Mailbag: Mark Buehrle

Open Thread: Jimmy Key
Fan Confidence Poll: December 13th, 2010
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Any chance the Yankees show an interest in Mark Buehrle? He’s owed $14 million in the last year of his contract and it sounds like the Sox will listen to offers. What do you think it would take to get him? Given his contract situation, he might be cheaper than some of the other fallback plans.

The ChiSox are willing to listen to offers for their nominal ace according to Nick Cafardo, and they’re sure to get a ton of bites. Buehlre’s reputation as a top flight pitcher is prevalent throughout the game even though his performance doesn’t exactly back it up, but that’s not to say he’s a bad pitcher. He’s obviously quite good. I guess a perfect game, a no hitter, and a World Series championship can cloud people’s perception. Crazy, I know.

Buehrle’s value lies primarily in his supreme durability. He’s made no fewer than 30 starts or thrown fewer than 201 innings in each of the last ten seasons, averaging 33 and 222 during that time, respectively. Simply put, this is a guy a team can count on to take the ball deep into the game every fifth day, and there’s a ton of value in that (no fewer than 3.4 fWAR in nine of the last ten years).

Now, the underlying performance is a bit of an issue. Buehrle doesn’t strike anyone out, which is always a concern. His strikeout rate dipped to just 4.24 batters per nine innings in 2010, down from 4.43 in 2009, 5.76 in 2008, and just north of 6.00 at his peak. Unsurprisingly, his swing-and-miss rate has been dangerously low at 6.7% over the last five years, well below the ~8.6% league average. For comparison’s sake, Sergio Mitre posted an identical 6.7% whiff rate in 2010. Buehrle makes up for the lack of strikeouts by getting a good amount of ground balls but certainly not a ton; his 46.8% grounder rate over the last three seasons is identical to CC Sabathia‘s and the 24th best in baseball.

If you’re not going to strike anyone out or get an excessive amount of ground balls, you can’t walk yourself into trouble, and Buehrle excels at avoiding free passes. He’s unintentionally walked just 1.9 batters per nine innings pitched in his career, a rate that held true last year, the last three years, and the last five years. Consistency, they name is Buehrle. Concerned about all those miles on his arm catching up to him a la Javy Vazquez? Don’t be, Buehrle’s sat at 86.4 mph with his fastball over the last four seasons. Yeah, the velocity was never there in the first place. He succeeds by throwing three different fastballs (two-seamer, four-seamer, cutter) and a changeup with great regularity (no fewer than 15.4% of the time each last season).

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

With the lack a knock-out breaking ball and the inability to get strike three, it’s inevitable that any pitcher will get hit around a bit, and Buehrle is no exception. His 708 hits allowed over the last three seasons (.304 BABIP) are the most in baseball, and the 66 homers are the 22nd most during the same time frame. Left-handers have gotten him for a .345 wOBA and righties a .325 wOBA since 2008, both worse than league average. His 4.10 FIP since ’08 is just a touch better than Ted Lilly’s and A.J. Burnett‘s, though his 4.38 xFIP lags a bit behind those two. Buehrle is what he is, a true innings eater that is good for solid but unspectacular performances. His reputation as an ace is a bit puzzling, but he’s certainly a fine pitcher.

Should the Yankees be interested if they fail to sign Cliff Lee? Sure, they absolutely need two starters this offseason and a pitcher of Buehrle’s caliber is a big upgrade over the Ivan Novas of the world. He’ll pull down a cool $14M in 2011 before hitting the free agent market, so a trade would have to be viewed as a rental. The Yanks gave up a fringe big leaguer, a top pitching prospect, and a decent relief prospect for Vazquez last year, who was cheaper and coming off a better season than Buehrle is this winter. I don’t see why they should give up any more this time around.

We do run into a similar problem with Buehrle as we did with Gavin Floyd, in that it doesn’t appear the two teams line up well for a trade. Chicago’s in the hunt for a third baseman and relief help, and the Yanks can’t really spare either. Brandon Laird and Joba Chamberlain shouldn’t be enough for Buehrle, nor would I want the Yanks to surrender Joba for a one year rental. Whether or not a trade can be worked out is not my responsibility, but if the price is right, it certainly makes sense for the Yankees to go after the lefty if they can’t land Lee. Hell, even if Lee does sign with the Yanks, Buehrle would be a fine replacement for Andy Pettitte should he call it a career.

Update: Turns out that Buehrle’s contract has some trade-related perks. If traded, his 2011 salary is increased to $15M, and what amounts to a $15M option for 2012 automatically vests. That’s a problem because Buehrle isn’t young and doesn’t have much margin for error to begin with, so it really hurts his value and stock as a trade target.

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Open Thread: Jimmy Key
Fan Confidence Poll: December 13th, 2010
  • http://twitter.com/Carlosological Carlosologist

    Good lord, Buehrle is consistent. Maybe he can give us what Javy didn’t: A solid number four who can give us 200 innings of league average ball.

    • mbonzo

      And be a Type A free agent.

      • Matt

        At $14 million, if he suffers any drop in performance Cashman probably won’t take the chance and offer him arbitration just like he’s done over the last 2 years with Abreu, Damon, Matsui, Wood and Berkman.

        • mbonzo

          If its true that there is no option after 2012, he would probably be the best veteran pitcher on the market. He would probably get right around $14m and/or a long contract. He’s also considering retirement, which might be bad since we wouldn’t get prospects, but that makes him all the more likely to not accept arbitration immediately. Its all dependent on his 2011 but I’d say he’s only 1 year removed from 3 straight successful seasons.

        • bonestock94

          No way a 32 year old pitcher with a good track record accepts arb.

          • bonestock94

            32 yr old of his stature*

            • mbonzo

              Exactly, who would want to take 1 year at that age and risk getting next to nothing after that. He’s gonna want a multiyear deal.

          • http://wordpress.incumbentgm.com Joe DiMaggio’s Ego-Ghost

            If the Yanks get him and he does well, I wouldn’t be surprised if they extend him. We’ve had problems finding guys that can stick in the rotation…

        • dalelama

          Except Damon, Matsui, and Wood hadn’t experienced a drop in performance when Cashman decided not to offer them arbitration.

          • mbonzo

            You really think reliever Wood and DHs Matsui and Damon could get $14m on the open market? Buehrle is worth that and he’s young enough to get multiple years.

  • mbonzo

    Was thinking about Buehrle replacing Pettitte for a little bit now. I figured a trade would have to be something like Nunez, Laird, Brackman. I wouldn’t mind that trade, but I do think the White Sox are looking to contend this season and probably want major league ready players.

    Also, I believe he has a vesting option in 2012 for $15m if he’s traded. This might be good news because it would lower his trade value. Yankees could certainly eat that money if he turns into a bust or trade him off next season. I’m pretty sure he’d be a type A free agent if he keeps up his numbers too. Either way, Yankees should get some prospects out of him as long as he doesn’t retire afterwards.

    • Big Juan

      I don’t know if Brackman’s trade value is high enough at this point. I feel like Joba, Laird, Nunez is more realistic if a deal were to happen. But like Mike said, I wouldn’t want them to give up Joba for one year of Buehrle.

      • mbonzo

        Well there is a vesting option if he gets traded. I think that actually diminishes his trade value at this point in his career. Kenny Williams could definitely be crazy enough to see Brackman as a high prospect, but I agree that this deal wouldn’t go through with many other teams.

        • Big Juan

          Right. And who knows what Kenny Williams strategy actually is anyway.

          • Mike

            Come july 31st if Buehrle is still with the ChiSox i think they’ll be trying to trade him to get something “good” in return, and not “premium” minor leaguers as they could be trying to get right now.

          • http://wordpress.incumbentgm.com Joe DiMaggio’s Ego-Ghost

            KW is known to like hard-throwing relievers, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he likes Joba more than the Yankees do, or other teams, for that matter.

    • http://twitter.com/firstheart42 seimiya

      If Cashman wouldn’t trade Nunez for Lee, I don’t think he’d offer him up for a pitcher half as good.

  • Chris

    Buerhle is a nice pitcher but his inability to miss bats makes him someone who’s not gonna excel in the postseason which is what the Yankees should be looking for. At $14 million per, should be have a drop in performance which is likely moving to the AL east, Cashman will probably not offer him arbitration to at least recoup draft picks.

    • Matt

      Yeah, if you’re bringing him in to be a number 4 or 5 starter without having to surrender any blue chip prospect, he’d be a nice acquisition but if they miss out on Lee and Pettite retires, the Yankees need to add a number 2 or 3 caliber starter and Buerhle isn’t that kind of pitcher.

    • mbonzo

      Theres been plenty of successful contact pitchers in the postseason.
      http://www.baseball-reference......do01.shtml
      Hes gonna be at most a 3rd or 4th pitcher in the rotation.

      I’m pretty sure teams would offer him about $14-$15m a year if he was on the free agent market. He’s also been contemplating retirement, I don’t see him accepting arbitration just for those two reasons. He knows he can get the same offers, maybe even a longer contract, and he’ll want to keep his options open if he does retire.

      • Matt

        He’s not a bad fall bacv option but it’s gonna be a big disappointment if they have to give up a Brackman or Banuelos for a pitcher far inferior to Cliff Lee who only costs money.

        • mbonzo

          Banuelos I agree, but Brackman really only projects to be a reliever. I’d give up a solid young reliever in a second for him and possibly a couple first round prospects.

          I’m not gonna compare him to Cliff Lee, but I think you’re vastly underrating Buehrle here. He’s been a lot more consistent than Lee and has a higher career ERA+. He had a “meh” 2010, but posted solid 120+ ERA+ in 2007-2009. Lee has a lot more potential but Buehrle is a very solid pitcher, I’d say 10 teams in MLB would have to call him their ace.

          • Matt

            He’s not in the same league as Cliff Lee. Lee is a true number one starter of which there are probably only about 12-15 in all MLB. Buerhle is an inning eating number 4 starter on a championship caliber team at this point. Check out his splits against the Red Sox. He’s gotten murdered in Fenway and overall he’s been beaten up by the Sox.

            • mbonzo

              I could care less about small sample sizes. I already said he’s no replacement for Cliff Lee, but he would be the one of the best 3rd or 4th starter in the game if he came to the Yankees. You’re getting a very solid and consistent pitcher who could very easily have 15-17 wins on the Yankees, and a very good possibility of 2 first round draft picks. He’d be the perfect replacement for Pettitte.

              • Matt

                Do you think the Yankees are contending for a WS with a rotation of CC, Burnett, Hughes, Buerhle and Nova which very well might be their starting 5 if things don’t turn out as planned?? I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t plan any parades with that rotation.

                • mbonzo

                  How many times do I have to say that he’s not a replacement for Lee. Like Mike said above, the Yankees will need 2 starting pitchers. Right now, I think the best players the Yankees could land would be Lee and Greinke, but if one doesn’t work out the third and fourth best guys would be Buehrle and Pettitte. So no I don’t want that rotation, but I would sub out Nova for someone like Greinke or maybe even go as low as Garza if the market is that bad.

                  • Matt

                    Plan B for whiffing on Lee is losing probably 4 of your top 10 minor leaguers to acquire a pitcher who is most likely inferior to Lee so as far as I’m concerned, plan B pretty much sucks.

                    • mbonzo

                      I only mentioned 3 guys, Nunez, Laird and Brackman. The first two can barely be considered top prospects, and Brackman is the weakest of the B’s. He projects to be a reliever for godsakes. If anything my offer is too low but thats where I’d start. You’ve gotta be trolling.

                  • Matt

                    Tampa most likely would never trade Garza in the division unless it’s for a kings ransom and everything I’ve read says Greinke’s would never agree to come to NY.

  • Mike

    The Yankees should make a run to get Buehrle independently of whether Lee signs with the NYY or not, i’d rather have too much pitching than non at all.

    Let’s see if Cashman can make a trade without surrendering good talent, or just AA talent, a trade a-la-Bosox-Padres, too bad the Yanks don’t overhype their minor league players, otherwise they could pull the same kind of trades the bosox do time and time again for overhyped prospects (hint hint: the pitcher the Padres drafted from the Yankees will be in the major league roster putting up good numbers before anybody of the players they got in the Adrián trade plays for them, and not because of the rule, but because both had similar numbers and the Yanks pitcher is more mature).

    • Matt

      If the Yankees could make the trade without including any of the killer B’s, Montero or Gary Sanchez, I’d pull the trigger but I don’t think the Warren’s, Phelp’s, Noesi’s and Adam’s are gonna get it done.

  • Matt

    Lee had a WAR of 7.1 last year which is about as much as Buerhle’s 2009 and 2010 COMBINED. The ideal situation is to sign Lee, have Pettite return for one more year and then replace him with whoever emerges from the Banuelos, Brackman and Betances group in 2012 while filling the bullpen with the Nova, Noesi, Phelps, Warren, Stoneburner group.

    • mbonzo

      Nobody has, and I doubt anybody will suggest he is a replacement for Lee. He is a replacement for Pettitte if anything. Who would you suggest the Yankees get if they can’t land Pettitte or Lee?

      • Matt

        I would have Cashman get his ass on a plane to Arkansas and if he can’t sign Lee then don’t come back.

        • Jon in CUO

          Brilliant.

      • Chris

        Cashman’s mistake was not demanding an answer from Lee sooner. He should have been presented with an offer as soon as free agency started with a 48-72 hour window to accept or decline. They could have moved on Crawford and been able to use Granderson as a chip to trade for a starter thereby keeping him off the Red Sox and preserving some of their farm system by trading Grandy.

        • Hughesus Christo

          Yeah, because… no.

        • mbonzo

          I’m always a fan of ultimatums. I think there is an ultimatum in Lee’s future though. If he hasn’t picked a team yet, I think Cashman will give him a couple million more (his real max offer) and say, take it or we have to pursue Greinke.

          • Chris

            I agee. That would be my message monday morning. Here’s an extra million per year, offer expires at midnight. We can’t be held hostage any longer.

            • mbonzo

              I think thats more of an option if he doesn’t sign by Christmas. The Royals are smart enough not to take an offer for Greinke before the Rangers or Yankees enter the bidding.

              • Chris

                Yeah, the Royals will have whoever loses out on Lee by the short hairs to trade for Greinke and either team isn’t gonna have a lot of options to add a pitcher of that caliber.

              • Matt

                Too bad Cashman didn’t make a play for Dan Haren when Azizona made him available. I think the Yankees could have made a better offer than the Angels did and still could have held onto Montero, Banuelos and Sanchez.

                • mbonzo
                  • Matt

                    The Angels traded Joe Saunders, Patrick Corbin and Rafael Rodriguez for Haren. Cashman should have easily been able to beat that deal and things would look a lot better right know if they had Haren.

                    • mbonzo

                      Dan Haren is not a replacement for Cliff Lee.

                • matt (the longwinded one)

                  Gotta agree with you here, no reason why Cash couldn’t have put together a package for Haren – and no, Haren’s not quite Lee, but he’s a #1. What I suspect has happened – and will ultimately be borne out – is that Cash believed he could get his co-ace (Lee) for money only (once the Seattle deal died) in the offseason as opposed to having to give up key prospects for Haren. I’m curious to know what Arizona would have been looking for. The problem, really, is that as mediocre as Joe Saunders may be, he’s still a young lefty who has had some success at the ML level. Unless you want to put Hughes in the package, the Yankees don’t have that comparable guy, so I think they would’ve had to include Jesus, at which point I would have at least inquired about swapping Monteros, i.e, J. Montero, Jona, and probably one killer B for Haren and M. Montero.

        • matt

          How is anyone in any position to asses whether Cash had made any mistakes at all? I’d still call it at 90% he gets his man. It’s not like the Yanks have missed out on anything exciting in the free agent pitching market. Sure, Hideki Kuroda would have been a nice signing on a two year deal, but he’s not making or breaking the season. Only scenario in which Cash would have gained from pressuring Lee to sign fast is that in theory, if Lee says ok, I’m staying in TX, Cash at least has the chance to really get in on Crawford with the possibility of then flipping Grandy or Swish for a starter. But given what Boston ponied up for Crawford – a deal that is just all kinds of insane and one which the Yanks never would have even contemplated matching, I don’t see what’s been lost. If they miss out on Lee, any substantial improvement to the pitching staff will be done via trade and those always take longer, hell it might take till the opening of camp. Cash doesn’t have sufficient leverage to give Cliff Lee ultimatums regarding the time frame in which the Yanks offer is open. He can, and has, said that the Yanks won’t increase whatever offer they have out their, but a timing ultimatum is just an unnecessarily antagonizing, game of chicken approach, Like really, if the day after the “drop dead” date Lee calls up and wants to sign, the Yanks are going to say, no thanks, you’re an hour too late?

      • Chris

        If they lose out on Lee, there only option to field a rotation that compares to that of the other elite teams is to trade for Greinke but with absolutely no leverage, I shutter to think what he’s gonna cost to acquire.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Which is from a ridiculous walk rate whuch likely won’t happen again. 2009 is probably what we’ll get. Still great but not best WAR pitcher.

      • Matt

        Lee had a 6.6 WAR in 2009 and has a predicted 6.8 in 2011 so I hardly think Lee’s 2010 was an abberation

        • JobaWockeeZ

          What? There’s a staggering differene in his 2009 and 2010 FIP which is what goes into WAR for pitchers. His walk rate since his transofrmation has been 1.67, 1.37 and 0.76.

          I don’t know how you can expect a ridiculous rate like 2010.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

    Buehrle also shuts down the running game like no other pitcher in baseball. With bad defensive catchers, that can be a huge asset.

  • adeel

    why do we have to sign anybody? I want to concentrate on getting younger and having some roster flexibility. Lee is great, but seven years is just too much imho; and anyone else like Buehrle is just going to clog up roster spots.

    I’m really scared on how bad all these moves are going to look in 2-3 years.

    • Chris

      You’re right but other than Cano and Hughes, in the last 10 years how many all star caliber players have the Yankees developed on the farm? There failure to do so forced them to sign FA’s to huge multi-year contracts in order to compete.

      • mbonzo

        The farm system has become much more of a priority for the Yankees in recent years under Cashman. The Yankees have the most homegrown talent the last two years of any team in the American league.

        But to answer your question.
        Other than Cano and Hughes
        Ted Lilly
        Alfonso Soriano
        Nick Johnson
        Christian Guzman
        Carlos Pena

        Older players not in the core 4 (hate saying that)
        Mike Lowell
        Juan Rivera
        Marcus Thames
        Randy Choate

        New guys would be Gardner, Clippard, Joba could be all stars.

        Yankee farmsystem this year could be in top 10 for the first time in years.

        • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

          It’s not so easy to churn out superstars when you never draft higher than 30th.

          How many legit stars has St. Louis churned out since Pujols?

          • mbonzo

            Hmm
            Colby Rasmus… thats it

            Jamie Garcia is loads of potential.

            • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

              And if the Cardinals get their way, Rasmus won’t be a star for much longer.

          • JobaWockeeZ

            Yet they have the resources to mke that up by signing overslot guys and by getting IFA’s.

        • Matt

          Carlos Pena was a major leaguer with Detroit who the yankees signed to AAA of the scrap heap so I wouldn’t count him as a product of their farm system.

          • mbonzo

            I don’t know, he did spend his last season of AAA in the Yankees farm system so it kinda counts.

    • mbonzo

      Yankees will have 2 older pitchers in 3 years if they sign Lee. Burnett’s contract is up after 2013. They’ll have Hughes and probably one of the B’s in the rotation. They’ll also probably be looking at a big name pitcher then too. The futures not as bleak as it sounds.

      • Chris

        The future’s bright if they emphasize the farm system and don’t trade them all away. The only really hideous deal is A-rod. His deal should have been for half as many years. Hank had A-rod by the balls and really let him off the hook.

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      You get younger if it makes you better.
      Trading 3-4 top prospects for Greinke doesnt make you better as an organization. And trading for a lesser guy doesn’t fill the need for a front of the rotation starter. And just handing Nova 30 starts…well lets not even go there.

      • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

        This should be in there somewhere: Making these moves aren’t better option than getting Lee for just money (and 1 pick).

    • It’sATarp

      Here’s the problem i have with people just saying we should get younger and rely on prospects…well the percentage of prospects becoming MLB level stars is very low. For all we know all 4 of the killer B’s might flame out and then what? we sacrificed early years for nothing. Also the team itself has window and simply waiting for the next crop of stars who may or may not work out closes out the window for this current crop of stars. There needs to be a balance of FA who we know we can rely on, to balance out the potential failings of our prospects.

      And honestly i would trade away prospects to get a certain thing. The one reason i like Grienke a lot despite what the cost might be is that he is both young and proven. We know his upside and we know he is consistent, while we don;t know much on how our prospects will fare in the MLB level.

  • http://incumbentgm.wordpress.com Joe DiMaggio’s Ego-Ghost

    The next RAB post should be the Lee’s Prayer, because God knows we’ll be begging for mercy if Cliff snubs us.

  • matt

    This’ll never happen, just because these kinds of megadeals never do, but I can actually see some potential for the Yanks and Chisox to get really creative. Before dismissing it out of hand just ponder for a moment:

    Montero/Granderson/Joba/Brackman/Laird for Floyd/E. Jackson/A. Rios/T. Flowers

    How Chi Benefits: in theory, they can do this deal while retaining their nominal 1-3 rotation guys in Danks, Buehrle and Peavy; they’ve only got Edwin under control for this coming year and he’s gotten more expensive, up to 8m; Floyd’s a terrific young pitcher, but in Joba and Brackman you’re getting back two reasonably cost-controlled upside guys who can either provide some of the pen help the ChiSox want or, certainly in Joba’s case, be slotted into the rotation. you can get out from under the four years left on the Rios contract (which incidentally, I will argue below is, going forward, a decently reasonable deal for a guy who’s actually a really good player) znd get a slightly younger, slightly less expensive, marginally better player in Grandy, with the added benefit of Grandy’s being under control for two years at a pretty good rate with an option for a third. You’re essentially swapping highly projectable catching prospects but Montero’s three years younger and clearly has the better bat if not as strong defensively; at the same time. Finally you get Laird as a thrown in with maybe some upside, a guy who could conceivably provide some pop at 3B.

    What the Yanks get: most importantly, they get Floyd, who while not a true 1A ace is a terrific 28 year old starter entering his prime and he’s cost controlled for three years moving forward; take a look at Floyd’s FIP sometime and suddenly he starts to get real exciting, a legitimate number 2 in the AL. Guy’s not a soft tosser, he sat at 92.5 this year and each of his FB, Slider and Curve are legit plus pitches and his change might be a fourth plus pitch. Improving percentage of GBs, Respectable K/9 numbers, nice looking K/BB ratio hovering close to 3-1 and he and HR/9 has been cut fully in half over the past three seasons. Second, you get a second young starter in E. Jackson who IMHO went from suddenly overrated due to his sick start to the ’09 season to fairly dramatically underrated. Dude’s exactly what you look for as a legit middle of the roration horse, and at only 27 maybe you can still hope for more. He’s starting to show himself as a horse, his K/9 rate jumped in ’10, again perfectly acceptable K/BB

    How NY benefits:

    • matt

      This’ll never happen, just because these kinds of megadeals never do, but I can actually see some potential for the Yanks and Chisox to get really creative. Before dismissing it out of hand just ponder for a moment:

      Montero/Granderson/Joba/Brackman/Laird for Floyd/E. Jackson/A. Rios/T. Flowers

      How Chi Benefits: in theory, they can do this deal while retaining their nominal 1-3 rotation guys in Danks, Buehrle and Peavy; they’ve only got Edwin under control for this coming year and he’s gotten more expensive, up to 8m; Floyd’s a terrific young pitcher, but in Joba and Brackman you’re getting back two reasonably cost-controlled upside guys who can either provide some of the pen help the ChiSox want or, certainly in Joba’s case, be slotted into the rotation. you can get out from under the four years left on the Rios contract (which incidentally, I will argue below is, going forward, a decently reasonable deal for a guy who’s actually a really good player) znd get a slightly younger, slightly less expensive, marginally better player in Grandy, with the added benefit of Grandy’s being under control for two years at a pretty good rate with an option for a third. You’re essentially swapping highly projectable catching prospects but Montero’s three years younger and clearly has the better bat if not as strong defensively; at the same time. Finally you get Laird as a thrown in with maybe some upside, a guy who could conceivably provide some pop at 3B.

      What the Yanks get: most importantly, they get Floyd, who while not a true 1A ace is a terrific 28 year old starter entering his prime and he’s cost controlled for three years moving forward; take a look at Floyd’s FIP sometime and suddenly he starts to get real exciting, a legitimate number 2 in the AL. Guy’s not a soft tosser, he sat at 92.5 this year and each of his FB, Slider and Curve are legit plus pitches and his change might be a fourth plus pitch. Improving percentage of GBs, Respectable K/9 numbers, nice looking K/BB ratio hovering close to 3-1 and he and HR/9 has been cut fully in half over the past three seasons. Second, you get a second young starter in E. Jackson who IMHO went from suddenly overrated due to his sick start to the ’09 season to fairly dramatically underrated. Dude’s exactly what you look for as a legit middle of the roration horse, and at only 27 maybe you can still hope for more. He’s starting to show himself as a horse, his K/9 rate jumped in ’10, again perfectly acceptable K/BB RATIO OF around 2.5/1; plus slider and lord knows in terms of his FB, the tools are there, dude throws gas. So most significantly, the Yanks get two pretty nice young rotation pieces in one fell sweep; those two combined for a WAR of a bit over 8 in ’10, so they do, combined, fill the void left by a failure to sign Lee. Next. Alex Rios which I can already imagine people getting ready to throw worst contract ever in my face. Not really. All people like to remember about Rios is his extraordinarily bad ’09. But in the three years prior to that he put up WARs of 3.4, 4.7 and 5.4, qnd got back to 3.7 this season. Dude’a really a very similar player to Grandy, not a wonderful .obp guy, but with enough pop that he puts up nice .wOBA numbers, ’09 aside; he’s without question a terrific defensive outfielder at all three spots and he’s also a terrific basestealer (32/40 in ’08, 25/29 in ’09, 34/48 in ’10, you’d like to see a few less caught stealings than this past season, but certainly he’s a weapon on the basepaths. While I’d concede that Granderson is the better player, largely just in that he’s got a bit more pop, Rios has the virtue of basically having no platoon split. Now the contract: at this point, it’s 4/49m for a guy who hasn’t turned 29 yet. It’s not a great contract, but the argument to the ChiSox is we’ll give the better player whose package is worth 30m less over its life as part of the inducement to get Williams to part with Floyd. Finally, the swap of high profile catching prospects. It’d hurt an awful lot to give up Jesus but Flowers is a terrific prospect as well; a bit older, really nice bat, though not at Jesus’s level, but clearly regarded as superior defensively. My logic here is that yeah, you give Chi the better player, but you get back a guy who really helps in compensating for that loss and again, part of the inducement in getting Williams to move two late 20s established starters as good as Floyd and Jackson. It’s that potential twofer that really intrigues me.

      I literally have no idea which side hangs up the phone on this deal – I actually think both Cash and Kenny would listen. Certainly for the Yanks there are other costs, i.e. moving Joba weakens this year’s pen and there’s a chance Brackman might be ready to contribute in relief after the all star break. But with the utter absence of truly stud pitchers who are anywhere near hitting free agency, the prospect of potentially landing two good starter is really tantalizing.

      And just to go totally out there – how about Peavy? Health is a major red flag, probably not ready to start the season, clearly not the same guy as he was pitching in Petco, as would be expected. But assuming you throw out the proposal above, Chi has nice rotation depth with Danks, Buerhle, Floyd and Jackson, and Peavy’s contract (essentially 2/33m with a a club option for a third year at 22m) isn’t brutal in that it’s not that long and if he can get healthy, he still can be awfully nasty, night in, night out. I’d be very curious to hear what Kenny would consider to be a realistic offer for Peavy on his own. Here, I’m not sure I see a great match, in that Montero is really only a great piece for Chi if they’re going to flip Flowers back. Granderson/Joba/Brackman/Laird might have some potential, but you do even consider doing that if you’re the Yanks? Just some food for thought.

    • matt

      sorry, cut myself on, is it possible for this post to be deleted? Thanks and sorry.

  • Michael Mirabella

    If the Yanks sign Cliff Lee and get Buehrle because Pettitte retires, you figure the rotation looks like this:
    C.C. Sabathia
    Cliff Lee
    Phil Hughes
    Mark Buehrle
    A.J. Burnett
    Not bad at all. Probably in the top 5 of all rotations in baseball.

    • Monteroisdinero

      4 lefties to neutralize the greatest base stealing team of all time. Even Big Popi can run now!

      • Monteroisdinero

        oops. 3 lefties (but a 4th would be nice too)

    • theyankeewarrior

      Probably the best rotation in baseball

  • theyankeewarrior

    Those trade-related options seem to fall directly into the Yankees hands, don’t they? The Yanks can easily afford to pay $15M to an above average veteran lefty to pitch over 200 innings in 2011 and 2012.

    It’s not like they would have many other choices if they don’t get Lee and/or Pettitte.

  • CaptialT

    One thing everybody is overlooking about Buehrle is that he pitches incredibly fast games ~ 2 hours. Its great to see him pitch because you can count on not being there for a 4 hour marathon. :)