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
  • pat

    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.

  • Stuckey

    Still trying to get rid of Gardner?

    Really?

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

    • Nigel Bangs

      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

        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.

        • whozat

          No, it’s predicated on the assumption that he’s not an irreplaceable talent. Which he’s not. If someone’s going to give you more than he’s worth, and you can go replace him with Carl Crawford, you absolutely do it.

          • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

            I won’t mind if we get Crawford but you have to keep in mind their salaries. Gardner’s making next to nothing, Crawford will likely be overpaid. Unless we can get a really cheap, excellent OF or SP for Gardner, it’s not worth trading him, IMO.

            • whozat

              Sure. What if they can get Colby Rasmus? LaRussa hates him for some reason.

              • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                Hmmm. I like Rasmus a lot but we’ve seen all the angst that can happen when a player can’t hit lefties…

            • http://itsaboutthemoney.net Brien Jackson

              I still want nothing to do with Crawford.

  • Mark

    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.

    • Pete

      BJ Upton still has an upside that is, dare i say, ridiculous

  • jesse

    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.

    • Stuckey

      His WAR is 4.8.

      That’s the kind of player you keep.

    • Jerome S

      You don’t want Greinke. Trust me.

      • pat

        One of my favorite arguments. “Trust me”

        • Jerome S

          I’m just sayin.

          • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK

            Say it don’t spray it, I want the news not the weather?

  • http://twitter.com/YanktheMike yankthemike

    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

  • Januz

    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.

    • Jerome S

      Why would they ever sell? It’s the most profitable thing out there.

    • Hughesus Christo

      What the…

    • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK

      Dude, no need for politics here. Not that it made reading your post any easier. There’s no reason to think the team will be sold.

      • Poopy Pants

        He or she isn’t really talking politics.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      /Rose’d

      What the… what.

  • Betty Lizard

    I like B J Upton. (ducks)

    • Jerome S

      I agree. I swear, he’s gonna return to what we saw in ’07 someday.

      • vinny-b

        that would be, when he “feels like it”

        • Jerome S

          ohhhhhh that was harsh.

          But yeah, true. And I wouldn’t gamble any money on him, unless it was a complete bargain and we didn’t lose any players/prospects.

          • vinny-b

            I feel you, on his potential.

            before this year, no one was a bigger fan of his game then me. But 2 poor years in a row = red flag

            definitely wouldn’t be opposed to picking him up ‘on the cheap, tho

            • Betty Lizard

              +1
              and +1 and +1

            • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

              Would you trade Gardner for Upton though? Before this year I would’ve said yes, definitely. After this year? Not worth it, IMO.

              • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

                If their salaries were equal I would certainly consider it. The money is what makes Gardner much more valuable to the majority of teams in baseball. I don’t think a Gardner for Upton trade would work, I think it would have to be two separate deals.

  • Basil

    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

      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

      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.

  • Jerome S

    Ned Yost has no idea what a fluke is.

  • vinny-b

    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

      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.

      • Poopy Pants

        Why is everyone hung up on head-case Greinke (who would NEVER come to NYC)?

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          Because he’s a really really good pitcher on a really really bad team who’s told the media he’s not particularly happy with the direction the Royals are going.

          But I agree, I don’t think he’d come here. And it’d be a huge risk (though with a very big upside).

          • Pete

            he has said something to the effect of NY being a no-go

    • Jake

      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.

      • Jerome S

        Gardner is batting .345 in his last 10 games.

      • http://twitter.com/YanktheMike yankthemike

        his OBP is at.392 – in the top 10 in the AL. We are in September. he’s stolen one less base than Crawford in fewer ABs. what more are you looking for?

        • CS Yankee

          This…plus in two more months, Grit’ will have two more rings than CC, or Upton combined.

  • CS Yankee

    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.

    • Jake

      I think the grade considers how far away a player is from the majors. Thus Sanchez’s ranking.

    • mikebk

      relax. all the grades that were listed are from his preseason list. the comments are about how they fared this year. he will do a new list end of the year or before next year with new grades and rankings.

      • Jerome S

        That list is gonna be siiiiiiiick.

  • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK

    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

      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

        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.

        • Zack

          He hasn’t had a month with an OBP lower than .366 this season.

          While I’m not against trading him- I also don’t like replacing him with someone who’s 29-32 and locking ANOTHER position up for 5-7 years at big money.

          • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK

            Right you are; the key is the money.

          • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

            This is exactly how I feel.

          • Tosh

            Yet here signing Cliff Lee is a foregone conclusion.

            • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

              I know what you’re saying but they’re different situations, no?

          • whozat

            No one’s advocating trading him for a ballboy. Presumably, you’ve addressed another need by trading him.

            • Zack

              What are the needs on this team? C and SP.
              No good catchers available- so then you’re going to open a need in the OF to fill the SP need, causing you to give up prospects for the SP, then either more prospects for an OF or sign a FA to a 5 year deal.

              120m for Lee >>>>>>> Gardner + prospects for SP & money or prospects for OF

        • Mark

          Bret’s OBP has never dipped under .366 for any month this season. He has been great this year even when he was not hitting for average he was getting on base at .366 clip.

    • Mark

      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.

      • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK

        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

          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.

  • Zack

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

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

  • vin

    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.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      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

        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

      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

        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).

  • http://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    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.

  • Mister D

    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.

  • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

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

  • J

    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

      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).

  • David in Cal

    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

      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

  • Stuckey

    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”.

    • CS Yankee

      THAT’S RACIST!

  • roadrider

    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

      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?