Sep
05

Sunday morning links

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Some Sunday morning links for your reading pleasure:

Here’s a good article about B.J. Upton and his reputation as a slacker. As Upton’s salary increases in arbitration and the Rays transition away from the Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena, at some point it’s a given Upton will be on the market.  He has never quite become the superstar many predicted, he’s still a good player who will be just 26 next season.  While I am happy with the outfield as is, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees see what they could get for Gardner in the offseason as they can sell high both on his performance and contract.  If they believe he’s 100% legit maybe not, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Upton in pinstripes if a position in the OF opens up.

Wilson Betemit will forever be known to Yankee fans as the guy who got us Nick Swisher, but he has put together a solid season for himself.  Once a big time prospect with the Braves (top 100 by Baseball America 4 years in a row, peaking at #8), Betemit has bounced around quite a bit but is still just 28.  For some reason I was always a fan of Betemit and was thrilled when the Yankees got him.  On the field he didn’t work out but clearly helped in trade.  I hope he’s finally settled in and will go on to have a solid career.

A few weeks back John Sickels took a look at how his preseason Top 20 Yankee prospects have fared in 2010.  He didn’t update his list, but just made some notes on how his list has fared.  Needless to say, it’s a pretty promising read, especially considering some of the guys that weren’t in his Top 20 and how they have fared this year.

The latest Jim Callis chat (which I always miss since they are no longer at ESPN) has some good Yankee nuggets as well as some overall good questions and answers.  I love the way he quickly dismisses the guy who wants to compare Freddie Freeman to Jesus Montero.

Categories : Links

81 Comments»

  1. pat says:

    Wow, you weren’t kidding about Betemit .311/.400.542 with 10 dingers in about a third of a season’s worth of AB’s.

  2. Stuckey says:

    Still trying to get rid of Gardner?

    Really?

    It’s been a year. This is for real.

    • Nigel Bangs says:

      I’m not trying to get rid of Gardner, but if a team wants to kick the tires on him I’m willing to listen.

      • Stuckey says:

        A player with a utterly unique skillset on the Yankees, whose speed, defense and ability to get on base will likely prove relatively slump-proof, has done everything one can ask of a young player (which is consistently improve at each level), and might have more development as a hitter left in his bag.

        You can wrap it up in all the “just exploring available options” trappings you like, the premise is assumption he’s playing over his head.

  3. Mark says:

    You must really hate Gardner for a guy that has been nothing but good this year and has a history of doing nothing but working hard and improving at every level. But yet you want B.J Upton.

  4. jesse says:

    Using the trade value calculator, even if Gardner has the same WAR he did in 2009 (2.2) it should only take him and a grade B hitting prospect to get Greinke. If his WAR is around 4, then he’s worth signifigantly more than Greinke. If so, I want Greinke, but this can’t be right.

  5. yankthemike says:

    the day I would dread this off-season is waking up to read on twitter to see that Cash had traded Brett Gardner. The yanks haven’t had a player like him in years and he’s shown nothing but an ability to improve. One of the last people i’d like in pinstripes in Upton. What progress has he shown in the majors? None. he has regressed – yes, some is injury related, but certainly not all. and WHY would the yankees trade for the likes of Upton when they can just buy Crawford. you suggestion is a total canard

  6. Januz says:

    I wonder what the biggest miracle is? a: Moses parting the Sea. 2: BA ranking the Yankees Minor League system over the Red Sox.
    All jokes aside, I wonder if the fact they finally have a good system, will enable them to replace the “Core Four” (Jeter included), and get the payroll down? If the plan is to sell the team in the next five years, they need at least three of four things to occur. 1: They get the payroll obligations down by at least $50m a year. 2: They continue to win Championships (It goes without saying there is a premium price people will pay, if that occurs). 3: Obama is defeated in 2012, and tax rates go down (Although I personally detest his politics, I think he will win re-election (In the past 100 years, only 3 full-term Presidents: Hoover, Carter & Bush 1 were defeated, so the odds are in his favor)). 4: Good luck. Obviously, the easiest of those factors to control will be payroll.
    The first things to watch for will be the Jeter contract, and even more importantly, Cliff Lee. The question becomes with all of those kid pitchers, Brackman, Man-Ban, Stoneburner, etc, can they gamble, and not sign him? If they are planning a future sale, I think they will choose not to.

  7. Betty Lizard says:

    I like B J Upton. (ducks)

  8. Basil says:

    My favorite part of the Callis chat was at the end when (presumably) a Red Sox homer is bewildered at the prospect that the Yankees farm system might be better than that of the sawx, and Callis simply says yes, it is better. :-)

    • boogie down says:

      Agreed, along with the “But comparing him to Montero…” part. I just wish he put “You cannot be serious!!” on the other side of that.

    • Zack says:

      It’s funny how Red Sox fans can’t accept that now.
      Then again, if Peter Gammons told me every middle reliever was a closer of the future and every Jed Lowrie was an All Star in the making I guess I would have a tough time accepting another team has a been system than me.

  9. Jerome S says:

    Ned Yost has no idea what a fluke is.

  10. vinny-b says:

    G Love said it best (RE: trading Gardner)

    “Gardner isn’t what you trade. He’s what you trade for.”

    The Yankees haven’t had a player like this, since Mickey Rivers. Gardner shouldn’t be traded. Close the book

    • Mike Pop says:

      I love Gardner as much as anybody, but if you can get a front of the rotation pitcher like Greinke (who is younger than Brett) for BG and some spare parts. You do it.

      I really don’t see that happening though.

    • Jake says:

      And yet they’ve won numerous championships since Mickey Rivers. Few players are untouchable. Gardner shouldn’t be one of them. He’s a useful player, for sure, but there is at least some question about whether he is a starter long-term, especially if his bat doesn’t return to it’s early season form.

  11. CS Yankee says:

    I don’t get the Sickels grades whereas he has several pitchers with a 5-something ERA and says they haven’t performed but still gives them a B-…Sanchez owns GCL with a .357 BA and he gets a C+. This is not a promising read, it is all subjective.

    It does seem like the Yankees do make the grade over most teams.

  12. JMK says:

    I’ll come out and say it: I was wrong about Gardner. I really thought he’d be hitting .270/.335/.370 this year and I worried that his uppercut approach and taking of too many pitches would doom him. I was wrong – he’s greatly exceeded what I thought he’d do, and oddly, his patience is actually been remarkably effective to his overall output. That said, for the right deal, I’d make no bones about trading him.

    While Upton has obviously been an underachiever, I wouldn’t bet against him putting up a monster year next year. I think the chances of the Yankees getting him anytime soon, if at all, are fantastically slim but the upside is tremendous. I’d rather have an OF of Swisher, Granderson and Upton than Gardner, but admittedly that’s pretty much based on potential alone.

    • CS Yankee says:

      My WAG on Gardner had him .300 IF he could last the season rigors, but I’m really, really surprised with his OBP. I thought if everything fell into place it would be .350…the dude is close to .400.

      Must keep the Grit’, it sends the wrong message when a prospect is among the best and is traded. Doing silly stuff like that also has to lead to signing issues, why sign with them if your likely to have to start again elsewhere. He is a cheap and now proven example of what happens when run through the system.

      • whozat says:

        The guy was very good in April and had one unreal month (June). Other than that, he’s been merely OK with the bat.

        I’m happy that Brett has done well, but it’s ridiculous to act like keeping him is critical to the team’s future and the failure to do so will have dire consequences for their ability to sign draft picks.

    • Mark says:

      Unless the Yankees are getting Upton for a bag of balls and a half eaten hot dog count me out. Potential only gets you so far after 3 years in the league. I wouldn’t want to trade a year to year .280+BA .380+OBP speed demon for a .250 hitter with unrealized potential. One player has shown nothing but progress the other has shown that he can’t succeed at a consistent basis in the Majors.

      • JMK says:

        I’m not ready to rename him Felix Pie yet. It’s not like he’s 31-years-old and has shown nothing but tools. He has put it together, and he did at a very young age. Yes, he’s regressed and that’s worrisome, but take a step back for a moment.

        One player has shown that he can be an above-average centerfielder fielder with a ceiling. He’s done this in one year. He’s also 26-years-old and just finished his first full season in the big leagues.

        The other has shown that he can be one of the best center fielders with a ceiling that is perhaps eclipsed by none. He’s also had one fantastic season, one pretty decent season and two poor seasons. He’s younger than Gardner! I’m not saying there isn’t significant cause for concern, but he has realized potential, and he did it at a younger age than Brett.

        It would be one thing if he’s played like this entirely for four years, but he hasn’t. I still think it’s too early to give up on him.

        • Zack says:

          Realized potential or a fluke year due to a .393 BABIP, hitting .300 with a 32.5 K% and an ISO that was his best ever?

          Without that BABIP help he’s a .250/.320/.400 CF with inconsistant defense.

  13. Zack says:

    “Upton unsure if he’ll ever shed ‘slacker’ tag”

    Um…maybe going a full season without getting benched for slacking may help your image.

  14. vin says:

    I’m excited about Gardner as anyone. However, his numbers have really been helped by a strong start. Although its certainly not the best measure of success, his BA for July, August, Sep:

    .221
    .244
    .222

    Obviously his SLG was very low in July (.338) and August (.314). Yet his OBP was still disproportionately solid. Probably due to his desire to take pitches and foul off tough pitches.

    Hopefully he can continue to make solid contact (and the occasional swinging bunt) next year. I’d love to see the Yanks roll the dice on Gardner and keep their money for Lee and their own FAs.

    • bexarama says:

      Honestly, as others have said, his OBP never went below .366. That’s incredibly important for a player like Gardner. Would I like to see him hit some more doubles and triples? Yeah. Do I really care about his BA as long as he’s getting on base and having the at-bats that I’ve seen him have all year, even during his slump? No.

      • vin says:

        Yeah, the OBP is key. I’m just surprised he was still drawing so many walks despite being a complete non-threat with the bat for so long.

        Whatever works, as long as he gets on base. I just hope to see a bit more consistency next year.

    • Zack says:

      July 1- August 10: 123 PA, 103 AB, .184/.311/.282
      August 11-August 31: 77 PA, 60 AB, .317/.461/.400

      September is 9 ABs, so yeah not even worth mention that.

      We always talk about SSS. When a guy is in a slump he sucks, when he’s hot then he’s amazing. Slumps and hot streaks don’t automatically end at the first or 31st of a month.

      • vin says:

        I agree about the SSS comment. However, 123 PA’s is a decent size sample for a guy to be hitting THAT poorly. That kind of production wouldn’t even get you a job on the Mets. Maybe he was hurt, or worn out for those 6 weeks. It’s definitely good to see him turn it around (even if it is in a smaller sample).

  15. Matt DiBari says:

    I’ll always remember Wilson Betemit as the player that was bad at everything we asked him to do, but Joe Girardi went out of his way to get into games.

    Wilson Betemit the pinch runner and Wilson Betemit the late inning defensive replacement were particularly galling.

  16. Mister D says:

    If the Yanks believe they can turn Upton’s offense around, then I’d love him on the team, but I’d rather him AND Gardner. Maybe try to move Granderson in a 3 team deal. However, if his slacker tag is deserved, I doubt the Yanks can turn him around – its not like he’s playing for the Pirates or Royals. This is a team possibly with a one time shot at the WS. If he’s not going to play his heart out this year, I don’t know what would motivate him.

  17. Steve H says:

    Fun fact: Brett Gardner is a year older than BJ Upton.

  18. J says:

    I like Gardner as much as the next guy. But if we miss out on Lee and/or Pettitte retires, who do we get to strengthen the rotation? The next best FA is Carl Pavano. We’d have acquire someone by trade. And the most obvious trade chip is the guy who can easily be replaced. (By signing Crawford).

    • CS Yankee says:

      Now I’m a big Crawford fan as well but not at 100+M$ premium to Gardner. Keeping Grit’ for the next four years will costs maybe 10M$, CC will likely cost 10 times that with 5-7 year contract (committment). Pass.

      The OF is not a concerm, Ajax and Gardner had similar skill sets so it made sense to get a power bat with Grandy. OF’ers are more generally more available than an arm, so why tie up the position and the coin when you are already set.

      We will need to reload with a SP and unless Jesus can spend some time behind a MLB plate, the next issue is catcher. ‘Sada and Gazoo are the next weak link followed by (dare I say) a risk at SS & 3B (age, injuries, etc).

  19. David in Cal says:

    The pre-season top 20 minor leaguers didn’t include Nova and Nunez — guys who are helping the major league team and have a shot at being on the post-season roster. It goes to show that there’s a lot of uncertainty in evaluating minor league prospects.

    • Zack says:

      No, it means that guys can come up and produce for a month or two- doesn’t mean that’s a true reflection of their long term talents.
      See: Boesch, Brennan

  20. Stuckey says:

    Gardner obviously HIT very poorly in July and early August, but he still got on base a LOT during the slump. Considering his career arc (still in his first 800 ML ABs) and known thumb issue, additional upside is possible.

    I just think some have preconceived notions that whenever he struggles, he’s regressing to his true “ceiling”.

  21. roadrider says:

    Sell high on Gardner? By all means – and by that I’m not endorsing any particular alternative such as Crawford or Upton.

    What Gardner has been doing is unsustainable – his numbers were boosted early on by a number of infield hits and bloopers but defenses have seemed to adapt to him (as you would expect). The walks are nice but they will stop coming very soon. Why in the world would pitchers (eventually) do anything but throw him strikes that he can’t hit on the ground?

    Gardner’s success this year has been a boost to the team but it’s a mirage. The league will adjust to him and he will have no answer since his skill set as a hitter is so limited. Even if he were to keep doing what he’s doing how the hell can you justify keeping around a corner outfielder with so little extra base power?

    If the Yankees can find some rube GM who thinks Gardner is really a 3-4 win player then they should take him for whatever they can over the winter.

    • pat says:

      The walks are nice but they will stop coming very soon. Why in the world would pitchers (eventually) do anything but throw him strikes that he can’t hit on the ground?

      Why haven’t they found that out in almost 500 AB’s this year?

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