Mailbag: Colon, Options, Nady Trade, Big Three

Are lost games worth the gamble on Hughes?
The RAB Radio Show: April 15, 2011

I’ve got five questions for you this week, each bringing something unique to the table. The Submit A Tip box in the sidebar is the way to go if you want to send in questions.

Like a boss. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Findley asks: What are the chances that Bartolo Colon makes a start for the Yankees this season? And how would he fare?

I will say small, maybe 10% or so. The Yankees seem to like him in that Al Aceves role (even though we’ve only seen him in long relief so far), the versatile bullpen guy that could give you three outs or three innings. We also have to remember that his velocity has declined steadily during his outings (here’s his velo graph from game one, game two, and game three), maybe from lack of conditioning/fatigue, maybe from being physically unable to hold that velocity over 80-100 pitches. The guy had some major shoulder problems, you know.

I suspect that if he did start, Colon would be average at best. Six innings and three or four runs seems like a reasonable best case scenario, and finding a guy to do that shouldn’t be too hard. I wanted Colon to start the season in the rotation and think he should be there, but that’s only because I think he’s better than Freddy Garcia.

David asks: It seems like so called “toolsy” guys are a dime-a-dozen in the minor leagues. Athletic shortstops who have a great glove but nobody is real sure if the bat is ever going to show up. Obviously some of these guys even make it to the bigs (like Nunez/Pena). So, is it safe to say that predicting what a guy is going to be able to do in the field is a helluva lot easier than predicting his hitting ability? IE if you see a slick fielding high school guy, is it a much smaller leap to assume that guy will be able to do the same things in the big leagues? By comparison, some guy who can hit home runs off HS pitching (or hit for average for that matter) seems like much more of a crap shoot to project (hell, I even hit a few dingers in my day).

Hitting a round ball with a round bat is the hardest thing to the do in sports, so yeah, projecting offensive ability is tough that projecting defense. That doesn’t mean it’s a slam dunk though. Players get bigger and might have change positions, which has a big impact on their future defensive value. The professional game is faster than anything these guys saw in high school and in college, so routine grounders aren’t so routine anymore. That said, the athleticism and reflexes needed for fielding a little more obvious than those needed for hitting. When it comes to batting, you’re talking about guys seeing breaking balls for the first time, getting pitched inside for the first time, using wood bats for the first time, etc. There’s a lot that can do wrong there.

But then again, I’m no expert, so I wouldn’t take my word as gospel. It just seems like projecting defensive ability would be a helluva lot easier than projecting whether or not a guy could hit Major League caliber pitching.

Charles asks: Is it possible for a team to exercise future club options early? For instance, is it possible to exercise Buchholz’s club options now, then trade him to another team if they could receive a good deal in exchange? Strictly hypothetical, not logical.

Just about all of these options have windows during which they must be exercised/declined, and that’s usually within ten days after the end of the World Series. Sometimes the contract will stipulate that the team has to decide on an option a year ahead of time, like the Blue Jays had to do with Aaron Hill’s 2012, 2013, and 2014 options this year. They had to either a) pick up all three before the start of this season, or b) forfeit the 2014 option all together. They passed this time around, but can still exercise the 2012 and 2013 options after this season.

Sometimes there’s no window and it’s anytime before the player becomes a free agent. I know the Phillies picked up Jimmy Rollins’ option a full year before they had to. Frankly, I think Buchholz would have more value without the options picked up in your hypothetical scenario. Instead of trying to trade a 26-year-old with five years and $30M coming to him with two club options, they’d be trying to trade a 26-year-old with seven years and $56M coming to him. I’d rather not have the options picked up and keep the flexibility.

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Brian asks: So apparently the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is already calling the Pirates the winners of the Nady/Marte trade of a couple years ago. Is it still too early to tell who won? Granted Nady is gone and Marte likely wont pitch again this year, but Tabata has only played MLB level ball for a couple weeks now. And we did get that magical post-season out of Marte in 2009.

I think the Pirates won this trade rather convincingly. Xavier Nady predictably turned back into a pumpkin after the trade, and then he missed basically all of 2009 with the elbow injury. Damaso Marte‘s been a complete non-factor for New York outside of two weeks in October and November of 2009. If you want to fWAR this, the Yankees acquired exactly one win the trade.

As for Pittsburgh, they’ve already gotten two okay (1.1 and 0.9 fWAR) seasons (285 IP total) out of Ross Ohlendorf, not to mention a pair of up-and-down arms (393.1 IP combined) in Jeff Karstens (0.8 fWAR) and Dan McCutchen (-0.7 fWAR). Jose Tabata’s the real prize as a legitimate everyday outfielder. He’s not (yet?) the star we thought he’d become and probably won’t ever turn into that guy since he’s a corner outfielder with little power, but he can hit (career .336 wOBA) and is dirt cheap for the foreseeable future. He’s already been worth 2.7 fWAR by himself, and has a good chance of being a four win player this season.

The Yankees probably don’t win the 2009 World Series without Marte’s great relief work, so in that respect they “won” the trade. But in terms of value added and subtracted, the Pirates kicked their asses, even if none of three pitchers turns into anything better than what they are right now.

Tucker asks: Who would you say has been the most productive big leaguer out of the old big three (Joba, Hughes, Kennedy)? I’m leaning Kennedy but Hughes is right there.

I think it’s Joba Chamberlain and not particularly close. Let’s look at their big league resumes in general terms…

Joba: one full season as a starter (2009), one full season as a reliever (2010), one full season as a reliever/starter (2008)
Hughes: one full season as a starter (2010), one full season as a reliever (2009), one half season as a starter (2007 and 2008 combined)
Kennedy: one full season as a starter (2010), one half season as a starter (2007 through 2009 combined)

Hughes has a leg up on Kennedy because of his relief stint in 2009, and Joba has a leg up on Hughes because of the 2008 season he split between the rotation and bullpen. If you want to get technical and compare fWAR, then Joba (7.5) leads Hughes (6.0) by a sizable margin and IPK (3.0) by a mile.

Who would I want long-term? I’d take Joba if I could move him back into the rotation. If not, then give me Kennedy. Phil’s missing velocity and stuff this year raises a pretty big red flag. Four months ago I would have said Hughes without thinking twice about it. Funny how that works.

Are lost games worth the gamble on Hughes?
The RAB Radio Show: April 15, 2011
  • Rey22

    That last sentence was a bit panicky, no? Can we give Hughes a bit more time before we stick a really big flag on him? He did exceed his previous innings high by a sizable margin last year, which probably leads to the diminished velocity and tired arm.

  • Chris

    How old is Tabata really? The Pirates still insist that his listed age is correct, but weren’t there reports that he’s 3-4 years older?

    • Ted Nelson

      I’m not sure, but even if he’s 25 he’s still the best player involved in that trade. As Mike said the Yankees got 1 fWAR–Marte (0.3 fWAR) and Nady (0.7 fWAR)–and Tabata has already been worth 2.7 to the Pirates.

      Of course the Yankees knew there was a good chance of that, but were sacrificing the future for a short-term fix… which is the trade-off most MLB trades come down to. One side is usually taking a chance on future potential and the other on immediate impact.

      I also don’t think it was totally obvious Nady would be injured for the rest of his career, as Mike asserts. Not every guy with an early injury history can’t shake it. Not many OFs who have had TJS once require it again. He was a solid MLB hitter who the Yankees were getting a couple of years before Tabata might be ready… if he ever made it.

  • Jess

    The back tracking around here when Hughes gets his velocity back is going to be hilarious.

    • bexy on another computer


      • Jared

        I actually kind of agree with Jesse here. People here (everywhere in Yankeeland really) are really freaking out about Phil currently, and if he straightens himself out, I can see some major flip-flopping on stances. It’s in our nature as fans to over-react.

        • bexy on another computer

          No, I meant “seriously” as in “seriously, you are right,” not “seriously?” I think Hughes is a serious issue right now but I’ve seen too many hysterics and HUGHES SUX.

  • Steve H

    I’d still take Hughes over Kennedy. At least he’s missing velocity, Kennedy will never have it, and I don’t think he’d have success in the AL East. If you told me that Hughes will never regain it, then yeah I guess I’d take Kennedy, but either way he’d just be a trade chip.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I’d say:

      Joba > Hughes >>>>>> Kennedy

      I like Joba over Hughes because I’ve always felt he had better actual stuff and was more dominant at his peak. The struggles they’ve both experienced have been fairly predictable as part of the normal growth curve of young starters (non-Lincecum/Felix division). They’re both eminently capable of being both good starters and good relievers.

      I’d probably put more >’s between the two, if not for the nagging fact that Joba is not currently a starting pitcher.

      • Steve H

        I agree. In a vaccum those would be my rankings. In the AL East the distinction between the pitchers is even more important.

        • Jared

          I still go with Hughes > Joba >>> Kennedy.

          Hughes is a starting pitcher who as far as I know, still has plenty of opportunity to get himself straightened out. Joba has the ability but seems destined for relief work no matter what and I think what you see with Kennedy is what you’re going to get (no thanks!).

        • The Big City of Dreams

          “I’ve always felt he had better actual stuff and was more dominant at his peak. ”

          Couldn’t agree more Joba’s stuff has always seemed to be a tick or two better than Hughes

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Can I say both the Pirates and Yankees won that trade?

    The Pirates moved two guys they had no long-term role for for Tabata and some useful, cheap depth. The Yankees moved a legit prospect at a position of relative depth and three guys they had no long-term (or short term) role for for two short-term playoff needs.

    Neither side gave up much, all things considered; both sides got an appreciable return. Win-win.

    • Big Apple

      agree…it looks bad for the yanks b/c of the injuries to both nady and marte. Both were decent players and they got hurt…it happens.

      Ohlendorf got plenty of opportunities with the yanks and showed that he didn’t have it. I recall numerous times when he came into a game with a 4-5 run lead only to let the other team tie it up or go ahead.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Moreover, guys like Ohlendorf, Karstens, and McCutchen will probably pile up a win or two of WAR on a team like Pittsburgh that they’d never ever get if they stayed here, because the Yankees would bench/demote them instantly and bring up a better option. The Pirates, on the other hand, will keep running them out there since they have fewer alternatives (and less of a pressing need to win every single ballgame).

        That kind of skews it too. The hurlers we sent out in that trade had already reached the point where they weren’t likely to get significant innings for us ever again. They’re nothing but depth throw-ins.

        • Big Apple

          the pitchers in this deal had plenty of opportunities…that is not always the case.

          i remember when Nady got injured and it was one of those oh shit moments…b/c now Swisher was going to start in RF – and that has turned out ok.

          Marte was rock solid in the 09 post season…it was worth it.

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, but in terms of calling a trade win-win… I think that’s a hindsight thing. It’s not “it made sense at the time,” but “it worked out for both teams.”

    • Ted Nelson

      I don’t think it was really win-win… I don’t think it was a bad move at the time, but with the benefit of hindsight I don’t think you can call it win-win.

      If Nady gives the Yankees 1.5 healthy, productive seasons… maybe win-win. He didn’t though.
      If the Yankees actually make the playoffs in 2008, maybe it’s win-win. They didn’t, though, and besides Nady never helping them after 2008, they probably could have found a Marte in free agency or a trade that didn’t involve a prospect of the Tabata ilk.

      Then again, it also depends largely on Tabata. If he’s really 22 and has 10-15 3-4 fWAR seasons in him… the Yankees absolutely did give up a lot. If he’s actually 25, 26 and has 5-10 2 fWAR seasons in him or gets injured tomorrow and never plays again… more win-win.

    • Midland TX

      +1. A mutually beneficial spare parts exchange. Given 2009’s results and each teams’ current playoff outlook it’s a bit silly to declare the Bucs the undisputed winners.

  • Truth

    I don’t get it, if you think he’d be better than Garcia why should he only have a 10% likelihood of starting? And if you think finding better than that isn’t hard to find then why aren’t those potential guys on the team?

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I don’t get it, if you think he’d be better than Garcia why should he only have a 10% likelihood of starting?

      Because that’s what he thinks. It’s not what he thinks the Yankees think.

      I think Joba Chamberlain would also be better than Garcia, but I think Joba has a 0.000001% likelihood of starting this year, because I think the team has ruled it out.

    • Mike Axisa

      Yeah, what that guy up there said.

      • Truth

        You think it’s easy to go out and find a guy who can give 3-4 runs over 6 innings? I don’t. If it was easy we wouldn’t have Garcia in our rotation.

        • Ted Nelson

          Garcia did that last season… His average 2010 start was 5 2/3 IP and 2.89 ERs. I don’t know how easy it is to find one of those guys, but Garcia is one of them.

          • Truth

            But Colon is better than Garcia and that’s what he’s supposed to do. Now I’m confused.

            • Ted Nelson

              I never said that Colon was better, Mike did. I personally think that the Yankees’ decision was very logical given their skill sets and recent history: Garcia as the 5th starter and Colon in a long-man/swing-man role.

        • Chris

          Out of 28 starts last year, Garcia went 6+ innings and gave up 4 or less runs 20 times.

          So Garcia is exactly the type of guy that’s easy to find.

        • MikeD

          I will agree with you on this point. We have tendency to put down a guy who can produce an ERA+ of 100, suggesting he’s league average, because the term “league average” sounds whimpy. Yet league average is good, and a pitcher who can pitch six or seven innings and give up three or four runs, and produce an ERA+ of 100 really isn’t that easy to acquire!

          Freddy Garcia last year, really wasn’t even league average. I think Colon has more stuff left in his arm, but probably isn’t as durable as Garcia. In other words, both probably will break down at some point, and will produce below league average numbers.

          Find me a league average pitcher and I will happily find a place for him on the Yankees. I just don’t think they’re that easy to acquire…or develop.

          • Truth

            Yup, Garcia wasn’t league average and he’s probably gonna be worse this year being that he’s a year older. Despite that he’s the best we were able to do, so I have a hard time believing finding guys like that is easy.

            • Ted Nelson

              You don’t need a league average 5th starter, and a league average guy is not going to average 6 IP 3-4 ERs anyway… that’s a 4.5-6 ERA… Again, Garcia averaged 5 2/3 IP and less than 3 ERs per start last season. Yet you still said: “You think it’s easy to go out and find a guy who can give 3-4 runs over 6 innings? I don’t. If it was easy we wouldn’t have Garcia in our rotation.” That is not the truth. Garcia is the guy. That is the truth. You might want to change your handle from “Truth” to “Whatever I feel like saying regardless of whether it’s true.”

          • Ted Nelson

            ERA+ is one measure, and you don’t need your 5th starter to be league average if you have a strong rotation anyway.

  • MikeD

    I’ll take Joba, Hughes and Kennedy. I’m concerned about Hughes’ drop in velocity, but I’m certainly not convinced it won’t return, and in fact, I do believe it will. I just don’t know if that will be in a couple of starts or next year. As far as quality delivered already, Joba and Hughes are way ahead of IPK. No way Kennedy produces an ERA below 5.20 in the AL East last year. His BABIP last year was .256, which is off-the-charts unsustainable, and his FIP, even with that, was 4.33, and that was in the NL and the NL West. My 5.20 ERA prediction for him in the AL East might be kind.

    I like IPK and was hoping he’d stick around since I do think he can pitch, and his fringy stuff does have a history of missing bats, but he’s totally back-end-of-the-rotation starter in the AL East, and perhaps no more than a sixth starter. He’d have been worse than Javy Vazquez last year.

    The Pirates did win the deal, but the Yankees really didn’t lose anything. Ohlendorf and Karsten’s are filler on the Yankees (Karsten’s probably not even that). If Tabata can raise his game to be real impact player, it’s a bad deal. Right now, the Yankees really didn’t lose much of anything they could use. It’s not like trading away Mike Lowell for a bag of balls. Those are the trades that hurt. The Karstens of the world? Meh.

    • Big Apple

      those trades…like the lowell ones…only hurt if the players pan out. many of them don’t but that’s the risk.

      • MikeD

        Agreed, but Mike Lowell was regarded as a good prospect and he filled a need. Lowell was developed, coming off a .300/26 HR season in AAA (and 30 the year prior) a slick fielder, who was totally ready for the majors, and there really was no one blocking him. Sure, Brosius was there, but the Yankees knew what Brosius was. He was a stop-gap who just so happened to have a career year. The smart move was to transition the position over to Lowell, and then move Brosius to a super utility role, something Brosius could have served quite easily, and he would have been around in case Lowell fell on his face. But you know, the whole 1998, World Series, greatest team ever, and Torre’s love for certain types of players got in the way of it all.

        I’m fine with trading prospects. I’d hesitate more with a Lowell-level than I would with most of the other ones we’ve mentioned here. That was my point. I’ll trade Jesus Montero right now. Just make sure we get back the right player.

      • ChrisS

        Lowell was traded for a pretty well-regarded lefty power pitcher. One who was ranked higher on the prospects lists than Lowell himself.

        But there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect (TINSTAAPP).

        Tabata was the 27th ranked prospect and after a temperamental fit by a 19 yo, he was shipped off for a league average journeyman having a flukey season.

        Who wouldn’t want to switch Gardner for Tabata straight up right now. No cost. Tabata is in AAA tearing shit up with a .950 OPS and is a phone call away.

  • Ted Nelson

    Aceves started a game in 2009 and 4 in 2008… so the Aceves role does involve starting. I would put the odds a lot higher, not necessarily because the Yankees want to start Colon but more because if he’s healthy and on the 25 man all season they will probably need to spot-start him at some point (and if not Colon, whoever takes his spot… Noesi, Millwood, Silva, Garcia, Hughes, etc.).

    Your belief that Colon is better than Garcia would also seem to support starting him in the pen… Colon has pitched 11.1 innings so far, and Garcia has pitched 1. The Yankees knew Garcia could be skipped often early, and that they’d need Colon to keep them in games like he did last night (though I’m sure they were thinking for Nova, Garcia, and/or Burnett more than Hughes…).

    I also think that his lack of stamina compared to Garcia’s solid 2010 season is the reason he’s in the pen. The Yankees know Garcia has a good shot at consistently giving them 6 IP 3 ER ball… since that was basically his average start last season (5 2/3 innings 2.9 ERs). Colon can give you 3 IP 0 runs… but maybe he can’t give you 5 or 6 at any number of ERs.

    • Rick in Boston

      Aceves’ start in ’09 was only 3.1 IP, but I agree with you – I could see Colon doing exactly the same thing in an emergency. The value in the role was the 12 relief appearances of 2.1 or more IP, which I’m sure Colon could match if pitched selectively; I doubt Colon can make 43 appearances this year.

      I’m more concerned about Garcia’s first start – will he have enough to match last year’s averages? And will Joe go with Noesi to clean up if Colon isn’t available?

      • Ted Nelson

        I think it’s pretty unlikely he matches last season’s averages spot on in his first spot. His averages happened to be pretty round numbers (5.6 IP and 2.9 ERs per start), so it could happen. If he goes 5 IP and gives up 4 ERs or even 5 ERs, though, I’m going to be really pissed when people freak out. And freak out they will. It’s a ridiculous sample size. If his second start is 7 IP and 1 or 2 ERs… he’s right back on average. If his next 9 starts combine to be 51 IP and 24 or 24 ERs… again, he’s back on last season’s average.

        Yeah, I’d guess Noesi if Colon is not available.

        • Rick in Boston

          Completely agree. Garcia’s going to be rusty in his first start. But people need to wait and see what he does.

    • nsalem

      I agree that Garcia has a better shot at consistency than Colon. I also believe that Hughes and Nova will be good pitchers one day but may not this year. Overall we can still win and with lower 2011 expectations from the young starters if we our 1-3 who can deliver quality starts on a regular basis and a bullpen that can remain healthy. Way way to early to panic about Hughes.

      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t think it’s a matter of panicking about Phil because he’ll never be the same… just panicking because something is wrong and there’s no explanation being offered (perhaps because none is known, perhaps because they don’t want to tell us). Also adding to it is that he finished poorly last season and got rocked in the playoffs. If the Yankees came out and said “he took it easy this off-season after a heavy 2010 workload and his arm strength hasn’t returned” people might not be thrilled but I don’t think they’d be panicked. Since the team isn’t saying what it is… it’s a bit more worrisome. Anything could be the explanation. So speculation is inevitable.

        I agree, though, that it’s way too early for people to start changing their long-term expectations of Hughes’ career. We were all hoping for a break-out 2011, but also knew a step-back was very possible.

  • Big Apple

    colon is doing well in this mop up/long inning role – i say keep him there. its a necessity for success and starters will suck sometimes. if colon starts, the expectations may rise and he may not live up to them. but right now, he is filling that mop up role very nicely.

  • Monteroisdinero

    I am not a Joba-lover but his 98 last night and his increased changeups and slower curves have been impressive in the early going. Struck out Ortiz on a 3-2 curve or slower slider at Fenway last week. Obviously, the weight race between Jobartolo is good for the team. I think Joba looks heavier every time out there.

    • MikeD

      I agree, btw (about the weight). When I heard in Spring Training that he was heavier, I expected to see a much heavier guy when I first saw him pitch. He was a little heavier, but not that much. I thought the whole thing was overblown.

      Yet, now, I swear he’s putting weight on by the week. His uniform is bursting. I saw him in the dugout after he was relieved last ight and I didn’t even recognize him. Maybe Colon is showing him around to his favorite restaurants in NYC!

  • Cuso

    My God, I’d take HALF of Hughes over Kennedy.

    And that’s even considering how awful Hughes has been this year.

    Kennedy is a whiny-ass simp. Come on!

  • The Big City of Dreams

    Will there ever be a yr when Hughes and Joba are performing well at the same time? I don’t put much stock into the baseball Gods thing but there might be something to it lol

  • Big Apple

    i don’t get the dislike for Joba…he’s been pretty good since being called up. his failures have more to do with the organization moving him around the rotatiion and pen than his ability.

  • Kosmo

    One minor correction the questioner mentioned Tabata only having played MLB for two weeks .Tabata had a number of ABs in 2010 for the PP.

    Some of us felt at the time Tabata and Austin Jackson would be the future CF and RF for the Yanks but alas it didn´t turn out that way.

    I´d score Joba,IPK and Hughes about equal.I still think Joba has the greater upside.IPK had in MO a marginally better 2010 than Hughes.

    • Rick in Boston

      If the Yankees hadn’t traded Tabata or Jackson, we might be looking at one of the least powerful collection of OF’s in baseball: Gardner/Jackson/Tabata might top out at a combined 20 homers this year.

      • Ted Nelson

        Also probably the fastest OF in the game…

        If they all hit I don’t think it really matters (especially with ARod, Tex, Cano, and Posada in the IF and Montero coming up), and I don’t see what keeping those guys has to do with getting Swisher anyway. Swisher almost definitely still gets acquired, because none of those guys is ready in 2009 and Tex hasn’t been signed. Perhaps even Swisher and someone else, which is where it’s hard to play this game because all the impacts are unknown. Swisher in RF, and Gardner, AJax, Tabata splitting the LF/CF/4th OF roles in some fashion… could be a good OF. And you could keep Tabata and still do the Granderson deal anyway.

  • Reggie C.

    Scary how quickly Hughes has fallen in the eyes of many here. I never considered Hughes a can’t-miss , potential ace, but I always thought he’d be a contributor to a contending staff. The regression is very disappointing, especially if there is no injury excuse.

    Yanks need nova to step up.

    • Zack

      Hughes had the ace potential when he was the top pitching prospect in the entire majors with the plus curve (then Giambi raised expectation when he made the comment reminding him of Clemens or whatever it was).

      • Zack

        entire minors*

    • Kosmo

      You´re right Nova has to step up.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I never considered Hughes a can’t-miss , potential ace,

      Neither did anyone else. We considered him a potential ace, but never considered him “can’t miss”.

      Nobody is “can’t miss”.

      • Chris

        Except Casey Kelly.

        • Ross in Jersey

          Not anymore. He’s a medicore pitcher who can’t get out of AA!

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Pshaw. In 2010, maybe. Now he’s just a fringy semi-prospect, bordering on an org guy.

          Jose Iglesias, now, THAT guy would be can’t miss, except there’s nothing that he can’t do, including miss. So it’s more that he’s “has to make”.

  • Jeff

    “The Yankees probably don’t win the 2009 World Series without Marte’s great relief work”

    This. If a trade makes the difference between winning a championship and not, and does not appreciably worsen the chances of winning more down the road, then it was a worthwhile trade. We can compare WAR values and whatever else, but at the end of the day (err, season) the only thing that matters is winning another title.

    Along the same lines, I think the jury is still out on the non-trade of Montero last year. The Yanks could very well have missed out on #28 (no way to know for certain, but it’s probably fair to say that they would have at least made it to the WS). So unless Montero significantly contributes to a championship down the road, or gets traded for someone who does, then the non-trade was a failure.

    • Tampa Yankee

      Along the same lines, I think the jury is still out on the non-trade of Montero last year. The Yanks could very well have missed out on #28 (no way to know for certain, but it’s probably fair to say that they would have at least made it to the WS). So unless Montero significantly contributes to a championship down the road, or gets traded for someone who does, then the non-trade was a failure.

      The Mariners pulled out of the deal the minute Texas offered up Smoak. I’m not sure why people still think it was a “non-trade” on the Yanks part. The Yanks were more than willing to give up Jesus for Lee, it was Seattle who f’d the Yanks and backed out.

      • Jeff

        That’s true. There was also information floating around that Seattle would have still made the deal if we threw in Nunez. If true then that is a foolish reason to not make the trade. The logic of trading Montero (and the potential for many years of elite performance) for several months of Cliff Lee is debatable. Letting Nunez be the deciding factor is just nuts in my opinion. He’s a spare part. He has value but he is replacable. I have to wonder if Cash let his pride get in the way of this one, or if the Nunez rumors were just flat out wrong. Anyway it’s water under the bridge now.

        • AndrewYF

          The reason the Yankees didn’t do the deal was because they had a deal in place with Seattle, and at the last moment Seattle completely backed out. This is exactly the time that Texas very publicly entered the bidding.

          Once that happened, Cashman knew Seattle was not dealing in good faith, and backed out. It’s really hard to blame him for not dealing with a team when they screw around with you like that. Jack Z screwed up, big time. He may not be long in Seattle. Sad times for the #6org.

    • AndrewYF

      “The Yankees probably don’t win the 2009 World Series without Marte’s great relief work”

      You know, I’d like to think that’s the case, but look at the games he pitched in:

      Game 1 – pitched 0.2 innings. Well, the Yankees lost this one so that doesn’t matter.

      Game 3 – The Yankees were up 8-4 when Marte came in. Struck out Howard and Werth, okay, but it’s not like any other pitcher couldn’t have gotten them out. Plus even if they both hit homeruns the Yankees win anyway.

      Game 4 – Came in after Utley’s millionth homerun of the series. It was a one-run game, and Marte got one out. Howard. Yeah, good work, but that was the only batter he faced. And it wasn’t like Howard was hitting all the other pitchers either. And again, even if Howard hits a homerun, the Yankees probably win anyway because Philly’s pitching staff sucked ass.

      Game 6 – Came in relief of Joba, who was struggling, and struck out Utley with two men on. This was probably his biggest moment, because Utley was on fire the entire series. The next inning he struck out Howard and that’s it.

      So Marte had one legitimately huge moment in the World Series and he came through. Okay. But let’s not pretend he was a more significant reason for the Yankees winning than AJ Burnett (who was outstanding in Game 2, the most important start of his career, and the most important game of the 2009 Yankee postseason), Rivera (obvious), Jeter (quietly hit .407 in the series), A-Rod (6 RBI), or Matsui (MVP).

      So you could argue Marte was the 6th-most valuable player in the World Series for the Yankees. Without him, they still win 9 out of 10 times. At least.

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, good point. The narrative is an oversimplification. Add to that history that the Yankees could have signed or traded for another LOOGY had they never gotten Marte. Say that other LOOGY blows it and they lose one of game 4 or game 6… there’s still game 7 (it was a 4-2 series win for anyone who doesn’t remember). Marte would not necessarily be replaced with someone who would give up a HR for every guy he struck out. That he struck them out allowed us to breath easier, but it would be unlikely for any MLB level LOOGY to blow all those situations. And then there’s game 7 if you do blow one.

        So, I think it’s fair to say that Marte was a big reason they won it… I don’t think it’s fair to say “The Yankees probably don’t win the 2009 World Series without Marte’s great relief work”… because they could have won with someone else’s great work or had a solid chance with someone else’s good work. It would have taken a monumental choke job for them to have no chance simply replacing Marte with another LOOGY.

      • ChrisS

        Relievers are volatile and interchangeable (outside of guys whose names rhyme with Sorriano Movira).

        Marte isn’t the only lefty that can strike out Howard.

  • nsalem

    Not a good idea to start Colon. If you try to fix a part that is not working with a part that is working, you may find yourself with two parts not working. This may not apply all the time but I think in this case it does. As long as we are winning and if Hughes is indeed healthy, he should get much more of a chance to work out his issues.

  • RollingWave

    Didn’t Hughes have this velocity lost in 2008 also? we attributed to injury then but still….

  • Cy Pettitte

    Hughes to phantom DL, skip him next week, then after that give Colon or Noesi spot starts until he gets his velocity back. Throwing him out there every five days with a 90mph fastball just wont work.

  • ChrisS

    Hated the Tabata/Nady trade when it happened and hate it more in hindsight.

    Mostly because Cashman traded the Yankee’s previous season’s top prospect at the lowest value in his young career for a journeyman, league average offensive outfielder having the half season of his career. It was a collection of expendable arms and a talented young hitter for a long-shot at making the playoffs with a weak team.

    Even if Tabata never becomes more than a 2-4 win player, it’s these kind of trades that are wasteful with regards to future depth and flexibility. Especially if we get to watch him lay out a nice .800+ OPS season at 22 and Gardner keeps striking out.

    • AndrewYF

      You forget the context. Tabata had already been disciplined twice by the organization. In all likelihood he was just going to outright quit, if the Yankees weren’t forced to release him first. It was that bad.

      I’m glad that Tabata has put it all behind him and allowed his talent to speak for him rather than his stupid actions, but he quite seriously had no future in the Yankee organization. Cashman sold low because he wasn’t going to get any higher while he was still with the team.

      • Ted Nelson

        If you want to evaluate all the options, though, Cashman also could have made amends with Tabata. The context certainly helps explain what happened, but Cashman didn’t have to trade Tabata. Tabata had every incentive in the world not to quit, and in hindsight perhaps the Yankees should have been more patient with him.

      • ChrisS

        Well, at the time he was a 19 yo kid with a ~40 yo wife – who eventually kidnapped an infant and told him it was his daughter (so just imagine what kind of shit she pulled before that). He was stuck in a pitchers’ league in AA with high expectations while struggling with a new swing because of a wrist injury.

        Not every kid is mentally strong enough to take that kind of shit. Everything I have read about him says that he’s a quiet shy kid that leans heavily on his family for support. He’s probably not the kind of guy that responds well to a middle-aged white redneck former jock yelling at him to get his shit together (full disclosure: I don’t know who his coaches were).

  • 5toolplayer

    Wow~ Have you guys seen Tabata play at all since June 2010 when he got called up??? If you think this kid is going to be “average” you better check the box scores every night. Jose is still only 22 years old and the only tool he seems to be missing is the power but he has already went deep to CF twice this year after only having 4 total last year after the call up.

    2010 MLB 102 games, 121 hits, 21 2b, 4 3b, 4hr, 38 rbis, 28 BB, 58 k, 19 steals, .299 BA, .356 OPB~ 21 yrs old
    2010 MLB 150 games, 132 hits, 20 2b, 7 3b, 5 hr, 47 rbis, 79 BB, 102 K, 47 steals, .277, 383. OPB 26 yrs old

    I’m am pretty sure Jose has a much bigger upside then Gardner. While Tabata is off to a GREAT start, Brett is still taking strike 3 right down the middle at least 1 time a game.

    Pirates were the BIG winners of that trade fellas

    BTW: Tabata has the MOST hits in MLB since the 2010 ALL STAR break. Cashman….don’t make the SAME mistake with Montero!!!!!!