Open Thread: Puma


(AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

If you’d have told me at this time last year that Lance Berkman was going to be the Yankees starting first baseman in the ALCS, I’d have called you insane. And yet, there he was in October, manning first after Mark Teixeira blew out his hamstring in Game Four. Berkman had a full no-trade clause and didn’t have to come to New York at the trade deadline, especially since he was going to be little more than a platoon DH, but he did because he wanted to play for a contender. His tenure in pinstripes started out poorly (.091/.167/.091 in his first six games) but soon enough he started to deliver, hitting .298/.404/.417 in the final 31 games of the season and then .313/.368/.688 in the postseason. His homerun and double in Game Two of the ALDS almost single-handedly beat the Twins. Fat Elvis turns 35 years old today and I have no idea how the hell the Cardinals figure he can play the outfield everyday at this point of his career, but that’s not my problem. I appreciate his service to the Yankees cause last season no matter how brief.

Here’s the open thread for the evening. Both the Devils and Islanders are in action, so find your own entertainment. Talk about whatever, go nuts.

Categories : Open Thread


  1. Mike HC says:

    Berkman was really starting to hit some lasers toward the end of the season. I would definitely bet on him still being able to hit. As for playing the outfield, well, that should provide a couple of humorous moments.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      provide a couple of humorous moments.

      I’d be more worried about his ability to stay healthy. It really seems like the Cardinals are going for an early 2000s stathead approach, attempting to throw bats at the wall and see what sticks, while punting defense.

  2. Mike HC says:

    Anyone watching St. John’s vs. UCONN tonight? And anyone think St. John’s has a shot?

  3. Mattchu12 says:

    I’m starting to not want to read anything but Yankee Press Releases.

    All that crap about Cliff Lee, and then let down. All that crap about Joakim Soria, and then let down. All that crap about Andy Pettitte, and then let down. Now all this crap about Francisco Liriano, and it’s highly likely to be a let down. It’s just too crushing to get any hopes up about any potential moves that would make this offseason sufferable.

    • Jerome S. says:

      Cliff Lee I understand and agree with, but Soria and Liriano? Where was the hype? There shouldn’t have been any reason to get any hopes up about possibly trading Montero for Soria, or because of a rumor that the Twins want to move Liriano. Even Pettitte was 50/50 this whole time, and his contribution would not have been that significant. Was there any hype over bringing Soriano to New York? No. But then one day, bam, he was here. It’s not a proportional relationship.

      • radnom says:

        Even Pettitte was 50/50 this whole time

        I would say it never was 50/50 in the press. For a while it was all but certain he was never coming back. Then for a week it randomly changed and all reports had the Yankees expecting him back and news about him working out. Then he retired.

        I think it actually helps your point. Outside of that one week or two there was only negative hype that Pettitte wasn’t coming back.

      • Mattchu12 says:

        I’m not saying there was anything factual or actually going on. I’m just saying that it’s become very draining to hear a name connected to the Yankees, we have been hearing about Soria since last summer and even if there was no real evidence (and I would never trade Montero for Soria), it’s been enough that you start to picture that player in pinstripes.

        It starts out as ‘well that would be nice, but wont ever happen’ and becomes ‘my irrational hope for it to happen’ and then when it doesn’t happen, even if there was no chance of it ever happening, it sucks.

        It’s not about whether or not there was ever a chance to hope for, it’s just that hearing names “connected” to the team and nothing happening is a pain.

        That’s all I’m saying.

    • Urban says:

      Ignore the Liriano stuff. It was manufactured by a reporter in Twinkie town, no doubt because they’re as bored right now as we are, waiting for the season to start!

      Oh, I can see Liriano being traded eventually, but not now.

      That, of course, means he will be traded by the time I hit send on this post.

  4. Mike HC says:

    I’m starting to look forward to RAB fantasy baseball again this year. Mike Axisa’s team, who came in second last year in the Premier League, will return Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Gonzalez and Cano as his keepers. Ranked numbers 2, 8, and 9, respectively, in the Yahoo rankings. He will have some team next year.

    • Mike HC says:

      I should say, most likely will return those three guys, as he also has Werth and Carlos Santana.

      • Mike Axisa says:

        Oh yeah, I’m going to wreck shit this year. I want to keep Hamels, but he might get squeezed out.

        • Mike HC says:

          I don’t see how he doesn’t get squeezed out. But my fantasy philosophy is offense, offense, and more offense, so maybe someone with a more balanced philosophy would think harder about keeping him.

    • T-Dubs says:

      I didn’t even remember those leagues were keeper leagues. How does that work with the relegation?

      • Mike HC says:

        If I remember correctly, I think Tommie was very instrumental in setting the whole thing up, maybe Mondesi as well. There is definitely a post from last year explaining most of the stuff.

        I think bottom 4 teams in every league move down one level, and top 4 move up one level. Three optional keepers for your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks, respectively, in order.

  5. Avi says:

    Brackman, Noesi, Heathcott and Nunez for Liriano. String package and no Montero or Banuelos going to Minnesota.
    I can’t believe their are people that are saying the Yanks should wait for something better. Other than the elite Liriano is as good as it gets.
    I’m looking forward to Mike’s top 30 tomorrow.

    • Mattchu12 says:

      I’d make the deal. I really like the Brackmonster, and I’d love for him to emerge as a big arm for us in the rotation, but I think Banuelos is the only one with long-term promise for the rotation. Brackman vibes me as a bullpen guy, Betances won’t stay healthy.

    • vin says:

      The Heathcott addition seems unnecessary. 2 pretty legit pitching prospects, plus a guy that some figure to be an everyday SS should be enough if the Twinkies are serious about moving him.

      I just don’t know why they would consider it now. Most teams have resolved their SP problems over the offseason. They’re dealing with a smaller pool of bidders now that teams like the Brewers and Cubs have made moves.

      • Avi says:

        Yeah I though about the Heathcott part. I was trying to make a strong package without trading Montero, Manny B AND Betances. To me Brackman is clearly the third best B. Would be awesome if they could get it done with Phelps or Stoneburner instead of Noesi.

        • vin says:

          Like Mike said in today’s radio show… the Twins may not want Banuelos – he might strike out too many guys for their liking.

          Pretty funny, and perhaps somewhat true.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        “I just don’t know why they would consider it now. Most teams have resolved their SP problems over the offseason. They’re dealing with a smaller pool of bidders now that teams like the Brewers and Cubs have made moves.”

        Lots of reasons including that Liriano’s value is its highest right now (healthy, coming off a career season, and 2 years from free agency), he’s their most valuable “expendable” part, and he’s the only legit starter on the market at this point (at a time when a certain large market team may or may not be desperate for a starter and ownership may or may not feel like making a reactionary move in trading the farm for a 6 WAR lefty).

        Also, that they might deal him doesn’t necessarily mean they are motivates to move him now. The Yankees have to bid against the Twins keeping him along with other suitors, and more suitors are sure to arise by the trade deadline.

        “2 pretty legit pitching prospects, plus a guy that some figure to be an everyday SS should be enough if the Twinkies are serious about moving him.”

        2 “older” prospects who are probably more likely to be back-of-the-rotation or bullpen guys than starters, for a team with a bunch of mid-to-back rotation guys. Nunez could be a nice piece for them, but he’s not the centerpiece of a Liriano deal.

    • Mike HC says:

      I would do that deal in a heartbeat, but I don’t think Minn would. Or at least, other teams would be able to put together at least a comparable offer, and as we have seen time and time again, unless the Yanks pay that extra NY Tax, we don’t get the player.

      • Avi says:

        Right now I’m not optomistic about the season. As is there’s a decent chance the Yanks have %60 of their games started by replacement level pitchers (3 starters). I think this year is their biggest risk not to make the playoffs in a very long time. Liriano would change that for me.

        • Mike HC says:

          I think that our offense, defense and bullpen are strong enough to prop up the inevitable hole or two our rotation will have. We are definitely not a lock for a playoff spot though, you are right. Liriano would be a great addition, but not necessarily one that seems particularly close to happening.

      • camilo Gerardo says:

        as sometime people are too good-looking for their own good, i think the yanks have too good of a system for their own good

    • Steve H says:

      So if the reasoning is that the Twins will trade Liriano because they have 6 starters and Gibson on the way, why are they going to trade Liriano for a package that starts with 2 more starters? I’d love to make that trade. I see no reason why the Twins would. Just because they have 6 starters, they’re not going to trade their best one away while trying to win a 3rd straight division.

      • vin says:

        That’s just it… we have no idea what they want. They don’t have any really pressing needs (except maybe SS). In fact, their most pressing need is probably a dominant starter. In theory, they should’ve went all in on Zack Greinke. Greinke, Liriano, Pavano, Baker/Blackburn/Slowey would make a damn fine playoff rotation.

        But if they are considering trading Liriano, I assume it’s a pre-emptive cost-cutting move (eventhough he’s only due to make 12-14 mill over the next 2 years). It all seems odd to me.

        Perhaps they’re trying to maximize his value (ie 2 more years of team control) – but they should’ve either tried to move him earlier in the offseason, or just wait until the trade deadline to see where they stand – as many others have mentioned.

        • Steve H says:

          That’s the thing, I don’t think they are “looking to move” him. I think they’d trade him if the right trade came along. The right trade, considering their current position would have to be a huge win for them. A year from now, he might be actively on the trade market, and you could get him for a reasonable offer. Right now, there’s no good reason for them to get rid of him offer than being bowled over with an offer.

      • Avi says:

        He’s two years from free agency and they could get more for him now than they can next year. Also they might feel his stock is high right now and they don’t want to risk it going down this year. Acquiring good young starters is always a good idea. Plus Brack and Noesi likely are a year away anyway, when the Twins starting pitching landscape will have changed slightly.

        • Steve H says:

          They’re other guys will be around, and Gibson is on the way. If the issue they have is too many starters, trading for a smorgasborg of non-elite starting prospects makes no sense, especially when they are attempting to win. Even if they trade him next year for less, they’ll have a full year of him in 2011 while trying to win a championship. They have a brand new building and a $100+ million payroll. Make no mistake, they want to win now. Trading their best pitcher is not a good way to win now. I don’t think Brackman, Noesi, Heathcott, Nunez package is going to be nearly enough for them to take a huge step back in 2011.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      “I can’t believe their are people that are saying the Yanks should wait for something better.”

      Better than what, though… No one on this forum knows with any certainty what Minnesota is asking the Yankees for. I only advocate waiting because I think think Minnesota would take the package you suggest. My thinking is that maybe later in the season or next offseason they would take a package comparable to that… Right now, though, that’s a crap package. You’re getting a very good LHSP by giving up only 1 top 100 prospect whose not in most people’s top 50.

      Brackman is just getting to AAA and 25. He’s not a top 50 prospects according to most. His performance in the minors has hardly met the hype. I’m sure there are people who love him and people who hate him. At 24 on a major league deal and with plenty of starters, I don’t know if Minni would love him.

      Noesi is a mid-to-back of the rotation prospect. Heathcott is all tools right now. Zero power yet and years away. If you didn’t like his character before the draft, do you like it now? Nunez might be someone they’re interested in, but not a primary piece.

      Basically, it’s a fantasy package for the Yankees.

      • vin says:

        It’s definitely a quantity over quality package. A deal like that could work if the Twinkies were looking to re-stock their farm system. As mentioned above, the problem is we don’t know what kind of package they’re really looking for (quality, quantity, or major league-ready guys, established big leaguers, etc).

      • Avi says:

        I don’t know. It’s not a terrible package when you look at what was traded for Greinke, Haren, Oswalt, Marcum and Johan.

        • Avi says:

          Question: Who do you like more, Betances or Brackman or Joba? For example if the Yanks are making a trade for Liriano and the Twins say you can give us one of those B’s or Joba, who do you prefer to loose?

          • The Real JobaWockeeZ says:

            Definitely Joba.

          • Kiersten says:


            I can’t see saying definitely Joba when he’s the only one with any ML ecksperience.

            • Steve H says:

              I agree. If they were a middling 75 win team I’d rather trade Joba and try to hold onto the high upside guy in Brackman, but we already know Joba can be an asset for the Yankees in trying to win titles. We don’t know that with Brackman (or the other guys).

              • The Big City of Dreams says:

                true but at this point Joba is what the 4th or 5th arm out of the pen? How important is he going forward?

                • Mike HC says:

                  He could, and probably should end up being our third arm in the pen after Mo and Soriano. Joba should pitch in some high leverage situations and about 70 innings total on the year. And Soriano, and Mo too for that matter, could be gone any year. So Joba is also a very important piece in the pen for the immediate future even beyond this upcoming season.

                  I still would start him, but he does have plenty of value in the pen too. I would also trade Brackman first in that scenario. With Betances and Joba as just about equal in my mind. Things change fast with prospects though and I have never seen any of these guys, other than Joba obviously.

          • The Big City of Dreams says:

            Joba in a heartbeat

            • Avi says:

              I’d much rather have Brack or Betances than Joba. It cost about $4M to sign an effective reliever to replace Joba. Brack and Dellin at least have a shot to become effective starters.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Question: why are the Twins going to take the guys the Yankees want to lose and not the guys the Twins want to gain?

            I would lose Brackman probably. Would also consider Betances. Brackman is 25 and hasn’t had much success in the minors. Betances ceiling I like better, but between injuries and polish his probability may be lower. I also might have Joba in the rotation, which makes me more likely to keep him… still he’s younger than Brackman and already a valuable reliever… I disagree that $4 mill will get you a replacement. In a couple years I think Joba is a $10 mill per closer.

            Joba the reliever is still a medium-good-case scenario for Brackman and Betances. It’s nice to dream about their potential, but Betances is a huge injury risk and a thrower more than pitcher while Brackman has been solid at best while being very old for his level. If they both turn into elite relievers or back-end starters it worked out pretty well.

        • Steve H says:

          But these are not comparable situations.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          I think it’s a total fantasy package for the Yankees.

          Who knows what prospects Minni likes, but that’s the bare minimum they could be looking for. Even if they were very motivated to move him, which I doubt they are. I assume they’re more testing the market seeing as he’s the most valuable pitcher on it, expendable to them, and the Yankees might be looking to overpay for a very good lefty starter. Ownership overruled Cashman once this offseason, so maybe they will again. Maybe even a Montero AND Banuelos type package. The Twins have managed to sell high on guys like Pierzynski and Knoblauch, and got a good package for Santana that didn’t work out (2 top 50 prospects, a former top 50 prospects, and a 2nd rounder who reached AAA in his 2nd pro season…. didn’t work out, but even then they moved Mulvey for Rauch and Gomez for JJ Hardy). This is one of the best run organizations in baseball and has been for a long time. I don’t see them just giving away their ace for a crap package. They can just try to ride Liriano to free agency and take the comp picks over that package. They can wait till next offseason or the deadline 2011 or 2012 and very possibly get a better package.

          I think you are seriously overvaluing the Yankees prospects. Maybe those are the exact prospects Minni is high on, but what are the chances? Those are not the prospects the industry is highest on. They’re conveniently very expendable prospects for the Yankees. Basically, the Yankees give next to nothing and get something huge. Brackman is #88 on Law’s list, #60 on Piliere’s, never above 92 on BA’s before this season. I’ve never seen any of the others in a top 100 list. It’s just not a very good package.

          Each of the trades you mention arose under different circumstance and for different pitchers so it’s hard to generalize. Still, I think that in just about every case the team got a better return than your package. In most cases there was a somewhat proven major league player and/or better prospects. Your package has no proven big leaguer and 1 top 100 but not top 50 prospect. You’re basically offering a bunch of high minors prospects with limited upside and a low minors CF with upside but low probability. You also have to consider that all of those guys but Marcum were more expensive than Liriano (Johan was about to be) and in some cases the teams were very motivated to move the player (Oswalt was demanding a trade, Haren was stinking and so were the DBacks, Johan was about to get a 9 figure deal…). Still they got multiple top 50 type prospects and/or major league talent.

          I just don’t see the Twins going for that package. But that’s just me.

  6. Avi says:

    *Strong package

  7. vin says:

    From Jim Callis:

    Jim Callis
    Harper = best power prospect ever. @jdfisch: Who has bigger power from scout perspective Josh Hamilton at 18, Bryce Harper at 17? #Nationals

    That’s some mighty high praise for Bryce Harper.

    ps – I have no idea how to properly link a tweet.

    • The Real JobaWockeeZ says:

      Yeah his power has been really raved about. No complaints though.

    • Dream of Electric Sheeps says:

      No doubt, seen some moonshots from him in his H.S. and JC days. He is ‘freaky’. Hopefully that will translate into the Pro. I suspect it will.

      • Urban says:

        He hit .340 with a 1.000 OPS in the Arizona Fall League. Small number of ABs, but considering he was drafted at 17 and the first professional ball he sees is against AA and better prospects and more than held his own tells me he’s not going to be long for the minors.

        A-Rod first swung a bat in the Majors at 18, came up for good I believe late in his year 19, and was an impact regular at 20. I suspect Harper will move as fast.

        Boras is already counting the commission for when he takes him out as a free agent when he’s 24.

    • Jerome S. says:

      Lefty, plus average, plus power, plus defense…

      It’s outdated and possibly inaccurate, but I read in his SI issue last year that his ceiling is “Like A-Rod’s or Griffey’s” as prospects, but apparently way higher.

      • Dream of Electric Sheeps says:

        Easy J, I think it says ‘best power prospect’ , doesn’t mean his ceiling is ‘way higher’ than Grif or Centaur as a player.

      • radnom says:

        his ceiling is “Like A-Rod’s or Griffey’s” as prospects, but apparently way higher.

        Dude, there is no ‘way higher’ ceiling then A-rod. Even if we assume he 100% reached his career ceiling, theres not much higher to go.

        Nothing against you, I just hate how people overhype prospects these days, especially when its a 16 year old.

        • Accent Shallow says:

          Well, who’s a better hitter? A-Rod or Pujols? A-Rod or Barry Bonds on steroids? A-Rod or Mickey Mantle? A-Rod or Teddy Ballgame? A-Rod or Lou Gehrig.

          Don’t get me wrong, His Rodness is a great, great hitter. But . . . he’s not the greatest, either.

          • Jerome S. says:

            But, to partly disagree with myself, we can’t yet say a teenager is going to be The Mick. It’s just unfair.
            That said, I just mentioned that his ceiling was up there. FWIW, Joba Chamberlain can tell you a lot about ceiling.

          • radnom says:

            Don’t get me wrong, His Rodness is a great, great hitter. But . . . he’s not the greatest, either.

            Who said he was? He is up there though. For Bryce Harper to have a ‘way higher’ ceiling would put his full potential right just above Babe Ruth.

  8. Teh Comp Pick says:

    Apparently Joba put on some weight?

  9. Steve H says:

    Jerry Sloan would have kicked Deron Williams’ ass if they had thrown down.

  10. Dream of Electric Sheeps says:

    I wish Puma the best. Lance has humility and humor on his side, unfortunately that won’t translate into his UZR. But the, rake it big boy, rake it!

  11. Stratman9652 says:

    Puma was pretty much a Godsend in the playoffs. Otherwise it would have been Swish at first with Kearns, Golson or Thames in RF. Yikes. Not to mention he seems like a hell of a good guy. I’ll always be a fan.

  12. CMP says:

    I’m officially a Mark Buerhle fan for having the guts to say what he did about Vick. I hope the Yanks can trade for him for the back of the rotation.

  13. 28 this year says:

    So my birthday is tomorrow and the top 30 prospect list comes out tomorrow. Thanks for the present Mike!!

  14. Esteban says:

    How bout them Johnnies! That’s gonna be a nice win for the resume and maybe they get in the tournament this year.

  15. Esteban says:

    Parks & Rec FTW!

  16. Stratman9652 says:

    So, its almost worth watching MLB Network just to catch the new Brain Wilson MLB2K11 commercial. There must be something in the water in San Francisco.

  17. Alex C. says:

    I rather wait for the season to start to see how Liriano does.

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