Your submissions for the Yankees designated hitterBy
Last night Mike got the ball rolling with his mailbag post about Dom Brown and Jason Heyward. They are two exciting young bats, and the Yankees would be glad to have them. Yet as Mike notes in the post, it’s not terribly realistic. The Montero for Pineda trade is an anomaly; teams don’t normally challenge each other with young player for young player trades. The Yankees will have to look elsewhere for their 2012 designated hitter.
Brown and Heyward aren’t the only user-submitted names. Let’s have a look at what some other readers have suggested.
Sciut (I think he meant Scout) suggests: David Wright
The premise is that the Mets would settle for salary relief, which I don’t buy right now. They spent some dollars this winter, so it doesn’t appear that they’re in immediate trouble. Their obligations fall pretty sharply in the next few years: they have just $8.5 million on the books for 2014, and it’s all buyout money.
As for Wright, the Mets owe him $31 million over the next two seasons, which is fairly reasonable. Here’s the rub, though. If they trade him, he can void his $16 million club option for 2013. At his age, it’s a no-brainer to opt for free agency (unless he has a particularly poor 2012 season). That makes him a not very attractive trade target. Yet I don’t expect the Mets would settle for a middling return. They’ve already come under fire for letting Jose Reyes walk, and Wright is one of the only remaining recognizable players on the team.
T. Lincoln suggests: Ross Gload
Gload, who spent the last two seasons with the Phillies, is currently a free agent. His name has not come up once this off-season, so it’s safe to say that he’s looking at a minor league deal with an invite to camp. It’s hard to go wrong with a minor league deal, but there are probably better options before Gload.
In limited duty with the Phillies he actually hit reasonably well, a 113 wRC+, in 2010. But he completely fell off a cliff in 2011, and at age 36 that will always raise the question of whether he’s done. For his career he has a 91 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, so it’s not like he’s a masher. The Phillies had him for the right role at the right time in his career, a lefty off the bench for an NL team. Now, though? Gload doesn’t really stand to help the Yanks much.
Patrick suggests: Kyle Blanks
The 6-foot-6 behemoth Blanks comes with quite the pedigree. He came up through the Padres system, finishing as their No. 1 prospect before the 2009 season. He pretty much demolished every level of the minors before that, so his ranking is unsurprising. His major league career, however, has been a series of ups and downs — from the majors to AAA, that is.
Contact has been a big problem for Blanks. He has a 31.5 percent big league strikeout rate, which has played a role in his anemic career batting average, just .219. Blanks does make up for that with a keen batting eye, a 10.2 percent walk rate and a .315 OBP, but with a batting average that low it’s tough for him to remain productive. Blanks does have some pop, though, with a career .205 ISO. That’s pretty impressive, considering his home digs.
Last week Paul Swydan of FanGraphs opined that Blanks might flourish elsewhere. That might be a necessity, since the Padres have effectively pushed him out of any significant role. He appears to have an option remaining, though, so they have some flexibility. But they can deal him now with some of his potential still in tact. Another up and down, mediocre year and it will become much tougher. It’s tough to say what it would take to acquire him, but the Yanks could take that risk on a big right-handed bat.
Dustin suggests: Jim Thome
I don’t want to dismiss this one out of hand, because on the surface it’s a wonderful suggestion. In fact, if the Yankees had pulled the trigger on the Montero deal in November, I’m certain their next call would have been to Thome. It would have had to been in early November, though, as the Phillies signed him to a one-year, $1.25 million contract on November 4th.
Dustin suggests a midseason trade, since the Phillies will have Ryan Howard back by that point. At that point the situation becomes less clear. The Phillies will certainly want a player they can use in 2012 in return, and the Yankees might not have one of those available at the time. In any case, it’s hard to see them offering Thome for a fair price. It’s a nice idea in terms of the player, but since he’s already under contract with a strong contender, it stands to reason that he’ll stay there.
Dan suggests: Kosuke Fukudome
Fukudome came over from Japan for the 2008 season, and he started off his career with a bang, doubling on the first major league pitch he saw and then hitting a game-tying, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. He’s had his ups and downs since then, and ended his first four years in the bigs as a perfectly average hitter (100 wRC+).
The one thing Fukudome can do is take a walk. His career 13.4 percent walk rate ranks 20th in the league since 2008, just behind Nick Swisher. Yet he doesn’t offer much power, with a career. 139 ISO. That fell considerably last year. Last year, in fact, was a bit of a strange one for him. He continued walking while with the Cubs, but had absolutely no power. Then, with the Indians, he hit for a little more power, but barely walked at all.
There are definitely some things to like about Fukudome, but his lack of pop doesn’t make him an attractive candidate. That he seemingly ceases to hit the ball in the air after April also does not bode well for him.