Don’t Expect A Trade For An Ace


Late last week, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports both suggested that the San Francisco Giants should consider improving their club by trading ace Tim Lincecum. Cameron roped the Yankees into his argument by suggesting a swap of Lincecum and Aubrey Huff to the Bombers for a package of Jesus Montero and Eduardo Nunez. He argued that the deal would clear plenty of salary, thus allowing the Giants to improve their offense with free agents as well as through contributions from Montero and Nunez, and would provide the Giants more long-term value that Lincecum’s two remaining contract years would. While the idea sounds interesting in theory and certainly caught the eyes of many Yankees fans, a look at the incentives and motivations involved when trading an ace for a package of highly regarded prospects suggests that this proposed trade, as well as others like it, is extremely unlikely.

The Incentives

One extremely important factor to look at when evaluating the trade value of an ace pitcher is service time. A pitcher that has more than 2 years of team control remaining obviously has more value than one with 2 or fewer relatively cheap seasons remaining, but quantifying that value in terms of prospects can be quite tricky. This issue makes it very difficult for teams to agree upon fair value in an ace-for-prospects trade. A general manager holding a pitcher with a lot of service time remaining is unlikely to accept fair market value for him, because there are a number of factors that incentivize him to hold onto his pitcher unless he is offered a massive package of prospects in return. For example, the ace is often the face of the franchise, and trading him can lead to disillusionment in the fanbase. Regarding a young star in particular, the fans have just enjoyed watching the pitcher bloom into ace-hood, and would react poorly to seeing him dealt. Take a look at Giants blogger Grant Brisbee’s reaction to Cameron’s suggestion:

How about instead of trading him to afford other good players, how about you just buy the other good players? In the short-term, it might put them overbudget, but when the wretched contracts come off the books in the next two years, the Giants will look for ways to spend that money. Spend it now while Lincecum’s here, and hope that they’re all still effective in the future when you have to stick to the budget.

Or don’t. Subsist on the David DeJesuses and Coco Crispix of the world because of a self-imposed budget. Whatever. But don’t trade Lincecum to chase after an extra win or two, especially if all it would take is money to get those wins. That’s an easy way to make some disillusioned fans.

The thread continues for about 1000 comments that largely agree with Grant, and is illustrative of the sort of reaction that comes with trading homegrown aces. Trading Lincecum, or pitchers like Lincecum, come with an added cost of upsetting the fanbase, which makes getting an enormous return an imperative.

Additionally, while the ace pitcher’s performance is reasonably predictable (assuming he is not an extreme injury risk), prospects are significantly more volatile. As such, there is always the risk that a number of the acquired prospects bust while the ace is winning regularly for the other club, which might look incredibly bad for the general manager as it plays out over a number of seasons. Again, this incentivizes the general manager to push for as many high-end prospects as possible in the deal, even if the prospects sought exceed “fair market value,” so as to increase to the probability that he has something of value to show from the trade.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the general manager holding a pitcher with plenty of service time remaining does not have to make a deal at all. Those pitchers are relatively cheap, and the GM can usually afford to sit back and allow the pitcher to rack up wins while he waits for an above market deal to come along. Unless the team is in serious financial trouble, they have little reason to even consider trading a young ace.

Taking all of these factors together suggests that a trade for an ace with more than two seasons of control remaining would usually require the acquiring team to “blow away” the trading club, making such deals fairly unlikely. In fact, the only two trades over the last 5 seasons that meet the criteria are those of Erik Bedard to the Mariners and Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks (the second Haren trade occurred when he had a 4.60 ERA and was not perceived as an ace on the market), and both of those trades were perceived in the baseball world as overpayments by the acquiring clubs. These trades do not happen because GM’s are incentivized to avoid them, and the only way to complete one is by emptying your farm system to allow the trading GM a perceived “win.”

Conversely, as a player drops below two seasons of contract time remaining, the incentives swing in the other direction. The trading GM can tell his fanbase that he needs to trade the pitcher before he reaches free agency, thus freeing the GM to make a deal without quite the same backlash as he would encounter under different circumstances. He is now incentivized to move his player rather than lose him for nothing, and is willing to accept a “fair” deal. However, as the player inches closer to free agency, the acquiring team has competing incentives that can often impact what sort of deal gets made.

On one hand, the GM does not want to relinquish top level prospects while only getting a few months of the star in return. There is little that looks worse for a GM than giving up a major prospect for a few months of a player, the player not carrying the club to any sort of success, and then seeing the prospect star in another city. Furthermore, the acquiring club knows that the other club is desperate to receive some sort of return from the player before he hits free agency, which further pushes them to refrain from giving up their best prospects. On the other hand, clubs that seem to be on the cusp of winning are often desperate in their own right, and that could lead to them setting aside the factors mentioned above and bringing a fair offer to the table. This sort of trade happens more frequently (I counted 8 over the last 5 seasons, and the return tends to be a mixed bag), but is fairly unpredictable and requires a very specific set of circumstances.

The Conclusion

This brings us back to Lincecum and the Yankees. Lincecum, as a pitcher who has exactly two seasons of contract time remaining, could go into either category, but probably belongs in the first because the Giants have no real desperate need to move him. As such, the only way the Yankees could acquire him is to blow the Giants away, and that is simply not how Brian Cashman operates. He would likely offer Montero and Nunez for Lincecum, but it is doubtful that he would add more top prospects, and this trade is unlikely to happen without them. Any similar trade would likely run into the same problem, as Cashman’s unwillingness to include multiple top prospects in a single trade would prevent him from constructing a “blow me away” package.

This leaves those clamoring for another top arm looking to the second category of pitcher, those aces with two or fewer seasons of contract time remaining who are on teams that are motivated to move them. The problem is that unlike in past seasons, when pitchers such as Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, and Cliff Lee fit into that category, there is no obvious candidate to target. As I noted above, a very specific set of circumstances is required to make such a deal, and the first of those is that such a pitcher has to actually be made available. At this point, none are on the market, and it does not seem like any are on the horizon either. The only possibility seems to be Zack Greinke, and the Yankees have already shown an unwillingness to part with a representative package for him in the past.

The Upshot

All of this is a long way of saying that it is unlikely that the Yankees make a deal for an ace this offseason. However, there are a bevy of second-tier pitchers nearing the end of their contracts, all of whom could likely be had for the right price. Such pitchers make for fantastic trade speculation, because most of the incentives discussed above diminish greatly when shifted to a lower quality pitcher. Teams are more willing to relinquish such arms, and the lower cost makes them more attractive to acquiring general managers. The Giants actually have one such pitcher, with Matt Cain being a year closer to free agency than Lincecum and not quite as talented as Timmy is. John Danks and Francisco Liriano fit into this category as well, as do a handful of other pitchers who could become available in the coming months. Over the next few weeks, RAB will profile a number of these pitchers in a series that will look at trade targets who are 1) not quite aces but are still talented pitchers and 2) are in the final year of their contracts.

Categories : Analysis


  1. LeftyLarry says:

    The Yankees have so many good prospects now at the lower levels and so many “win now” players on the ML roster, I don’t think Cashman has to worry too much about the top prospects in Triple A or beginning Majors.
    If he can get a #1 quality pitcher NOW to go along with CC he can wait 2-3 years for the myriad, the absolute plethora, of kids he now has at the 3 lower levels.JMHO.
    They can’t ALL bust, too much talent down there now.
    I hate trading prospects but with AROD, JETER and the others winding down from their primes, I’d do whatever I had to do to get another big pitcher who would possibly make me a WS winner 1-2-3 times over the next 3-4 years.
    To get knocked out of the playoffs early every season and squander all the money invested in position players would be a big mistake.

    • Soriano Is A Liar says:

      The counter argument though, is that with Banuelos and many other pitchers among the high level farm system, the Yanks shouldn’t worry about a big trade, and if they can’t get Wilson or Darvish or whoever they prefer, just wait a few month until those pitchers start to graduate to the bigs.

      • Guns of the Navarone says:

        A few months?

        I think we should have learned by now that there is no guarantee as to when a player will be ready to graduate to the bigs, or that they’ll be anywhere near effective as Wilson, Darvish or Jackson.

        • Soriano Is A Liar says:

          This is true. I’m not saying they should just ignore the free agent market, just that if something big doesn’t fall into their laps, like Cliff Lee didn’t last year, it might be better to again try and wait the prospects out. Cashman didn’t trade Montero last year and now it looks like he’s going to be a slam dunk. If they miss out on Wilson/Darvish/Jackson, I’d rather see them go that Garcia/Colon style route again, knowing that not only are the prospects getting close, but that the FA pitching market is super deep in just one year from now. If you can survive one more year without making a major trade, you’ll reap the benefits when you still have all your prospects and Cain, Hamels, Grienke, Danks and more all hit the market.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            I mostly agree with you, but I would point out that you might just as easily see Cain, Hamels, Grienke, Danks, etc. (or at least a few) re-sign this off-season.

            I would say it’s a balance really.

    • Craig Maduro says:

      Another counter argument is that with Jeter, A-Rod and others aging and/or declining, it doesn’t make sense to move a guy like Montero who is going to need to carry a heavy load of the offense until some of that talent from the lower minors makes its way up to the bigs.

    • Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

      I agree we need a shutdown pitcher. You have to remember that even with the patchwork staff we had, we got pretty far. It was the hitting that failed us in the end. One clutch here or there and we would have been in the WS. That said, I believe we can sign a Buherle or a Darvish without giving only money without giving away guys like Montero who might make the difference the next time around.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Montero isn’t your average prospect… I think Cashman definitely has to worry about trading him and ensure he’s getting good value.

  2. Guns of the Navarone says:

    I never thought I’d say this… but what the hell is Dave Cameron talking about?

    • Slugger27 says:

      i generally like camerons work, but ya, this is an article he probably wants back. the title was eye-opening so i read it preparing for something brilliant i had never thought about, and i was greeted with…… that.

      also, theres no way anyone can think of liriano as a no. 2 at this point.

    • steve (different one) says:

      I guess you didn’t read the 2010 organizational rankings…j/k

  3. Steve S. says:

    First and foremost, congrats to Mo on his maiden voyage at RAB.

    Next, I was disappointed to see not a single word on finances. Timmy is expected to earn around 20 mil in arb this year, which affects both his trade value and the team’s motivation to deal him. The Giants had a payroll of 75.5 mil (BR) last year, and are projected to have a payroll of almost 120M(!) for 2012. Unless they plan one of the biggest payroll expansions in MLB history, something has to give. I would be shocked if they didn’t move Timmy for this very reason. Yes, it will tick off their fans, yes its tough to get fair value for an ace. But baseball is a business, and you have to balance your books lest you turn into the next Mets or Dodgers.

    BTW-Sabean is I believe the longest tenured GM in the sport. If anyone has job security, it’s him.

    • Moshe Mandel says:

      Everything I’ve read on the issue suggests the Giants have no need to shed payroll. In fact, the suggestions that they trade Lincecum have all come with a corresponding major FA signing of a hitter.

    • Moshe Mandel says:

      Everything I’ve read on the issue suggests the Giants have no need to shed payroll. In fact, the suggestions that they trade Lincecum have all come with a corresponding major FA signing of a big hitter.

      • Steve S. says:

        They’ve been in the 100 mil range before, but adding 20 is a big jump. To add a big bat on top of that and therefore another 20+ would be a payroll jump of 40M over 2010, which doesn’t strike me as feasible. Again, something has to give.

      • Sarah says:

        Exactly. All the SF media indicates the payroll is expected to be the same next year, at about $120 – $125M.

        This isn’t a team in rebuilding mode, looking to shed payroll and win 4 or 5 years from now. They are trying to contend now, while they have the pitching staff together.

        I’d be stunned if either Lincecum or Cain was moved this off season.

    • Steve H. says:

      The Mets and Dodgers financial woes aren’t really baseball related though. There is about a zero percent chance the Giants would be in financial trouble with a $125 million payroll.

    • Steve S. says:

      Another note, as we saw in the Johan Santana negotiations when you look to deal someone who is expected to earn 20M+ the universe of teams that can afford him (and therefore the number of bidders) becomes very limited. That’s another reason why its tough to get value back. Also, as GMs often say why pay for someone with money AND talent when I can wait and just pay with money? The NET value (after salary) is the value the prospective team feels like it to make up for in a deal, which is why you’re often dealing in prospects with their uncertain futures.

      But as I said above, I’m not sure the Giants have any choice in the matter. If they’re not dealing Timmy, they need to gut their team elsewhere. He’s the most valuable chip they have and the most expensive payroll item, so he makes the most sense.

      • Moshe Mandel says:

        This is a good point, as Cash has shown a willingness to wait rather than pay twice. But with teams locking up their young stars, I wonder if we might see fewer stars hit the market, making trades the only way to get one in his prime.

        • Paul from Boston says:

          We’re already seeing this. The last few free agent crops have been very bare. It’s saying something that the guys to reach free agency are 1B and second and third tier starters.

          • Steve S. says:

            You raise an excellent point. The FA market is bare of high end pitching this year. If I’m a GM and have a top flight starter to dangle, this is the year I do it. Lots of demand out there and no supply. That’s a recipe for a big return.

        • bg90027 says:

          I don’t really agree with you here. I think you read to much into Cashman not trading for Santana. I think he had questions about Santana’s health and whether he was declining. I think he also felt that the Yankees were at the time more than one player away and that made him more conservative.

          He was willing to trade Montero for a couple of months of Cliff Lee. I doubt he’d be so willing to today but it still tells me that he is willing to be very aggressive with what he views as the right targets. I just think that we are talking about a very small pool of players fitting that description. Linecum is a great pitcher though so he might.

    • Sarah says:

      Giants payroll was $118M last year. Don’t know where you got $75M from, but that’s not correct.

      Also, the team won the WS in 2010 and sold out every game last year. They can afford to pay Timmy and sign someone else. The issue is ownership does not want to increase payroll. That message has been sent loud and clear with front office interviews over the last month.

      If you read the post at McCovey Chronicles, you’ll see that is Brisbee’s (and others) chief complaint: the team has the money and is not willing to spend it. And perhaps understandably, since they have some nasty contracts on the books that they’ve been burned by…

      There’s almost no chance the Giants end up like the Dodgers or the Mets.

      • Steve S. says:

        It’s from BR, but I just noticed that’s their current payroll, with FAs taken off the 2010 number. In any case, their 3 year average is around 100M, and their projected 2012 payroll is 118. They increased payroll around 18 mil from 2010-11 in an attempt to repeat that failed. I would think that should drive home the need to add a bat, but unless they shed payroll or increase it further there doesn’t appear to be room in the budget.

        Don’t forget, they had deeper pockets this year coming off a deep playoff run and WS victory. They missed the playoffs this year, so I would think the pull would be to cut this year, not add. If they plan on adding a bat, I think something has to give somewhere. Not necessarily Lincecum, but he’s the obvious choice.

        • Moshe Mandel says:

          Isn’t Cain the obvious choice, being a year closer to free agency, not as good, and not the face of the franchise?

          • Steve S. says:

            He’s certainly another option, he’s scheduled to get a huge bump from 7 to 15M this year. Dealing him could give them enough flexibility to add a bat, and of course if they add a bat in the deal then that might be enough. I’m thinking they need at least 2 offensive upgrades given their woes last year. I guess it all depends on what you think each might fetch in return. Lincecum makes the most and is worth the most,so he’s “obvious” from payroll standpoint.

            • Sarah says:

              Again, knock me over with a feather if either of those guys is moved. San Francisco won’t be able to contend if one of those guys is moved. The rotation then relies on Bumgarner, Sanchez, Vogelsong and Zito? That’s not a contending team unless Zito becomes 2002 Barry Zito again. A bat becomes rather pointless if you don’t have the stellar pitching staff together.

              • Steve S. says:

                If you think they’re going to add an elite bat, tell me how they do that on the FA market without taking their payroll to 140M+, a number they’ve never approached.

                The alternative is the trade market, where in the right deal they could add a few bats and maintain or even lower payroll.

                • Sarah says:

                  Never approached is not the same as “can’t approach.” The SF front office/ownership could choose to spend a little more to add Reyes or Beltran. And if they don’t, it’s not really because they can’t afford to (this is the team that DFA’d Aaron Rowand and his $11M/year salary), it’s because they don’t want to.

                  Again, this is academic. Clearly you think SF might be willing to move one of those two guys, and I think they won’t.

              • Steve S. says:

                BTW-Nobody said they were moving both, it was an either/or. I think you can win in that division with Linceum, Bumgarner, Sanchez, Vogelsong and Zito as your first 4, plus there’s always the possibility one of the players who comes back in a deal is a starter.

                For example, if I’m the Yanks would I do Montero, Warren and Laird for Cain? Personally, yes I would.

                • Sarah says:

                  Sure but that’s no deal for San Francisco.

                  It’s really a philosophical discussion since neither of those guys is moving. The Giants have made it pretty clear they want to extend both Cain and Lincecum, and are offering Sanchez in trade.

  4. dutchsailor says:

    What about a trade for another of SF starting pitchers. What about Sanchez, who had a great season in 2010, was doing well last year until he was injured. He is left handed, and has 15 mil due this year. Trade slightly lower level prospects, and still give SF salary relief.

    • Sarah says:

      No, Sanchez is arb-eligible, and probably looking at about $5 mil in salary next year, maybe a bit more.

      I think he’s worth exploring, since he’s young and available. Most people around here will tell you he’s a left handed AJ Burnett and pass.

      • steve (different one) says:

        Most people around here will tell you he’s a left handed AJ Burnett and pass

        Right, we call that guy Oliver Perez…

        Don’t get me wrong, there is some upside there, and I would roll the dice if it was more of a salary dump, but we shouldn’t pretend he’s something he isn’t.

        • Sarah says:

          They would be selling low on him, after the year he had, so I doubt he’d cost a small army in prospects, but he would cost something. I think he has 2 arb years left, so he’s relatively cheap, aka not a salary dump.

  5. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    “Trading Lincecum, or a pitcher like Lincecum, come with the added cost of upsetting the fanbase…..” Conversely trading a top prospect like Montero upon whom many Yankee fans have placed high value on would upsrt many of us. But I guess we are not important, only the Giant fans are.

  6. Kosmo says:

    Giants would be in a better financial situation if they weren´t paying Zito and a few other underperforming and/or since released PP.
    Trading Lincecum would be a huge PR fiasco. He´s the face of the franchise.
    Cameron suggests 2 trade possibilities with NY. The second one to me is the better deal simply because it spares NY from trading Montero.
    Giants could just role spending their resources on a couple of FA, Beltran,Crisp etc. and hope Belt and Pill hit and Huff is once again the player he was in 2010.

  7. Another Bronx Dynasty says:

    Yankees really need to find a position for Montero, and it cant be DH. If they put him there than we have to deal with an aging A-Rod at 3rd base. I think there are another 6 yrs left?

    • Kosmo says:

      Montero is penciled in as a DH, backup C. When Martin rests Montero will catch and Arod will DH. When Martin´s contract is up Montero and Romine share catching duties unless of course one of them is traded.

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

      Alex can still play a fine defensive third base. This is not an issue the team needs to be immediately concerned about. Perhaps the 50-60 games Jesus gets behind the plate convinces the team he could handle more.

      My hunch is that the team will feel Alex’s steeper decline much like they felt it this year – he won’t hold up to playing more than 100 games a season. That would mean having someone who plays a solid third base would be the bigger priority.

  8. Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

    Trash journalism at its finest. Goes down easy. Gives people something to argue about in the off-season.

    I agree that you’d need to throw an amazing offer at the Giants to pry Timmy away. Along with Brian Wilson’s beard, he is the face of that franchise. Travel to that ballpark sometime and see.

    Aim lower. Keep Montero, Banuelos and, if you are able to, Betances. I agree that a Danks is a nice target to slot behind CC and allow room for both the B’s to emerge and give you some options with the 2012 crop of FAs.

    • Craig Maduro says:

      I’m looking forward to seeing what type of packages Yankees fans are willing to deal for Danks. People had me a little upset last year when they were talking about including Montero in a deal for him. Even back then Danks wasn’t the type of arm the Yanks should be moving Montero for.

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

      BTW….I meant Cameron was trash journalism, not Moshe. Don’t want to inadvertently piss anyone off. Moshe is the man.

  9. tbord says:

    Unless there are some major upgrades, Nova as the #2, Hughes as the #3, is really quite scary. Neither arm has ever been consistent. Fully understand why Cashman’s mantra is “Pitching, Pitching, Pitching”. Banuelos and Betances probably need another year at AAA. The AAA crop from this past year is MEH. It’s going to take some creativity this year to repeat last years success.

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

      Sometimes you go into the season with a scary rotation. The Yankees are not exempt from that. I’m not disagreeing with you. If, though, in the name of not ruining things for the next five seasons, that’s what happens, then that’s what happens.

      • Rainbow Connection says:

        But for $200 million, should they be going into the season with one real SP?
        Seems like some major mismanagement.

      • tbord says:

        OR, you can work hard to trade for a 2nd or 3rd tier guy to transition to the new staff. All the pieces are there for Cashman, so there should be NO EXCUSES. Yes, it is best to break new guys in without the undue pressure of winning immediately. That comes about when a GM has done his/her job properly. This is the NY Yankees, and not the Tulsa Drillers, or is it? We fans expect nothing less than balls to the walls success. I guess that makes us who we are – Yankee Fans.

  10. Paul from Boston says:

    Lincecum is the wrong pitcher. Trade Montero straight up for Cain. I don’t love it, but Montero doesn’t have a place with this club. Girardi won’t play him enough at catcher, 1B is blocked off, and DH is a waste of his value. I’d rather they have Cain and Fat Papi, than Montero alone.

    • Kosmo says:

      36 year old Papi instead of a 21 year old with a possibly great future ahead of him ? No way !

      • Paul from Boston says:

        You’re missing the part where Cain is in the rotation.

        • Craig Maduro says:

          Still not worth it. ESPECIALLY if the main reason for moving Montero is because he’s not going to be an everyday catcher.

          • Paul from Boston says:

            A DH is not a solution to a problem. A true #2 in the rotation is.

            The Yankees will never have trouble finding offense because it is so readily available on the free agent market. Offense without defense is the most abundant commodity in the sport.

            • Craig Maduro says:

              While you’re not making bad points at all, I have to disagree with you in this particular situation. Sure, its easy to fill a DH spot, but impact talents like Montero absolutely are not readily available on the free agent market. Not at his price, his youth and with his upside.

            • Moshe Mandel says:

              I think context here is important. The Yankees are paying a lot of money to hitters who are aging. They have a number of positions that are locked in for the next few years, making a lot of big middle of the order bats like Pujols a bad fit. A cheap middle of the order hitter, even at DH, holds a lot of value for this team.

              • Paul from Boston says:

                Arguing dollars with the Yankees is like arguing ice with Eskimos.

                Considering the context involves examining opportunity costs. DH is not a problem to solve. It’s more like a free opportunity than something to plan for. Locking in a DH blinds the team to other possibilities. We saw that in the later Giambi Era. That’s what Cashman has been trying to avoid.

                • Moshe Mandel says:

                  The Yankees have actually shown in recent years that they do have a number that they just will not surpass. Their payroll has been steady in the 205-215M range for a while now. So I do think looking at their current lineup and the costs associated with it is relevant. More importantly, they are locked in for the next few seasons at 3B, 1B, SS, hopefully 2B, and either CF or LF (Gardner). Considering that few middle of the order bats play C (and those that do are usually locked up), the Yankees really do not have many areas in which they have the flexibility to add the middle of the order hitter they will need as ARod and Teix decline. I think Montero holds a ton of value for them as a hitter, even if he is playing BUC and DH.

                  • Paul from Boston says:

                    Ever notice that number came in after the Boss died? Now his kids understand that the more they spend they less the family has to spend. What else is Hank Steinbrenner doing to earn a living?

                    “More importantly, they are locked in for the next few seasons at 3B, 1B, SS, hopefully 2B”

                    All guys who will need increasing time at DH in the next few years. Cano will be a better DH than 2B by the end of the massive contract you all want to give him.

                    “I think Montero holds a ton of value for them as a hitter, even if he is playing BUC and DH.”

                    When given a choice between Montero and Romine as the BUC, they chose Romine.

                    As a DH, Montero is worth more as a trade chip, even if it’s only for a guy like Cain. The alternative this year is more money to lesser, riskier pitchers in Wilson and Darvish.

                    • Moshe Mandel says:

                      Paul, you make a fair point. I happen to disagree, but I think your position has merit, particularly the idea that they may need the DH for other players in future seasons. I will disagree on Montero and Romine, because in the postseason, Montero was the backup and Romine was sitting at home.

                    • Craig Maduro says:

                      People keep acting as if the DH slot is going to need to be occupied every other game. That’s not the case.

                    • Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

                      Why should the Steinbrenners increase payroll so that they can give more money to other billionaires that don’t want to spend.

                  • Craig Maduro says:

                    Could not agree more here. Thank you for taking the same rambling thoughts that were running around my head and placing them so cleanly in your comment.

                  • Paul from Boston says:

                    We’ve seen how filling the DH slot affects the other roster slots. For me it’s not just the likelihood that Cano will be a DH within six years. It’s the inability to use the DH slot as an opportunity rather than an obligation. Giambi was an obligation. Signing Fat Papi and Sizemore would be opportunities.

                    Montero wasn’t the backup or else he would have been allowed to hit for Martin. He never was. They had plenty of chances to get him reps in September. They chose Romine instead (4 GS to 3 for Montero).

                    • Craig Maduro says:

                      The same way fans like me can’t get TOO excited over a strong September at the plate, people can’t draw too much from the GS behind the dish for Montero and Romine. Not only was it just one month of action, but the split was 4 to 3.

    • KyleLitke says:

      I have to say I think you’re absolutely nuts to suggest the Yankees would be better off trading Montero for one year of a #2/#3 starter who is a flyball guy going from an extreme pitchers park to an extreme hitters park, rather than trading for TWO years of an ace with a great strikeout rate. I honestly can’t see even the tiniest reason to take Cain over Lincecum except a slightly lower strikeout rate or a serious concern about cost (which isn’t really an issue for the Yankees especially since it wouldn’t be a long term contract). I’d love to see this argument made because I can’t figure it out.

      • KyleLitke says:

        Sorry, slightly lower WALK rate as the only possible reason I see Cain over Lincecum, not strikeout rate. Lincecum’s strikeout rate is obviously light years better than Cain’s. Plus a better home run rate aside from this year. Plus he’d be under contract for two more years as opposed to just one.

  11. Craig Maduro says:

    Simply no.

    I’m getting so sick of people disregarding Montero because he might have to be a DH/backup C. I understand that a good hitting catcher has more overall value than a good hitting DH, but some fans are making this too complicated. If the kid mashes nobody is going to give a damn where he has to play.

    In fact, if Montero’s bat turns out to meet the hype, I would argue that it makes sense to limit his time at catcher.

    • Craig Maduro says:

      That was intended to be a reply to the Montero for Cain suggestion.

      • Paul from Boston says:

        A DH has very little value because they’re so easy to replace. If you don’t like Fat Papi, sign Beltran or Sizemore have mucho flexibility.

    • Steve S. says:

      You do realize that most prospects don’t reach their ceiling, and even for top prospects the odds are 2-1 against them ever being elite at the MLB level?

      The assumption that prospect hugging fans need to get past is that Montero is or will be an elite bat. Odds are against that, so trading him now while that has yet to be determined is the smart move for a win-now team like the Yanks. If you wait a year or two and he becomes exposed, you won’t be able to get a front line pitcher for him.

      Put another way, what do the Yanks need right now, another bat or a starter?

      • Paul from Boston says:

        Worse, he’ll be exposed as a one dimensional player, especially with Girardi as his manager.

        Look at what happened to Billy Butler. He’s a 2 to 4 win player and likely no more.

        • Paul from Boston says:

          Johnny Damon was more valuable than Billy Butler last year.

        • Steve S. says:

          As a former outstanding defensive Catcher (with Tony Pena in his ear) I’ll trust Girardi’s judgement on who should and shouldn’t be catching everyday. If you worry about him being exposed at the plate think about how much worse if he’s behind it and costing you games. As well as hurting his own trade value.

          • Paul from Boston says:

            If you trust Girardi’s “judgement” then Jorge never would have been a starter. We’ll see the Mathis and Romine’s of the world.

            I’m not worried about his bat being exposed.

            • Steve S. says:

              “Never”? Girardi managed the team in 2000?

              And if you know how the decision went down last year, you would recall that it was Cashman who visited Jorge in the hospital after he had knee surgery and told him that he should prepare to play 2011 as a DH. So it was an organizational decision.

              • Paul from Boston says:

                “So it was an organizational decision.”

                It was an organization decision to give more starts behind the plate to Romine than Montero in September? Or to not pinch hit for Martin with the better bat?

                Please. Girardi is just like Scioscia. They’d rather see themselves back there than a hitting catcher. Montero isn’t a catcher in his eyes. Why hold onto him for another two or three years just to find that out?

      • Moshe Mandel says:

        I wonder what the odds are for a hitter who has already made it to AAA and is still considered a top prospect. I bet those odds increase significantly. Still not great, but better than 2 to 1.

        • Steve S. says:

          That’s fair, there are some prospects get ranked highly at the lower levels and stumble as they climb the ladder. But overall the top names tend to be pretty consistent.

      • Craig Maduro says:

        Yes, I realize this. Although I do wonder if the percentage of successful graduations have increased lately. New convo for a different day though…

        Anyway, my thing is, while the Yankees are always in “win-now” mode, you still have to keep the future in view as well – something the Yanks have done a good job of lately. If Montero delivers the offensive production that everyone expects him to (and I know “if” is the key term there), I think he’s going to be more valuable than Matt Cain.

        In the meantime, there are other ways to upgrade the pitching staff without moving your No. 1 prospect. I think that would be a wiser move for the Yanks.

        • Paul from Boston says:

          What are the other ways to upgrade? Wilson and Darvish are far riskier for the cost than plucking a guy like Cain a year early.

          • Craig Maduro says:

            Are they?

            Matt Cain is probably the best of the trio, but he’s easily going to cost the most when you factor in an extension and top prospects.

          • KyleLitke says:

            I don’t know about that, especially Darvish whose theoretical contract would be helped by no luxury tax on the posting fee. Matt Cain would easily be the most costly if people are sitting here talking about trading Montero for him, and while he would likely be the best of the three in 2012 (well, has the best chance to be the best…), he’s not going to be nearly as good in the AL East in a hitters ballpark as he was in the NL West in a pitchers ballpark, and after 2012 he’s gone forever (or you resign him in which case you likely could have just signed him anyway…the Lee situation isn’t how those things usually go). If we assume Cain would not resign here (whether because he doesn’t want to or because the Yankees go after Hamels instead), then you’d be making the 2012 team better while making teams for years to come after that worse (either by taking away the only cost controlled, potential middle of the order bat off the team, or by taking away the chance to trade Montero for someone like Felix or Kershaw in the future). Even if he did resign, again, they likely could have just signed him anyway.

  12. Rich in NJ says:

    I don’t want to trade multiple, top tier young assets for almost anyone, particularly a pitcher given their fragility.

    • Steve S. says:

      Lincecum has always had people holding their breath with his unconventional delivery, but the facts are what they are. He’s been exceptionally durable, so there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue to be going forward. There were some velocity concerns in 2010, but he rebounded nicely last year. He’s 27 years old. I just don’t see how anyone could be against dealing prospects for one of the 5 best pitchers in baseball.

      • Moshe Mandel says:

        I’d make a deal for Lincecum that included multiple top prospects. I just do not think Cashman would.

      • Rich in NJ says:

        You don’t think that players tend to be more durable in their early to mid-20s than they are at any other point in their career?

        His FB velo has declined almost 2 mph from its peak. That could presage arm trouble.

        Almost any trade would likely include Montero and Banuelos. I wouldn’t trade Montero for any pitcher. If I am trading Banuelos, it would only be for a pitcher who is cost-controlled, like Kershaw.

        • Steve S. says:

          His FB velo has declined almost 2 mph from its peak. That could presage arm trouble.

          ..or it could mean he’s growing up, and learning how to pitch more and throw less. Changing speeds on the same pitch is a good thing, but it hurts your overall average.

          That velocity chart looks like someone who’s learned how to pitch to me. Also, he’s thrown 200+ innings for the past 4 years and maintained his average velocity after an early peak when he was first called up. Why would anyone reasonably think he is hurt?

          • Rich in NJ says:

            If Lincecum didn’t weight something like 165 lb, I’d be more likely subscribe to the “learning how do pitch” line of reasoning.

            I didn’t say he is hurt. That’s why I used the word presage.

            On a larger point, I don’t believe in the go all out to win-now philosophy. I take a more conservative view. I like to accumulate depth to be in a position to fill the inevitable holes with quality replacements, and not over-leverage the present.

            • Steve S. says:

              If Lincecum didn’t weight something like 165 lb, I’d be more likely subscribe to the “learning how do pitch” line of reasoning.

              If he was 30-32, I’d agree that I’d be worried about his frame. But he’s 27 and has been nothing but a workhorse.

              • Rich in NJ says:

                Granted, neither of us can predict the future; I don’t view the risk as being worth the cost both in terms of player assets and subsequent huge money/huge years contract (added to a team with too many of those).

                Again, my opposition to any proposed trade is more philosophical. Obviously, there are (or should be) exceptions to any general rule. I would make an exception for Kershaw, but not for Lincecum.

      • KyleLitke says:

        I would be in favor of doing it for Lincecum, an ace with 2 years remaining on his contract. I would absolutely, absolutely not be in favor of trading Montero for Cain, a #2 or #3 in all likelihood in the AL East with only a single year left on his contract.

  13. LehighYankee says:

    The Yankees do not need an ace. They secured Sabathia earlier this week. They need to replace Colon and Garcia. The Yankees will have Sabathia, Nova and Burnett in the rotation. I figure that is a 1,3,5 so I’m looking for a 2 and 4 to improve the staff. CJ Wilson can fill the 2 role and I like Edwin Jackson for the 4 hole. I’m very confident in Rothchild to improve Burnett and Nova. If this doesn’t work out I rather go with the younger guys in our system.

  14. LehighYankee says:

    BTW I didn’t forget Hughes but he seems fragile. Maybe the bullpen is where he settles and thrives. He may be trade bait although we would be selling low.

    • Moshe Mandel says:

      Yeah, I cannot imagine him bringing back anything worthwhile at this point. It is probably better to keep him and see if he can bounce back.

    • Craig Maduro says:

      If stock of baseball players were traded on the NASDAQ, I’d be buying a lot of shares of Phil Hughes. Maybe I’m just foolishly optimistic here, but I just have a positive feeling about his ability to bounce back next season. I think he’ll end up making a nice 3/4 in 2012.

  15. Billion$Bullpen says:

    Aubrey Huff ROFL. Is that just so the Giants can dump his salary because dude has zero value in the AL east in 2012. Let’s keep Jesus in our life, get Yu (or not), resign Freddy, after the upcoming season sign Cole H. I would not trade Jesus at this point. A couple of years ago for Cliff Lee, yup, now that we have waited no way I move him.

    This team is going to get old fast and Jesus will be a cornerstone in building the teams of the future while giving us huge value in the present day. Plus he is exciting and home grown, there is good marketing value from the business end as well.

    • Craig Maduro says:

      Yes. Yes. Yes.

      The aging offense is what concerns me the most. A-Rod is old and declining, Jeter is old and decling, Swish is probably gone after 2012 (maybe before), Teixeira will bounce back but is exiting his prime. Aside from Montero, what up-and-coming talent can we expect to eventually carry more of the offensive load?

        • Craig Maduro says:

          Maybe I should have mentioned them so that you didn’t think that I don’t know that Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano are key pieces of the offense.

          Depending on how pessimistic you are about Teix, A-Rod and Jeter, some may look at Grandy and Cano as a two-man show. Not agreeing or disagreeing with that necessarily, but it would be nice to have a guy (hopefully Montero) who is coming into his own as a force when the aforementioned studs exit their own primes. The Yankees don’t have any of those types of prospects in the system outside of Jesus.

          • Steve S. says:

            I was just trying to make the point that the lineup has transitioned from being about A-Rod and Jeter to being more about Cano and Grandy. If you’re looking at the old guys, I think you’re looking in the wrong place. Alex missed most of the season and they still outscored almost everyone in baseball.

            • Craig Maduro says:

              Who is going to take the reigns when the offense starts to transition away from Cano and Granderson (maybe not QUITE as far off as some of us might like to think)? I don’t want to take the Yankees’ “win-now” philosophy to the opposite extreme, but we need someone in place who can carry the torch when the time comes for the guard to start shifting again.

              Maybe I am taking this too far, but I just don’t like the gap between the Cano/Granderson combo and the offensive talent in the minors beyond Montero.

              • Billion$Bullpen says:

                Cano and Granderson are not far off from getting huge contracts for their decline years of their careers. I doubt we pay for both of them if Cashman is any bit in charge.

                Cano and Granderson are RIGHT NOW. Alex is the past, Jeter still does an overall solid job for a SS he just is being paid too much for baseball contributions but I am ok with that. Tex needs to bounce back but that horrible stance / swing of his is set up for him to fail as he gets older. His glove is still top notch.

                Jesus is the only really young cheap and controlled player who has a great bat on the team. I am not a minor league expert but I see no big bats coming soon from their. We need Jesus. The roster grid lock and horrible contracts that were tossed around in the last few years puts our team in a bad place. A place that could not be fixed if we did not have the $ to eat some of the those contracts and good young cheap players like Jesus.

                • Craig Maduro says:

                  I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees things this way.

                • KyleLitke says:

                  I agree completely. Even if Montero is chained to the DH position (which we don’t know yet)…so what? Do you think the Red Sox regret having David Ortiz at DH since 2003 because they really wanted to put an old player who is hurt and not as good there? Do you think they were hurt by the fact that some people said Manny was going to need to DH? Obviously we’re hoping right now that Montero can hit like Ortiz, but he’s their best shot at that type of hitter for cheap. The bottom line is he’s a potential middle of the order bat, young and cheap, and it’s something the Yankees will NEED in the future.

                • Brian S. says:

                  Alex is the past and yet Jeter is doing fine? Are we talking about the ones on the Yankees?

                  • Billion$Bullpen says:

                    Alex was paid as a 50 to 60 home run a year guy. With the injuries and assume the lack of PED’s those numbers no longer exist. Jeter still does what they expected when he got his current contract. Look around the league and tell me how many SS are giving you the production that Jeter is. Jeter most likely will perform above league average for the length of his contract. Alex most likely will not average 100 games a year at his position and hes got so many years left. The deal we signed Alex to is the worst contract is sports history, that is not even debatable and we have yet to suffer the worst part.

                    I know its trendy to dump on Jeter but is there 10 or 15 SS out there in MLB better than him all around? Will there be for the duration of his contract? Both Jeter and Alex get a lot of extra money for the marketing side of the game, but the amount extra that Alex gets is enough to partially cripple the roster moving forward. You can not say the same for Jeter as he at least provides you with a player that most front office people would take in heartbeat over their SS.

  16. This is a well thought out, well constructed article. Great debut Moshe.

    As a Jays fan I thought your description of the scenario held very true for Roy Halladay. If JP had tried to trade him with 2 below market years left on his contract there would have been hell to pay if he didn’t get a massive ransom in return. Fast forward one year and AA was able to easily sell to the public that because Halladay was going to leave anyway it was in the organization’s best interests to move him.

    I will say this, though. It’s ludicrous that Cashman wouldn’t add more to Montero/Nunez to get Lincecum. I’ve been perplexed for years now at the Yankees reluctance to trade top prospects for top talent. Every time a Sabathia, Lee, or Halladay hit the market all I read was how there’s no chance the Yankees will give up Hughes or Chamberlain (let alone both of them); every Yankee fan would substitute Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera into every trade proposal. This is absurd. The Yankees have the financial might to rebuild their farm system each year with relative ease, through the international market and overslot signings. There was no reason for them not to pay the “king’s ransom” (Hughes + Chamberlain) JP was looking for 3 years ago for Halladay, and they shouldn’t hesitate to part with Montero, Betances, and Banuelos if that’s what it takes to land Lincecum.

    • Moshe Mandel says:

      Thanks, man. I think Cashman’s reluctance, at least in the past, comes from his position that they can keep their prospects and then get the pitcher in free agency. Whether that is still the case remains to be seen. I’m curious to see how many members of next year’s bumper pitching crop makes it to the open market.

      • KyleLitke says:

        My guess is some of the secondary ones with potential issues make it. Hamels is the one I’m very curious about. I think he reaches free agency. I don’t see the Phillies extending him, although I could be wrong, but it’ll be interesting to see if they make him a big offer. The Phillies seem to be pushing the limits of their payroll (they lost Oswalt but Lee’s contract shoots up this year…they gave him a much lower amount in year 1 just to fit him in). Howard and Lee have huge money contracts for years to come, and Halladay’s under contract at least through 2013 with an easily obtainable option (for Halladay anyway) for 2014. They aren’t the Yankees, they probably can’t afford to have 100 million tied up in 5 players (Halladay, Lee, Howard, Utley are all making just over 80 million in 2013, Hamels would almost certainly get 20 million a year plus if he doesn’t get hurt or have an awful 2012). In 2014 Howard’s contract shoots up to 25 million. I just don’t see them handing out another 20 million a year contract to another pitcher, but we’ll see.

  17. papa says:

    Unfortunately, I work evenings & have to listen to the Yankees on radio. Everybody has accepted that Derek Jeters range has decreased in the field, but I believe I have found a more difficult problem to deal with. From the end of august thru September, I was hearing more and more Jeter gets to the ball & throws to 1st but the throw was just a little late” when I watched on the weekends & gave it the eye test, it looks like Jeters arm strength is failing him even faster than his range. Since we are locked up on Jeters for the next 3 years & can’t move him to DH (saved for Montaro & Rodriguez) & if he’s losing arm strength the outfield is no longer an option. Would it be feasible to trade Cano to get one of the pitchers that will be a free agent next year? That would be 2 years of Cano for 1 year of the pitcher we need, then we can ask Jeter to be the captain he is & move to 2nd where his arm & range will be less of a detriment. I know this change will not be easy at his age, but if anybody can do it, I have faith that Jeter is that person. Now the opening at shortstop could be filled by picking up Reyes from the free agent market. In this scenario, we will lose little if any offense; the defense might actually come out about even & with a superior pitcher in between C.C. & Nova. Our pitching staff would be in much better shape. Considering that Cano’s money would go towards paying Reyes, it would not even be a huge investment for a team like the Yankees, this would be cheaper than going after Darvish or Wilson.

    • Craig Maduro says:

      I was eating a delicious burger and hot dog, but I had to put it down when I saw this.

      Robinson Cano is the best 2B in baseball, hands down, and one of the best players in the game overall. That would not be a feasible option.

      Hypothetically, what pitcher(s) would you target in a Cano swap?

      • papa says:

        I agree about Cano. but the reason I bring this up is to get some use out of Jeter By trading Cano we will upgrade shortstop and our pitching and hopefully get some use out of Jeter. It does no good to say Jeter gets everything hit to him if he cant get the ball to first in time to beat the runner

    • LiterallyFigurative says:

      At this stage, you should build the team AROUND Cano, Grandy, Montero, Tiex, not around Alex and Derek. I know they are HOFers and have big contracts, but you’re better off building around 27-32 Y/O’s (and 21 Y/O mashers).

      For the Yanks, they can just buy whoever they want once they hit F/A, so why deal your top prospects for guys you can get in a year? The “must-win” mantra isn’t real. Noone gets fired if they lose in the first round, the fans still come to the park, they still can get F/A’s to come to New York.

      • papa says:

        I would agree if I thought that the Yankees would eat Jeters contract, but thay have proven with A J that they wont so we must limit the damage and having Jeter at short for three years can do a lot of damage.

        • LiterallyFigurative says:

          You don’t have to hurt two positions, SS and 2B, to fix SS. I like Reyes, but he’s way too injury prone to couple with an older player like Jeter in the middle of the diamond. Cano plays everyday and has been durable and excellent. You don’t necessarily have to eat Jeter’s contract, but the Yanks will use Nunez to spell Jeter.

          BTW I see no problem with playing Nunez as the caddy for Derek and Alex. He’s young and fast, and has gotten better with more playing time.

          Eventually the older guys have to move or be moved, especially if you want to still win. This Yankee team can’t treat Jeter like Mantle or Cal Ripkin, at the expense of Cano, CC, Teixiera, etc.

          • papa says:

            once again i agree and would love to see Nunez playing at ss(how many steals do you think he could have with 600 ab) but the Yankees will not sit Jeter for an unproven player unless Jeter agrees and that is not about to happen untill he passes Rose for the hits title.

    • LiterallyFigurative says:

      And BTW, why would you trade Cano, a top 10 (5?) everyday player, for a pitcher you can sign 365 days from now, like Cain, or Hamels?

  18. M says:

    I really think the off-season plan should be pretty simple: sign Freddy back for (if nothing else) depth, go after Darvish; if they can’t win negotiation rights, offer CJ a contract and see if someone flat out outbids us. If not, offer a tiny bit more (no more than 5 years though) to hook him. If someone does, back off and aim for Buehrle. If Buehrle chooses to stay with the White Sox, then John Danks will most certainly be available for trade, so trade for him. If none of this works, just go into the season with the rotation as-is.

  19. Steve S. says:

    This piece was wordy, poorly thought out, dead wrong, and the guy who wrote it should have both of his hands broken so he can never type again.

    Mo, you really suck.

    (h/t Joe Pawl)

  20. HomerpaloozaJon says:

    Danks or Liriano would be nice, but the name I like the most is Matt Cain.

  21. Rookie says:

    You’re probably right, Moshe. It’s unlikely that ANY team trades for an ace in ANY given ofFseason.

    But your comments about the market for aces seems to me to be contradicted by the package that Toronto got back for Halladay and multiple teams got back for Lee. Whether you’ve noticed or not, prospects have become golden these days. I would bet that multiple teams are dangling high end pitchers out there to the Yankees for Montero and Banuelos and Brackman and others, but especially for Montero. And I suspect that you’ll see half or more of the aces that do wind up getting traded in the next half a dozen years get traded for packages of prospects that DON’T include even one prospect with as much upside as Montero.

    Again, it’s whatever the market bears, not what you or I or anybody else — except the respective GMs — think.

    • Moshe Mandel says:

      The deals you mention were for pitchers with less than two years of service time remaining. I just don’t see any aces who fit that criteria hitting the market any time soon. Do you? I’d love to hear some suggestions.

      • KyleLitke says:

        I went through every single team on my blog a month or so ago and tried to figure out who could even potentially be available. Virtually every ace out there is either signed to a contending team (Verlander, Halladay, Lee, Hamels if you want to count him, arguably Lincecum), has serious injury issues if they were even available (Hanson, Johnson), is making league minimum with no reason whatsoever to trade them (Kershaw, Strasburg), is in the division while also filling other above criteria (Lester, Price) or isn’t honestly that great or that much of a sure thing. Felix is the only ace I could come up with as even a potential possibility, and as writers here have pointed out recently, it’s highly, highly unlikely Felix would even be available this year. The problem is the only guy who you could even try to sell as an ace that has one year remaining on his contract is Hamels, and I’d say it’s pretty obvious the Phillies aren’t going to be moving him anytime soon, since they’re likely still the favorites in the NL with Halladay/Lee/Hamels at the top. When you start getting into 2+ years removed from free agency, there’s less of a reason for teams to trade those guys unless they know they won’t be in contention and know they can get guys that will help them when they can, and the only team in baseball that has that commodity and could MAYBE make that argument is Seattle. And that still just doesn’t make sense for them unless they were blown away by an offer.

      • Rookie says:

        I’m no expert on the subject, Moshe. But without even looking it up, by this year’s trade deadline, won’t Hamels, Lincecum, Greinke, and Hernandez all be in that category? And I’ll bet I could come up with at least one or two others if I looked.

        Again, as I clearly said in my post, I was not disagreeing about this single offseason. I specifically referred to the market for ace trade transactions when they occur and referred to a time frame of the next half a dozen years.

        Expounding on what I said, the mix of what drives the market for those transactions is far more complex than just what the fans want and what the team can afford. Teams may be able to afford to keep a player, but still not want to have that much of their payroll go to a single player. Or they may simply believe that their ability to compete long term will be enhanced by having two or three prospects who they believe will contribute far more than they’re being paid as opposed to one pitcher who will be receiving in compensation more or less what he’s likely to contribute — IF he’s not injured.

        Again, it’s not about what you or I or anyone else — with the exception of the GMs and owners on both sides of those transactions — think. They set the market. And the deals for Halladay and Lee, in my opinion, very clearly contradict your supposition about what the market is for aces. Ironically, for whatever reason (maybe his age?) the one ace who, it appears to me, was traded for a very dear package (as I recall from when I looked at it at the time) was Greinke. Go figure.

        • Rookie says:

          Scratch Hernandez. It looks like he’s got three years of service time remaining.

          As I said, I didn’t even bother to look since what you were referring to in your response to my post wasn’t my point in my original post.

  22. Kevin says:

    The biggest reason many teams have become protective of their prospects is that instead of free agency..more and more teams are locking up their talent early before they hit the free agency market.
    The era of being able to trade away good pieces and get them back in a year or so is over in my option.

  23. KyleLitke says:

    Am I the only one who has zero interest in trading Montero for a one year only player who isn’t even an ace? This is in regards to Cain.

    A lot here seem to be saying “I mean it’s blatantly obvious you’d trade Montero for Cain…”. Is it? I don’t dislike Cain, but in him you have a guy who is striking out about 7 per 9 in the NL West (so I’d expect more like high 6s in the AL East without the pitcher). He had a low home run rate this year but is typically closer to 1 per 9 (under it, but much closer than he was this year). He’s a flyball pitcher in a pitchers park. It seems to me you’d be trading the best young hitter on the team who can do some catching and DH for the next 6 years for a one year rental of a flyball pitcher going from an extreme pitchers park to a major hitters park (and he’s a right hander so he doesn’t get the “lefty” benefit of the doubt some potential Yankee signings are getting), from the NL to the AL, from the NL WEST (with some bad hitting teams and 3 pitchers parks) to the AL East (the best hitting division in baseball even when you take the Yankees out of the equation)…do I think Cain would be awful for the Yankees? No, not at all. Do I think he’d be anything close to the guy he’s been with the Giants? Not really. If he was signed for 3 more years or something, sure, okay, I think he could be a solid #2/#3 at worst, but for a one year rental? No way do I want to trade Montero for that kind of risk. Again, if you were getting the guy he was for the Giants, with those exact numbers, maybe you’d consider it and go for broke this year, but it’s almost a complete certainty you will not get that guy. You’ll still get a very good pitcher, but for one year?? If I’m trading Montero I want an ace, or a #2/#3 that’s here for more than one year. I wouldn’t mind Cain but not at the cost of Montero, and if that means the Yankees can’t get him, so be it.

    I also think people are greatly overselling the DH thing. Why is that such a disaster if he’s the full time DH? This idea that Jeter and A-Rod need to move there immediately or anytime soon is so overblown it’s ridiculous, it’s something that keeps getting parroted with no real reason to believe it will happen anytime before Jeter’s current contract is up, and perhaps not even during A-Rod’s contract. And if that eventually happens and A-Rod is suddenly so awful at third base that he needs to DH immediately and a third baseman needs to be signed, then you’ve probably already gotten four DH years out of Montero and you figure it out then. Maybe Montero gets traded. Maybe it’s 5 years from now, Teixeira is gone, and Montero can play first. Maybe he develops further after all into a mediocre but useable catcher. Trading Montero for one year rentals and/or decent but not spectacular starters (such as the ones who wanted to trade him for Danks) because MAYBE 4 or 5 years from now A-Rod might have to do a little DHing is insane.

    I’d also point out I can’t figure out why the Giants would even want Montero unless they were flipping him to another team. Buster Posey has catcher under control, there’s no guarantee Montero would be even a decent first baseman since he’s never played it, even if the Giants are way down on Belt…I don’t really get why they’d want him, they don’t have a spot for him.

    • Monteroisdinero says:

      Agree with this. A young, cheap powerful elite right handed bat is a critical need for the Yanks and they have it-don’t trade it.

      As for catching, he is obviously too tall, unathletic and slow to be ADEQUATE back there…..see Matt Wieters and his Gold Glove.

      It’s been a long time since we had a Gold Glove catcher and we’ve done ok over the years.

      Montero is going to own the right field porch like folks have never seen for a righty batter.

  24. Grit for Brains says:

    I don’t want to trade Montero for Cain…I don’t know that I’d even want to give Cain the big money deal he’ll get, post 2012 I think like most people, my first choice is Hamels – If he pitches like he did last year, He’s due for over 20 per and they owe the trio of Doc/Lee/Howard 65 mil in 2012 and then 50 mil for the duo of Lee/Howard for each of 2013 and ’14…They can probably afford these types of practices as it’s basically the same type of thing they have going on now, but I do wonder if ownership plans on sustaining this level of payroll which has gone up from 98mil in 2008 to 166mil in 2011….In short; Sign Cole Hamels; People thing 5/100 will get that done?

  25. JobaWockeeZ says:

    Why do people even like the thought of Matt Cain the the AL East? Yeah I love me some league average strikeout rates and some Soriano-esque fly ball rates. And that’s assuming he’ll have no changes from pitching in the NL West to the AL East and YS3.

  26. Mike says:

    anyone else hear the Oakland Rumors. Gio is on the market. might take Montero. . might not .

  27. emac2 says:

    The Giants are not going to trade Timmy because they can address their problems by trading a lesser player. He also adds additional income to cover his cost.

    The Yankees are not going to trade Montero unless they get a true number one starter back. Cain is not a number one.

    With the way tex and Arod have been hitting I would argue that Montero and Cano should be the middle of our order this year. I’m not trading a middle of the order bat regardless of position for anything but a true ace.

    The Yankees should try on Darvish and otherwise just do the Garcia/Colon plan and wait for the farm or a truly worthy target.



    If we wanted Timmy it probably means we trade Montero and the BB’s for Timmy, Zito and Huff.


    • Monteroisdinero says:

      Change is hard and the binder needs some lubrication to add some new pages but THAT lineup is the
      A lineup!

    • CJ says:

      Sad to say but I think any team can get Lincecum, if they are willing to take Zito’s horrible handcuff contract. Lincecum and Zito could be had for one good prospect and 3-5 C prospects to save face.
      Zito’s contract is $46 mil over the next 2 years. Ouch!

      Would the Yankees even eat Zito’s contract for Lincecum? Lincecum, Zito for Betances, Noesi, Laird, Warren, Kontos, would Steinbrenner allow Cashman to do this? Just asking this question shows the pain of Zito and his contract.

  28. Hall and Nokes says:

    Hey, this is Brian Sabean on the other side. Why don’t we offer Andruw and Chavez and then throw in Colon if he insists?

  29. CJ says:

    Certainly not an ace but MLBTR lists Mike Pelfrey as a potential non-tender candidate. Can you do an analysis of Pelfrey? How much of his decline is due to bad luck on a bad team? At what price does he make sense as a back of the rotation, innings eating reclamation project?

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.