Indians select McAllister to complete Kearns deal


The Yankees announced tonight that the Cleveland Indians have selected right-handed pitcher Zach McAllister to complete the Austin Kearns deal. After rocketing through the Yanks’ system, McAllister could not get outs efficiently at AAA this year. The 22 year old is just 8-10 on the year with a 5.09 ERA and a 4.59 FIP. He’s struck out just 88 in 132.2 innings while walking 38 and has given up 20 home runs.

Both Baseball America and our own Mike Axisa ranked McAllister as the organization’s fifth best prospect in the preseason lists, but as Baseball America said, his stuff just isn’t that overpowering. Calling him “trade bait,” the magazine said, “Only McAllister’s slider grades as a plus pitch, and his fastball sometimes sits in the upper 80s. He must be precise with his fringy curveball and changeup.” In his post-draft organizational rankings, Mike had McAllister ranked 18th. His star has fallen, and the Yanks will likely not miss him.

Categories : Asides, Transactions


  1. Meat Loaf says:

    The poor AAA Rotation…

  2. Johan Iz My Brohan says:

    I knew he was going to be traded soon, I just wasn’t sure for what. The trade looks lopsided on paper, but from a Yankee perspective, he has fallen quite a bit on the depth chart.

    Hopefully, the Indians get what we hoped he would have been for the Yankees, if he hadn’t struggled.

    One bad thing though, did the Yankees keep his scouting reports? Next year, he may be filed under “Pitchers the Yankees have never seen before” if they happen to run into him in a series against Cleveland.

    • Aaron S. says:

      I was thinking along those lines too – that he’d be traded sometime in the near future. However, I figured he’d be dealt in a package for something significant and not simply in a one-for-one for a bench player.

      I get it that he’s no longer the “top prospect” he once (sort of) was. His stock has fallen and most importantly he didn’t have a future with the Yankees. But it still feels like they’re selling low. If you told me that the Yankees sent him and cash to Cleveland to complete both the Kearns and Wood deals then I’d understand a little better.

      Ultimately it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things though. Good for him, he’ll get more of a shot with Cleveland than he would have here.

  3. Hughesus Christo says:

    Jake Westbrook becomes Zach McAllister. The circle is complete.

  4. MikeD says:

    Surprising. I figured the always popular PTBNL would be a lesser prospect. Not that McCallister had shown much in AAA.

  5. This is yet another example of Cashman trading a player when his stock is low. He did it with IPK, Jose Tabata, and now again with Z-Mac.

    Fans often decry these moves as “selling low” but I think they don’t understand how the Yanks operate. The Yanks are such a rich organization that selling low on someone like McAllister is cab fare, and his lack of upside means they won’t lose an ounce of sleep over the move. There are a bunch of guys with his talent available in trades or on the waiver wire on an annual basis, there’s just no incentive to hang on to them if a need can be filled.

    So yes, they sold low, but it doesn’t matter.

    • Gonzo says:

      Selling low or cutting bait? If they can’t contribute on the big club, what other option is there?

      • Right, but when discussing trades many fans have this notion that ‘YOU NEVER EVER SELL LOW, THAT’S JUST STUPID!” and I cited 3 instances where Cashman clearly has. My point being, it’s never that myopically ideological, you deal with these things on a case by case basis. And yes, occasionally you sell low on a player to fill a need if the organization is strong at that position.

        • You could also argue we’re not selling low on McAllister, because he’s not going to improve/bounce back (because he doesn’t have a good ceiling) and thus ever be worth more than he is now.

          We’re not selling low or high, we’re just selling.

          • JohnnyC says:

            Z-Mac’s a victim of his own stumbles at the AAA level and the explosion of pitching depth in the system right now. A year ago, he would have been a tough loss, even as a back of the rotation type, but Warren, Stoneburner, Phelps, and others have made him superfluous.

    • MikeD says:

      I had less belief in Z-Mac, figuring he had little chance to contribute to the Yankees, but that he might make for decent trade bait. In the end he was part of a trade. I just wasn’t expecting it to be this type of trade, yet it shows what the Yankees thought of him.

      I rate IPK ahead of McCallister by a pretty good amount. As he did in the minors and has continued to do on the MLB level, IPK misses bats at a good frequency to suggest he could be a good back-end guy. Tabata has talent. Both are ahead of Z-Mac.

      Not that it matters much. Z-Mac has become a lesser prospect and now he has a chance to maybe play in the Majors with the Indians. I didn’t see that happening with the Yankees.

  6. Gonzo says:

    Masterson and McAllister, two aces for the future! The drought ends with them! Go Cleveland.

  7. zs190 says:

    Eh, initially I thought 6 years of cost-controlled bottom of rotation inning-eater for 2 months of Austin Kearns? But honestly, ZMac has regressed quite a bit, never had any kind of out pitches, there is a pretty good chance that he’s never going to be better than Karstens/Marquez/McCutchen, etc. We sold low on him, but his value might not get higher in the future either, I don’t mind it too much.

  8. Carlosologist says:

    I feel bad for ZMac. When he gets the call to the bigs he won’t have any idea where he’s going.

  9. Pete says:

    He’s gonna be better than Hughes!


  10. deadrody says:

    Wow, that seems like an awfully good prospect to give up for Austin frickin Kearns.

    • A guy who hasn’t pitched well at AAA, has high 80s stuff and profiles as a back-end rotation on a bad team? That’s exactly the kind of prospect to give up for Austin Kearns.

    • whozat says:

      What if it’s Kearns + Wood for ZMac + cash. Does that make more sense? What about when you realize that ZMac is a guy with no out pitch, whose only hope is to limit walks and get grounders — and he started giving up a homer a game about two months ago and hasn’t stopped?

    • mike c says:

      kearns has filled a valuable spot in the lineup, possibly more now that berkman + arod are hurt. kevin russo wasn’t going to cut it

  11. hello9 says:

    There’s a certain irony in how quickly the yanks gave up on a guy who finally struggled in AAA after zipping through the other levels at a relatively good age at each level while giving every guy with a 90+ fastball a billion chances at other levels.

    I’ll trust management that ZMac wouldn’t be useful for us and as a result he was worth the Kearns rental (even if I don’t agree with it) but some of the guys they’ve ‘sold low’ on have ended up being useful. We could have used Phil Coke in the pen this year. And regardless of how much some people are willing to put down a guy who (gasp) can’t hit 90 consistently, 5-6 years of a guy who can fill in as a 4/5 (at his best), or a spot starter/longman reliever will probably put up a better WAR (and cost effective value) for a team that always seems to need pitching versus Austin Kearns for 2 months.

      • hello9 says:

        Look, I understand the other perspective. Even if you do a cumulative WAR comparison and find that ZMac would have had a higher WAR, there’s merit to the claim that any value Kearns provided this year should be weighted favorably because it’s towards a championship run (whereas the same assumption for ZMac in other years would be speculative. We have a ton of guys at this point which will allow us to easily absorb ZMac’s loss, but that doesn’t mean that it was a good deal from a value perspective.

        • You’d also probably have to weight that WAR comparison with a discount for the WAR that ZMac would produce here. I think he’ll have an easier time navigating the lineups of the Twins, White Sox, Tigers, and Royals than he would have against the lineups of the Red Sox, Rays, Jays, and Orioles.

          • hello9 says:

            Yeah, I mean a simple projection for ZMac with the yanks – not what his actual future WAR will be with the Indians (in that case the issue you mention comes up).

            And like somebody else mentioned, its going to be the value that Kearns provides over a Russo that we’ll be considering, not over a league average player. It’s fairly easy to argue this wasn’t a bad deal even if you think it was.

            • Gonzo says:

              In both his great years, ’08 & ’09, his FIP was still over 3 and his babip against was really low. It looks like the disappointment in AAA was based on his true talent and increase in talent opposition.

  12. Jorge says:

    Any chance this means Brackman to AAA?

  13. That’s too bad; I always liked McAllister. He’ll likely get a better shot in Cleveland. Good luck to him, then.

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