Yanks express interest in Kyle Drabek

Scouting The Trade Market: Matt Thornton
Yankees sign lefty Juan Cedeno

Lack of baseball can make a person go mad. For instance, when browsing MLB Trade Rumors this morning I saw the following line: “The Yankees are interested in Kyle Drabek.” Madness. Sure, the Yankees probably have some level of interest in Drabek; they have interest in any pitcher at the right price. But this just seemed odd. It came from a Bob Elliott column in the Toronto Sun, and the article, too, contains the explicit reference: “The New York Yankees are interested in right-hander Kyle Drabek.” Could they actually mount a pursuit of the almost 24-year-old righty?

Drabek’s career began in 2006, when the Phillies drafted him with the 18th overall pick. He got off to something of a slow start, struggling in A-ball during his first season. But a quality showing in the New York-Penn League in 2008, followed by a rise to AA in 2009, increased his stock. Before the 2010 season Baseball America rated him the No. 25 prospect in all of baseball. By that point he was in the Blue Jays organization, coming over in the Roy Halladay trade. He debuted there at the end of the 2010 season, and that audition earned him a spot on the Opening Day 2011 roster.

While his first start went well, it was mostly downhill for Drabek from there. He faced the Yankees twice, throwing 7.2 innings total and allowing nine runs. After allowing eight runs in four innings against the Red Sox in mid-June he was left with a 5.70 ERA in 72.2 innings. That was cause enough for a demotion to AAA, a level at which he had never previously pitched. His season didn’t get much better there, as he threw 75 innings to a 7.44 ERA before coming back up in September. The remainder of his season consisted of two scoreless outings, a six runs in two innings affair, and finally one run in one inning. In short, nothing went the way the Jays had planned.

If the Yankees are actually interested in Drabek — and I’m not convinced that’s actually the case — they’d view him as a change of scenery guy. Chances are they wouldn’t part with anything of immediate value, since Drabek’s poor MLB showing casts some doubts about his future. He can recover, certainly; to write off any 24-year-old is folly. But Drabek’s extreme control issues, which haunted him in AAA as well as the majors, have to give any team pause in trying to acquire him. His buy-low status will likely lead to offers that don’t satisfy the Jays demands. After all, if Drabek can turn it around why would they sell low on him?

Even further, it’s not clear that the Yankees actually have interest in trading for Drabek. Elliott’s blurb pretty commandingly claims that’s the case, but later on he writes that the “Yankees people are asking Jays scouts questions.” This doesn’t seem terribly abnormal, especially for a pitcher within the Yankees’ division. If this is the entire proof of the Yankees’ interest, it might not be interest in trading for Drabek, but rather a measure of opposition research. That makes a bit more sense, considering teams’ natural reluctance to trade within their divisions. The Yankees and Jays haven’t hooked up for a trade since Raul Mondesi came to New York in 2002.

These types of nuggets can ignite a quick flame in the cold off-season months, but they rarely amount to much. It’s just something to discuss on a day when nothing major happens. The Yankees, we know, are looking everywhere possible for upgrades to the rotation. If the Blue Jays have indicated that they’d listen on Drabek, chances are the Yankees will start asking some questions. But it seems extremely unlikely that they ever get to serious talks. Trading a 24-year-old top prospect is one thing. Trading him to a powerful division rival, while selling low, is quite another.

Scouting The Trade Market: Matt Thornton
Yankees sign lefty Juan Cedeno
  • http://twitter.com/#!/czm93 Craig

    I don’t see the problem in buying low, if the team had success with a seemingly “dead” Colon, surely they can steer a 24 year old in somewhat of a better direction.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

      Obviously there’s no problem in buying low — it’s the ideal situation. It’s that the Jays aren’t going to sell low.

      • Ted Nelson

        Whether or not it’s true, the rumor seems to be that the Yankees are interested in Drabek… not that the Blue Jays are interested in anything.

      • thenamestsam

        Does “buying low” or “selling high” really exist? It’s basic economics that the value of an asset incorporates all expected future price movements of that asset. If everyone agrees that Drabek has a lot of talent and therefore could someday work it out and be a good starting pitcher then that expectation is already included in his current “value”. What people seem to mean when saying the Yankees should “buy low” on him is that they should pay a price for him that is based on his past performance not his future production. Obviously the Jays aren’t going to sell him at such a price.

        • Slugger27

          great post, agreed 100%.

        • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

          I disagree because you are assuming in your analysis that the chances (or more specifically the chances perceived by both teams) of Drabek rising to perform at level X (or even what level X is) to be the same. Selling high and/or buying low can happen when, as happens, perceptions of the chances of hitting a ceiling, or what that ceiling is, differ.

          • thenamestsam

            That can definitely happen, I just don’t think that’s what is commonly meant by “buying low”. “Buying low” usually gets brought up when a guy has just had a bad season, with the idea being that the team will now sell him for less than his value because they (apparently) only value players based on last year’s results. What you’re talking about is what happens in every single trade–each team thinks they’re getting more value than they’re giving up because they value the included players differently for any number of reasons.

            If what you’re describing is what is meant by “buying low” then people should never talk about “buy low” candidates because we have no idea what value any team places on any player.

            • RetroRob

              The expression means what it means.

        • Genghis

          +1 for citing “economics”, -1 for getting it wrong enough to matter. Your premise that “the value of an asset incorporates all expected future price movements of that asset” only holds in the case of an efficient market. And the market for baseball talent is unlikely to be highly efficient– unlike, say, corporate equity, baseball talent is thinly traded and very hard to evaluate.

    • Plank

      Baked beans are a great cure for dead Colon.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/czm93 Craig

        So are my fiber bars.

  • Bill K

    Too bad … the perfect “change of scenery” trade could have been Brackman for Drabek

    • Steve (different one)

      Sure, but the Jays never would have gone for that.

    • Slugger27

      well the yankees wouldve had to add someone else in addition to brackman to make that trade plausible, but point taken.

  • Ted Nelson

    Doesn’t seem too much different from a standard early stage trade rumor to me. Not much certainty in most of them. Some anonymous source who says someone is interested in something.

    The thing I don’t really get is that you say the Yankees are interested in any P at the right price (I agree), then conclude it doesn’t make sense they’d express interest in Drabek. The rumor isn’t that the Blue Jays are rushing to hand Drabek to the Yankees… but that the Yankees are interested. Possibly, my guess if it’s an accurate rumor, seeing if he is a buy low candidate or not.

    Say, for simplicity, the Blue Jays now see Drabek as a 5 out of 10 value while the Yankees see some mechanical change from 2010 they think is easy to correct so they see him as a 7 out of 10 value. If the Yankees offer what both teams agree is a 6 out of 10 return… the Blue Jays feel that they’ve sold high and the Yankees feel they’ve bought low. If the Yankees offer what they consider a 5 out of 10 value and the Blue Jays consider a 7 out of 10… both teams really might feel they’re ripping the other one off and getting a great deal.

    I don’t really like the “Yankees haven’t traded with x team for y years so they don’t like to trade together” stuff. Comes up with the Mets all the time. Won’t list specific teams for fear of forgetting an obvious trade, but there have got to be some Western and Central teams from both leagues and NL East teams that the Yankees haven’t traded with in forever, either. Doesn’t mean it’s some hatred for trading with that team. Might just be that their interests haven’t aligned in a while and it’s a small sample size since only so many trades happen. There is certainly a risk in trading within your division and I wouldn’t be surprised if some teams won’t do it period, but I’d imagine some teams will do it… especially if they feel like they’re ripping off the other team.

    • thenamestsam

      Very well said about the value. Whether a guy is a good candidate to trade for has nothing to do with how good a season he just had, and everything to do with whether you value him more highly than the team you’re acquiring him from.

  • jason

    Hughes for Drabek

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      *Hangs up*

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      A guy in need of some fixing who’s had MLB success > A guy of some fixing who’s barely had AAA success.

      Brackman for Drabek would have been interesting. Yes.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        That’s a completely simplistic view of the situation. Like really really really really simplistic.

        • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

          I wasn’t trying to write a dissertation on the subject.

          • JobaWockeeZ

            Of course not I was questioning the viewpoint not how you worded it.

            • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

              I’m sure we’d agree that what “fixing” entailed would be a factor, as well as what we’d hope the player looked like when “fixed.”

    • Slugger27

      id rather have hughes

  • well you know

    The thing that stands out to me is that this is a guy who never had even a good year at Triple A. He was a “name” and he had a pretty good, not spectacular, year at Double A. Then he was in the majors. Then he fell apart. His peripherals at Triple A in 2011 weren’t just bad, they were horrendous. It’s not a matter of steering him back to a spot where he was good against top competition, because he never has been, really.

    He also had TJS in 2007.

    I believe the Yankee interest. Cashman likes high draft pick projects (Rasner; Brad Lincoln (almost) for Cervelli last year).

  • cranky

    Sure, the Yanks are interested in Kyle Drabek. They’re going to offer the Jays Shaefer Hall and David Phelps.
    And I’m sure that the will get a deal done!!

    On a more serious note, here are some realistic trade proposals I’ve seen around the ‘net:

    AJ Burnett+$15mil to the Marlins for Mike Dunn.

    Manny Banuelos+Austin Romine+Hector Noesi for Gio Gonzales.

    Dellin Betances+Austin Romine+DJ Mitchell for John Danks+Matt Thornton

    Nick Swisher+Phil Hughes for Matt Garza+Sean Marshall

    None are likely.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Especially the last proposal.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        I find the Burnett/Dunn one especially hilarious.

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          Yeah that one made me laugh too.

          • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

            “We’ll trade you AJ Burnett, one gazillion dollars, and a couple of Shake Shack franchises for the rights to the name ‘Leo Nunez.”

    • Reggie C.

      nothing wrong with switching the prospects named in the Gio proposal and moving said prospects for Matt Garza.

      Garza > Gio.

      Theo definitely considers it.

  • bonestock94

    Completely unrealistic but that would be AWESOME.

  • Gonzo

    Am I the only one not really interested in this guy?

    • Slugger27

      i cant speak for everyone, but my guess is that the vast majority of posters have little to no interest.

      good pitchers w/ track records are who we want.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        I want a cheeseburger right now. I guess we have different priorities.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        However, I would say that the majority of posters wouldn’t mind if the team took a flyer on a guy like Drabek for the right price and see if he’s simply a case of two franchises beign impatient with a former “sure thing.” They all don’t have to be franchise saviors.

    • Ted Nelson

      I have interest at a certain price… I certainly don’t see him as Roger Clemens or something…

    • bonestock94

      He’s a (recently) highly touted prospect that had a disastrous year, and some of those ML starts looked promising imo. Until the 5th inning at least.

  • Dan 2

    you work all those moves into a $178M budget.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    If Cashman could pick off a guy like Drabek who was, until recently, a highly regarded prospect, for what is a good value for the team, sure, let’s give it a whirl.

    This reasoning also applies for every possible move the team could make.

  • MannyGeee

    I kept hoping that Joe’s system crashed when he was writing the actual title of this article:

    ‘Yankees express interest in Kyle Drabek… As the PTBN for the Ricky Romero trade’

  • RetroRob

    The guy who wrote the article, Bob Elliot, is well known In Toronto for throwing around trash like this. It means nothing.

    Talent evaluators from all teams talk to each other to have better understanding of players for when their bosses come a askin’. Yankee evaluator asks Toronto evaluator something like, “What happened to Drabek, why did he start having greater command problems?” That does not mean the Yankees are interested in making a trade, but it is enough for Elliot to write a quick few lines on the Yankees being interested in Drabek. It’s not incorrect, but it’s also worthless.

    • Ted Nelson

      Sort of ironic that you read read one line in the guys article and decided you knew exactly what happened… may or may not be correct, but it’s also worthless.

  • Javier Pavagawakei

    The Yankees have also expressed interest a half-chewed piece of Nicorette gum and a signed Mookie Wilson 8×11 photo from 1987 that I own. It was just low-level feelers though. It’s not like Cashman called.

  • Brian in NH

    I actually wouldn’t mind seeing them pick up drabek for a good price. He was a top prospect for the Phils before he got traded to Toronto as part of the Halladay deal. I watched him pitch a no-no for their AA team in Manchester. Perhaps a change of scenery would help, perhaps not. But as long as we aren’t giving up too much it might be worth the risk