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.