Mailbag: Sizemore, Spilborghs, Coghlan, More

Curtis Granderson named AL Outstanding Player of the Year
Scouting The Trade Market: Jair Jurrjens

I was in the writing mood when I put this together yesterday, so you’re getting seven questions and close to 2,000 words worth of mailbag this morning. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send in your questions.

(AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

Many, many people asked: What about Grady Sizemore in some capacity?

The vast majority of the questions we got this week were about Sizemore, either as a fourth outfielder or a full-time corner guy with Nick Swisher or Brett Gardner being traded away. From 2005-2008, Sizemore was arguably the best player in the game, hitting .281/.372/.496 (.376 wOBA) with power (107 homers) and speed (115 steals) to go along with very strong defense in center field. His 27.4 fWAR and 24.4 bWAR during those four years were both the fourth highest in the game. He’s a free agent because the Tribe declined his $9M club option earlier in the week.

The now 29-year-old Sizemore is a shell of his former self due to injuries, specifically to his knees. He had microfracture surgery on his left knee in 2010 (and then some setbacks), and had an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee just a few weeks ago. He’s also needed surgery for two sports hernias (2009 and 2011) and for a debridement in his elbow (2009). All those injuries have limited Sizemore to just 210 games over the last three years (no more than 106 in a single season), during which time he’s hit .234/.314/.413 without any of the speed he showed before (just 17-for-29 in steal attempts). Over the last two years, it’s a .220/.280/.379 line with four steals in eight attempts in 104 games.

I don’t see the fourth outfielder thing working for the Yankees because he’s a left-handed hitter, and they have enough of those in the outfield already. They need a right-handed bat that can step into the lineup against tough southpaws, especially the AL East guys like David Price, Jon Lester, and Ricky Romero. I also don’t see any reason to believe that Sizemore can hold up for a full season playing everyday, he hasn’t done that in three years now. He’s a sexy name because he was legitimately one of the best players in the sport at one time, but Sizemore isn’t that guy anymore and there’s not much evidence that he’s coming back. I expect him to sign with some team that guarantees him a bunch of playing time, then is left scrambling when he gets hurt again.

Ed asks: Let’s say the Rockies non-tender Ryan Spilborghs this offseason, should the Yanks sign him to replace Andruw Jones for the 2012 season? Spilborghs has a career .277/.357/.443 line against lefties, and is a decent fielder.

Spilborghs is okay, but he got wildly overrated a few years ago because he had some dramatic hits during the Rockies’ run to the World Series in 2007. I don’t even think he even qualifies as a platoon bat anymore, he’s hit just .236/.332/.401 against lefties over the last three seasons (.258/.317/.384 vs. RHP), so the majority of his career damage against southpaws came 4+ years ago. Spilborghs is a big step down from Jones, who works the count well and (more importantly) can really hit for power.

As an aside, my all-time favorite Ryan Spilborghs moment was when Woody Paige said the Rockies should trade Matt Holliday (in June 2008) so Spilborghs could become “a full-time starting outfielder who could be the next Holliday.” Nice thought, if it wasn’t for the fact that Spliborghs is four months older than Holliday. Fire Joe Morgan did a number on that one.

Kevin asks: Apparently the Marlins are willing to listen on Chris Coghlan, do you think the Yankees should look into acquiring him? He could back up a couple infield and outfield spots, and was a very good hitter two years ago. He could be a good number two hitter as a starter in the future as well.

I really liked Coghlan a few years ago, before he won Rookie of the Year, but he’s kinda sucked ever since. He’s hit .252/.318/.376 with minimal over-the-fence power and base-stealing prowess (17-for-28 in stolen base attempts) over the last two years, plus he needed surgery for a torn meniscus in 2010. Inflammation in the same joint put him on the shelf for two months this summer. I still like Coghlan as a bench player and depth option, but I can’t imagine the Marlins will look to move him when his value is at its absolute lowest.

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

Jonathan asks: If I’m Brian Cashman, I throw out the whole “no negotiating with player before deal expires” thing and try to extend Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano; Gardner to a 5 year deal (covering 3 arb years + 2 FA years for a total of 40.5 mil, 12: 3 mil, 13: 5.5 mil 14: 8 mil 15: 10.5 mil 16: 13.5 mil) while defense is still very underrated and Cano to 6 year deal. (Pick up 2 options + 88 million, 22 per year for 4 remaining years + a player option for 20 mil, so in total, a 6 year 117 mil deal with potential to reach a 7 year 137 mil).

Are these unrealistic from either side? Cano gets the 100+ mil contract he wants and Yanks don’t pay much for his decline years. Gardner gets guaranteed raises of about 2-3 mil each year while Yanks lock up LF/CF with great defense who could have great value (both on field and as trade bait). I’d figure some flaws might be that Boras might want 150+ mil for Cano and Gardner’s agent might start valuing defense more.

I do understand why the Yankees don’t negotiate with anyone (it’s not just players, it’s front office execs as well) before their contracts expire (minimize risk), but I don’t necessary agree with it. I’ve said it numerous times that I’d like to see the Yankees sign Cano long-term this offseason, suggesting something in the neighborhood of six years and $120M (which is basically the same think Jonathan suggested). It’s better to give him the six years now and pay for ages 29-35 than wait until his deal expires in two seasons and pay for ages 31-37.

A five-year deal would cover Gardner’s age 28-33 seasons, and since so much of his game is tied to his legs, you’d run the risk of getting little return if he develops chronic hamstring problems or something like that. Five years and $40.5M also seems like a market rate contract to me, and the entire point of these deals is to save some cash. The team assumes additional risk in exchange for a discount while the player sacrifices maximum earning potential for security. I think something like five years and $32M would be more appropriate, broken down by year as $2M/$4M/$6M/$9M/$11M. Will Brett be an $11M player in 2016? It’s very unlikely, but you’re banking on lots of surplus value early in the contract.

Preston asks: If you knew that the cost to sign either Edwin Jackson for 4/40 or get Yu Darvish for 50 million posting fee plus 6/72 and you had to pick one to fill out the rotation, which would it be?

I’d prefer Darvish, pay the extra money for the (theoretically) better pitcher. NoMaas listed all of Jackson’s good qualities while Joe listed all the bad, so between those two posts you get a pretty good idea of the entire picture. There is still some upside there since he’s so young, you’re buying three or four peak years rather than one or none. It’s not my money though, so I say be bold and go after Darvish.

Just for the record, I’d much rather sign Jackson to a four-year deal than C.J. Wilson to a four- of five-year deal, almost regardless of the cash involved. So my preference this winter is Darvish, Jackson, then Wilson, though I’d explore the trade market before going all in with Jackson.

(Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Kenny asks: What about Jonathan Broxton on an incentive-laden deal? He should be ok by spring training and certainly could be a high risk/reward type guy. I know the bullpen is pretty deep already but Joba may not be back that quickly.

I’d love it, Broxton was arguably the most dominant reliever in baseball (~12 K/9, ~3.5 BB/9, ~50% grounders) from 2006 through the middle of 2010, when the Yankees apparently broke him in this game. We know correlation doesn’t equal causation, but it sure looks like the physical toll of that outing (48 high-stress pitches in one inning) really did him in based on how awesome he was before that game and how awful he was after.

Broxton, still just 27, missed a ton of time this year with elbow problems (surgery to remove a bone spur and loose bodies) and was pretty awful in the 12.2 innings he did pitch (5.63 FIP). If he’s down with a super-low-risk contract, like one-year and $1M with a bunch of incentives, then I’d be all for it. If he wants more guaranteed money, then forget it. The Yankees don’t exactly need him, as far as they’re concerned he’d just be a lottery ticket.

Biggie asks: If Cashman didn’t re-up and YOU were hired, what Yankee moves this off-season would YOU make (not what you expect them to do)? With Sabathia in the fold not a lot of 25 man roster spots left.

At the risk of looking incredibly stupid, I might as well have some fun with this. Priority number one would have been re-signed CC Sabathia, obviously. I’d also put in a rather sizable bid on Darvish, something around $40-45M. If that wins his rights, then I’m thinking a five-year contract in the $50-60M range. I’d also seriously explore a trade for John Danks, preferably centered around no one better than Dellin Betances. I’m a big fan; he’s left-handed, young (26), gets swings-and-misses, limits walks, and the cost should be reasonable since he’s only under contract for one more year. With Darvish and Danks on board, then Ivan Nova is the number four and whoever sucks the least between Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett in Spring Training is the number five. Hector Noesi is back in Triple-A working as a starter, ready to go whenever needed.

I’d look to see if Joe Nathan has any interest in a cheap deal, nothing more than one-year and $2M. He’s a New York native and says winning is important at this point of his career, so it doesn’t hurt to ask if he’s down with being the world’s most overqualified middle reliever. If that doesn’t work and someone like Broxton or maybe even Rich Harden isn’t interested either, then I’d probably skip out on the bullpen market all together and wait for minor league deals in January and February. Filling out the bench is simple enough, bring Andruw back and sign someone like Greg Dobbs to replace Eric Chavez if he retires, at least to start the season. I’m also a Drew Sutton fan, so I’d bring him in on a minor league pact for depth.

Curtis Granderson named AL Outstanding Player of the Year
Scouting The Trade Market: Jair Jurrjens
  • your mom

    I like Mike’s moves. Get on the phone with Cash ASAP!!!

    • Kenny

      You know. Mike McCoy wouldn’t be a bad idea either. He can play pretty much everywhere except P and C, will steal 10 or so bases, won’t make huge errors, and will hit respectably with maybe a .235 ish. He’s like a younger, less upside Bloomquist. Not terrible. I’m looking at NRI here for March, in the future, not just this year. You know, in case Nunez hits a brick with his glove and needs more work.

  • Bob

    “Cliff Lee, 30, who seems to be the very definition of an average pitcher — career ERA+ of precisely 100 and a WHIP of 1.338. Outside of the nano-Lilliputian chance that he’s all of a sudden figured it out and will win multiple Cy Youngs, isn’t this, I don’t know, maybe the absolute crest of the Cliff Lee market?”

    That’s from the Fire Joe Morgan article. Maybe Woody Paige can predict the future?

    • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

      Ha ha ha – advanced baseball metrics can tell all!!

      Love the Cliff Lee assessment!

  • Apollo22237

    If anyone reads the Fire Joe Morgan link on Spilborghs, make sure to read what he said about Cliff Lee. It was pretty funny.

  • Paul from Boston

    “They need a right-handed bat that can step into the lineup against tough southpaws, especially the AL East guys like David Price, Jon Lester, and Ricky Romero.”

    2011 against LHP:
    Grand .272/.347/.597=.944
    Swish .327/.442/.516=.957
    Gardn .233/.344/.272=.616 (16 BB/15 K)

    As a team they were:
    LHP: .256/.325/.396=.721
    RHP: .255/.342/.457=.799

    They’re optimizing for the hand they see less often. Sure, part of that is Andruuuw. But it’s also Swisher and A-Rod declining against RHP. Another LH bat, especially one that plays great defense, wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

    Montero will also help greatly against LHP. Jeter still does.

    • Paul from Boston

      ” I also don’t see any reason to believe that Sizemore can hold up for a full season playing everyday, he hasn’t done that in three years now.”

      As a fourth, he wouldn’t be playing every day.

      “there’s not much evidence that [Sizemore]’s coming back.”

      He’s 29. Crazier things have happened.

      • MannyGeee

        stem cells, baby… stem cells!

  • Sarah

    Does anyone think Chris Dickerson could be an everyday player, and if so, is he a trade chip?

    • Mike Axisa

      I don’t think he’s good enough to play everyday, but I think he’s a pretty solid fourth outfielder. He can hit righties at an above-average rate and play good defense at all three outfield spots, even better on the corners.

      • Paul from Boston

        Sizemore is better if healthy.

        • BJ

          That’s a very big if.

        • Billion$Bullpen

          Yeah but a 4th outfielder you want a guy who can step in and do a decent job as an extra guy or a placeholder if one of your OFs is hurt for a small period of time. You do sign a guy as a 4th OF and hope he is healthy so he could be a star. It just does not work that way, and for a reason. Not for a team that is expected to make it to the playoffs. Maybe a team that has nothing to lose by it flopping could do something like this but not the Yankees.

          • Billion$Bullpen

            “You do sign a guy as a 4th OF”

            sorry I meant you DON’T

          • Ted Nelson

            You can sign a high risk guy as a 4th OF. A lot of it depends on your situation. With 3 very good starters they Yankees don’t really NEED another one, and Sizemore doesn’t really need to sign somewhere where he will be blocked by 3 entrenched starters. Most teams don’t have 3 starters as good as the Yankees, though, so Sizemore could make a whole lot of sense: if he’s healthy and raking he’s a starter, if he’s banged up but can play he might be your 4th OF, and if he can’t play you’re back where you started. Especially since he’s a LH bat.

            Yankees could promise him DH PAs if they really want to take the risk on him, but they’re probably going to have to bid against teams that view him as a potential starter. Probably not an efficient use of resources for a 4th OF… but if they want to spend the money on a 1 year deal maybe it is.

        • Ted Nelson

          I don’t think the question was whether Dockerson is better than Sizemore…

          • Paul from Boston

            Dicker is a 5th. Sizemore is the 4th.

            • Ted Nelson

              The question was does Dickerson have trade value, not is Dickerson or Sizemore a better option for the Yankees.

              I would bet you Sizemore can get a chance to start on at least an incentive laden deal given some of the horrible offenses out there.

    • MannyGeee

      he could probably start for some teams… San Diego, KC, Pittsburgh maybe? Hell, Shelly Duncan had a spell as a starter,.

      • Sarah

        That’s sort of what I’m wondering. SF desperately needs someone to play CF other than Torres, and if Dickerson could fill that role. Obviously if I’m SF, I’m asking for Gardner. But depending on who is being traded from SF, maybe Dickerson could work out.

        The trade Lincecum thing seems to be gaining ground in the MSM but I’m doubtful that would happen, ditto for Cain. That really just leaves Sanchez as the likely trade candidate and he has the Gio Gonzalez walk problem.

        • Ted Nelson

          Dickerson probably has some value, but I doubt it’s all that much.

          He was traded for Sergio Mitre last year… we don’t have perfect information on who else they could have gotten, but if you assume the Brewers are competent that’s probably about the best they could get.

          Guys like Shelley Duncan get to start occasionally when a team has no better options, yes, but that doesn’t mean they have trade value as a starter. Good players are scarce, but mediocre players are not. I’m not going to give you a lot of value for Dickerson when I can get similar production or maybe marginally worse for cheaper.

          His value is also limited because I believe he’s out of options. If that’s the case the Yankees either have to carry him or trade him. If he’s about to be cut after spring training, the Yankees have no leverage.

          In a deal for any of the Giants starters you mention, I can’t see him being more than a 4th or 5th or 6th guy in the deal as a throw-in.

        • Kosmo

          In 2011 Gio averaged 4.1 walks per 9 with a SO to BB ratio of 2 to 1. Which is not horrible by any means. Tossed twice as many innings as Sanchez and looks to me to be a rising star. Sanchez averaged 5.9 BB per 9.
          Who has the BB problem ?

  • Nick

    That’s one of my favorite FJMs, just for the last part where Paige goes from “Holliday for garbage” to “HOLLIDAY FOR LINCECUM+”

  • CP

    I’d love it, Broxton was arguably the most dominant reliever in baseball (~12 K/9, ~3.5 BB/9, ~50% grounders) from 2006 through the middle of 2010, when the Yankees apparently broke him in this game. We know correlation doesn’t equal causation, but it sure looks like the physical toll of that outing (48 high-stress pitches in one inning) really did him in based on how awesome he was before that game and how awful he was after.

    He got Torre’d.

  • CP

    Just for the record, I’d much rather sign Jackson to a four-year deal than C.J. Wilson to a four- of five-year deal, almost regardless of the cash involved.

    Why? Just because Jackson is younger?

    • Slugger27

      ya, that caught my attention as well. id like to hear the explanation

  • thenamestsam

    I’m not a big fan of Sizemore, but I’m curious whether Mike’s view that the 4th outfielder should obviously be a right-handed hitter still holds true. For the last couple years it seemed self-evident since Granderson was basically a platoon candidate and with Gardner a lefty and Swish a switch-hitter we were pretty much covered against righties.

    Going into next year the situation has changed a bit. Granderson seems to have adapted to lefties to the point where he’s as good or better against them, and Swisher had a horrible year against righties while crushing lefties. On top of that, on the the rest of the team there are a number of guys who are much better against lefties (Tex, Jeter, Martin) and only A-Rod seems like he’s significantly better against righties.
    Anyway my point is that if you believe in Swisher’s crazy platoon split from this year (significantly out of line with his career)and believe that Grandy has solved his lefty problem for good it might make sense to try to find a fourth outfielder who bashes righties to take some abs from Swisher against them, and not worry too much about the fact that it means playing Gardner more against lefties, since he’s playing more for his defense anyway. The biggest problem with this plan in my eyes is that it’s possible to find good lefty-mashing 4th outfielders, but guys who beat up on righties tend to be starters. Anyway, just something that I was thinking. Thoughts anyone?

    • MannyGeee

      funny, as I read the mailbag I was thinking alot of the same. you have ‘Lefty Mashers’ in Swish and Granderson.. does the ‘MUST BE RHB” really hold much merit any more?

    • Ted Nelson

      I don’t think it has to be a righty if a clearly better lefty is available, but I do think a righty is preferable if the value of the two candidates is close.

      -Not that you want to platoon him or close, but the guy you’d mostly want to rest against LHSP is Gardner. His platoon splits have become pretty pronounced, and as speed guy keeping him rested and healthy might be marginally more important than another player.

      -One season for Granderson and Swisher doesn’t mean it’s going to be the same way next season. Granderson has had career years before only to come back to earth the following year. Swisher might work out his lefty swing this off-season.

      One counter-argument is that a guy like Sizemore (for example… just a fairly young guy with upside, which Sizemore certainly has if healthy) could be a Swisher replacement in 2013 if he happens to he a hit.

      Overall I’d like to see Andruw Jones back… but like everything else I guess it depends who else is available at what price.

      • Ted Nelson

        And in terms of practicality, my guess is that you don’t find anything better than Andruw Jones value-wise… if he wants to come back even. A guy like Sizemore might take the Chavez route with the Yankees (re-signed to being better off as a part-time player to try to preserve health… which only worked out so well for Chavez), but I think it’s more likely that a guy who can get a starting gig and incentive laden deal elsewhere will do it. Sizemore just lost out on $9 mill he might have planned his life around getting and is still young. I see him trying to get his career back on track in someplace like Seattle or Oakland where they need bats. I see pretty much anyone looking at a 4th OF job being a lesser bet to perform than Andruw… but who knows?

      • thenamestsam

        I fundamentally agree with you, mainly because I don’t put much weight on the one year splits for both Swisher and Granderson, so I’d expect Swish to be at least slightly better against righties next year, and Grandy to be at least slightly worse against lefties. I was just throwing out there that the last two years it has been a slam-dunk that the 4th outfielder needed to be a righty, and now I think you can make a case either way.

  • Paul from Boston

    I disagree heavily on Cano and Gardner. You wait them out and see more data. It’s always the smarter bet when you can always afford to pay the highest price.

    Cano’s defense could go south in a hurry and Gardner could lose his legs. Cano isn’t much good if he’s a 1B/DH and Gardner without legs is obviously finished. Wait them out and pay the market rate if necessary. 2B and LF are easier positions to fill if Cano and Gardner don’t remain 4-6 WAR players.

    • Billion$Bullpen

      Hey Paul from Boston, I just really disagreed with a post above and wrote a book why. I will not write one here as a wholeheartedly agree with everything you just said.

      If both players would agree to tack on a year or two to their current deals I would do it if the price was correct but at no point would I be looking to lock them up longterm at this point. Damn sorry I wrote another book.

    • Bavarian Yankee

      I agree. Last off-season we were discussing if they should extend Phil Hughes. Thank god they didn’t do it. I think waiting is always smarter if you’re the Yankees. A small market team sometimes has to take those risks, the Yankees can wait and pay later.

      • Billion$Bullpen

        “I think waiting is always smarter if you’re the Yankees.”

        I would agree to this statement if it was ALMOST ALWAYS. There are times where it would behoove them to do a deal as not to have to get into some horribly long deal at the end of somebodys career for too much money.

        • Bavarian Yankee

          yeah, Robby Cano is the perfect example. I think they shouldn’t extend him now but if he stays healthy and is still hitting in 2012 they should extend him next offseason IMO.

    • BK2ATL

      What about if Cano transitions over to 3rd base later in his career? His range and arm would play well there. A-Rod won’t be on 3B in the later years of his contract.

  • Ted Nelson

    Again, Mike… I think you need to get off the “one year” thing with Danks.

    As a Yankee fan, sure, that’s how you look at it. As a White Sox fan (or GM), though, that’s not how you would look at it. Danks is a total stud (given his age), and the White Sox play in the third biggest market in the country. They don’t need to give him away. (Granted, Kenny Williams probably didn’t need to give away Swisher or EJax either… but Danks seems to obviously have more value and be a better long-term piece for them.)

    If you were Yankees GM and told Kenny Williams, “I will not give up more than X for Danks because he’s only signed for one more year.” Kenny Williams doesn’t have to say “great, Mike, let’s make the deal on your terms bud.” He can effectively say “no,” “yes,” or “I’m going to shop around a bit and get back to you.” I’d guess he picks the latter if he’s not dead-set on re-signing Danks (though, again, who knows with that guy). At that point he might find a better offer elsewhere. Or he might decide to wait until the trade deadline to re-evaluate the situation. Or he might decide to re-sign his young stud. Hard to pay out all that money for Dunn and Konerko one off-season and then let your young ace go for cheap because you can’t re-sign him the next off-season.

    Basically, if you’re going to take a hard-line on value there’s a good chance you don’t get your guy. And that may or may not be a mistake. You lose out on your guy, but you keep your prospects. It’s what’s happened to the Yankees on Ubaldo, Greinke, Haren, Lee, Halladay, etc. “We’re only willing to pay X.” “Ok, well this other team is willing to pay X+Y… so either match that offer or he’s going to that other team.” Or they just re-sign him.

    People assume that the White Sox are desperate to cut salary and rebuild. Maybe they’re right. I would assume they’d have gotten Colby Rasmus or similar for EJax if they wanted to rebuild, though, and not salary relief and relievers to help attempt a playoff run in 2011. They already freed up some money and don’t seem to necessarily be interested in prospects for their veterans.

  • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

    Brett Gardner is easily the most overrated player on the Yankees. Yes his defense is outstanding, but otherwise he is a singles hitter with a 350 OBP. I like the guy and think given what he’s paid now he is a great value, but no way do I want to invest $40 million (or even $30 million) in him.

    The Yankees aren’t going to upgrade their offense in the next few years anywhere besides the outfield. ARod and Texeira aren’t going anywhere. Jeter has a few more years left. You can’t do better than Cano at 2B. Difficult to upgrade significantly over Martin at C and we have to see what Jesus does at DH.

    That leaves the corner outfield positions. A Josh Hamilton or Matt Kemp may be exactly what’s called for as ARod continues his decline and Tex continues to disappoint.

    • Ted Nelson

      I find it laughable to call Gardner overrated. Guy gets almost no hype and didn’t even get a gold glove.

      Why are you just ignoring defense? Why are you ignoring baserunning? Why are you worried about upgrading what’s already a really good offense in two different spots? They can add a Kemp, Hamilton, or whoever else in RF and still keep Gardner. Why do you assume Gardner would be un-tradable on a new contract?

      • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

        Many a time on RAB Gardner has been deemed a “near-elite” level player.

        Wanting to lock up an outfielder who is offensively on par with a mediocre shortstop and whose game is dependent on speed through his mid-thirties qualifies as undue enthusiasm.

        Gardner is under team control for 3 more years. If he doesn’t get injured offer him arbitration yearly. At 31, when he is eligible for free agency, he’ll still be a light hitting outfielder who may or may not have retained his speed. It’s hard to imagine that the Yankees would lose a lot of leverage in this scenario – I can’t imagine teams lining up to spend big money on that type of player. Inking him to a long-term contract is risky financially with little upside.

        I agree the Yankees offense is great. But to keep it at that level the next few years – if there is a decline – the player to be replaced is Gardner.

        • Ted Nelson

          He is elite. It’s not RAB that’s deemed him that. Fangraphs has him as the 5th most valuable OF in MLB between 2010 and 2011:
          Baseball-Reference has him at 5.2 and 4.4 WAR the past two seasons:

          However, the general perception of him is far lower than that. He’s a slap hitter that should probably be platooned if you read the MSM. (He is a slap hitter and could possibly be platooned, but that’s only a small part of the story… defense and baserunning are also part of baseball.)

          “Wanting to lock up an outfielder who is offensively on par with a mediocre shortstop and whose game is dependent on speed through his mid-thirties qualifies as undue enthusiasm.”

          33 is as much early 30s as mid-30s.

          “I can’t imagine teams lining up to spend big money on that type of player.”

          Juan Pierre, Carl Crawford, and a bunch of others probably can.

          • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

            Fangraphs gives him high WAR because his defense is “magically” good.

            According to Fangraphs Gardner’s defense is so amazingly, spectacularly good that he was a better player overall 2010-2011 than Carlos Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson, Justin Upton, and Matt Kemp. This despite ranking 36th in the league among outfielders for wOBA and 41st for wRC+.

            Spectacular defensive catchers with mediocre bats can be elite players. Same goes for shortstops. Despite the general decline in offensive talent in the outfield, the same does not go for left fielders.

            The bottom line is: Gardner hits like your typical middle infielder. While he is great defensively, his defense is laughably overrated in calculating his value (see: WAR). Overall, he’s a nice player and dirt cheap. No complaints about that.

            But he’s not close to being elite. There’s no point giving him a big (or even medium-sized) contract when 1)he’s under team control for 3 years , 2) is no better than a 4th outfielder if he loses some of his speed, and 3) an elite offensive talent could replace him.

            Yankees fans are tough on Swisher, tough on Teixeira, and tough on the IPK’s of the world. I’m not quite sure why Gardner gets the unconditional love that he does.

          • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

            Also Juan Pierre and Carl Crawford contracts will likely go down as two of the worst in history. Further proof you should give that type of money to that type of player outside their through their “early-to-mid” 30s

        • Mike K

          Wanting to lock up an outfielder who is offensively on par with a mediocre shortstop

          Arguing something that is factually false isn’t a good way to win. Gardner last year was about a full win better than an average SS on offense (after SB/CS, before other baserunning). And that’s being a win below the previous year offensively, which may be some SSS noise. But if it is his true talent, he’s basically an average offensive LF.

          • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

            OK I agree. Gardner hits like an average middle infielder, not a mediocre one.


            Howie Kendrick w0BA .349
            Erick Aybar wOBA .332
            Brett Gardner wOBA .330
            Danny Espinosas wOBA .325
            Elvis Andrus wOBA .323

  • steve (different one)

    Funny to mention the Yanks’ policy about negotiating early in a post discussing how to extend Cano’s current contract…which was negotiated early. I am sure if players are willing to give discounts in exchange for the security, the Yankees would listen. But they aren’t going to hand out market rate extensions before the player is eligible.

    I like Gardner, but he is not the type of player you commit to before you have to. What risk are you worried about managing by locking him up? Gardner is never going to be paid like a superstar. We can point to Crawford all we want, but the bottom line is Crawford slugged over .450 in 6 of the 7 seasons before FA.

    • Ted Nelson

      “What risk are you worried about managing by locking him up?”

      It’s not as much the AAV, but the number of years. A team in a situation like the Nationals are in now, maybe, would offer a long-term deal.

      I agree that it depends on what sort of a deal they’d be signing him to and it would have to be a discount. I also don’t really care if they don’t re-sign him. It could work out, though, to lock him up for those 32 and 33 year old seasons without having to keep him beyond that (which if I’m him is exactly why I’d really consider just hoping to maintain my speed until 31 and testing FA to get a long-term deal).

  • Thomas Cassidy

    Sizemore was arguably the best player in baseball from 2005-2008?

    A-Rod, Manny, Pujols, were way better. Sizemore was a very good player, but not close to being better than any of those guys. He’s not young anymore, and his career is probably over.

    I don’t see the Yankees making any big trades or signings this offseason except Darvish probably. If Jones doesn’t come back, I’d like to see Damon off the bench. He can still drive the ball, he’s a team player, and he’s a winner.





    It’s about as realistic as I can see at this point.