Nov
04

The Official “Don’t Even Think About It” Post

By

It happens every offseason. Out of nothing but pure boredom and an overdose of creativity, we’ll see suggestions about oddball players the Yankees should acquire to improve their team. Last year’s the fetish was Mark DeRosa, who would have presumably played every position under the sun while giving the regulars a chance to rest and play designated hitter for a day. Nevermind the tendon sheath he tore in his wrist late in the 2009 season, he was a perfect fit as a super-sub!

Sure enough, DeRosa played just 26 games (.241 wOBA!) in 2010 before rupturing that same tendon sheath, ending his season in early-May. All for the low low price of $6M. Rich Harden as a setup guy was another popular one, and the “trade Robbie Cano and sign Orlando Hudson” scenario had a two or three year shelf life. And, of course, there’s the always popular “sign a closer and make them a setup man” routine. As much as we might want these things to happen because we believe they make the Yankees better, they never do happen for a multitude of reasons. I doubt I need to explain them all.

Consider this post a preemptive strike. I want to cut off some of the dumb ideas before they even start, using some good old logic and reason. The offseason is a cruel mistress, it makes us think crazy things that make us wonder what the hell we were thinking when we look back on them. So let’s get to the list …

Get the trainer. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Erik Bedard

There’s no denying that Bedard is a special talent. His last two seasons with the Orioles were preposterously good (3.40 FIP, 9.3 K/9, .298 wOBA against), but you know what? That was three full years ago. Bedard has dealt with a barrage of injuries since 2008, the most serious of which were a pair of shoulder surgeries: one to repair a debridement and remove a cyst, the other to repair a torn labrum.

Bedard has made just 30 starts in the last three years, including zero in 2010. The Mariners shoveled $16.25M into his pocket since acquiring him before the 2008 season, and all they’ve gotten in return is 2.9 fWAR. There’s a ton of talent here, no denying it, but it’s bottled up in a big glass container of risk.  The heath of Bedard’s shoulder is a total unknown, and the chance of getting zero return is rather large. There’s no reason for him to receive any kind of guaranteed contract this offseason.

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Vlad Guerrero

Texas unsurprisingly declined Big Vlad’s $9M option after the World Series, during which he reached base twice (one single, one walk) in 16 trips to the plate. He got some attention after putting up a monster first half (.339/.383/.580 with 18 homers and a .405 wOBA through June 30th), but he was rather pedestrian down the stretch (.327 wOBA after June 30th) and straight up terrible in the postseason (.243 wOBA in 62 plate appearances with 16 strikeouts). Vlad’s had an awesome career, but he’s a shell of his former self and the risk of total collapse is just too great at age 35 (36 on Opening Day).

Gerald Laird

(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

The defense behind the plate was a sore sight for Yankee fans in 2010, and Brandon Laird‘s older brother is generally considered one of the best defensive backstops in the game. He threw out 34.1% of basestealers in 2010, and over the last five years that number is a whopping 37.6%, truly top-of-the-line.

But there’s a little of a catch, and that’s that Laird can’t hit. Like, at all. He put together a whopping .207/.263/.304 (.256 wOBA) batting line in 2010, and over the last three seasons he’s hit just .238/.303/.342 (.293 wOBA). If you take out the hit by pitches and intentional walks, his on-base percentage since 2008 drops to just .269. Yeah, terrible. No amount of catcher’s defense is worth that kind of offensive cipher.

Willie Bloomquist

Yep. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

When rumors circulated that the Yanks were interested in acquiring Bloomquist at the trade deadline this year, I almost quit being a fan. Okay not really, but seriously, it was bad. Bloomquist has been worth a total, a total of -0.7 fWAR over the last four seasons, during which he’s received 1,047 plate appearance. There’s a reason teams like the Mariners and Royals are bad, and that’s because they employ players like Willie Bloomquist.

Unable to hit for power, get on base at a decent clip, or play passable defense at any of the seven defensive positions he plays, Bloomquist has basically no redeeming qualities. His versatility just means he can suck at more positions. There’s nothing to like about the guy, and if the Yanks were to sign him as a free agent, his very presence on the roster would be an insult to my intelligence and fandom. Yeah, I’m not a Bloomquist fan, but it’s justified.

* * *

The pool of free agents is something like 200 players deep this year, and that’s before non-tenders hit the market in a few weeks. These four players have very little if anything to offer the Yankees, and don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise. There’s either too much risk or too little return, and in some cases both. Finding better options at the same price won’t be difficult at all, and that’s the avenue the team needs to pursue.

Categories : Hot Stove League

126 Comments»

    • “Consider this post a preemptive strike. I want to cut off some of the dumb ideas before they even start…”

    • Matt DiBari says:

      I think there’s a certain element that thinks three so-so/risky starters equals one Cliff Lee.

      • Thomas says:

        Yeah, people see talented injury-prone starters and think automatic deal, because they will come with a short term commitment with a base salary well below what they get on the open market if healthy. However, there base salaries are usually pretty high with many easily attainable incentives based on games or innings pitched. Usually these players are hurt and just get their base salaries making them total busts or they play and whether good or bad hit many incentives making them paid at market rate.

        If the Yankees signed Bedard, Sheets, and Webb and got one Cliff Lee (or even a combined Cliff Lee performance), they’d probably still be paying $20M for the three making it no better than getting Cliff Lee.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          I can’t say for sure, but Bedard has been too unhealthy for too long to get much money IMO. We’ll have to see, though. Bedard only made $1.5 mill last season and didn’t pitch all year… Can he really get a base salary higher than that?

          I agree that the Yankees should sign Lee over 3 injury guys, 100%. However, there are cases where it is actually a wise investment to give a small or minor league deal to an injury guy, even if it means some rehab time. Take Jon Lieber. Yankees paid him just over $3 mill for a rehab year and decent year. Decent enough that the Phillies Paid him about 3 years $20 mill afterwards. He was no Cliff Lee for the Yankees, but a solid rotation guy for $3.25 mill.

    • CP says:

      How much could he possibly cost? If he comes on a minor league deal, then who wouldn’t want him?

  1. This is great, however, this probably could be part one in a 20+ part series. There are very few free agents that would fit on the 2011 club in my opinion.

  2. Not Tank the Frank says:

    This is one of the funniest rants I’ve read in a while; especially the Bloomquist part.

  3. Carlosologist says:

    Some more:

    Jose Lopez
    David Ortiz
    Nick Punto
    Manny Ramirez

    (Note: I have very little confidence in the thinking ability of the common baseball fan)

  4. I’d like to give an additional just say no to Jon Garland.

  5. Clay Bellinger says:

    Where’s that guy the suggests that we trade every meaningful prospect that we have for Edwin Jackson when you need em?

  6. I have just one name to add to this list, and that is Jon Garland. He can’t even talk to other teams yet and I’ve already heard no less than six people saying that the Yankees should sign him.

    Do. Not. Want.

  7. ND Mike says:

    Pedro FTW!

  8. Andrew says:

    I am dreading the moment when some MSMer starts pounding the rumor drum about how one of Damon or Matsui could be brought back/are interested in coming back etc. etc. What a nightmare that will become.

    • Anthony Murillo says:

      It’s already begun. Right before the ALCS, Johnny Damon said he would be interested in returning to the Yankees.

  9. bexarama says:

    Am I allowed to say I don’t want Brandon Webb? Like, I know he was a pretty awesome pitcher, but shoulder injuries are serious business, look at what the Nats got out of Wang this year (after saying he’d be ready in June). Even if he was able to pitch, you don’t know if he’d be the same pitcher he was. Scouting reports are pretty roundly terrible. Plus he’s supposedly looking for $7M. No thank you, to any of that.

  10. Danny T says:

    Pry Oliver perez away from the Mets!! hahahaha

  11. I could live with Laird if the team aggressively limited his ABs to low leverage situations. If the team carried Jorge, Montero and Laird, the latter could be used as either a defensive replacement, or 2 at bat max starter (unless the Yankees have a big lead). The Yankees need innings behind the plate, so if the team can limit the negative impact of his offensive, Laird could be a decent addition.

  12. larryf says:

    Best 4th/5th OF option:

    #51

    Bernie Williams

    #51

  13. Pfft we have Greg Golson, who is capable of either fielding the entire outfield by himself or being traded for no less than Josh Johnson and Felix Hernandez.

  14. steve (different one) says:

    The ultimate white whale from 2006-2008/9ish: Rich Harden.

  15. ColoYank says:

    What’s a baseball fan supposed to do in this interregnum between the WS and the arbitration accept/reject deadline? Watch the Jeter-’n’-Mo show, I guess.

  16. ZZ says:

    If anyone mentions Brandon Webb I am going to come to your home and pelt you with Brandon Webb fastballs.

    Will send a message, but won’t do any permanent damage.

  17. OldYanksFan says:

    I’m ducking my head already, but what about Melvin Mora as a UINF? He made less then $1.5M last year, he’s 39 and prolly not a hot commodity, but he could back up ARod and Jeter, and possibly produce an OPS+ of 100.

    Now… before I’m banned from this site, look at all the FA middle INFs and 3rd basemen, and tell me if there are any non Type A/B guys who could be had cheap, are OK riding the bench and could even have a 90 OPS+ year.

    My guess is Nunez is the guy, but I would like to have a backup for ARod/Jeter that might actually contribute to the team. Could Nunez be that guy? Could Mora (for $1m)?

    • Steve O. says:

      Meh. He hasn’t played SS since ’08, and has only played 48 games at 2B in the last decade. He’s just a 3B. I’d rather have a guy like Wiggington for DH/3B/2B/1B.

  18. Hughesus Christo says:

    JUST HEAR ME OUT

    Sign Beltre to a frontloaded 3 yr deal, start him at 3rd and put ARod at 1st while Tex sits through April (wasn’t gonna hit anyway, lol whatevs)

    Then you trade Beltre for a young starter (FELIX!) in June, agreeing to pickup his entire 2011 salary.

    /whysoserious

  19. JGS says:

    Melky Cabrera

    Yea, I went there

  20. jsbrendog (returns) says:

    wait wait wait….someone intentionally walked gerald laird?

    • JGS says:

      Three times, in fact. once in 2007, and twice in 2008. Believe it or not, none of those were “he’s batting 8th in an NL park” situations either.

  21. Scout says:

    My favorite line in the post: “I want to cut off some of the dumb ideas before they even start, using some good old logic and reason.” If we wanted logic and reason, we’d read a philosophy blog!

  22. theyankeewarrior says:

    Brian Fuentes…

    7th/8th inning stability.

    Solid LOOGY if nothing else.

    Price may be too high.

    I believe he’s a type-B

    thoughts?

    • Fuentes ain’t bad…
      All depends on price, though
      As per usual

      /haikuresponse’d

    • Steve O. says:

      Pass. No reason for two LOOGYs. Plus, he cannot face a RHB. Look at his splits.

      • theyankeewarrior says:

        Cashman literally said not 3 days ago that they are in the market for a lefty reliever. Fuentes basically leads that market right now.

        FWIW

      • Andrew says:

        No worry about Bad Boone Logan showing up again in 2011? I mean, he’s got a role that is inherently volatile, and his track record is mixed at best over his ML career.

        Fuentes is probably too expensive but another lefty reliever would definitely be worth looking into, since Damaso’s probably done as a Yankee.

        • Steve O. says:

          It’s not that, it’s just that LOOGYs really aren’t as important as people think. You can find one during any point in the season, and I think Fuentes will require too big a contract. I’d rather sign a cheaper guy, or trade for a guy instead. JMHO.

          • Andrew says:

            I agree with you about the ability to find those guys on the fly and the cheap, but I think they won’t go into the season with only Logan from the left side in the pen. I agree too that Fuentes will probably get bigger $ elsewhere, but he’s worth kicking the tires on at least. Some lefty will hopefully be out there willing to take the CHoP money.

      • theyankeewarrior says:

        He had a solid season vs. lefties and righties last year.

        • Steve O. says:

          Yeah, he did. That was too opinionated. I think he can help the team as a LOOGY, I just think the price/performance won’t fit. Also, I see an implosion in the near future. A modest one year 1-2M deal probably won’t get it done.

      • Carlosologist says:

        Don’t even need to look at splits. Just look at A-Rod’s AB in the 2009 ALCS. That’s Fuentes’ career against righties in a nutshell.

  23. Add the “We can get [insert young Toronto pitcher here] if we take Vernon Wells!” proposals to this list too, please!

  24. Zack says:

    Casey Kotchman??

  25. theyankeewarrior says:

    Oh, and Bill Hall. We need someone to step in for Alex and Derek next season and beyond. Renteria? Uribe? Just throwin it out there.

    It’s will be hard to find someone wiling to accept that role that can actually swing a bat. Or we just depend on Nunez/Pena. Ehh.

  26. Jerome S says:

    Manny.
    Ramirez.
    (takes another LSD)

  27. M says:

    How about a DO pick-up Bill Hall to play the Roll of Thames, but better defense and more versitile… Hall always had pop in his bat and could run, but struck out a ton. The greatest part about Hall though is that you get power, decent speed, and a utility guy whom plays 2B, 3B, LF, RF and SS/CF if needed for a game or 2..guy like that can only help, just depends on if he is willing to take on a salary of about 2-3 a year compared to hi 8+ mill this year

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I think everyone is intrigued by Hall, but he’s good enough to start if that’s what he prioritizes… The playing time or the money someone might pay him to start… If he wants to live in NY/be a Yankee and win games… Maybe he comes.

  28. Ted Nelson says:

    I don’t particularly want any of the 4 guys mentioned and I agree about the crazy propositions thrown out there and group-think on who the Yankees “need”… but the one disclaimer I would include in the article is that some guys really do slip through the cracks.

    If Erik Bedard or Gerald Laird or Bloomquist manages to get absolutely no contract offers, would signing them to a minor league deal be the worst thing? Bedard hasn’t pitched in forever… pitching is at such a premium someone probably throws some money at him… but maybe not. Bloomquist seems like a perfect AAA-lifer to me. Laird probably gets signed to back-up somewhere, but who knows… If he’s signing a minor league deal the Yankees might be a good candidate since Brandon and he can get in bar fights with Dwight Schrewt and Mchael Scott in Scranton, plus Yankees can dangle Montero is a rookie, Posada is old, and Cervelli isn’t that good to show he might get a call up (which is true).
    I agree someone will pay Vlad and his 29 2010 HRs, so I won’t even go there.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      And really not those 4 in particular, just pointing out that crazy things can happen in free agency and you never know who will get overpaid or who will slip through the cracks.

  29. steve whitaker says:

    Good thing the Yanks had the foresight to pass on DeRosa- imagine signing a player who was injury prone and hoping he would be your everyday DH… oh ummm…hmmm

  30. Nick says:

    Sign Cliff Lee at all costs and sign Rafael Soriano to be the set-up man. If Texas manages to sign Lee then Trade Gardner, Joba, and Montero to Seattle for King Feliz.

    Championship!!!

  31. mike says:

    Lee 5yr/105mil Yankee
    Crawford 6yr/114mil Yankee
    Pettitte 1yr/12mil with incentives Yankee
    Jeter 4yr/80mil and Mo 2yr/24mil or 1yr/14mil remain Yankees
    Trade Burnett for bullpen help and pick up 50% salary
    Trade Swisher for bullpen help
    Sign Lilly 2yr/18mil or 1yr/10mil
    Crawford LF
    Jeter SS (busts his ass in off season, bats .320 and scores 120 runs)
    Cano 2B
    A-Rod 3B (MVP if works with Long if not Cano)
    Tex 1B
    Posada DH (Next year Gonzo signed to DH 5 yr/ 110 mil)
    Montero C
    Granderson CF
    Gardner RF
    2011 payroll 225 million

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