Jan
20

Mailbag: Manny, Burnett, Andruw, Pineda, Joba

By

As you can imagine, we got approximately ten million mailbag questions this week following the Michael Pineda-Jesus Montero trade. Oddly enough, no one really wanted to talk about Hiroki Kuroda. Poor guy. Anyway, I tried to answer as many as possible this week, which is why the answers are shorter than usual. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in sidebar.

(REUTERS/Brian Blanco)

Ben asks: I can’t believe I’m even writing this, but would you take a flier on Manny Ramirez now that Montero has vacated the DH spot? Or is the baggage not even worth a minor league deal at this point?

I wouldn’t even bother. That’s a lot of baggage, plus he still has to serve his 50-game suspension for last year’s failed drug test. Jon Morosi confirmed that he has to sign a contract before he can begin to serve a suspension, so he wouldn’t even be available until late-May or so. Maybe he can still hit, but I don’t think it’s worth the trouble to find out.

Den asks: Do you think the probability of A.J. Burnett being traded increased significantly after the deals with Kuroda and Seattle?

I do not, at least not significantly. It’s not a matter of the Yankees and their willingness to move Burnett, we know they want to, it’s whether or not another team is open to taking him while assuming some portion of his contract. So far all we’ve heard is that other clubs want the Yankees to pay basically everything, and if you’re going to do that you might as well keep him. The Pineda and Kuroda stuff won’t make A.J. any more desirable to other teams, unfortunately.

J.R. asks: How did Andruw Jones fair against RHP in the second half in 2011 (after the widened stance)? Did he do well enough that he could be the full time DH (or at least 400 AB)? Do injury concerns prevent this?

To the statcave!

Jones vs. RHP pre-ASG: .091/.167/.091 in 24 PA
Jones vs. RHP post-ASG: .214/.365/.571 in 52 PA

That works out to a .172/.303/.406 overall line in 76 PA, but the sample size is so small that we shouldn’t take it seriously. For what it’s worth, Andruw hit .215/.310/.477 in  403 PA vs. RHP with the Rangers and White Sox in 2009-2010. I don’t know of any injury concerns that would prevent Jones from playing regularly against right-handers (though he did have his knee scoped at the end of the season), but there are obvious performance concerns. I think using him as the full-time DH would be a last resort, or at least a second-to-last resort behind Jorge Vazquez. Also, statcave is totally going to be a thing now.

No LoMo for the Yankees. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Daniel asks: Due to the pitching depth that the recent moves create for the Yankees, could we see a move to get a young cost-controlled bat that could DH and play other positions (i.e. LoMo, Dominic Brown)? I would include Billy Butler, but he would keep the Yankees from using the DH for veterans needing a half-day.

I would love to see it, but I’m not counting on it. The Yankees have pitching depth but it’s not like they have a rotation full of aces and a few to spare; their depth is Burnett, Phil Hughes, Freddy Garcia, and a bunch of MLB-ready back-end types in Triple-A. That won’t net a whole lot in a trade, certainly not a Brown or Logan Morrison type. Look at what it took to get Montero, it’ll take a similar package to get someone like those two. Unless they plan on turning around and trading Pineda, I don’t see it.

Greg asks: Everybody is focused on Pineda’s extreme fly-ball tendencies, but we’re all thinking about it in a vacuum.  How many of those fly balls at Safeco would have been out at NYS?

You can toy around with Katron, which SG already did. Click the link and you’ll see that none of the fly balls Pineda gave up in Safeco would have been homers in Yankee Stadium except for the ones that were homers in Safeco. There aren’t even many balls hit to the warning track. Obviously this isn’t a perfect analysis because it doesn’t take into account things like different wind directions and altitude and all that, but the point is that just because a pitcher gives up a lot of fly balls doesn’t mean they’re all hit deep.

Kevin asks: Outside of the box idea: if David Adams or Corban Joseph can prove to be a decent enough prospect this year, any chance of moving Robinson Cano to third and sending Alex Rodriguez to DH? Second basemen tend to age horribly, so it could preserve his career a little longer.

I do think that’s a possibility, but obviously it won’t happen anytime soon. I think Adams has a chance to be an above-average second baseman in the big leagues, or at least moreso than CoJo, but he lost so much development time over the last two years due to the ankle problems. His probability nosedived.

I’m really curious to see what the Yankees are going to do with Cano long-term, because second baseman do tend to age horribly as you said, and his contract will be up in two years at age 31. That’s a year or two before you’d expect him to fall off a cliff, but unfortunately he’ll be in line for a massive contract if he keeps doing what he’s been doing. I’ve been saying it for months, give him a six-year deal right now and knock out the first half of the contract before he enters the danger zone for middle infielders.

Brian asks: Would it be fair (in a general sense) to say that if Jesus Montero was a pitching prospect, he’d be Michael Pineda?

That’s interesting, and I do agree. The primary tools are huge, meaning Montero’s bat and Pineda’s fastball/slider/control. The secondary tools are a big question mark however, specifically Pineda’s changeup and Montero’s defense/long-term position. They’re both physically huge — though that’s good for one and potentially bad for the other — and approximately the same age (Pineda’s ten months older). Position players are less risky though, just due to general attrition rates and pitching being such an unnatural thing. They are similar to a certain extent though, at least as far as pitchers and position players can be similar anyway.

Nik asks: When Joba is healed and ready to pitch again, where does he fit in? And what would you guess the bullpen sequence to look like?

I expect the Yankees and Joe Girardi to ease him back into things at first, meaning a low-leverage inning here and there for the first few weeks. Once he’s settled in and back in the swing of things, I have to assume he’ll be right in the seventh and eighth inning mix with Rafael Soriano and David Robertson. Those guys aren’t available every day, so adding Joba will provide some depth and allow him to fill the gaps every so often.

Categories : Mailbag

77 Comments»

  1. GardnergoesYardner says:

    I think Joba will be one of the most important pieces on the team when he returns. Depth is so important in a season, and right now the Yankees have a dominant back end of the pen, but as you saw last year, if Soriano/Robertson/(Heavens forbid) Mo goes down, then the Yankees are stretched a bit thin. Joba could have been vital to this equation last year, but his injury saw that this didn’t happen. Thankfully, Cash snagged Cory Wade and Ayala, two surprises that ultimately protected the Yankees from a disaster in the pen. Having Joba will allow the Yankees to have at minimum two great pitchers availiable in relief every day.

    • BK2ATL says:

      Wait, there’s Mo as one great relief pitcher in the bullpen. Who’s the other???

      • David, Jr. says:

        Take a look at Robertson’s record for last year.

        • BK2ATL says:

          Robertson’s a very good RP, no doubt. He had a great year. I’m a Robertson fan over Joba and Soriano.

          However, putting him (or Joba or Soriano) in Mariano’s class (great) is an over-reach.

          • CP says:

            Putting Mo in the class of ‘great’ is an insult to Mo. There are many ‘great’ relievers. There is only one Mo.

            • BK2ATL says:

              No, I think the word great itself is grossly overused. Mariano is great. Other might be very good or less.

              Having one great year doesn’t make one great. Doing it over a period of time, say 15-16 years, yeah that’s greatness.

              • Darren says:

                You are wrong. Mo is far beyond great, into the land of unprecedented, amazing, otherworldly, exceptional, etc.

                Great is not good enough for Mariano Rivera, unless you are calling him “The Great Mariano” in homage to “The Great Dimaggio” from The Old Man and the Sea.

                Robertson was not just very good last year, he was great.

                And you have the horrible abbreviation ATL in your name so I can’t take you seriously, Mr. Lemke.

                • BK2ATL says:

                  Um from Brooklyn. Moved to Atlanta. A Yankee fan long before……

                  You might want to look up the definition of great (adj) or a “great” (noun) in a dictionary. Having a great season doesn’t make one “great.”

                  By your definition, Jose Valverde is better than great, which we know is not true. Mariano is the standard for greatness. Let’s leave it at that.

                  I haven’t taken anyone named Darren seriously since “Bewitched.” Boom!!! j/k

  2. dean says:

    I don’t think anyone is trading a Pineda for Dom Brown at this point…the Phillies won’t even play him and his swing is super long. I’d love to get him as a Klong project but not if the price is on that level at all.

    • Billion$Bullpen says:

      I have seen him some as I am in the Philly area. I do not get what everybody on this site is in love with. Can somebody please enlighten me. His attitude sucks. His swing is a mess (not saying it is something that can not be fixed) but he is at best a project from what I see. I would always pass on a project with a bad attitude unless it comes super cheap.

      I have heard things regarding Montero not working hard or having an attitude. From what I saw with him that was bs, he is just not a guy with a firey attitude. I do not mind that, as long as he does the best he can which is the vibe I always got from Montero.

      Brown comes across as a punk to me in the little I have seen. He also appears to be somebody with above average athletic ability. That does not always turn into “great baseball player”

      • thenamestsam says:

        24 years old. Left-handed hitter. Enough speed for 20 steals. Fantastic arm. In 2010 he went: 318/.391/.602 at Double-A (65 G) and .346/.390/.561 at Triple-A (28 G).

        Basically, he’s a top prospect with fantastic athletic ability who has put up big numbers at the upper levels as recently as a year ago. I haven’t heard anything about attitude problems in the prospect profiles I’ve read, but a part of that could reasonably come from being denied the chance he feels he has earned (similar to Montero at the start of this year). One year ago BP had him as the #4 prospect in baseball, and he’s as major league ready as he’s ever likely to be, and would perfectly fill a both current and future hole on the roster (In the OF and DH rotation against righties this year, stepping into a full-time role next year). I don’t think his appeal is hard to see.

  3. Gerald Williams says:

    Butler would be amazing. Not sure where he fits in though… any chance he can play a COF spot?

  4. mr.jigginz says:

    “statcave” I approve.

  5. Robinson Tilapia says:

    +1 on “statcave” as well.

    Agreed on pretty much every point here, and I think you just swayed me on the point on extending Robbie now rather than later. Nice job, Axisa.

    • Billion$Bullpen says:

      Why not get the value we get for the money already on the books for Robbie now and deal with what he is then? If there are offers for too many years and too many dollars let him move on. His bat will be hard to replace but too many times we get caught up in this horrible longterm big money deals with this team.

      I get why unique players at positions it is tough to replace people with glove and bat skills you give them more $ and more years than you typically would. What I do not get is why we have to do that for everybody. I would prefer to do more what Tampa Bay does a lot more or like what we did with Kuroda. Get cost effective near stars to fill out as many spots on the roster on one or two or three years deals.

  6. BaltimoreYankee says:

    The abbreviating of players names to 2 letters for each name is getting a little ridiculous. LoMo? Really??!

  7. viridiana says:

    Thanks for confirming my longtime (undocumented)suspicion that second basemen age quickly.
    This will become an issue when Boras begins dropping hints of demands for a nine or ten-year deal. Your idea of six years now is a very good one. Limits overall risk. Side benefit: Yanks could increase his salary next two years but still wind up paying less for 2014, when they want to limit payroll. In other words, if they extend him for six years at $120 mill that increases his near-term salary but probably saves on the $22 mill plus they’d have to book for lux tax if they wait til 2014.

  8. dean says:

    Mike,

    Any chance at all the Yanks could pry Choo away? If so, pricetag?

  9. A.D. says:

    Do 2nd baseman really age poorly? and if so is it worse than SS, or more just as a standard middle infielders age poorly?

  10. dean says:

    Do second baseman age poorly….or do not many good players play second base?

    • gc says:

      That might be more the case. Jeff Kent is probably the ceiling for second basemen who managed to be very productive after turning 30. I don’t know if Robbie can come close to that kind of longevity at the position, but if he stays healthy, I think he could.

    • DB says:

      I don’t think they all age poorly. I was curious about it, so I just looked at the stats for Alomar, Kent, and Hudson just to take an example of 3 2nd basemen that all put up pretty good offensive numbers. Kent continued to hit well up until he retired at age 40, Alomar declined from a .300+ hitter to a .260 hitter at about age 34 and Hudson has declined since he turned 32.

  11. The 6'7 & Above Club says:

    Remember Carlos Baerga ? Even Roberto Alomar fell off a cliff rather fast after having a great season in his hall of fame career.

    Hopefully Cano produces well into his late 30′s like Jeff Kent did.

    • vin says:

      Robby went from a 7.8 bWAR season in ’01 to 0.4 in ’02 with the Mets in only 22 fewer PA’s. That’s got to be the biggest fall off from one season to the next with a similar number of PA’s.

    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

      Baerga, Alomar, Bay, Bonilla, Foster.

      Maybe position had nothing to do with it.

      Maybe they fell off because they went to the Mets.

  12. Matt DiBari says:

    I never really bought that its a better plan to pay someone to play poorly for you rather than play poorly (or well) for someone else.

    Unless you really, truly think AJ Burnett is going to a good pitcher next year, dump him. The money is lost. Its not going to gain interest if you keep him stashed away sucking it up on our team. Make the team better by removing him.

    • Billion$Bullpen says:

      EXACTLY. The Yankees almost never cut bait on guys with bad long term deals. I would think if any team to do that it would be our team.

      The position I think we stand with AJ thought at this point is a tad bit different. He still has good stuff. He is going to be at best our #5 pitcher. He will provide innings. If he does well you may be able to have somebody in the NL in need of pitching due to injury or some other reason actually take him without us eating tons of the contract. If he continues to suck at the level he has sucked the last two years and we are half way through the season maybe then you just release his ass. Or if he is pitching better maybe you just keep him. I would still get rid of him to clear salary and a roster spot even if he turned into a top flight pitcher for awhile.

  13. The Manchine says:

    I like the idea of moving Robbie to 3B next season, adding a new 2B and shifting A-Rod to DH.

  14. infernoscurse says:

    leave JOBA in AAA as a starter damnit!

  15. BK2ATL says:

    What is the prognosis for David Adams in 2012? AA? Is there a player profile on him?

    I can see the Cano to 3rd scenario play out in a couple of years and I think it’ll be successful. He’s got great lateral movement and a gun for an arm.

  16. Fin says:

    lol anyone else getting the feeling that Mike doesnt like this trade? In his comparison of Jesus and Pineda, he doesnt even bring up that fact, that Jesus isnt a position player. I havent seen him say one thing positive about the trade. I have seen him say positive things about Pineda but not about the trade itself. I would think he could get a little more positive becasue he was all in for Ubaldo. Hard to imagine this trade could work out worse than that one.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      I mentioned that he was a position player in the post.

      I don’t love the trade, but it’s not terrible and it’s definitely fair value. I look like an idiot for Ubaldo.

      • Fin says:

        Nah, Ubaldo fooled alot of people that were’nt in Colorado to see him play. Seems to me you are staying on the fence saying you dont love the trade but its fair value. What is it that you dont like about Pineda? I mean, I’m insanely in love with the trade. I think Pineda is a beast, his “fly ball tendancies” are a myth when you look at the numbers. In my life time I cant rember when the Yankees had a young pitcher with his skills. A guy who is 23 and throws that hard with that kinda of control.

        • infernoscurse says:

          i think it has more of a potential to suck, young pitchers usually have sophomore slumps, they have ups and downs and given the inpatient fandom of the Yankees they might not be patient enough to allow a kid who we traded Jesus Montero for to have growing pains, Fans wanted Joba sent to the pen, they have given up on hughes I expect them to be far worse the moment Pineda struggles. Felix hernandez had a sophomore year that took his era to 4.50 +, Roy Halladay had like a 10 ERA , whos to say how this kid will perform?

          sure on paper it looks like we got a young stud pitcher but how many of them stick? how many of them just burn out? and to top it off we had high end pitching prospects in the minors but we have no big bat to pencil into the lineup from within.

          I hate this trade

          • Fin says:

            Joba has always been over rated. Its not a fair comparison. JOba being over rated may very well be the Yankees fault for not giving him the innings in the mionr leagues he needed. However that doesnt change the fact that even before his supposed injury in Texas he was having the same issues as Hughes, low 90s, high 80s fast ball after a 4 or 5 inning and done by the sixth. Joba did have better stuff than Hughes has ever shown in my book, for what its worth.
            Pineda just go through a full major league season throwing 180 innings that his average was 95mph. His concerns arent the same as Joba or Hughes. Watching Hughs push the ball to home plate its hard to see how he was he was ever a top prospect. I’ll go to my grave knowing the yankees fucked up Joba. He never got a chance to stretch his arm. THe joba rules didnt wreck him, that was already done by never giving him a few hundred innings in the minors.

            • infernoscurse says:

              still jobas performance dropped second year into starting, like many other multiple pitchers, it doesnt have to do with the same issues cause every pitcher is different, yet Joba a homegrown loved by the fans people were inpatient with him as they thought hed be better suited to the bullpen how will those fans treat pineda also a young pitcher going into his second year after trading Montero for him. I hope Im wrong but the table is set for a big dissaster in my eyes

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            Not living up to billing, sophomore slumps, and the rest of that: Not the exclusive properties of young pitchers.

            How many highly touted hitters won ROY, then fell off the planet within a few years? Here’s an example pulled purely out of my ass (which may not hold up): Ron Kittle.

            • Sweet Dick Willie says:

              Joe Charboneau.

            • infernoscurse says:

              do doubt young hitters have question marks also, but when i put the pros and cons from both sides theres the factor that montero is surrounded by good hitting in this good hitters park to be able to perform, we have no other bat like his to throw into a lineup that sometimes seemed in need of a spark. And we could have used Montero in a trade for a more established pitcher rather than one that brings his own set of question marks. Specially when you only had to wait till next offseason and just buy one of the pitchers and keep montero

              • Ted Nelson says:

                I don’t agree with the “established” pitcher bit. Those guys are more expensive both in terms of $ and prospects. There’s an argument for getting Pineda over an “established” Gio or Danks. Guy is already as good, dirt cheap, with more upside.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              It’s not a matter of certainty or a few examples though… It’s a matter of which is more volatile on the whole, and that’s pitchers.

        • Jake says:

          Well, they kind of had a guy like that in Joba a few years ago. I think the hesitation around Pineda stems from the fact that he is still so young, and still developing, and young pitchers routinely flame out.

  17. Gonzo says:

    Why must Cano play for the Yankee after his current contract is up? Serious question. I mean besides the emotional part. The Yankees would have gotten his best years at the best price. Who knows what other options they could have in a coupled of years.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Something we don’t necessarily have to be concerned about at the moment.

      The “emotional part,” by the way, actually does matter to fans. We are fans first and foremost. None of us are interviewing for GM jobs anytime soon. It should play some role in what front offices think, as that “emotional part” can get fans in seats (yes, so does winning. I know.) Being the 100% mercenary makes you the Florida/Miami/Opa-lacka Marlins.

      • Fin says:

        Come on man, you dont think the majority of Yankee fans can get behind a 23 year old flame thrower like PIneda as easily as they can Montero? Hell, a good percentage of the fans, who dont read websites and follow all this shit, didnt know much about either player till the trade happend. I dont get how everyone is annointing Montero as the next great hitter in MLB when his AAA stats say other wise. He was bored in AAA maybe very well be a legit excuse, but there is certainly enough evidence to make Montero a risk. Not to mention if he cant catch, he cant be just a good hitter, he has to be an elite hitter to live up to his billing.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Nothing to do what I just wrote.

        • BK2ATL says:

          They’ll have a change of heart once Pineda puts up his 1st (hopefully of many) 10+K game at YS3. This kid has electric stuff. We just need for him to keep working on that changeup, and this trade might end up being a steal.

          If Pineda is a risk, what does that make Montero? He’s only played approx. 1 month of MLB baseball vs. 1 yr for Pineda. His position would have been DH with the Yankees. His bat is supposed to translate well to MLB, but then again so was Jason Heyward’s, etc. I would’ve loved to see him mash in pinstripes, but there is a definite risk with him as well. It’s DH or nothing.

          At the least, Pineda has an entire year under his belt, a body of work that can be scrutinized by Rothschild for adjustments. We had to give up a lot to get a lot. Plus this Campos kid appears to have more upside than Noesi. Time will tell.

      • Sweet Dick Willie says:

        It should play some role in what front offices think,

        If you listen to the fans, you will soon be sitting with them.

        Brian Cashman

    • infernoscurse says:

      maybe because we have arod and teix locked down and we expect some decline, we have a granderson who might leave by FA, we have a jeter who might be gone and we have no real solid bat to bring from within to carry the team cause apparently arod was too crippled to play 3b and Montero was too young to be DH cause in the Job Description of DH spot only above 35 allowed is on top of the check mark

      • Fin says:

        So those future, possible, issues out wieghed the fact that the Yankees were going into the season with CC, NOva as the only pitchers you could consider reliable. Behind them u have Freddy, Hughes and AJ. THey have 2 years to figure out what to do with their offense. Having the ability to spend 210mil or more allows those things to work themselves out. I have never seen a bad offensive Yankee team, I have seen my share of sub standard pitching staffs.

        • infernoscurse says:

          2 years, they could have figurd one more and kept montero and gained a Hamels :D

          • Fin says:

            Hamels doesnt play for the Brewers. He plays for the Phillies who have the resources to sign to him. I will still be shocked if Hamels hits FA. The Phils really screwed the pouch if they cant find a way to keep him. Realying on Hamels to hit FA and then being able to sing him seems like a pretty weak plan for a pitching staff to me.

            • infernoscurse says:

              that would be true if he were the only pitcher from that class, maybe none of them are on Hamels league but we have banuelos and betances who could develop into middle rotation starters for a while, we have reached the playoffs with far worse rotations than we have now and almost always seem to be knocked out by lack of hitting hmmmmm……

    • Fin says:

      Because if he keeps raking up to his FA, there is no replacing his production. That being said if some team is going to throw 8 yrs 160 at him, you really would have to consider letting him walk. I’m guessing he gets 6-120 from the Yankees and is worth most of that contract. Fielder cant find a home, teams are coming to their sences when it comes to hitters. We have seen what Crawford and Werth have done. I really think by the time Cano is a FA, Puljos will be another example, after only 2 years. At least when the Yankees got A-Rod both times, he was on top of his game, injury free and they knew his age. None of those things can be said about Puljos. Steroids could have easily been apart of Puljos game as they were arods.

  18. CMP says:

    Crazy story about Fausto Carmona today.

    My only question is if your name is really “Roberto”, out of all the names in the world, why the hell would you pick “Fausto” as your alias.

  19. Darren says:

    If Burnett was a free agent, what would he get from a team in need of at least a relatively stable (in terms of injury and getting out on the mound every 5 days) pitcher?

    He’s pitched about 190 innings each of the last three years and had a pretty good K rate of 8.2/9 in 2011. Obviously pretty much all of his other numbers are crappy at best.

    The high profile Yankee position does him zero favors and his inconsistency is maddening. But in away, he takes so much abuse in part because he still makes 33 starts a year. he is NOT a total bust like Pavano.

    Is it totally unreasonable to say he would get a 2 year deal at $4mm per year? If so, then the Yanks should not trade him unless the new team pays at least $3mm of his salary per year. Assuming the Yankes get no more than a low level prospect in return. Otherwise, kepp in in the pen as insurance, I don’t care. You never know, Cepeda could start the year in Triple AAA and Hughes might blow. In that case, it’s pretty easy to make a case that it makes more sense to have Burnett start than Banuelos, Betances, or the other AAA kids (especially if none of them distinguish themselves in Spring Training).

    • CMP says:

      I don’t agree with this at all.

      Burnett is what Bill Parcells calls a “progress stopper” His role as 6th or 7th starter should be filled by one of the AAA guys, specifically Warren and Phelps, who more than likely can give you at least the same pitiful production you’d expect out of AJ yet might actually have a future.

      • Mike HC says:

        Except, in the NFL you can just cut guys and not pay them the rest of the contract. AJ gets paid no matter what. Up to this point, AJ really has not prevented any other pitcher from developing.

  20. Ted Nelson says:

    I disagree that Morrison has the same kind of value as Montero. He’s two years older. He definitely can’t field while Montero may be able to get by at a premium defensive position. And his rookie season was good but not great. I think Montero has a ton more upside with a similar downside.

  21. Ted Nelson says:

    I’m not sure if playing 2B defensively will cause Cano’s offense to age any faster than playing 3B defensively. If it somehow does I’m not sure how much a position switch this late in the game will save him.

    I can buy an argument that the range and turn needed at 2B make you age relatively quickly defensively: make it hard to stay effective at the position. Iin that case a position switch could be made when necessary. I don’t really see how a position switch now is going to save his offense later.

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