Bad ideas to move along the off-season

Scouting The Trade Market: Tom Gorzelanny
Bernie headlines 13 newcomers on Hall of Fame ballot

The slower the off-season moves, the more restless we get. Baseball has already been gone for a month, and Yankee baseball gone almost two. With little significant activity on the trade and free agent markets, our idle thoughts can turn us mad. With these mad thoughts we can come up with some pretty silly ideas.

This is precisely what happened today when I thought of a post for this slot. Both ideas were pretty terrible, but with little to no action they seemed better than nothing. And so I present to you, a pair of damn terrible ideas to move along the off-season.

Trading for Jeremy Affeldt

Earlier today Ken Rosenthal reported that the Giants are looking to trade Jeremy Affeldt or Ramon Ramirez. The reason: their bullpen is just too expensive. It seems silly for them to cry poor after signing Javier Lopez to a two-year, $8.5 million contract earlier this off-season, but that’s apparently the situation. Since the Yankees are in the market for a lefty reliever, there’s a natural inclination to connect him with the Yanks. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty bad idea.

Affedlt is due $5 million in 2012, which is quite a sum for any reliever, let alone a LOOGY. Yet even as a LOOGY he’s not a guaranteed performer. His numbers from the past few years might look good on the whole, but here’s how he has performed against lefties.


The walk rates are far worse than Boone Logan has ever done. Sure, he can strike out a lefty if need be, but the walks remove some of that luster. Remember, too, that his low home run rates from the last two years came when he pitched in a pitcher-friendly park. He might come cheaply, since he’s a salary dump, but that’s a lot of salary for such a mediocre pitcher. The Yanks are better off sticking with Logan and spending that money elsewhere.

Adding a bad contract to get Garza

If the Cubs can dish Carlos Zambrano in any way, they just might do it. He’s owed $18 million this year, and the Cubs would do well to save even a fraction of that. They also have Alfonso Soriano, due $54 million in the next three years. Another recent Rosenthal report states: “The Cubs, to facilitate a deal, are willing to pay a significant portion of…Soriano’s contract.” At the same time, they’re said to be shopping Matt Garza.

That might set off a lightbulb. Could the Yankees try to take on one of these players in order to make a Garza deal more palatable? The answer, very plainly, is no. Even if it were a possibility, it wouldn’t be a very good idea. It would mean the Yankees would actually have to use those players in some capacity.

If the Cubs do intend to deal Garza, they likely want the greatest return in terms of prospects they can get. They might want to get rid of Soriano, and they might want to get rid of Zambrano. But they don’t necessarily want to get rid of Garza. They want to do that to get a return. Getting rid of the other guys is just a bonus. That is to say: why would they take less than possible on Garza just to shed dollars? That question gets amplified when we consider that teams wouldn’t be taking on all of Soriano’s or Zambrano’s contracts.

Let’s imagine for a moment that the Cubs are in dire financial straits and would take a lesser package of players for Garza if it meant trading Soriano or Zambrano. Why would the Yankees want either of them? Sure, they’d come far cheaper than their current contracts, but they won’t come for free. Zambrano is crazy, he walks too many guys, and his strikeout rate fell considerably last season. Soriano is under contract for his ages 36 through 38 seasons, and he’s had a rough go of it lately. His OBP hasn’t been over .330 since 2008, and last year it was below .300. And, despite a .375 wOBA in April, he still finished with a .325 wOBA.

At this point in the off-season, with a desolate, baseball-less winter ahead, our brains stir at any peep of baseball news. If it involves something the Yanks might do, we can stir even more. Yet the grim reality is that few of the currently available options make sense. That won’t stop us from discussing them, of course. But that doesn’t make the ideas any better.

Scouting The Trade Market: Tom Gorzelanny
Bernie headlines 13 newcomers on Hall of Fame ballot
  • Steve (different one)

    According to Wallace Matthews, it might take Swisher and a “prospect or two” to get Affeldt. Hooray for Espn ny!

    • JAG

      Translation: The Yankees aren’t trading for Affeldt.

      He literally may as well have said just that.

    • MattG

      That is Matthews’s valuation, or the Giants’?

      One of them is insane

      • Steve (different one)

        It was his, and he did say the Yankees would never do that. Just thought that was an amazing assessment from someone who writes about baseball for a living.

        • JohnnyC

          When the boxing gig dried up a couple of years back, Matthews should have looked into becoming a paralegal or short-order cook or anything. ESPN thinks he can write about baseball only because ESPN absolutely despises the Yankees.

    • thenamestsam

      Lol. Not to go all Ted Nelson on you, but do you have a source for that? I’d just really like to see it. Can always use a good laugh.

      • Steve (different one)

        Was in his chat today

        • thenamestsam


      • Ted Nelson

        I asked for a source that the Yankees were more profitable in 2011 than ever before… it’s a private organization and I honestly wanted to know if it was pure speculation or Plank actually had a source. Since I still haven’t seen a source, I have to assume it was speculation.

        Since then it’s been Plank incessantly asking for sources, mostly on comments that in no way need to be cited. Just trolling.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    You know, I proposed such a deal today in another blog but you have explained so well that I can now see the light. I also proposed a similar deal for Rios and Danks but I see it is the same problem.

  • Mister Delaware

    Becomes an interesting valuation question if you put Zambrano in the mix. Say (very hypothetically) the asking price is Banuelos, Laird and Sanchez for Garza OR Laird and Sanchez for Garza and Zambrano. What’s Banuelos’ value to the Yankees, especially with the new rules in place? $18MM seems steep, but …

    (And yes, this is a simplistic version and I’m not implying either trade makes sense for either team.)

    • JAG

      I would say the Yankees would be crazy to not take the second deal, particularly because nowhere in Zambrano’s contract does it say the Yankees can’t cut him if he’s not working out. Eating that much money (although I’m SURE the Cubs would have to eat some of it in the trade) is not optimal, but getting a well-above-average starting pitcher who fits a clear need on your club without giving up any of your 3 best prospects? That has to be worth Zambrano’s 2012 contract. In fact, if the Cubs can be encouraged to eat some of his money by adding in an out-of-options guy like Golson and a pitching prospect like Warren or Mitchell, all the better.

      Of course, not that that trade is going to happen at all, and it’s exactly this kind of thinking that Joe’s arguing against in this post.

    • MattG

      There is a calculator for that (although I don’t have the link). I would guess that Banuelos’s value to the Yankees would easily exceed $18M. He is so close to the majors, and so good, even conservatively you would peg him at 1.5 WAR per year. The Yankees have him for 6 years, that’s 9 WAR.

      9 WAR is roughly $40M.

      • Hardy

        You have to subtract the expected salary above minimum from the WAR value to get the net (trade) value.
        I think to remember that players earn about 30-40% of their free agent value during the first six years.

  • Yank The Frank

    Keep Hank away from the phones.

  • jack knife

    romanski,hall and banuelos all should be given the chance as the LOOGY before we get stupid and go after the above mentioned or anyone else. If not then trade them away to teams that will use them

    we say well they are not ready how do we know they dominate the minors who really knows what they will do in the bigs its worth a try

    • Fin

      Come on! Really, you want Banuelos as your LOOGY? You want him to pitch 40 innings next year? I would stop watching the Yankees if they turned Banuelos into a LOOGY. FOrtunately, its not going to happen. Unless its in a September call up roll and for the playoffs.

      • Need Pitching

        thank you for your sanity

      • Yazman

        Agreed. I vote for AAA starter April through August, then MLB bullpen in September/October.

  • Thomas

    Since no else has and TSJC is not here (safe)

  • Fernando

    There is NO need to waste $5M on Affeldt, less alone give up anything to get him. I hope the team has learned from Marte and Feliciano that it’s not wise to spend big money on relievers.

    If they are going the free agent route, I’d suggest George Sherrill on a ONE year, $1.5M-$2M deal. He’s done much better versus lefties in his career. Last year, the BA was high vs LHB (.256) but he show that he is still tough on lefties as he struck out 32 of the 81 batters he faced (and only ONE walk). He ended

    I’d also consider Jose Mijares (2.6 career WAR), if the Twins non-tender him. He should be even cheaper than Sherrill, as he is in his first year of arbitration and coming off some injuries. Otherwise, he has been a solid reliever (.212 vs LHB) and has enjoyed success vs AL East (no team has hit more than .207 against him).

    • Jesse

      “There is NO need to waste $5M on Affeldt”

      Since when do the Yankees feel it’s a “need” to “waste” money on anyone? I’m sure their needs involve investing their money on someone who can be useful.

      • Plank


      • Rainbow Connection

        Soriano…the other one…the one that is currently absolutely miserable on the Yankees.

        • Jesse

          There’s these wonderful things called statistics. Please try using them.

          This season Soriano had a 4.12 ERA, an 8.2 K/9, 4.1 BB/9.
          He sucked early, but when he came off the DL he had a 3.33 ERA, 9.6 K/9, 2.58 BB/9 and in the playoffs he had a 1.93 ERA, 7.7 K/9 and he didn’t walk a batter.

          So based on the stats you’d be a fool to say he’s “absolutely miserable”…

  • Vanloan

    I might consider discussing a Garza Soriano package if we were including AJ in the package we were sending back to them. Not saying it would happen, but I’d be willing to listen and see what other details would be needed to make the deal happen.

    • Ted Nelson

      I would imagine AJ and Soriano would sort of cancel each other out and it would sort of effectively be two separate trades: AJ-Soriano and Garza-prospects

  • Hardy

    If you are looking for topics for future posts, I would be interested in a comprehensive plan to get the Yankees below the luxury tax threshold. That won’t happen, but it might be interesting to see what the best route to do this actually looks like.