Mailbag: Joba, The Boss, Swisher, Montero

Will this long stretch again define the Yanks' season?
Derek Jeter's marketable edge

Time for another edition of the RAB Mailbag. Remember, you can email me your questions at any time, but the easiest thing to do is use the Submit A Tip box below The Montero Watch in the sidebar. This week’s topics include the mess known as Joba Chamberlain, the post-George Steinbrenner Yankees, Nick Swisher‘s future in pinstripes, and players I would be willing to acquire in a straight up trade for Jesus Montero. Let’s get to it…

About Joba Chamberlain… I wonder how much of his current troubles with consistency are due to the inconsistencies in his role, shifting from starter to reliever and back, then back again. I can’t remember any pitcher being moved back and forth so many times, aside from spot starters/long relievers of the Ramiro Mendoza mold, but that’s not the same. I personally have always been in the “Joba is a starter” crowd, and I still think he could be a top notch starter as he’s still young, has great stuff, and has been healthy. I think next year he should become a full time starter (yes, even though it’s another change, at least it will be the last), possibly starting in AAA to rebuild his mojo (if necessary), then set him loose on the AL and hope it works. Thoughts? – Howie

The Blue Jays really screwed around (bouncing back-and-forth between the rotation and bullpen) with both Dustin McGowan and Brandon League earlier in their careers, particularly McGowan. He hasn’t thrown a pitch in the big leagues in 742 days because of major reconstructive shoulder surgery, and he recently had another setback. I’m not saying the juggling act led to McGowan’s injury though, not at all. He threw 80.1 more innings in 2007 than he did in 2006, when he was still just 25-year-old. That’s the likely culprit

Anyway, back to Joba. I definitely think the constant changing of roles has impacted him in a negative way. There’s nothing wrong with shifting a player to the bullpen at the end of the season, but going from reliever to starter and having that transition take place in meaningful games is tough. Also, while well-intentioned, the 2009 Joba Rules were horrifyingly stupid. The fact that the Yankees aren’t doing the same thing to Phil Hughes this season is basically an acknowledgment of that stupidity. Joba definitely had a deer in the headlights look towards the end of last season, like he didn’t know if he was coming or going, looking over his shoulder at the bullpen wondering if this was going to be his last batter.

That said, I don’t think Joba is beyond repair. I’ve given up on him being a starter not because I don’t think he can do, just because I don’t expect the Yankees to give him the chance to do it again. If they were going to give him another shot at starting, they should be very straight forward about it and do it in very controlled manner. Start him in the minors, let him stretch out at his own pace, get into a routine, and then call him up once he’s found a groove and has earned it. At times he does appear a little too comfortable, something we never saw out of Phil Hughes because he did the up-and-down thing for a few years. Maybe he needs a little kick in the ass in that regard.

That’s all easier said than done, of course. After this season Joba will have to clear (revocable) waivers to be sent to the minors because he’s been in the bigs for more than three calendar years. If someone were to claim him, the Yanks could pull him back, though he couldn’t go to the minors. If they tried to send him down again, then those waivers are irrevocable and the claiming team would get him. That might throw a wrench in any plan that involves sending him to the minors.

Will George Steinbrenner’s passing have any immediate impact on the Yankees day-to-day operations? – David

This question was sent in after we heard about The Boss’s passing last Tuesday, which is why it seems a little outdated. That’s my fault, not David’s.

As you probably know by now, Steinbrenner’s death will not impact the team’s day-to-day operations in any way. He handed control of the organization over to his sons in 2007, at which point George stepped into the background. Nothing will change, it’ll be business as usual from here on out.

Where can I find 2010 wOBA and FIP for minor leaguers? Fangraphs only has miLB numbers through last season. – Larry

I have absolutely no idea when FanGraphs will update with 2010 minor league info, so they’re out of the question for now. The best place to get wOBA and FIP for minor leaguers is, a very underrated site. They also have a version of HR/FB% for pitchers, as well as runs created (RC) and RC/27 for batters. has more comprehensive FIP data, broken down by level, by year, career, you name it.

Swisher isn’t just having a lucky season, the peripherals prove that. I believe that he has really enjoyed his time in New York, and has worked his ass off to keep his stay… the Yankees got him for nothing and he is really hitting his ceiling. He is hitting for power and avg, and his fielding is infinitely better than it was when he joined us as a platoon player. Do we see Nick in pinstripes for an extended period of time? – Daniel

I don’t think I’ve ever seen another player be so happy to be a Yankee. Maybe on the inside, but no one has shown it as much as Swisher, and that has everything to do with his personality, of course. He’s put a lot of work in to become the player he is today, losing weight in each of the last two offseasons and working with hitting coach Kevin Long to improve his performance against breaking balls, all of which shows you that he wants to be a better player and remain with the team long-term.

Swish signed a big fat contract with the A’s back during the 2007 season, signing away his three arbitration years and one year of free agency in exchange for $26.75M guaranteed. Can’t say I’d blame him, I’d take the long-term security too. Anyway, Swish will earn just $6.75M this season (FanGraphs says his performance has already been worth $11.6M) and $9M next season. The Yankees could then choose between a $10.25M option for 2012, or a $1M buyout. If Swish finishes in the top five of the MVP voting this year or next, the option jumps up to $12M.

Nick is right in the prime of his career right now, and will turn the big three-oh this November. Usually any decisions on option years are due ten days or so after the end of the World Series, so the Yanks will have figure out what to do with Swish for 2012 a few weeks before his 31st birthday. Assuming they pick up his option, which they unquestionably would if he maintained his currently level of production, Swisher would be able to test the free agent water as a 32-year-old, for all intents and purposes.

That’s when players, particularly power hitters like Swisher, tend to slow down, so the Yankees might not want to fork over a big four or five year contract at that time. Ideally Swish would sign for something like two years at $12M per plus an option for a third year, but the end result will likely be something in the middle. I’m not going to waste any more time talking about something that won’t happen for two years down the road, but for now rest assured, Swish will be in pinstripes* through next season at the very least, and more than likely through the end of 2012.

* Obviously, things can always change. This is all theoretical.

Mike, last year you would always say that there were 50 guys you would trade [Jesus] Montero for straight up. Does that still hold true this year? For the mailbag would you list those 50? Or even just 25. – Joe

Sure, I’ll give you 50 right now. The list is after the jump for space reasons, but I’ll explain my methodology here. It’s pretty simple. I didn’t consider salary or whether or not that player actually fits with the Yankees, because there is a difference between being willing to acquire a player and actually being able to acquire that player. Take David Wright for example. I would trade Montero for him straight up, but the Yanks already have a third baseman, it’s not a realistic fit. Nonetheless, Wright’s on my list.

What I did consider, however, is the number of years of team control a guy has left. I essentially ruled out all the rentals like Cliff Lee. Oh, and Yankee players too. They weren’t eligible for the list.

Again, the list is after the jump. It’s alphabetical, so don’t read anything into the order. Hiss and spit in the comments.

  1. Brett Anderson
  2. Gordon Beckham
  3. Ryan Braun
  4. Domonic Brown
  5. Clay Buchholz
  6. Billy Butler
  7. Miguel Cabrera
  8. Matt Cain
  9. Starlin Castro
  10. John Danks
  11. Neftali Feliz
  12. Yovani Gallardo
  13. Zack Greinke
  14. Roy Halladay
  15. Josh Hamilton
  16. Tommy Hanson
  17. Dan Haren
  18. Felix Hernandez
  19. Jason Heyward
  20. Desmond Jennings
  21. Ubaldo Jimenez
  22. Josh Johnson
  23. Clayton Kershaw
  24. Mat Latos
  25. Jon Lester
  26. Tim Lincecum
  27. Francisco Liriano
  28. Evan Longoria
  29. Brian Matusz
  30. Joe Mauer
  31. Andrew McCutchen
  32. Dustin Pedroia
  33. Buster Posey
  34. David Price
  35. Albert Pujols
  36. Hanley Ramirez
  37. Colby Rasmus
  38. Carlos Santana
  39. Jamie Shields
  40. Stephen Strasburg
  41. Troy Tulowitzki
  42. Kevin Youkilis
  43. Justin Upton
  44. Chase Utley
  45. Justin Verlander
  46. Joey Votto
  47. Adam Wainwright
  48. Matt Wieters
  49. David Wright
  50. Ryan Zimmerman

Jay Bruce (platoon issues), Trevor Cahill (needs more strikeouts), Nelson Cruz (already 30-years-old), Rick Porcello (where’d the grounders go?), and Jered Weaver were among the final cuts. Ditto Adrian Gonzalez and the year-and-a-half he has until free agency.  I still feel like I’m missing one or two obvious players (UPDATE: Like Matt Kemp), but so be it.

You see that most of the players have already proven to be above average big leaguers, if not bonafide superstars, and are under team control for the next few seasons. That’s the kind of player you deal Montero for, someone who’s already delivering on his promise and would be stuck wearing your uniform for the foreseeable future. Some of my selections might be questionable, sure (I still have faith in Wieters and Beckham), but I stand by my list.

Will this long stretch again define the Yanks' season?
Derek Jeter's marketable edge
  • John

    You have Billy Butler on the list…

    • Pete

      billy butler is essentially Montero’s ceiling as a player, minus some power

      • Pete

        oh nvm i see what you’re saying – he’s listed at the end as “final cuts”. Yeah that’s a little strange. I would trade Montero for Butler, though.

        • Mike Axisa

          My bad. I swapped him and Cahill at the last minute. Fixed now.

  • Pat D

    There’s a few I’d quibble with on that list, but overall that’s what you would expect.

  • Pete

    Not sure I agree with Latos, Anderson, or Feliz, but other than that, yeah pretty much all of those guys

    • Jamal G.

      By 2012, the ranking of LHSP in the AL will read as follows (no Cliff Lee because of impending free agency): Lester, Price, Anderson, Danks, Liriano and Sabathia.

    • Mike Axisa

      Mat Latos is absurdly good. He’s everything we wish Joba could be.

      • Chris

        I think Joba is better at sneezing.

  • Simon B.

    Someone mentioned an early August date after which they can’t Joba down without sending him threw waivers? I think it might have been the 7th.

    I just get the vibe that the organization just does not want to concede that they messed up with Joba, and if it means missing a very important opportunity to fix him in a low-pressure environment, they’ll ignore it in favor of “sticking to the plan”.

    I doubt changing roles has helped, but I’m not entirely convinced that is that much of a significant factor. My suspicion goes back to the tendonitis injury, and possibly how they responded to the tendonitis by adjusting his delivery.

    • Ed

      Mike was talking about it a little in the post, but I believe the rule is after the 3 year anniversary of a player’s MLB debut, you can’t send him down to the minors without putting him through waivers. Hence the August 7th date.

      So they can send Joba down to the minors for the next 2.5 weeks. After that, they have to go thru waivers. I’d be shocked if whatever team had first dibs on the waiver wire didn’t grab him.

  • ZZ

    Also, while well-intentioned, the 2009 Joba Rules were horrifyingly stupid. The fact that the Yankees aren’t doing the same thing to Phil Hughes this season is basically an acknowledgment of that stupidity.

    What most Yankee fans seem to forget about last year is that the abbreviated starts were never part of the original plan.

    The plan was to skip Joba’s starts at times or push him back a day or two, just like they are doing with Hughes this year.

    They tried basically the same exact thing they are doing with Hughes this year.

    But Joba was pitching poorly with the skipped starts and started complaining about not being in a routine and not knowing when he would be skipped.

    Just like Joba, Hughes is being skipped at times this year and he does not know that far ahead of time about when it is happening.

    The difference is that Hughes is not complaining about it and blaming any of his struggles on being skipped. Instead he is rolling with the punches and saying he trusts the process.

    Also, while many Yankee fans blast those abbreviated starts in hindsight, these were the same people that blasted the idea of skipping his starts. They supported putting him in a “routine” even if it meant only pitching 3-4 innings. And again these are the same people who are now supporting the skipping of Phil Hughes’ starts.

    The abbreviated starts were brought on by Joba himself, because he said he needed a routine and the Yankees responded to his complaints/concerns.

    There has been a lot of revisionist history going on from Yankee fans and the media regarding the 2009 Joba rules.

    • Pete

      the other thing is that they had to try something to keep Joba under his limits all the way into the postseason. Obviously, if they’d had the rotation they’ve got this year, they’d have just shut him down.

    • Kiersten

      Also, last year the Yankees really only had 4 starters. It was difficult to skip Joba’s starts when they already had Gaudin/Mitre in the rotation. Assuming Pettitte comes back in a couple of weeks, the Yankees could easily skip Hughes and replace him with Mitre a couple of times.

    • Jobu

      If this is the reality of the situation, I don’t think it is a good defense of the organization that they deviated from their plan to accommodate a young pitcher’s complaints.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Exactly. This is like blaming Joba because the Yankees Plan A sucked, he complained about it sucking, and then they switched from Plan A to Plan B, which also sucked.

        None of that is Joba’s fault.

  • Doug

    Martin Prado?

    • Mike Axisa

      Nah. I’m not sold that this is his true talent level.

  • Doug

    Was Bryce Harper eligible, Mike?

    • Mike Axisa

      Yes. Wouldn’t trade Montero for him now that’s he’s a RFer.

      • curt

        that’s illogical his value increases as a right fielder because he can play more

        • Sleepykarl

          His value decreases as a RF. His bat doesn’t look as impressive when compared to other RFs as it would lined up next to catchers. By your logic Mauer would be more valuble as a 1st baseman because he could play more. Mauer’s bat loses the majority of it’s worth when compared among 1st baseman.

  • Accent Shallow

    Domonic Brown? Starlin Castro? Colby Rasmus? James Shields?

    No way, maybe, no way, and no way.

    • Doug

      brown is a better prospect than montero is right now, esp. since he’s a plus defender in the outfield

    • Mike Axisa

      Shields has proven himself as an above avg starter in the AL East and is signed for the next four years at a total of $32.25M.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        Can’t we call “Big Game” James now? He deserved it.

  • Doug

    Jose Reyes’ injury keep him off the list, Mike?

    • Mike Axisa

      Yep. And it’s injuries, plural. It’s not like he’s shaking off one ailment.

  • JobaTheHeat62

    I like the list, besides Colby Rasmus.

    • Mike Axisa

      .275/.361/.525 lefty hitting 23-year-old Gold Glove caliber centerfielder with five years of team control left.

      • Accent Shallow

        The issue with him, in my opinion, is the K-rate — more than 90 in less than 300 AB. I’m not one of those guys who thinks “anyone who strikes out more than 100 times can’t be a good player”, but with that sort of K-rate, it could be difficult to maintain the on contact numbers necessary to keep hitting .275/.361/.525.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    You forgot Casey Kelly, Mike.

    • Mike Axisa

      I assumed everyone understood he topped the list. This is numbers 2-51.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        Good point.

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona

          What about Michael Bowden, who Kevin Goldstein just described, after 6 innings of relief work, as being “nothing short of dominant”?

    • vin

      Also forgot Manny Delcarmen. Very weak, Axisa.

  • Doug

    No Smoak? Guess Texas screwed up then

    • Ghost of Scott Brosius

      You mean Seattle screwed up. And they did.

      • Doug

        yeah, my bad

  • Doug

    While it’s apparent the Yanks aren’t interested in including Montero to go get Haren, you would make that deal today if you could, Mike?

    • Mike Axisa

      One for one? Yes. That’s buying low for Haren too.

  • Doug

    Adam Jones’ luster has worn off, Mike?

    • Mike Axisa

      Yes, still think he’ll be good, just not a superstar. He’s gotta stop swinging at everything.

  • Doug

    “I still feel like I’m missing one or two obvious players, but so be it.”

    would mr. kemp be one?

    • Mike Axisa

      That he would.

  • Ghost of Scott Brosius

    Is Montero’s ceiling really Billy Butler? I thought it was more like Miguel Cabrera. Butler’s not really known for raw power.

    • Mike Axisa

      I don’t think Miguel Cabrera is a reasonable comparison. He’s entering the realm of historically good. Not fair to Montero.

      Butler’s hit .306/.370/.484 over his last 1,054 plate appearances, ages 23-24. I’d be ecstatic if Montero did that. When Butler hits his prime, he’ll be a .400 OBP, .550 SLG guy.

      • Chris

        But Montero’s ceiling would be closer to Cabrera, right? Butler would be a more reasonable comp, but Cabrera would be reasonable as a best case scenario, right?

        • Mike Axisa

          I suppose. Again, Miggy’s on his way to being one of the best ever.

        • Ghost of Scott Brosius

          Yeah that’s more what I meant. I would be ecstatic with a Butler-line, I’m not expecting better, but I think if you’re talking pure potential, the scouting reports (80 power) indicate that he has the potential to be almost Cabrera special.

  • Doug

    Andre Ethier?

    • Mike Axisa

      I think Ethier is one of the most overrated players in baseball. Negative defensive value, massive platoon split. Very good player, not as great as he’s made out to be.

      • Doug

        no problem. thought maybe you were conveniently omitting our former manager’s players (though you do have kershaw)

        • Mike Axisa

          I forgot Kemp out of stupidity. Updated the post to include him.

  • jsbrendog (returns)

    montero for eckstein = instant championship

  • Tank Foster

    On Joba, I agree that many people seem to think Joba was “screwed up” by the irregular way in which he has been used in his 3 years as a Yankee.

    But you have to step back, first, and ask what is the objective evidence that he’s “screwed up” in the first place? Well, obviously, it’s the stark contrast between his consistently dominating performance in 2007 and his erratic, overall mediocre-to-poor results since.

    So let’s assume for a minute that 2007 never happened, and Joba made his debut in 2008. Would anyone be pulling their hair out and wondering what has gone so terribly wrong?

    Maybe he is just a mediocre pitcher – a very young, mediocre pitcher, at that – and is simply experiencing the ups and downs characteristic of becoming a major leaguer.

    In my view, it’s much simpler and more logical to write off those magnificent 24 innings in 2007 as a fluke than it is to theorize endlessly in an attempt to characterize as “wrong” all that has transpired in 300 innings that followed.

    He can throw hard, and has good movement on his breaking ball. So what. So far – and we’re getting pretty far along – the preponderance of evidence suggests Joba is not going to be a great MLB pitcher, whether it be starter or reliever.

    [I reserve the right to change my opinion if new facts dictate….:-) ]

    • Bill O.

      Nah it wasn’t just 2007. Take a good look at what he did in 2008 pre-injury. He pitched pretty damn well then too.

      Since 2008 he has not been the same pitcher. Fastball velocity is down and all of his pitches are much more hittable.

      Either the injury or some mechanical adjustment during rehab/the offseason has impacted his stuff. He’s never had good control/good command but with diminished stuff his lack of command leads to many hits.

      His stuff is still good enough to be a very effective pitcher. That said his only hope is to develop more consistent command thus making his pitches harder to hit.

      The way he was handled in 2009 in my opinion has absolutely nothing to do with the way he is pitching right now. Basically he needs seriously work to fix his delivery and improve his command.

      • Jeffrey

        “Since 2008 he has not been the same pitcher. Fastball velocity is down and all of his pitches are much more hittable.”

        For me it is just so obvious that he has never been the same after the shoulder injury, the whole Joba Rules thing is irrelevant. Maybe he just doesn’t let the ball go like he did before or maybe he is trying to soldier on with the injury, but I am sure if we look at his numbers before and after the shoulder injury the contrast would be stark. Can anyone do this for us?

  • Dick Whitman

    You forgot Jeff Francoeur, Ike Davis, Jon Niese, Shake Shack, Lastings Milledge and Alex Cora.

    • Ghost of Scott Brosius

      I LOL’d at Shake Shack

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I’d trade Chad Ho Moseley for Shake Shack, straight up.

  • Doug

    Might have another one, Mike…Carlos Gonzalez?

    • Mike Axisa

      There you go, and I love CarGo.

      • Doug

        Who would you take off for Kemp and CarGo?

        • Mike Axisa

          Probably Brown and Jennings, the other two minor leaguers.

  • B-Rando

    A lot of pitchers on this list, I fully agree.

    I guess you only really left off Casey Kelly and Lars Anderson.


  • Doug

    Was McCann close, Mike?

    • Doug

      and how about Choo?

      • Doug

        and kinsler?

        • Doug

          and andrus?

          • Mike Axisa

            McCann was very, very close. I went with catchers with more team control left (McCann has three years).

            Choo was close, but I’m worried about the military commitment.

            No on Kinsler, not with those home-rad splits.

            It was either Andrus or Castro, and I like Castro’s bat better for the long-term.

            • StatBoy

              Pedroia’s H/R splits don’t concern you?

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                They should. Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler are easily the two most overrated baseball players in baseball at the moment (yes, even more overrated than Ethier).

                They’re both merely solid players, but thanks to cushy home splits in hitters’ paradises, they’re portrayed as MVP caliber players.

                They’re not.

        • Tom Zig

          Kinsler…pass. Check his H/R splits.

  • All Star Carl

    Check out Damon from last night haha

  • Tom Zig

    What about Mike Stanton?

    • Mike Axisa

      Not a believe. Going to be a good player, not a star.

  • Doug

    How about the kid who’s shooting up the prospect lists, Mike Trout?

    • Gonzo

      You know, there aren’t many prospect for prospect trades in baseball. Somebody wrote something about that, but I am not sure where. If draft picks can be traded, that may increase.

      Every scout loves them some Mike Trout. Jersey kid killing it for the Angels.

      • StatBoy

        I saw a question in a KLaw chat on prospect for prospect trades and his response was that prospects are like children in that everybody likes their own more than others. So even though teams could feasibly trade prospects for prospects it’s hard to find a match since teams will almost universally think more of their prospects than another team’s prospects. That’s why they drafted/signed them in the first place, because they liked them more than any of the other available players.

  • Gonzo

    Nice list. In a previous post I said, I thought he would be traded in the offseason, and I got whipped. In hindsight, I should have said something like this: if Jesus can’t play C, I think he will be traded by next year’s trading deadline.

    What was crazy is everyone kept saying the only people they would trade Montero for is Hanley/Tulo/Felix and straight-up nonetheless. This is a nice list to refer back to for when I need to pull some names.

    • Tom Zig

      I don’t think people were saying they’d only do that trade if it were a 1 for 1. I interpreted it to mean that they’d only trade Montero in a deal for someone truly special, i.e. Hanley/Tulo/Felix.

      What I believe people were saying was that they were unwilling to include Montero in a deal for a reliever even a very good one like Soria.

    • ZZ

      You have to remember that you had this discussion with people who were extremely, extremely against trading Montero for 3 months of Cliff Lee.

      • Gonzo

        Totally understand. I was just trying to point out that maximizing Jesus’ value might be to trade him. I am not saying it has to be to trade him, but it just might. I am open to the idea.

    • Zack

      You’re missing the point, again.

      95% of the guys on Mike’s list are unavailable. And the only positions the Yankees may need to fill the offseason are C, SS, OF, SP.

      • Gonzo

        You mean Soria was just a red herring? I am just saying that I am open to trading Jesus if he can’t stick at C. That’s my point. Is that so wrong?

        • Zack

          I never said you can’t trade Jesus. You said you had a feeling he’d be traded this offseason and asked what other people felt. I (and others) have said no, because:

          1. The potential holes on this team (SP/OF), can be filled via FA.
          2. Other potential holes (C/SS) aren’t going to be filled with just Jesus. You can’t get a great C/SS for just Jesus, and if you’re just going to get a 2nd tier guy, then you’re overpaying.

          • Gonzo

            My bad, I thought you were the poster that mentioned Soria. I totally understand your point of view.

            I just think that maybe the FO decides that Kemp would be better in CF than Granderson. The Dodgers are being cheap, have talked trash about Kemp, and Loney is doing well, but maybe they want to go in a different direction at 1b. Likely, probably not.

            And with the White Sox, you never know who might fall into Ozzie’s dog house.

            My apologies for the Soria comment though.

            • Zack

              I’d trade Jesus for Kemp straight up, I’d even do it if it took some extra guys. But if it’s going to take all of the good prospects, then no.

              Yes there are ownership issues in LA, but they have about 30m coming off the books next year (not counting raises). They should have room in the budget for 7m for Kemp.

              • Gonzo

                I gotcha. They also should have offered Randy Wolf arb though too. LOL

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      What was crazy is everyone kept saying the only people they would trade Montero for is Hanley/Tulo/Felix and straight-up nonetheless. This is a nice list to refer back to for when I need to pull some names.

      The problem is, all the names on this list are just like Hanley, Tulo, and Felix: they’re all untouchable. None of these guys will be moved by their teams anytime soon.

      That’s all we were saying: the only guys you’d move Montero for are guys who are untouchable themselves.

      • Gonzo

        I gotcha. I think some of these guys may be more easily had than Hanley and Tulo though. You never know how some of these teams will react to arb year raises.

        I just don’t think it’s cut and dry in respects to trading Montero.

  • Bernard

    The only name on here that really offends me is Castro, he has done very little at the major league level so far and has never been considered as good a prospect as Montero. Also superb catchers are more valuable than superb shortstops.



    • jsbrendog (returns)


      • Thomas

        I am having controlling THE VOLUME OF MY VOICE.

    • Tom Zig

      /Billy Mays Mode

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder


        Rest in Perpetual Shouting

  • Rose

    The Blue Jays really screwed around (bouncing back-and-forth between the rotation and bullpen) with both Dustin McGowan and Brandon League earlier in their careers, particularly McGowan. He hasn’t thrown a pitch in the big leagues in 742 days because of major reconstructive shoulder surgery, and he recently had another setback. I’m not saying the juggling act led to McGowan’s injury though, not at all. He threw 80.1 more innings in 2007 than he did in 2006, when he was still just 25-year-old. That’s the likely culprit.

    Why? Why is that more likely the culprit than the juggling back and forth, inconsistent preperations, skips in starts, and overall uncontrollable fluctuation in pitches thrown as a whole?

    I think, IF ANYTHING, the wild untamed and inconsistent schedule is just as arbitrary as pitching 80 more innings one year after another. Although, IMO, I think it may be even a little worse. Either way, you can’t say for sure.

    And you can’t really point to Phil Hughes either because he’s been juggled once. Where Joba has been playing by the “rules” and not only has he still gotten injured…but there’s a good chance that it’s messed up his mechanics as well. But, like your comment above, there really is no way to tell for sure. But you can certainly make educated gueses based on the context clues.

    • bonestock94

      Eh, I don’t think the jobs rules would could’ve caused additional physical stress and fatigue. The joba rules existed with the intent of prventing injury, and as a result ruined Joba’s rhythm in 09 (imo), while adding a substantial amount of innings, and as a result stress and and fatigue, can easily be linked to arm damage.

      • bonestock94

        holy crap, grammar and spelling mess

      • Rose

        Throwing a lower regulated amount of pitches for a significant amount of time and then (even if slowly and gradually) increasing that to a higher regulated amount of pitches for a significant amount of time and then quickly going back again to a lower amount…and then again going back up again…and so on – puts not only physical stress on you but mental stress as well. As you really have no idea what’s going on whatsoever. You’re reading all these articles and news stories about what should be done and what is and isn’t a good move. You’re listening to the broadcasts and getting it in interviews, etc. It takes a toll on you mentally quite a bit as well.

        Not to mention that when you prepare for something and are skipped or told to prepare differently…getting back to where you once were is now harder because your body is used to something entirely differently.

        It’s kind of like if I skied…and then took up snowboarding. If I had just solely skied and practiced that alone I would be a much better skier than if I flip flopped between skiing AND snowboarding. And you’re not even using your arm throwing nearly 100 mph with that. Once you add that to the mix…tweaking that here and there – anything can happen. IMO anyway.

        • bonestock94

          Fair enough, but I still think the increased (rather than decreased) workload is probably more likely to cause a shoulder injury. I’m no Dr. tho.

          • Rose

            Sure. I’m looking at it from the point of view of mechanics rather than quantity. Just throwing solely 80 more innings a year later I don’t believe causes all these horrible injuries. I believe it’s HOW you throw them. Kind of like working out. If you’re not working out properly, you are prone to more of an injury than you are not working out at all. But if you work out properly…you won’t get injured (by the workout anyway).

            I think when you get flip flopped…it effects your mechanics more and thus leads to injury as you start throwing differently (even if it’s very slightly). Or perhaps it even depends on the individual.

            There are just so many factors involved. It’s too hard to tell. That was basically my point. The argument part was basically my opinion. My point was that it’s almost impossible to tell.

      • ZZ

        What rhythm?

        He had an 8.55 ERA the 4 starts prior to the first abbreviated start.

        Also, why didn’t the 8 days he had off during the All Star Break “ruin his rhythm” when he came out and had 3 great starts?

        • bonestock94

          Way to capture the essence of my point. I was arguing whether additional innings would be worse or not than Joba’s somewhat chaotic second half. Your response would’ve been appropriate if I said “Joba would’ve pitched well after the ASB if his schedule was left untampered.” You’re just dwelling on the way I worded the Joba rules.

    • nathan

      I blame Joe Torre: if it werent for him, there would be no Joba rules, no special focus on his needing 1 day off for every inning. I think in protecting the kid from getting Proctor’d they screwed him up long term

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Mike… You had to know this comment was coming when you wrote that little bit of the post.

      • Rose

        Yeah, but you know if I said something similar like “____ is more likely the reason” without any back up or proof…I would be jumped all over. In fact, not only do I think it would happen. I’m almost positive it has

  • bonestock94

    Is Bucholz still projected to be a #1 or #2?

    • Tom Zig

      a 0

      Only level higher is Casey Kelly who is projected to be a -1.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Unfortunately for statheads, Bud Selig has relented to the wish of CERN, who has requested that Casey Kelly’s ERA never be actually calculated for fear of accidentally opening up a wormhole.

        On the back of his baseball card, where ERA normally would be, Topps will simply write “N/A”.

        For Diamond Cutters, I’m Peter Gammons, ESPN.

  • Josh

    Mike, what about Brennan Boesch?

    • andrew

      He won’t continue at this pace. He’s got power, but he’s playing way over his head right now in terms of AVG, helped by a .363 babip. But he’ll certainly maintain those RBI opportunities hitting in the heart of that lineup.

    • Zack


  • Cecala

    Hmm three guys I was surprised not to see were Ike Davis, Jokim Soria, and Andre Ethier. Solid list though, it seems a lot of good young talent is starting to be locked up though.

    • bonestock94

      Why would a first baseman with less power than Montero be traded for him? Or a reliever?

      • Zack

        Ike’s a rookie, 2010 is the year of the rookie.
        Therefore, he’s going to be a star.

  • StatBoy

    You forgot Ryan Howard who Joe Morgan described on Sunday as “one of the most underrated players in baseball.”

    • B-Rando

      Gotta love Joe Morgan.

  • Joe


  • Reggie C.

    No Jay Bruce?
    I thought he was the second coming of Edmonds?

  • Gonzo

    Longshot, but Franklin Gutierrez?

  • Chapman

    Justin Morneau?

  • Chapman

    Also, I assume this is just the top 50 guys you would trade Montero for, but given the opportunity for a longer list is Mike Stanton on there?

  • Joe

    you still would do Montero for Gordon Beckham. Same with him for Castro. Both I believe are horrible trades.

  • steve

    Agree with all but Wieters.

  • john

    carlos pena?

    • curt

      not even close just because he kills the yankees doesn’t mean he should play for them

  • BG90027

    Am I the only one that wouldn’t trade him for Joe Mauer? I don’t know that I would trade Chad Moeller for him. I hated the idea of giving an 8 year contract to him even before his power numbers dropped off.

    • Big J


  • Got Jesus?

    Chase Utley is 31, his OPS has dropped each of the past three years, and is injured. There is no chance in hell that I would trade Jesus for him straight up, with or without Robinso Cano at 2nd. Trading a 20-year old for some one 11 years his elder? No shot.

  • curt

    First of all if you called any GM with these proposals they would have a good laugh and hang up the phone. Second because of the first point the entire list or any other players to include or exclude was completely pointless

    • JAG

      In no way, shape, or form was this list intended to be a “Here’s a list of guys we could acquire if only we’d offer up Montero.” The entire point of this list is as a counterpoint to those rather biased fans who wouldn’t trade Montero for anyone. There’s a middle ground there, but Mike’s point is that Montero is in no way untouchable, as there’s 50+ players that, if the offer came across Cashman’s desk, he’d be nuts not to pull the trigger for.

      Sure, the Rockies would never, ever trade Tulowitzki for Montero at this point in time. But, if they called Cashman and offered that trade, Cashman would absolutely do it, and that’s true of each player on this list (or at least, it should be). That’s the point.


  • nycsportzfan

    i’d instantly start with James Shields, no way to i trade a Guy with Monteros Ceiling, for a Guy whos good, but no better then a 3rd starter, in my opinion.. We’ve already seen his career start to dip, and the AMount of Hr’s he gives up is alarming, for a guy who isn’t a Strikeout Pitcher, and can give up hits as well, meaning, alot of those HR”s going forward, will be more then Solo’s… So what if he proved he could finish a yr with 14wins 3seasons ago, thats simply not the type of guy u trade monteros upside for.. Theres at least 10players, i woulden’t even consider on your list, just because there PROVEN, but what there proven AT DOING, isn’t worth the Gamble, of Getting Rid of Jesus…

    • Chapman

      Not saying I disagree with everything you’re saying but, Shields has struck out almost a batter an inning this year with an xFIP well below his actual era.

  • Jordan

    wat about Madison Bumgarner? on his way to being an elite pitcher?