Mailbag: Former Yankee Edition

Two quality starters available, but the Yanks must choose one
Hideki Irabu, 42, found dead in Los Angeles home

Here’s a special Thursday edition of the RAB Mailbag, with three questions about former Yankees that may or may not be useful to the 2011 team. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send in any questions.

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Keith Allison via Creative Commons license)

Sam asks: Would you have any interest in trading for the Giambino to take over for Posada as a DH?

The Rockies just placed Jason Giambi on the disabled list with a quad strain, so he won’t be traded before the deadline. This question was sent in before then, obviously. Giambi is a prime candidate for an August waiver trade though, assuming the quad isn’t that serious and he can get back on the field within two weeks or so.

Unlike the subject of the next question, Giambi has hit all year and really hasn’t stopped hitting for any length of time in recent years. He’s got a .253/.378/.486 batting line in just about two seasons with the Rockies, and this year he’s rocking a .418 wOBA in 112 plate appearances. Giambi has been a part-time player though, mostly pinch-hitting and starting at first once or twice a week. Because he’s outperforming Jorge Posada both this year and last year (especially against RHP), he’d be a fine upgrade, though I doubt he maintains that level of performance playing every day. He might fall off to what, maybe a .360 wOBA? .375? .340? Either way, it’s an upgrade, but one they would have to wait to acquire if they wanted to at all.

Chris asks: What would it take to get Matsui? I’d rather him than a guy like Beltran. 1. Matsui is a proven clutch player unlike Beltran who was left holding the bag in 06-08 during the worst collapses ever. 2. Matsui knows and hits Red Sox pitching unlike Beltran and 3. He costs less (in terms of money and probably prospects).

This was sent in before the Carlos Beltran trade, and I’m not going to spend any time disproving the three points made. Beltran’s a better player than Hideki Matsui and always has been (as for the clutch stuff, look their numbers with RISP, Beltran destroys Matsui), and there’s very little to argue otherwise. But Beltran’s not an option now and probably never really was, so let’s move on.

Anyway, signs point to Matsui being pretty much done. He had a great game against the Yankees on Sunday (5-for-5 with two doubles) and has been on a tear over the last week or so (.500/.528/.882 in eighth games), but that doesn’t make the rest of the season moot. Before this current hot streak, Godzilla was hitting just .212/.294/.328 overall with sub-.300 wOBA’s both at home and on the road. It wasn’t just an Oakland Coliseum thing. Posada’s days as a productive player are over, but he’s still outhitting Matsui against right-handed pitchers, .339 wOBA vs. .290. Andruw Jones is also outhitting Matsui against lefties, .374 wOBA vs. .367, so I’m not sure where the upgrade is.

If the Athletics were to trade Matsui, the return would have to be minimal. He’s got no defensive value and is in clear decline, one hot week doesn’t change that.


Matt asks: Any chance the Yankees will make a play for Melky Cabrera? He’s having a good season in KC and he’s a switch hitter.

Melky’s having a great year, he’s hitting .297/.333/.453 (.347 wOBA) and has been worth 3.2 fWAR, more than the first five-plus years of his career combined (2.6). Where does he play though? Is the plan for him to replace Andruw? Jones is outhitting Melky against left-handed pitchers (.374 wOBA vs. .332), though he’s a definite upgrade over Chris Dickerson. What would happen when Alex Rodriguez comes back though? Dickerson’s the one going down for him. I’m also unconvinced that Melky could play like he has in a part-time role, it’s not an accident that he’s having his best season when he knows he’ll be playing everyday (or when he’s in his age 26 season, but that’s besides the point).

The Royals appear uninterested in dealing Cabrera because they will be able to retain him as an arbitration-eligible player next year, and it would take quite a bit to acquire him now. I don’t think the upgrade is big enough to warrant a move, not when he’d only be a bench player.

* * *

I don’t really see any of these three guys as a fit for the Yankees. They have a big bat waiting in Triple-A if they want to replace their designated hitter, and the cost associated with acquiring Melky to replace Jones makes it a lateral move at best. Reunions are always fun, but there’s no match here. Nostalgia won’t win them anything this year, not unless they bring back early-2000’s Andy Pettitte or Mike Mussina.

Two quality starters available, but the Yanks must choose one
Hideki Irabu, 42, found dead in Los Angeles home
  • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost

    Why doesn’t anyone ask mailbag questions about me?


  • Robert

    Bring back Steve Balboni!

    • Monteroisdinero


  • Hendo

    I heard Kevin Mass would like to come back and DH.

    • Will (the other one)

      I’m pretty sure both Melido Perez and Scott Kamieniecki would love to help fix our rotation issues right now.

      • vin

        What we need is Alvaro Espinosa’s steady hands to replace Eduardo Nunez.

        •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

          Forget Espinoza. Gallego was here last week, hopefully hey touched base with him about a comeback.

          • vin

            Jeter’s gonna have to give up #2 then.

            •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

              Hahaha.. this is true.

              • Dale Mohorcic

                Oscar Azocar! Never met a pitch he didn’t like. A real swinger.

  • EndlessMikeJr

    Carlos Beltran not Clutch? He’s tied for the postseason record for most homeruns (8) in a post season series.

    • Mike Axisa

      But 2006!

  • Will (the other one)

    Let’s say for the sake of argument (and ONLY for the sake of argument) that Giambi retired at the end of the year and was ultimately elected to the HoF. Would he wear an A’s cap or a Yankees cap?

    • Lazy Bones Andruw Jones

      A’s. He’s only allowed to be referred to as a former Yankee when his name is tied to PED’s.


      •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        It was.

  • Dustin Moseley

    I feel unloved. Don’t you want me back?

  • Hester Prynne

    Matsui would be a good bat on the bench. He killed us in that As series and was the decider in the As win over us. He can still hit homers, especially in Yankee stadium in the playoffs. Remember 2009 Game 6? Matsui single handedly won that ballgame. Pick him up for one last hurrah and then he can retire as the true Yankee that he is.

    • Mike D.

      Remember that that occured 2 years ago, and Matsui is not the same player. I’m sure he can still be clutch (as proven in the previous series), but you’re just not going to see the same production as Matsui provided in the 2009 WS.

      • Mike D.

        At least in my opinion anyway.

    • Rick in Boston

      Who would he replace? As Mike stated in the article, Matsui is being outhit by both Jones and Posada. He’s got zero defensive value, and outside of the recent hot streak, he’s been awful.

    • Jim S

      Did you even read the article after you saw his picture?

    • hogsmog

      I think one slow, aging True Yankee who can’t really play the field and hits in the low 200s is enough for right now.

    • Will (the other one)

      The problem with 2009 Game 6 is that it was…2009. At this point, Matsui is a bat-only player (despite what two West Coast teams may have told him over the past several years) who’s only useful against left-handed pitching (.262/.312/.548 this year, though in only 93 PA). He certainly might have some value in that very limited role, but the Yankees, like most teams, don’t really have a bench spot available for a guy who can’t field, can’t run, and can only bat ably against a quarter of the league’s pitchers.

  • Nigel Bangs

    My father wrote me an angry email on the tail of the Thames signing asking me why the Yankees didn’t “sign” Matsui instead, since he’s much better than Thames.


    • Hester Prynne

      Your father is a smart man. Damon would be another great option if the Rays are willing to trade him in the division. Getting the whole 09 gang back together for one last run would be very wise of Cashman. We have yet to win a World Series since the letting go of Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui.

      • Rick in Boston

        Who would they be upgrades over?

        • Cris Pengiuci


      •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        “We have yet to win a World Series since the letting go of Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui.”

        LOL. You say that like it’s a curse or something. It’s only been one season.

      • bexarama

        I’m just gonna go ahead and oaktag this

        •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

          Stupid question… What does oaktag mean? I see it used here often, on atrocious comments I’ve noticed. I finally had to ask.

          • bexarama

            Basically “nothing good can come of responding to this comment”

            •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

              Ah ok. Thanks.

          • TheLastClown

            You’ve answered your own question.

          • Adam
      • Jim S

        This has to be sarcasm. I’m becoming more and more convince you’re faking this.

        • Jim S

          Mostly because you post random comments and then never respond to any replies, which you get plenty of. I’m calling shenanigans.

  • Stan the Man

    AROD was right about Melky and the Yanks should have offered him a contract this year. No reason to have Jones on the team when he can’t play the field or run the bases. He is basically an automatic out and his only value comes from hitting the occasional long ball.

    Melky at 26 is a good ball player coming into his own like most young ball players do and would have provided a great amount of depth and flexibilty to the Yanks while Gardner and Swisher were struggling this year.

    As of today he would be leading the team in avg and would be 4th in RBI’s. Pretty sure his ability to play 3 OF positions well, switch hit, and hit at the bottom of the line up would probably add value to the team this year, even in a support role like AROD suggested.

    • Hester Prynne

      There’s nowhere to play him. He’s not better than any of our starting 3 and he’s not gonna be a full time DH. Girardi needs to stop sitting Gardner so much and platoon Jones with Posada at DH.

    • Jim S

      Well, first of all, i don’t really care too much about his avg, he’d be around Swisher in OPS(Swish leads .797 to .786), and behind in OBP(.374 to .333).

      He’s not as good as Grandy in CF, no one’s as good as gardner in the OF, and Swisher is a solid defensive outfielder(6 runs better than Melky this year). I have no idea where Melky would fit in. 4th OF? Meh, he’s too good to be a 4th OF but not good enough to crack our starting 3.

      • Stan the Man

        I didn’t say he would be starting, he would clearly be a more productive upgrade as 4th OF. He would make Jones’ role meaningless and the money spent on Jones could have gone to another area.

        Granderson isn’t a gold glove CF so let’s stop acting he brings so much value in that area. Gardner is by far the best defensive OF on the Yankees. Granderson hasn’t exactly been great in the OF this year either.

        • Jim S

          Granderson over his career, which may or may not have any meaning to the player he is now, is 20 runs above average, Melky is at -18.1 runs(per fangraphs). They’re about even over the past 4 years, so meh. Defense isn’t the issue.

          But Granderson offensively has been so much better than Melky that you don’t really need to bring in D to this discussion.

          Also, I don’t give a crap about gold gloves. They’re meaningless.

          And what? Why would Melky be a 4th outfielder here when he can start elsewhere? Re-signing free agents is a two way street. Also I addressed the 4th outfielder thing in my comment, which you didn’t read all the way through.

        • Jim S

          And Jones’ money would have gone to Melky. Melky wouldn’t have been free.

    • Jetrer

      He never would have been given a chance to start over the current starters. At best, he would have taken Jones role v. LHP. And Jones has been better vs. LHP than Melky. Jones vs lhp this year, .857 OPS, .374 wOBA, 136 wRC+. Melky v. LHP – .756 OPS, .332 wOBA, 107 wRC+.

      • Stan the Man

        80 AB’s compared to 141 isn’t exactly the same sample size. Also we are forgetting that in April/May Gardner wasn’t hitting and Swish wasn’t doing a thing either. Cabrera could have bridged that gap better than Jones. THat is why you keep good players.

        • Jetrer

          Cabrera was the worst player in baseball last year and the Yankees including Jones had better options in any role that Melky could play. Because Melky has performed well as a starter this year, certainly does not mean that success would have translated into a part time role. And Swisher or Gardner would not have been benched in favor of Melky in April anyways, at beast he might have played once a week. Gardner and Swisher are clearly better players than Melky, and would have been allowed to work out of their slumps.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Interesting to see how far up in the batter’s box Giambino is in that pic. Front foot almost out!

    • Rick in Boston

      Not sure if he was that far up for him. That’s definitely his “I’m pulling this one into the right field corner” follow through.

      • Aluis

        Nevermind the foot did you see the WB Mason stache on Giambi?!!!

  • kevin w.

    It’s hard to believe Melky is still only 26. He has been around forever it seems.

  • http://none Favrest

    Beltran was flat out awesome in 05 and 06.
    Matsui was great in 09. Outside of that, he disappeared from 04-07 in Oct. Try to be somewhat objective.