Mailbag: Aceves & Blanton

Musings on an expanded playoff format
Mailbag: Scott Baker

We’ve got two quick questions this week, one about the status of Al Aceves and another about the price to acquire Joe Blanton. Make sure you use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send in your questions throughout the week.

Will the Mexican Gangster ride again?

Tucker asks: What’s the deal with Alfredo Aceves? Is there competition for him? It seems like the Yanks could bang out a deal with him pretty quickly.

It’s been a very quiet winter for Ace, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. He broke his collarbone riding his bike and needed surgery in December, and the Yankees non-tendered him not long after that. The Rockies showed some interest in signing him, but that died off pretty quickly. That’s it, we haven’t heard a thing about any teams being interested in him since, other than the Yankees wanting to bring him back on a minor league contract.

The collarbone injury will keep Aceves out until well into March, so he’s going to be behind other pitchers in Spring Training and might not be ready in time to start the season. He’d make a ton of sense for the Yanks right now because they could easily stick him in the rotation, where he’d probably outproduce both Sergio Mitre and Ivan Nova. The back is the real question mark though, he missed basically the entire 2010 season because of it and had multiple setbacks. I’d love to see the Yanks sign him to a minor league contract right now, but I fully understand why they’d want to wait until he’s healthy. Seems like every other team is thinking the same way.

Anonymous asks: At this point, Joe Blanton is the best guy out there who is available. It may be hard to swallow acquiring him after losing out to Cliff Lee, but let’s put that aside. What would it take to get him?

(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

I suppose the best way to do this would be to look at some recent trades involving comparable pitchers. The first one that jumps to mind is Tom Gorzelanny, who fetched two not top ten prospects and a not top 30 guy. He’s quite a bit cheaper and is under team control for one year longer than Blanton though, so we have to mark down accordingly. Another match could be Edwin Jackson, who required a big league ready, middle-of-the-rotation pitching prospect and a rookie level pitching prospect that would be found towards the middle of the top 30 list. But again, Jackson’s contract was more favorable than Blanton’s, which has two years at $8.5M per left on it.

The trade that send Blanton to Philadelphia isn’t a good comp either, since his recent performance at the time was much better than it is right now, and his contract situation was considerably more favorable. None of these are great matches, but at least they give us an idea of what to expect. It sounds like at least two prospects will be required, and one of them will have to be in the 10-20 range prospect of a top 30 list. Perhaps that guy is Adam Warren or David Phelps, and then you’re still taking on Blanton’s entire contract. It’s a fair swap, but with the Phillies needing to move his contract, no team should offer a fair return. The Phils don’t have much leverage right now.

I wrote about Blanton last month, and although he’s probably the best of the available starters, his contract isn’t great and then you have to give up prospects on top of that. Yes, he’s durable as hell, but he’s barely qualified as league average in the last three years, and that’s while he was in the NL on the best offensive team in the division. Seriously, I would rather just sign Kevin Millwood to a one-year deal. A move for Blanton impacts the 2012 team and isn’t necessarily easy to back out of. If I’m going to start committing considerable future payroll to a starter, I want it to be someone better than Blanton.

Musings on an expanded playoff format
Mailbag: Scott Baker
  • BklynJT

    I’d be really annoyed if the Yankees go after blanton. At that point I’d prefer the youngsters pitch than blanton, who is going to get paid ~10 mil to get killed in the AL east.

  • CS Yankee

    Aceves was a great find…the first time I took my boys to YS, he signed them each a baseball (it was shortly after his great start against the Angels in ’08).

    Sad to hear he may be done now, wonder why a guy with back issues is riding/crashing a bike when he needs to focus on his rehab and likely short career.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “… wonder why a guy with back issues is riding/crashing a bike when he needs to focus on his rehab and likely short career.”

      I’m sorry, this is a nitpick, but I’ve seen comments like this before and it drives me nuts. First, if the guy was riding a bicycle, I think it’s safe to assume he was cleared to do so by his doctors, so it’s not like he was being reckless with his health concerning his back. Second, he was riding a friggin bicycle, for crying out loud, it’s not like he was covering himself with chum and swimming with sharks. Are these guys only being responsible if they use an elliptical machine, for a minimum impact workout, inside, while wrapped in bubble-wrap? Would we be criticizing him if he’d been out running and had slipped or been hit by a car or something like that? He was riding a freaking bicycle, something children do. It’s a normal and perfectly reasonable form of exercise and to criticize it is asinine.

      • Mister Delaware

        Munson –> Lidle –> Aceves

      • jsbrendog (returns)

        like aaron boone playing basketball or john wetteland and his inline skating

        • king of fruitless hypotheticals

          I went through Army flight school. There is a HUUUGE list of things that are forbidden to be done while you are there (they’re investing a lot of your money in these kids, and want to see it protected).

          bull riding
          drag racing
          sky diving*
          cave diving
          arm wrestling tournaments

          *unless done with the Army

          they tried like crazy to ban motorcycles, but never could quite get it done. they got mountain biking on the list for a little while, and eventually the gym lost enough basketballs that they were able to cut down on hoops time.

          ankles and backs are expensive…

      • MannyGee

        he shouldn’t have been taking that bicycle over all those sweet jumps!

      • CS Yankee

        err, my bad…I took bike as in motorbike/motorcycle, thinking it was a Harley or something.

        (hangs head in shame)


    Meh, this is another example of where we are. Trading David Phelps and say . . . Corban Joseph seems like it wouldn’t be a crazy deal.

    Both of those guys are guys who have a shot to become Mlers and Phelps upside is probably a Blanton in his peak years type guy.

    THe thing is Blanton is over paid, that being said I have to think Blanton out produces Millwood going forward.

    I don’t know, maybe. You could do worse. It’s just the contract that’s an issue because we want flexibility to use some combo of Brackman, Noesi, Phelps Nova in the roation if the vet we acquire doesn’t produce. Blanton’s contract will necessitate a long leash where as a MIlwood or Galaraga FA signing will leave us with the ability to DFA that person if he isn’t performing.

    Blanton’s contract is untrade-able. MIllwood or Galaraga would probably be a somewhat trade-able piece (no return but wouldn’t have to eat money) if they fail.

    • Ted Nelson

      I’d rather not trade Phelps and Joseph for Blanton. Maybe Joseph and some rookie league arm. Even then I wouldn’t be in a rush to eat that contract.

      Maybe circumstances change during the season, but if the Phillies aren’t giving Blanton away I wouldn’t trade 2 legitimate high minors prospects for a contract you yourself call “untrade-able.” Phelps will be 24 this season, and he sports career averages of 2.5 ERA and 1.156 WHIP that didn’t dip much when he hit AAA. He’s had 2 150 inning seasons. Chances of him coming up at some point in 2011 and being as good as or better than Blanton are decent. Joseph is in AA and a potential starting major league 2B in a couple years. That’s just too much for me when you know Blanton is mediocre at best and well compensated.

      Maybe mid-season Phelps and Joseph are struggling a bit and Nova and/or Mitre are getting rocked I do it… Right now I think I’d rather be patient, though.

  • choo choo

    Looks like Blanton never has a problem swallowing

  • UncleArgyle

    The Phillies aren’t trading Blanton anyway. They literally have only 6 legitmate MLB starting pitchers in their entire organization right now. Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, Blanton, Kendrick. After that we’re talking AAA journeymen and 19 year olds in A ball.

    • Mike Axisa

      How many teams have more than six legit MLB starters in their organization though?

      • RL (needs a new handle)

        While I’m not sure UncleArgyle has any inside information, I believe his point is they need thate depth. Should the Yankees go into the season with what they’ve got and sustain an injury, they have a number of high-level MiL’ers that they could bring up and try out. Philly is not in that situation.

        • UncleArgyle

          lol I do have inside info man! Don’t tell anyone, but I’m secretly Charlie Manual….actually I think I heard this on MLB network the other day and it seems to check out.

          • RL (needs a new handle)

            Well Charlie … Let’s make a deal!!

      • UncleArgyle

        Very few obviously. But I got the impression that the Phils don’t have the replacement level depth that most teams have/want. Theres no Dustin Mosley’s or Kei Igawa’s to call up. So they’d have to bring up SHITTIER guys than that to pitch if one starter was injured and Blanton was traded. I can see why that would give Amaro a heartattack.

        • Mike Axisa

          I hear you, I just think that Moseley’s and Igawa’s are not that tough to find. Given the payroll and barren farm system, Blanton or a B-prospect isn’t the worst thing for them.

          Halladay, Lee, and Oswalt have been absurdly durable, they should be fine there.

          • UncleArgyle

            I can also see the logic of sucking up the higher payroll for one year and holding onto Blanton as a security blanket.

          • jsbrendog (returns)

            didnt oswalt have a back issue a couple of yrs ago? just sayin

  • Aaron S.

    Rather than simply waiting, and potentially getting outbid (I know, not likely, but still), couldn’t the team sign Aceves to a minor league contract now which would allow them to supervise his rehab in the minors? He’s not out of options is he?

    Then, once healthy, they’ll already have him in place. On a minor league deal the worse that happens is they are out some dollars if he can never regain his old self and pitch again.

    • Ted Nelson

      I have no idea, but Aceves might prefer to wait till he’s healthy or close to it so that he’s got more leverage.

  • Steve H

    Seriously, I would rather just sign Kevin Millwood to a one-year deal.

    Totally agree. I’d actually like to see them sign Millwood and Duchshererererer. Duke has an upside but is obviously a big injury risk, but if you could push Nova to AAA and Mitre to the bullpen (awating Duke’s inevitable injury) it would be ideal. I have almost zero interest in Blanton for any evently remotely promising prospect or any significant financial outlay.

    • jsbrendog (returns)


  • MikeD

    Blanton’s fastball was down to 89 last year. A lefty like Pettitte can get by fine at that velocity. A righty like Blanton in the AL East will probably be toast. The idea of giving up a prospect or two and having to pay $17 million for a guy who I don’t think will cut it is scary.