Mailbag: Darvish, UDFAs, Montero, Brewers

An ode to the out
Previewing Doug Fister, Part Two

Sorry if you thought it was Friday, it’s still only Thursday. I skipped the mailbag last week for ALDS reasons, and I figured today was the best day to tackle this week’s edition given the off day and upcoming madness tonight. Most of the questions that were sent in are outdated now (who’d you rather face in the ALDS, Texas or Detroit?), so only four questions today. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to submit your queries.

(AP Photo/Chris Park)

Patrick asks: Any way Yu Darvish would accept a minor league deal? Would that allow the team that signs him to have him under control for pre and arbitration years?

No, definitely not. Darvish isn’t coming over for a minor league contract. Japanese players are like everyone else; when they come over here, they are still subject to the same rules. That means pre-arbitration salaries for the first three years of their career, then three years of arbitration-eligibility before free agency. However, as a courtesy to veteran players of the Japanese leagues, MLB and the various clubs have allowed Japanese players to become free agents after their initial contracts expire. That’s how Hideki Matsui became a free agent after the 2005, or Hiroki Kuroda last season.

Daisuke Matsuzaka signed a six-year contract when the Red Sox acquired him, basically simulating the six years of team control. Darvish is still so young that I have to believe whatever team lands him will try to do something similar. I can’t imagine a team would pay through the nose for the posting fee and agree to acquire just the first two of three years of Darvish’s career. A five or six-year deal is in order here, if not longer.

Matt asks: I was reading an old Baseball America Handbook and it said that Rays infielder Elliot Johnson signed with Tampa Bay as a non-drafted free agent. How can a guy not drafted out of high school sign as a free agent? And if it’s possible, why don’t we see more guys do it?

Former Yankee John Rodriguez is another guy that signed as an undrafted free agent out of high school. From the official rules

A player who is eligible to be selected and is passed over by every Club becomes a free agent and may sign with any Club until the player enters, or returns to, a four-year college full-time or enters, or returns to, a junior college.

In English, that means a high school kid can sign as a free agent as long as he goes undrafted, has a diploma/GED, and has not yet attended any kind of college. The best players (high school or otherwise) always get drafted at some point (even if it’s the later rounds), which is why they’re never undrafted free agent. It’s not their choice to go undrafted and become a free agent, the teams control their fate.

Rodriguez and Johnson were the fringiest of fringe prospects, which is why they weren’t drafted. College wasn’t an option for Rodriguez for whatever reason (money, grades, who knows), so he ended up signing with the Yankees after participating in a tryout camp. I’m not sure what Johnson’s story is.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Jeff asks: What will the future hold for Jesus Montero in 2012? Will the Yankees retain Russell Martin and have a catching platoon where Montero can DH on some of the days Martin catches? We know Montero can hit in the majors, so is the best option to ease him into being a major league catcher? What is Montero’s ceiling? Would it be a stretch to think he could have a .400 OBP in his rookie season and drive in 100 RBI with 30-40 HRs?

I’m certain the Yankees will bring Martin back next year. It’s very clear the front office loves him, and he provides very real defensive value while being a non-zero at the plate. With neither Montero, Austin Romine, or Frankie Cervelli ready to be an everyday catcher in the big leagues, there’s a clear opening for Martin on the roster.

Ideally, I’d like to see Montero be the regular DH (against both righties and lefties) while still catching 30-40 games. It’s obvious he’s ready for 600 at-bats in the big leagues, and this is probably the best way to get him that playing time. Any time he spends behind the plate can be a DH day for Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter or whoever needs it. I’m not ready to say he’ll be a .400 OBP/30+ HR/100+ RBI guy right out of the chute, but he has the kind of talent to do that long-term. Something like .280/.340/.460 with 20+ homers would be more than acceptable in my book next season. Remember, this kid is just 21.

Sam asks: If the Brewers lose Prince Fielder to free agency, do you think they would consider trading Shaun Marcum or Yovani Gallardo for a package headlined by Montero?

I don’t think it’s an “if,” I’m pretty sure the Brewers will lose Prince as a free agent. They went all-in this season to try to win with him, they openly acknowledge that, but I don’t think they’re going to go right into a rebuilding mode next year. They’ll still have Marcum, Gallardo, and Zack Greinke in 2012, plus Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, and John Axford aren’t going anywhere for a while. That’s a pretty good core right there. First baseman aren’t the toughest players to replace in free agency (Carlos Pena for a year? Josh Willingham?), so they can plug that hole. No, they won’t replace Fielder’s production, but they still have enough talent to win that division.

That said, the Yankees would have to listen if Milwaukee is open to trading a starter. Gallardo is a stud and I’d give up Montero for him without hesitation, but the problem with Marcum and Greinke is that they’re going to become free agents after next season. At least Gallardo is locked up through 2014 with an option for 2015. Giving up six years of Montero for one year of those two, regardless of how good they are, isn’t the wisest thing in the world. I’m sure the Brewers would be open to a deal involving Marcum or Greinke, but I can’t imagine they’d discuss Gallardo.

An ode to the out
Previewing Doug Fister, Part Two
  • JohnC

    There will be serious competition for Darvish. Bet teams like the Rangers, Nationals, and Mariners will put up huge bids for him.

    • Jesse

      So will the Blue Jays, and never count out the Red Sox.

      • MannyGeee

        nope, not gritty enough.

        Bet you he doesn’t even drink Bud Light. Probably Sapporo or something fancy and Oriental like that. Definately not a fit…


        • Jesse

          But Dice K is gritty enough?

  • Supernova

    We aren’t trading Montero and we don’t want another Kei Igawa. It’s best to build from within and give some of these kids a shot in the big leagues.

    • Johnny O

      “It’s best to build from within and give some of these kids a shot in the big leagues.”

      That’s easier said than done. It’s how we end up with Nova pitching an elimination game in the playoffs. I love Nova but Cy Young he is not. If we had actually signed Cliff Lee, he’d be starting tonight (if the Yanks hadn’t wont the series by now). A strategy of “give the kids a shot” has a many pitfalls as “give AJ 5/$85M or post $40M for Darvish”

      • -Pak

        What? The plan was always for “you” to sign Cliff Lee in the offseason.

      • Ted Nelson

        I agree that a team needs to balance acquisitions and internal development depending on the situation, but Cliff Lee is not some cure-all.

        Cliff Lee gave up 5 ERs in 6 IP to the Cardinals in his NLDS start this season. And his ERA was almost 7 in the World Series last season.

        It’s possible that the Yankees would have lost the series already with Cliff Lee, just as it’s possible that they would have won it.

        I’m honestly about as comfortable with Ivan Nova going in an elimination game as I would be with Lee.

        • -Pak

          So his 2 or 3 postseason starts are indicative of what exactly? That Ivan Nova is as good as him? Wouldn’t that go against your primary mode of thinking the the Yankees are never wrong and are always the best?

          Cliff Lee shutdown the Yankees in the postseason, the greatest offensive team ever, doesn’t that mean anything?

          And they thought of him so highly that on two occasions that they decided that they needed him. Since the Yankees are never wrong which is what you argue everyday then obviously he’s very good.

          Bevause apparently a simple check to see their 1.5 FIP difference wasn’t obvious enough.

          • Ted Nelson

            “So his 2 or 3 postseason starts are indicative of what exactly?”

            Of exactly what I said: he is not a cure all and it is possible the Yankees could have lost his start just like the Phillies did. Read my comment, I say exactly what it’s indicative of.

            “Wouldn’t that go against your primary mode of thinking the the Yankees are never wrong and are always the best?”

            That is not at all my “mode of thinking.” I don’t like it when people are pretentious. Assuming you know more than the Yankees about their team with no proof to back it up is… pretentious.

            “Since the Yankees are never wrong which is what you argue everyday”

            No that is not what I argue. I argue that if you want to prove that they are wrong, you need some evidence and logic. Just because you would have done something differently and/or something didn’t work out, that doesn’t mean they were wrong.

            • Ted Nelson

              Maybe next time you decide to attack someone take a minute to get your story straight.

              • JT

                I applaud you

          • Ted Nelson

            I did not say at any point Cliff Lee is not a better pitcher than Ivan Nova. Again, read my actual comment and don’t jump to your own conclusions. I said he’s not a cure-all, he does lose games in the post-season in terrible performances (quite frequently, in fact), and that for tomorrow’s game in particular I am about as comfortable with Nova going as Lee. I didn’t say “I don’t want Cliff Lee” or “Cliff Lee is not good” or “Nova is better than Cliff Lee”… None of that. You failed to read my comment and made up whatever you felt like assuming I was saying.

            • Stuckey

              You might not be saying he’s as good as Cliff Lee, but man, has Ivan Nova come a long, LONG way from when you were utterly convinced he wasn’t that good of a prospect in March.

              • JT

                No one thought Nova was going to be this good. At least the man can admit when he’s wrong.

                One thing about Nova that a lot of prospects don’t show, is the ability to improve his game, exceed the preconceived notions about his potential, and excel in pressure situations. Nova has only been improving, while a lot of higher quality prospects fizzle out after the league figures them out.

                Nova is still new around the league, but hopefully he continues to improve and adjust to the league as they try to adjust to him.

                • Stuckey

                  “No one thought Nova was going to be this good.”

                  I beg to differ.

                  The issue, as I’ve raised in the past, is erecting ceilings over prospects and becoming utterly convinced what that is exactly.

                  Nova wasn’t a sinker/slider 89mgh type. He’s always had a live arm with movement.

                  Learning a slider isn’t some sort revelation fans should be shocked by.

                  And it’s not like last year there wasn’t an indication of potential. His ‘first 4 innings/all innings after’ splits clearly demonstrated someone with the ability to get out major league hitters, he just needed to learn how to extend that.

                  The potential there struck me as perfectly obvious.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    With prospects people are just trying to put realistic expectations on their futures. It’s not a science, and I agree that there’s a whole lot of margin for error. I don’t think people should put definitive ceilings saying someone will never be X good, and I’ve said so a million times.

                    I do think, however, that there’s some value in trying to project prospects (provided one understand what the projections mean… that they’re not definitive predictions, merely projections with a large margin of error). We shouldn’t say someone CAN’T improve, but we also shouldn’t just act like all prospects could all improve any amount at any time so there’s no value is projecting their abilities. Nova’s development has not been miraculous by any means, but it’s been in the upper group of expected outcomes. If you look at 10 pitchers who went into this season in Nova’s position, how many would have gotten where he did? I would probably guess 2 or 3 at most. That someone has a 2 in 10 shot at something doesn’t mean we should just ignore the odds and expect it.

                    What I recall mostly saying about Nova was, before the season even started, this is not some proven pitcher or Matt Moore level stud prospect who deserves an unconditional spot in the Yankees’ rotation. Sure he might continue to improve and be a good MLB pitcher (let’s not act like he’s great yet because he won 15 games, just had a solid season), but he still had a lot to prove. I don’t see anything wrong with saying that just because he went on to have a good season.

      • Supernova

        Considering that Cliff Lee has done nothing but choke in his past few postseason starts, I’ll take Nova thank you very much. Build from within.

        • JimIsBored (Jim S)

          Given one game to decide a season, if you’d take Nova over Lee, you don’t watch baseball.

          And I love Nova.

          • Supernova

            I watch plenty of baseball. Nova’s just a kid but he’s a winning ballplayer and you could see that on the mound in Game 1. I’d take winners like Nova, Coney, Wells, El Duque over Lee any day of the week.

            • JimIsBored (Jim S)

              Cliff lee, postseason history:

              11 starts, 7-3, 82IP, 2.52/1.63/2.60, 89ks, 10bbs.

              By literally every single measure, both new school and old(even WINS), Lee is amazing. I feel like your yanking my chain right now, because wtf, no one could possibly think Nova is better than Lee.

              • Jesse

                But, but, but, Nova has just one less win than Lee this season! He’s almost just as good!!! It’s all about the wins!!


                • JimIsBored (Jim S)

                  And one MORE win in the postseason!

          • Ted Nelson

            Because you said so, right?

            • JimIsBored (Jim S)

              No, i used stats to back it up. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you honestly just missed that part.

            • JimIsBored (Jim S)

              And just to bring in regular season stats as well:

              Lee: 2.40/2.60/2.68 in 232 innings with a 6+ fWAR
              Nova: 3.70/4.01/4.16 in 165 innings(albeit not his fault) with a 2.7 fWAR

              I can’t believe I have to prove that Cliff freaking Lee is a better bet to throw a good game than Ivan Nova.

              • JimIsBored (Jim S)

                And just for the record, I’m not assuming this is a 100% guarantee. I’m just saying, what’s more likely? A Cliff Lee great start or an Ivan Nova great start?

                Supernova was touting Nova as having “winner’s mentality” while Lee does not. I refuted that using stats. Obviously anything can happen in one start, like AJ going 5 2/3 with only 1 run, there aren’t any guarantees. But I can’t accept “being a winner” as a prediction of future success in a team-based sport, when literally no proof is on your side besides “you can’t predict baseball”

    • The Big City of Dreams

      We aren’t trading Montero


      No no no that can’t be true because the pope went on and on yesterday about Montero not being here in 2012. “I think every hit Montero gets is another hit closer to get King Felix. He can’t catch and the Yankees don’t need a first baseman. The Yanks can put together a package with Montero, Nunez, and one of the B’s. I think that package can land you a big pitcher like King Felix.

      • Tampa Yankee

        The sooner that most Yankee fans come to the realization that King Felix is not available and that whatever package you throw out there would probably not be enough anyways the better off the rest of us will be.

        • The Big City of Dreams

          Exactly and it’s not just King Felix but other pitchers as well. I understand the need to upgrade the rotation but guys like Kershaw,Felix, and a few others are not going to be moved.

      • MannyGeee

        you realize the Mariners dont need a First Baseman either, right?

        • The Big City of Dreams

          I do but Francesa is convinced Montero will be wearing an Ms uniform before ST starts. He’s not even aware that his proposed package can land King Felix.

          • The Big City of Dreams


    • Ted Nelson

      Every pitcher who shares his nationality has the same ability level as Kei Igawa… sound logic.

    • Rainbow Connection

      Stop panicking. Montero isn’t even the best played named Montero.

      • JimIsBored (Jim S)

        Not yet.

        • LiterallyFigurative

          Don’t let MonteroisDinero hear you say that….


  • DERP

    I actually like Darvish more than Wilson. Will be cheaper and his posting fee isn’t subject to the luxury tax. He has better stats than Dice-K did when he was in Japan. Only issue is the workload. He has pitched a lot of innings (similar progression as Felix Hernandez in terms of innings).

  • nolan

    Isn’t there enough pitching depth (if you count the next 2 free agency classes) to assemble a great rotation AND keep Montero? Let’s say the yanks go out and get Darvish this winter. Next year they’ll have (assuming they resign CC): CC, Nova, Burnett, Darvish, Hughes, Betances, Banuelos, Warren and Noesi. That’s a ton of quality starting pitching and you can sign Freddy as a plan B. Gallardo IS a stud…but so is montero. With Arod, Jeter and Tex declining we really need some offensive power and Montero is exactly that. He’s a stud offensive player who will provide great production for cheap. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have him and Cano (not next year but soon) as our 3 & 4 hitters for the next 6 + years.

    • Brian

      Well said…

    • Doug

      “Gallardo IS a stud…but so is montero.”

      “Gallardo IS a stud…but so could montero.”

      fixed that for you

      • mattdamonwayans

        I don’t think you did.

        • Doug

          so based on 71 major league PAs, he’s already a stud. interesting

          •!/AngeloInNY Angelo

            I think he was referring to the grammatical errors you made.

          • MannyGeee

            he was refeering to their relative studliness in a visual sense… not in their baseball potential.


            • JT

              lol at the hash tag

    • Yazman

      Yes, well said.

      Do consider Darvish or Wilson, but if you can get one, keep the kids.

    • Rainbow Connection

      “That’s a ton of quality starting pitching”

      Is it? Really?

      • JimIsBored (Jim S)

        It’s a ton of quality young starting pitching compared to most other teams, yes.

        I can’t wait until you post a positive, non-sarcastic, non-condescending reply to someone.

        • Jesse

          Don’t hold your breath.

  • mike

    I wonder if the Yanks could entice the M’s to trade Felix if they do a Montero/ one B / Nunez / Gardner package, and take back Figgins as well.

    this would help the M’s in terms of salary relief as well, and Figgins could be a super-utility guy as Nunez was tasked.

    I know its a ton of $ and Figgins has fallen apart, but the $ is a drop in the bucket for the Yanks either way, and having Felix likely makes up for it

    • Tampa Yankee

      I wonder if the Yanks could entice the M’s to trade Felix

      I’ll stop you right there… no, no they can’t… and why would they throw in Gardner to take back Figgins. That’s just dumb and you make my point for me: “I know its a ton of $ and Figgins has fallen apart,” That just makes no sense. Who plays left then? You are just creating more holes than you are filling by offering that package for Felix. But again, I say the sooner that most Yankee fans come to the realization that King Felix is not available the better off the rest of us will be.

      • Jesse

        “Who plays left then?”

        Figgins probably would, he has before, but I’m not disagreeing with what you said.

        • JimIsBored (Jim S)

          Oh god, no, eww. Figgins can play left-bench.

      • mike

        Calling a trade proposal “dumb” is pretty infantile, to be honest.

        To get the best pitcher in baseball, Seattle has demonstrated they do not like the Yankees packages headlined by Montero/ B’s/Nova /Nunez.

        Thus to incentize the package, i would gladly give up my left fielder (an easy position to fill on the open market) and take back an overpaid utility guy since im trading my utility guy to the M’s.

        Im not saying the trade would be a no-brainer for the Yanks, but to get an asset pried away from an unwilling partner you need to approach the deal from a different angle.

        thats not dumb, its called being creative, and using your biggest assets to fill a glaring need

        • JimIsBored (Jim S)

          Dumb, while probably overly harsh, is because Felix has never been available. Seattle has never indicated whatsoever that they would trade him for anything at all. So to create proposals for him is an exercise in futility.

          And so many people have come up with proposals for him this year that it’s driven some of us nuts.

        • Hardy

          “left fielder (an easy position to fill on the open market)”

          Don’t tell this to the Red Sox.

        • Kevin

          Montero has shown potential in the minors and, SSS notwithstanding, an ability to apply that potential in the majors, including the postseason. Gardner is one of my favorite yankees right now, he’s a terrific defender and an annoying hitter who steals a ton of bags and has come through in the clutch for us this series. You want to toss all that for a pitcher and an overpaid benchwarmer. I just don’t think the wins are there. Therefore, it’s dumb.

  • Jesus the Savior

    I don’t think we need to go out to get Yu Darvish if:
    1. CC resigns
    2. Nova stays Nova
    3. Hughes returns to form
    4. AJ Burnett becomes a decent pitcher…..

    I still have hope in Burnett after an outing like that, he still has the stuff. He just needs to take his head out of his ass and he’ll be subpar.
    With this, 4 of our 5 starting rotation spots are set. I hope Freddy Garcia and Colon don’t come back.

    • Doug

      man, that’s a lot of ifs

      • Jesus the Savior

        Yeah but many are possible of happening like number 1, 2, 3

        • CP

          The problem is that the Yankees will have to make a call on Darvish (assuming he’s posted this winter) before they can have an answer for 2, 3, and 4.

    • K

      Or we could just sign Darvish an have a nasty rotation…. CC/Darvish/Nova/and have Burnett, Hughes, Banuelos, and Betances fight for the last spot looks pretty lethal in the post-season. Two aces, a solid #3 starter, and one of the best 4th starters in baseball (assuming one of them pitches to their potential) could go a long way with a nice offense behind it.

  • Steve

    Best example of the non drafted player is Logan Powell (I believe) – somewhere in the early 2000s Scott Boras had him get his GED but not tell anyone that he was draft eligible. After he wasn’t drafted, he was free to negotiate with all teams. At the time he was a good prospect. In any case he ended up not signing with anyone and later got drafted twice and is currently with the A’s.

  • Lucky Charms


  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

    I’d resign Russell Martin just for his quotes to the media…

  • KeithK

    Montero has never posted a .400 OBP in any full season in the minors (he did do it in a part season in the FSL). He’s never hit more than 21 HRs. I fully expect him to get better and hit for more power because he’s young and that’s what young talented hitters usually do. But to look for anything more that the .280/.340/.460, 20 HR line that Mike threw out is getting greedy.

    • T.O. Chris

      Montero isn’t really a .400 OBP kind of hitter, unless of course his BA is in the batting average champ levels. He is never going to be much of a walker, sort of in a similar vein as Cano. He should be a perennial .280-.310 BA guy, who consistently belts 25-35 HRs. Which means he should drive in 100 runs every year of his career he bats in the middle of the Yankee order.

  • Jesse

    To be honest, and I’ve said this before, I don’t think the Yankees will land C.J Wilson OR Yu Darvish. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll be in the running, but I think Texas has the money to re-sign Wilson–I’m sure they don’t want to lose another frontline starter–and I think there are more teams than we know that will be in the running for Darvish. Remember, there are a plethora of top of the line free agent starting pitchers in the FA Class of 2013 including James Shields, Cole Hamels, and Matt Cain with quality fallback options like Ervin Santana, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and even Jeremy Guthrie. We’ve seen Cashman take the patient route before (see this season), and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gave Adam Warren a shot or if he re-signed Freddy Garcia or another veteran for a one year band aid

    • DERP

      Shields is not a FA (assuming his options are picked up). Add Greinke and Marcum to your list though.

      I would probably prefer Danks to Cain.

      • Jesse

        Ah that’s right, he has a club option, forgot about that. But who knows if Tampa will pick that up?

        • DERP

          I would be shocked if Tampa doesn’t pick up all three of his options assuming he stays healthy.

          If they don’t pick it up, he moves to number 2 (behind Hamels) on my personal wish list.

          • T.O. Chris

            I think Tampa is going to probably trade Shields this offseason. His value will never be any higher, and at this point he is just as likely to repeat his 2010 season next year as his 2011 season.

      • T.O. Chris

        I wouldn’t sign Greinke for anything close to what he is going to get. I don’t think you completely stay away from a guy with the type of problems he has had, but I think it adds significant risk. When it comes to a contract of that length and money, you want to limit the risk as much as you can. Greinke has an AJ Burnett type of mentality when it comes to big spots, and big scrutiny in my opinion.

        2008- 3.47 ERA
        2009- 2.16 ERA
        2010- 4.17 ERA
        2011- 3.83 ERA

        Also these numbers aren’t all that impressive over the last 4 years when you consider putting them in the AL East, playing homes games in Yankee stadium, and ramping up the times he faces the Red Sox per year. His 2009 was one for the ages no doubt, and his 2008 was pretty good, but a 4.17 on the Royals, and a 3.83 in the NL doesn’t bode well to me. He tends to keep the walks low, which I like. But he seems to be all over the place from year to year with the Ks, and I think he’s a lock for 20+ HRs allowed per year in Yankee stadium.

    • Hardy

      Cashman did not take the patient route this season. He wanted two pitchers (Lee and Andy) who decided that they would not play for NYY when all secondary options had already signed somewhere else. The Yankees then went out to sign a mega-contract for a reliever.

      • Jesse

        I was pretty much implying that he took the patient route after the fact that Lee and Pettitte didn’t sign with the Yankees. And it wasn’t his idea to sign Rafael Soriano. Plus, he could have easily traded for a frontline starter (Ubaldo Jimenez) at the trade deadline. He was patient and didn’t do so. So far it’s worked out.

        • Hardy

          What was the alternative to “taking the patient route” after Lee and Pettitte and everybody else had signed somewhere else?

          And the consensus seemed to be that the Yankees didn’t view Jimenez as a frontline starter.

          • Jesse

            Trade for a top line pitcher. Cashman said himself he’d take the patient route. Attack him, not me.

            • Hardy

              Ah, sorry, misread your second to last post and missed the “after the fact that Lee and Pettitte didn’t sign with the Yankees”.

              But I would still stipulate that Cashman will only take the patient route (like this season) and give a shot to Adam Warren or Colon 2.0 if his initial plan to take the impatient route fails (like this season).

    • T.O. Chris

      I think it is fools gold to rely on all those guys being available. I think there is a better than average chance Hamels re-signs at some point before free agency, and I think the same can be said for Danks. I don’t much trust Cain going from SF to the AL East, and Floyd and Guthrie are nothing more than 3-5 guys in a rotation.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Montero will not be traded. It would be nice, however, if he played (batted) in every game asap. My handle that I have used since I saw him crushing it at AAA says it all-the guy will provide incredible value the next 5 years or so as our aging $tar$ eat up payroll, get injured and underperform.

    • JimIsBored (Jim S)

      There’s only 1 “aging” star who will eat up payroll for the next 5 years. Maybe 2, but i’m not convinced Tex is going to be as much of an eyesore as Alex.

      And no worries, Montero will have 140 games of at-bats next year, if he stays healthy. Dude’s 21. Plenty of fun years rooting for him ahead, no need to be impatient yet.

      • Stuckey

        Jeter’s 3rd act from his return from the DL through the present should serve as a reminder to people to NOT write off A-Rod completely (Teixeria goes without saying).

        Maybe his body won’t ever allow him to stay on the field with a sound body for any stretch of time, but if he can string together a relatively healthy season, he can still be one of the more productive 4/5 hitters in the game.

        • JimIsBored (Jim S)

          Yeah I’m judging A-rod based on his recent injuries more-so than his performance when healthy.

          Agreed that if he can stay healthy and play ~130 healthy games a year his contract won’t be horrific. I just think as far as potential eyesores go, he’s at the top of the list, and it’s not particularly close.

          • Stuckey

            I think fans should be get in the frame of mind that ARod’s contract IS horrific, any way you slice it.

            That said, he’s only two (even unhealthy) years away from 3000 hits. I just don’t see him playing all the way through 2017 making an attempt at the HR record 20 a season (which wouldn’t even get him there).

            He’s going to have to string together a couple of 30-40 years SOON for him to have any shot.

            He’ll either perform, or retire with dignity sometime after 30.

            I think the nightmare scenario where he shows up every spring each of the next 6 seasons a shell of his former self is unlikely.

            • Hardy

              Even without the HR record, A-Rod has plenty of milestones and records before him:

              700 HR
              714 HR
              3000 hits
              3500 hits (?)
              2000 Runs
              2000 RBI
              Runs record
              RBI record

              And the contract isn’t all that horrific if you value this.

              • JimIsBored (Jim S)

                The only possible value in that list the HR record, and maybe 3k hits.

                Anyway you look at it, we’re overpaying for A-Rod’s declining years, by a lot. But by the same measure, we’re the Yankees, so we can afford to overpay sometimes.

                • Stuckey

                  Agreed, like at the difference between Thome hitting 600, Mo hitting 600/602 and Jeter getting 3000.

                  The first two clubs are a LOT more exclusive, yet 3000 is the sexy number.

                  3000 and the HR record is the only thing I can see him playing for and he’s far enough way from the latter if he doesn’t get healthy back to some semblance of himself quick, he’ll know it’s out of his grasp.

                • Hardy

                  You tell me that the days of A-Rod passing Rickey for the Runs record or passing Aaron for the RBI record will just be business as usual?

                  • JimIsBored (Jim S)

                    No, but there won’t be a massive lead-up like there will be for a HR record or 3k hits. And I don’t think an extra 2 standing ovations have any real financial value.

                    • Hardy

                      I can understand that, but I disagree. A-Rod has a chance to finish his career with all-time records on HR, RBI and Runs plus 3500+ hits and will get serious consideration as one of the greatest of all-time. And I think that has real financial value.

                    • Stuckey

                      And that chance slips away without several BIG years in his future.

                      As to consideration for the greatest of all-time? I genuinely think that crown is beyond his grasp at this point, from a public perception standpoint.

                      Even if he GETS ALL the numbers, he’s going to have a hard time being generally regarded as such.

                      Limping over the finish line as a “compiler”, a shell of his former self, considering his past, will NOT be a convincing argument on his behalf.

                  • Stuckey

                    Not business as usual, but not what they were projected to be when ARod first signed the contract.

                    A LOT has happened since then, if you recall…

                    But it’s mostly a moot point anyway. He’s stil a good 4-5 years of 30/100/100 to be close to any of the records anyway. He’s NOT going to get to any of them stringing together 15/60/60 seasons together, which is the premise.

                    He’ll need to regain his health and form to have a shot.

                    If he doesn’t, and by the end of 2013 its been 3 years in a row of 100 games played, surgeries, rehabs, getting booed at home, ALL the while with the spectre of PED’s over him (and perhaps intensifying if his body continues to break down, I don’t see him playing out the string (and perhaps falling short anyway, the worst case scenario).

                    More succinctly, he’s going to have to regain form in the next 2 years, for him to have any shot at any of the records in the subsequent 3-4.

                    • Hardy

                      Well, no. 5 years of 30/100/100 would give him the records for HR, RBI and Runs plus about 3600 hits.

                      And about “regaining form”: In 2011 he had a 116 OPS+ and above average defense at 3B. His current level is way above league average, he would not be “playing out the string” even if he does not “regain form”.

                    • Stuckey

                      Playing 100 games a year would be … playing out the string I mean.

                      Alex Rodriquez is now well beyond being judged on his OPS+.

                      He’s generally regarded as a shell of himself at the moment. His own fans didn’t start booing the other night because of an 0 for 8.

                      But maybe you’re right, maybe the 40-something Arod will continue to have surgeries and rehabs secure in the knowledge he’s having 116 OPS+ seasons, and ultimately all short of the all-time records anyway.

                    • Hardy

                      I am pretty sure that A-Rod wants to shatter the record books.
                      So I think that he won’t quit baseball at least as long he is a legitimate starter, even if he has a surgery plus rehab every year and can play only 100 games/year.
                      But I obviously can’t read his mind.

                    • Stuckey

                      Well, the first slash is how many years he’d have to play if he averages 20/75/75, the second if he averages 15/65/65.

                      If this is state-of-the-art Arod, he likely doesn’t even do any of them as a Yankee, and that’s assuming he can continue to perform at 40-plus as he is at 36.

                      134 HR 6.7/8.9
                      472 R 6.3/7.3
                      405 rbi 5.4/6.2

                      Understand I’m leaving the door open that he could still put together a couple of representative years, which would substantially change the above math.

                      But I don’t see 7 more years of 2011 (or worse). He’d be a laughingstock.

                    • Hardy

                      He is one year removed from 30/125/74. I wouldn’t put his ceiling at 20/75/75 yet.

                      And 7 years of being a top ten 3B with some injury problems won’t make any player a laughingstock.

                    • Stuckey

                      I didn’t.

                      Was a conditional statement. I said IF he continues to perform like 2011, he won’t play through 2017.

                      If he plays like 2010 for a couple of more years, it’s a whole other ballgame, as I mentioned several time already.

                      He’s Arod to a degree has already been a laughingstock, despite being arguably the best player of his generation.

                      His own fans are booing him in the postseason AGAIN, even after 2009.

                      If you don’t see the potential for the scrutiny to get worse, I don’t know what to tell you.

      • David, Jr.

        He has a valid point. Phrasing it differently: If you look at the team, particularly two or three years out, a young, cheap, right handed middle of the order hitter has incredible value.

        I believe that the value is even higher than a lot of people do. To me, his hitting ceiling is off of the charts, and based on seeing him in person many times, I am 90% certain that he will catch acceptably, which would make that value explode upward.

        Does all of this mean that he absolutely won’t be traded? Not at all. It just means that the price would be high. Cashman has gotten us into a wonderfully leveraged position around catcher. We could trade Montero and be in great shape with Martin and Romine or Cervelli. Not many teams could make a legitimate claim like that. I’m betting that they keep him as a DH/BUC, behind Martin, and explore what something like a Romine/B/more would bring in the way of a young starter that they love. The beauty of it is that they don’t need to do anything. It is a great position.

        • Hardy

          I think after his successful debut Montero is now untouchable.

          • T.O. Chris

            No one should ever be untouchable. Unless you want to be the worst GM in baseball, because you fall head over heels for every prospect you have.

            He had a great 18 games, but he also showed plenty of holes in his swing. Especially against right handed batters,and while he shouldn’t be given away, for the right package anyone can be dealt.

  • UncleArgyle

    In case anyone hasn’t figured it out, if (and its a big IF) King Felix is going to be traded it sure as hell ain’t going to be to the Yankees. It should be clear now that Seatles GM Jack Zduriencik has some ax to grind with the Yankees and is not intrested in making straight baseball trades with Brian Cashman. Anyone remember the absurdity of the Jarrod Washburn discussions?

    • JohnnyC

      That was before Jack Z got the job. Anyway, Washburn turned out to be done.

    • T.O. Chris

      News flash, every team in baseball wants the Yankees to pay more for their players. That’s what happens when you have double the amount of championships as anyone else in the sport.

  • Stuckey

    I think the Yankees will go all-in on Darvish if they’re thoroughly convinced he’s a real deal.

    I don’t think they’ll go all-in if they see him as a best available option-type (see Burnett, A.J., 2009)

    My sense is the Yankees will do the philosophical opposite of what they did this year, and rely on minor league depth to fill the back-end of the rotation.

    I could see them bringing back Garcia (which sets you up as Sabathia, Nova, Hughes, Garcia, Burnett) with Noesi, Warren, Phelps, Betances, Banuelos all waiting in the wings when more starters are inevitably required.

    By 2013 they’ll be in the position of strength. They’ll have a better handle on what they have in the Betances/Banuelos (and if you rule out one of the other starting pitching prospects from emerging like Nova did, you aren’t learning your lesson), as well as only 1 more of Burnett to swallow.

    They’ll be able to spend very wisely and have a great chance to add another stud to the rotation with a solid 4-5 behind the top 3.

    • JimIsBored (Jim S)

      I’m totally on board with re-signing Garcia on a 1 yr deal with options and plenty of incentives, assuming no other team gives him an insane offer that drives the price up.

      And while we shouldn’t rule out another emerging starting pitcher, we also have to assume one or two that have “emerged”(for lack of a better term) will regress too.

      Either way, I would prefer avoiding the Yu sweepstakes, I generally like to avoid investing that much money on a relative unknown.

      • Kevin

        Worth remembering: Rings drive a players value up. If Garcia winds up with a big signature playoff win, which he could do on this team without even trying (See: Grandyman’s catch to save Allen James Burnett’s career) especially in the World Series, then his value on the open market skyrockets.

      • T.O. Chris

        Unless Garcia accepts another minor league deal with an invite to ST I say no thank you. We caught lightning in a bottle with both him and Colon, it’s highly unlikely either perform as well, or stay healthy next season.

    • Hardy

      “By 2013 they’ll be in the position of strength.”

      I am pretty sure that the Yankees will try to be in a position of strength in 2012.

      • Stuckey

        Let me rephrase.

        I think they’ll try to maximize their options for 2013 by being more judicious for 2012, and enact a multi-year plan as oppose to an off season-to-off season one – i.e. passing on Santana at the time.

        • Hardy

          I don’t think so, especially with the new playoff rules.

          And they passed on Santana the same way they passed on Cliff Lee or Dice-K- by making the second best offer.

          • JimIsBored (Jim S)

            They passed on Santana by not trading for him.

            • Hardy

              And they passed on Dice-K by not offering the highest posting fee. You tell me that was some kind of judicious multi-year plan?

              • Stuckey

                So let’s get back to the macro point here Hardy.

                You’re refuting the premise the Yankees will approach the next 2 offseasons looking at the bigger picture?

                Yankees are strictly year-to-year.

                Because if you’ve concluded anyone said they wouldn’t try to improve themselves this off-season, you’ve only imagined it.

                • Hardy

                  “You’re refuting the premise the Yankees will approach the next 2 offseasons looking at the bigger picture?”

                  Yes. I think the Yankees will (try to) sign CC plus two other “big time” starting pitchers like Wilson and Darvish this offseason.

                  • Stuckey

                    So Hughes is back to the pen then?

                    • Hardy

                      Basically one of Hughes, Nova or Burnett goes to the pen.
                      But yeah, I would guess Hughes.

                    • T.O. Chris

                      Would that be so terrible at this point? I mean honestly for the last year and a half what has really done? He won 18 games in 2010, but let’s face it the second half of that season was pretty awful. I’ve been firmly in the minority on Hughes since his call up, and I don’t see him being anything more than a number 3 pitcher at his best. He has serious AJ Burnett moments, and he doesn’t have near as good a stuff as a young AJ did.

              • JimIsBored (Jim S)

                Wasn’t making any over-arching point, just pointing out that we didn’t make the second best offer to Santana. We hardly made any offer.

                • Hardy

                  The widely reported offer was Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, Jeff Marquez plus a further mid-level prospect.
                  Some people would argue that this was objectively the best offer for the Twins.

                  • Stuckey

                    Even if you could qualify an “offer” on an objective scale it’s beside the point.

                    Yankees had a better offer if they wanted to make it.

                    Even if one argues Minnesota demanded more from the Yankees than anyone else, it still stand to reason it was the Yankees DECISION not to do so.

                    Ultimately, they had a say and they said “no.”

                    • Hardy

                      There is a huge middle ground between “paying literally whatever it takes to get a certain player” and making “a rotation of Sabathia, Nova, Hughes, Garcia and Burnett” your plan for the offseason.

                    • Stuckey

                      You put that in quotes as if I wrote it..?

                      I also took care to mention the Yankees high-level pitching depth, which includes at least 2 premium prospects, that have now both have had a cup of coffee at AAA and could be ready next season.

                      This sounds like more of the same from Yankee fans – what got them comfortably into the play-off picture THIS year won’t work NEXT year so let’s pursue the whoever happens to be the best available.

                      Minor league talent can be a part of the Yankees pitching plans, ever?

                    • Hardy

                      Of course minor league talent plays a role. The role of depth. They are the pitchers who get called up when when more starters are inevitably required.
                      Then they can prove themselves and work their way into the rotation, Nova-style.

                      And I really think that for next year

                      a) let’s sign a pair of starters that literally nobody else wants and hope for 6 WAR between them

                      is an inferior plan to

                      b) let’s sign the best starters available,

                      even if a) got the Yankees to the playoffs this year.

                    • Stuckey

                      Not for nothing, but Ivan Nova STARTED the year IN the rotation.

                      So you don’t believe there is any value in saving resources for ONE year for a much more robust free agent market the next.

                      Or do you foresee the Yankees acquiring the TWO most sought after pitchers on the market this year, and then going after another the next year?

                    • Hardy

                      Ivan Nova pitched 42 relatively strong ML innings in 2010 and earned a shot* at the 2011 rotation. That’s the way I would like to see it play out with Banuelos etc.

                      *He also obviously only got the shot because the Yankees did not get Lee and Pettitte as planned.

                      I think the Yankees won’t see someone who is a) clearly better than Wilson/Darvish and b) will be basically guaranteed to be theirs for 2013.

                      I also think that the Yankees will move from a 95-wins plan to a 100-wins plan due to the new playoff structure and significantly bump up their payroll for the upcoming seasons.

  • Miller Time

    Wanted to get some thoughts on my little idea…trade Mark Teixeira, probably have to eat some of the contract, and couple B prospects, for a top tier pitcher then sign Prince Fielder to start at 1B. Thoughts???

    • Jesse

      My thoughts: Very, very, very unlikely thus I won’t fathom the idea. But an interesting idea nonetheless.

      • Jesse

        I won’t fathom the idea, meaning who the B prospects are to trade, and who the top tier pitcher is, that is.

    • Dan

      and Tex would waive his no-trade to play for… the Cubs maybe? NO team is going to pay a fraction of his massive contract coming off a very off year and give you a stud pitcher. The only way you pry a top tier pitcher is Montero, at LEAST one Killer B, and a couple cruise ships worth of prospects (including the boat).

      Also a word on Montero… Ryan Howard didn’t hit more than 25 HRs in a season in the minors until he was 24… mostly in AA. He turned out alright and Montero will be Cabrera before long. Monster with the bat, meh at a corner position

      • Dan

        Fun fact: when Howard was in AAA, he played in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

        • Jesse

          Here’s another fun fact regarding the minor leagues. The Trenton Thunder used to be the AA affiliate of the Red Sox until 2002. And guess who was on that 2002 Trenton Thunder team? Kevin Youkilis. Yuck.

      • T.O. Chris

        Everyone needs to slow down with this “Montero will be (Miguel) Cabrera” stuff. He’s a great prospect with a big bat, but saying he will soon be the best right handed hitter in all of baseball is very silly. Montero has many holes in his swings which ramp up his K rate, and lower his ability to walk. It’s much more likely that Montero becomes the next Carlos Lee, not the next Miguel Cabrera. However I would love to get Carlos Lee production from him, he has 4-5 extremely great years.

    • Ted Nelson

      Fielder is an awful fielder (ironically) and baserunner who was worth 1.3 fWAR more than Tex this season and 0.2 fWAR more last season. His contract would probably be just as large, and at a listed 5-11, 268 I would not expect age to be his friend. Maybe it could work out, but I think there’s at least as much downside as upside.

      Teixiera is only 31. I don’t know if he will or not, but I absolutely think he can potentially clean up his LH swing a little and continue to be a strong 1B going forward (6th in MLB in fWAR this “awful down year”).

  • Rich in NJ

    Jeter will be 38 next season; A-Rod will be 37. Teix is now a .240 hitter, and I don’t think that the Yankees can count on Granderson hitting 40 HR again. That leaves Cano as the only young impact bat (although he turns 30 in 2012). They have no upper level impact bats in the mL system, while they have numerous near ML ready pitching prospects.

    So trading Montero for a pitcher makes less than zero sense.

    • Hardy

      I agree, especially with the relatively robust free agent pitching market.

    • Stuckey

      Not advocating trading Montero, but still amazed about how the Yankees depth is underplayed by their own fans again and again again.

      Lack of minor league depth at the high levels is perhaps a one/two season issue, if you believe in Sanchez, Williams, etc.

      You hold into Montero because you believe in Montero, not because Jeter will be 38, etc, etc, etc.

      Despite Jeter’s first half, and Arod’s entire year, and Tex’s average and Swisher’s start and Gardner’s streakiness and Posada mostly ineffectiveness and Martin’s prolonged slump, the Yankees, Sox and Rangers are still in a class amongst themselves.

      There isn’t a player on the Yankees you can say didn’t have shortcomings during 2011, other than Granderson. Even Cano wasn’t as good as he was in 2010, and yet they coasted into the postseason … again.

      Some fans are fixated on individual numbers, and utterly blind to depth.

      Yankees WILL score 800+ runs next year. They’re too deep not to, even if many of them what’s for them, middling years,

      • Hardy

        Scoring 800 runs (67 less than this year) and a rotation of Sabathia, Nova, Hughes, Garcia and Burnett. Does this sound like a division title?

        • Stuckey

          I said 800+.

          So yes.

          Understand the Yankees improved their offense over last season during a year when offense as DOWN all around baseball.

          95-96 wins is really all you can ask for, and most years, it’s gonna get you a division title and it’s a guarantee of postseason qualification.

          I see no reason why the team you describe can’t win 95+ games, like they have each of the last 2 years.

          You don’t?

          • Hardy

            Starting next season: division title = guarantee of postseason qualification.

            I think that Sabathia, Nova, Hughes, Garcia, Burnett, Noesi, Warren will give up more than 700 runs.

            So for an average of 95 wins (not 95+) you have to get at least 840 runs.

            To combine 800+ RS and 95+ wins, you can give up 650 runs, 7 less than this years team.

            • Stuckey

              “I think that Sabathia, Nova, Hughes, Garcia, Burnett, Noesi, Warren will give up more than 700 runs.”

              Wow… in 2010 Vazquez and Burnett made 59 starts to the tune of about a 5.40 ERA.

              Hughes pitched the second half of his 30 starts to about a 5 ERA.

              Pettitte only made 21 starts, and they gave up 693 runs, scored LESS than they did this season and made the postseason with room to spare, and only lost the division/best record by a game, which may have been because of the way Girardi played the last week.

              Year before they that gave us 753 runs and won 103 games.

              CC is CC. Nova could be as good as he’s been the last half a year for a full year. Culmulatively Hughes can’t be any worse than he was this year. Garcia’s stuff is Garcia’s stuff I while he may not have the luck he had this year, he’s going to give a good offensive team a chance to win most starts. And can Burnett be any worse?

              Yanks were 4th in team ERA in the AL. I can’t see any reason to expect significantly worse results next year than this year.

              Hell, do yourself a favor and look up the combined ERA from the 68 starts Boston gotta outta Dice-K, Wakefield, Miller, Lackey and Weiland and consider it took an epic collapse up to the very last 1/3 of an inning to keep them out of the postseason.

              • T.O. Chris

                A rotation of Sabathia, Nova, Hughes, Burnett, and Garcia may get us into the playoffs next year, but I highly doubt we could ever win a WS with that group. Sabathia didn’t have a great second half, looked nowhere close to himself in his second postseason in a row, and has added all his weight back. I think he probably regresses from his overall numbers some from this year, and that starts a steady decline for the rest of his career. He’ll be an ace for a few more years, but a real number 2 is now needed for any WS run.

      • Rich in NJ

        I disagree that Montero qua Montero is the primary issue. Positional and/or productive redundancy are an important consideration in roster construction. So if, for example, Sanchez was months away from being ML ready, it would be more reasonable to trade one of them if you thought that both were great hit/questionable field players, and one might be blocked by existing veterans with large contracts.

        But the reality is that Sanchez played at Charleston last season; Williams played at SI. So while I am optimistic about their respective futures, projecting a prospect that far away from the ML is problematic. 2014 may be the earliest either or both could arrive in NY.

        Players tend to decline at unpredictable rates, particularly as they approach 40. So we don’t know what A-Rod or Jeter will be next season, either in terms of production or their ability to remain on the field.

        An impact young bat like Montero provides insurance against any steep decline in production in 2012, or even a more gradual one in 2013.

        So it’s not about being fixated on anything other than baseball actuarial tables and the current state of the mL system. Some fans are apparently blind to that.

        • Stuckey

          “Players tend to decline at unpredictable rates, particularly as they approach 40. So we don’t know what A-Rod or Jeter will be next season, either in terms of production or their ability to remain on the field. ”

          This is true.

          How’s the Yankees do when neither was on the active roster? And/or struggling mightily when then were?

          You can always speculate about a mass simultaneous decline and reason it’s possible. I’d lose the argument it isn’t theorectically possible.

          But I tend to think the the last two years, when I think just about every fan would agree the team were never clicking all at the same time (or even anything close to it) yet they still performed as the best offense those two years combined SHOULD suggest something about their unprecedented depth.

          The Yankees will score next year, even if 1-3 of those players don’t play to the back of their baseball card.

          If you don’t grasp that, I don’t know what you’ve been watching.

  • T.O. Chris

    I know there is a lot of love for Nova out there right now, but I find it a little disconcerting that so many people are so eager to go into next season with him as our number 2 starter. I think on a Championship winning team he is a number 3 starter. He has good stuff, and generates a lot of ground balls. But he isn’t a completely dominating pitcher, and from start to start he can fluctuate anywhere from unbelievable to pretty mediocre depending on how tight his curve is.

    I don’t think we should break the bank for just anyone, or go crazy trying to find a number 2 pitcher. But if one isn’t found, I don’t think next years team goes any further than this years.

    I also think relying on Banuleos or Betances for just about anything next year is a great idea. Betances is going to be as frustrating as AJ (maybe more) when it comes to finding the strikezone. He’s never shown any real ability to know where the ball is going at any level, and that isn’t about to change in one year. Banuelos showed in his triple A outings that it is still hard for him to go even 6 full innings of good ball yet. I believe in Banuelos a lot, but not for another year or two as anything serious in the rotation. He shows a lot of inability to command his stuff, and reports were his fastball wasn’t clocking quite the same as it was after last years velocity jump.

    Ultimately I think Betances ends up in the pen full time (not next year, but eventually), and Banuelos settles in as a middle of the rotation starter, with upside as a number 2 if everything goes perfect in his development. Though I don’t expect anything close to that until 2013/14.