leverage innings during regulation play as relief pitchers.

    Strictly as relievers, I have no doubt that they believe Gaudin is a better option than Mitre (as do I), but, in the roles that they are filling, it’s not worth paying an extra million dollars for the gap in performance.

    As for Mitre being the fill-in starter, depending on how they utilize Phil Hughes (or Joba Chamberlain), he is likely third behind the latter and Aceves for that call.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Yeah, but if we don’t cut him outright and he doesn’t void his contract, he accepts his assignment, goes to the minors to serve as valuable depth, and we still pay that 1.4M difference, just on a different line on the budget.

      I don’t know if it’s a “Gaudin’s not worth 1.4M more than Mitre” discussion as much as it’s a “Gaudin’s extra 1.4M makes him easier to stash in the minors” discussion.

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

        Yeah, I had not thought of the notion that his price tag would deter teams from claiming him. As a result, I agree that’s the more logical point.

    • bexarama

      I like how you italicized Twitter like it’s a novel or something.

      Anyway, I’m pretty sure Aceves will pitch at least some high-leverage innings as a relief pitcher. And I do hope it’s because of the money and not the ST results.

  • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

    if gaudin gets cut loose so begins the rise of jason hirsh. the guy next to you on the couch.

  • Accent Shallow

    Too bad — Gaudin is definitely a useful part.

    Of course, the odds of him winning a rotation spot over both Joba and Hughes had to be astronomical.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    Wouldn’t the Mets be stupid to not pay him approximately $3 million for only 1 year?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      The first rule of Tautology Club is the first rule of Tautology Club.

    • Accent Shallow

      Is Gaudin really that much better than the Mets’ legion of 5th starters?

      • Mike Pop

        I would think they’d rather go with Niese (if he’s ready), more value going forward.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Career ERA, FIP, tERA, xFIP, ERA+:

        Gaudin: 4.50, 4.51, 4.66, 4.67, 94+

        Pelfrey: 4.58, 4.33, 4.66, 4.66, 91+
        Maine: 4.22, 4.60, 4.53, 4.59, 101+
        Perez: 4.54, 4.78, 4.76, 4.61, 93+
        Nieve: 4.20, 5.20, 5.05, 4.84, 104+ (SSS)
        Niese: 5.22, 3.92, 4.19, 4.41, 79+ (SSS)

        Yeah, he probably is.

        • Mister Delaware

          I really, really like the new name.

        • mike c

          he had a halfway decent run in the rotation last year IMO.. made the transition from the bottom of the NL west to the top of the AL east surprisingly well. the mets could do a lot worse than gaudin

    • WIlliam

      Exactly, the Mets are stupid.

  • Mike Pop

    I hope Mitre proves all the naysayers wrong. That is, if he gets a good amount of innings, which I doubt anyways. Gaudin pitched well down the stretch, misses bats more than Mitre. So I don’t know, it’s probably just so they can stash him in the minors like many have suggested. If they lose him, no worries. Easily replaceable part, considering the role he was going to fulfill.

  • Beamish

    I still would have rather seen Joba sent to AAA to mature as a professional and work purely as a starter while Hughes worked as the 5th Starter in the first half of the season before transitioning to the pen due to his inning limit. Then they could have carried both Gaudin and Mitre until they could find a deal for one of them.

    I guess they are just more willing to take the risk that someone would take Gaudin and that salary of the wire. He is not the future of anything but trade bait soI trust that Cashmoney is making a good move.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Nothing suggests that Joba isn’t mature as a professional. The stories about his “makeup issues” are all media BS.

      Joba 5th starter. Hughes to the pen/AAA.

      • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “Nothing suggests that Joba isn’t mature as a professional.”

        That is not true. There are plenty of indications that Joba isn’t mature as a professional. He’s clearly not physically mature as a professional, as he’s still working through innings limits and seemingly hit a wall when he approached and passed his innings limit last season, we’ve had indications/rumors that the Yankees feel they have to find ways to motivate him, etc.

        The notion that any little perceived criticism of Joba is, without fail, just “media BS” is just overzealous and overly snarky blog commenter BS.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          I agree.

          What I disagree with, though, is Beamish’s idea that for Joba, professionalism is best learned in the minor leagues. Joba’s physical maturation process (to be able to pitch more innings and deeper into games) and mental/emotional maturation process (to not get rattled when things start going badly and to simply pitch through adversity instead) is a maturation process that can be learned at the big league level.

          In fact, that’s probably the thing that CAN’T be learned at the minor league level. Being a starter in the minors would let Joba continue refining his secondary pitches and repeating a routine of pitching deep into games and focusing on pitch economy. The physical maturation he can do in Scranton. The mental/emotional maturation, he probably needs to be in the bigs, facing real adversity on a large stage for that process to happen.

          JMHO.

          • Bo

            What does he need to do in Scranton?

            Hes been successful as a major leaguer. Putting him in Scranton would do what? Get him “innings”??

            Hes accomplished all he can in the minors. The only question is when they decide to make him a full time set up man.

            • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Get him “innings”??

              Are these innings that aren’t really innings, or something? Like… Something else, masquerading as innings?

              I’m “confused.”

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size
              • bexarama

                Anything that happens in the minors doesn’t count.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size
          • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Yeah totally, I agree with all that.

            This is all such a confusing gray area… I mean, think about what you just said, and apply it to the question of whether Hughes should be in the MLB ‘pen or in the AAA rotation if he’s not in the MLB rotation to start the season. I’m not saying that what you just said is conclusive evidence of anything either way… Just saying, this stuff is all pretty mired in gray-area status.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

              I mean, think about what you just said, and apply it to the question of whether Hughes should be in the MLB ‘pen or in the AAA rotation if he’s not in the MLB rotation to start the season.

              Oh, absolutely. For the record, as president of the Scranton ‘Til the Stretch™ committee, I don’t think I’ve ever said that Phil wouldn’t get any developmental benefit at all from being in the big league bullpen this year; I simply said that he (and the team) gets slightly MORE benefit from keeping him in Scranton getting innings and working on his craft.

              There’s tradeoffs in both directions, but I think the pluses outweigh the minuses a little more for the Scranton plan.

              • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Yeah I think I agree with you, but we all know how unsure I’ve been about this whole issue. It’s annoying, I feel like I’ll be ok with the decision either way, but I won’t be totally happy with the decision either way. Deep down inside I think I’d be happier with your Scranton Til The Stretch idea though, which is why I’m thinking I’m probably more on that side of the fence at this point.

          • Beamish

            I don’t think he will learn “professionalism” in the minors but he might learn maturity. I just think there is more required in Joba’s development than working on his pitches.

            There seems to be an entitled ego at work in Joba because of great success he had as an emergency pen call up and the the media attention he received for it. Having him work in AAA would be a bit of a blow to the ego – but it is also possibly better for his pitching development too.

            In AAA he will have the opportunity to work as a Starter only and not hear media cries of 8th Inning!!!! every time he has a bad start. True, the batters will not be as good, but it seems to me that Joba the Starter seldom stepped up to the Big League hitter challenge and reverted to type with his go to slider – and when that pitch was not working for him he got pummeled.

            Without an inning limit this year Joba should be taking the ball every five days and NEVER see the inside of a pen. Starting him in AAA will allow that development to proceed – and provide the roster flexibility to hold onto spare-part trade bait in Gaudin and Mitre (though that last point is now moot)

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

              There seems to be an entitled ego at work in Joba because of great success he had as an emergency pen call up and the the media attention he received for it.

              Yeah, I just don’t see that. I think there’s a difference between a sense of entitlement (which is probably a bad thing) and an innate confidence in your own abilities (which is most definitely a good thing).

              Joba having an ego of saying “I’m a good pitcher, screw all that nonsense you’re talking”… I want ALL my SP prospects to think they’re good pitchers. Having an ego is part of being a good athlete.

              I just don’t see the sense of entitlement you think Joba has. What is this based off of?

              • Beamish

                Fair enough, Joba should know he is a good pitcher because he is a first-class talent.

                I see the entitlement in some of the things he said after bad starts last year – he never seemed able to say he did not pitch well. Joba always thought he was fine it was just “bad luck” or circumstance that his start was poor. It appears to me that within that self-awareness of his talent there is no room for the possibility that he was the problem in a given start.

                I am probably being a bit over-critical of Joba’s maturity – he is not a Ryan Leaf man-child nor do I think he could lose his head like a Rick Ankiel.

                But given the problematic option clock on Hughes and the desire to see BOTH of them developed as starters I think Joba’s demeanor would tip the balance in favor of sending him to AAA for a few months instead of relegating either to the MLB pen and just giving away Gaudin in a roster squeeze.

          • ned

            I’m not sure I agree. I think part of the idea of the minors is to allow you to try and develop in a less pressured situation than in a pennant race.

            While some people can do this in the Bigs. In spite of a statistically irrelevant number of innings last year, I don’t think Joba is one of those persons.

            Without taking a position as to whether he is a reliever or future starter, I think he might never make it as a starter if he gets consigned to the pen now. I know history is littered with good pitchers who have successfully done this, I am not sure Joba has the personality to do it.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Then they could have carried both Gaudin and Mitre until they could find a deal for one of them.

      To be frank, though, if Gaudin clears waivers and accepts a minor league assignment, we can still trade him at some point in the future and he actually has slightly MORE value (since he’s already in the minors and not on the 40-man) and can be more easily absorbed into another team’s system.

      • Beamish

        Absolutely correct. This is why I am not exactly disappointed by this move. I will assume Cashman expects Gaudin to be in Scranton but is willing to see him go if he is claimed.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    I think this is a good move for the Yankees. Sergio has been pitching more like a Mitre than a Meattray this spring, and Girardi seems to love him. Hopefully Gaudin goes to AAA, makes $3 million, pitches well, and contributes to the big club later in the year.

  • paul

    I like the theory of Gaudin to AAA…but still another questionable move IMO…but again, if a teams debate is about a 5th starter, long relief, or bench players–I will take those problems everyday of the year…I like Gaudin out of the pen though…

  • Bo

    Any move that helps Mitre make the club is a bad move.

    Watching Mitre get shelled in long relief for a month wont be fun.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Watching Mitre get shelled in long relief for a month wont be fun.


      wont
      ? ?/w?nt, wo?nt, w?nt/ Show Spelled [wawnt, wohnt, wuhnt]
      adjective, noun, verb
      wont, wont or wont·ed, wont·ing.

      –adjective
      1. accustomed; used (usually fol. by an infinitive): He was wont to rise at dawn.

      –noun
      2. custom; habit; practice: It was her wont to walk three miles before breakfast.

      –verb (used with object)
      3. to accustom (a person), as to a thing.
      4. to render (a thing) customary or usual (usually used passively).

      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wont

      ————–

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      /Inigo’d

      • Snakes on the mother effin plane

        You’re en fuego today.

    • Zo

      If it comes to that, there will be a lot more other things wrong with this team than Sergio Mitre.

      Having a salary which greatly exceeds what you have to offer sucks. Maybe Gaudin can now grow a Melky-like beard with his new team.

  • Zack

    I heard Cashman was looking for a Smoak-like bat in return.

  • H.W. Plainview

    Jim Bowden just tweeted that the Dodgers are in discussions to acquire Gaudin, however that tweet has now since disappeared.

  • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

    Me like.

  • vinny

    Both Mitre and Gaudin suck so it doesn’t matter either way. They have plenty of capable bullpen arms so Mitre will pitch only on days when there is a full moon.