Jan
26

Your submissions for the Yankees designated hitter

By

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.

Categories : Hot Stove League

59 Comments»

  1. MattG says:

    Laughable, meh, too late and no thanks.

    Did I miss the Daniel Murphy write up? This seems the perfect option to me, why am I wrong?

  2. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Laughable. Snore. Snore. Too late. I’d listen.

  3. Garcia says:

    I may be the only person on the planet calling for an Eric Chavez/Andruw Jones platoon. Is this just completely out of the realm of possibility? It’s likely that we would be able to bring him back at a number comparable to last year’s salary, he hit righties (and lefties, for that matter) at a respectable rate, hit .344 in high leverage situations, and still plays a serviceable 3B. The injury history is very troubling, but isn’t his upside still better than any of these guys (and Damon, Matsui, et al), even going into his age 34 season?

    • MattG says:

      With the resources on hand, I would let Chavez walk, use a Dickerson/Jones platoon at DH, keep Maxwell around to semi-platoon Gardner, and have Laird a phone call away for Rodriguez’s DL stints.

      That’d be fine, but I wouldn’t stop looking for a bat, either. Particularly Daniel Murphy.

      • PhilW says:

        While Chavez may be a viable option, I like your idea of giving a younger position player the opportunity even though that probably won’t be the most popular choice. The DH slot can be rotated to rest Tex, A-Rod, Jeter and the entire outfield by utilizing Nunez, Jones, Dickerson, Vasquez, Laird or possibly Maxwell as position players who can also DH.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Chavez has no bat. He put up a .687 OPS against righties and .609 versus lefties last season. Neither number is remotely respectable.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      You can have Chavez AND a DH….just like last year. Cervelli, Nunez, Chavez, Jones. DH.

  4. CJ says:

    The Kyle blanks idea is interesting. To take a chance on a flawed 25 year old is a lot more promising than taking a chance on a broken down flawed veteran like Russell branyan or Ross Gload types.

    • thenamestsam says:

      Agree that Blanks is very intriguing. High walk rate and potential for big time power are two things I like to see. He has clearly developed some serious problem with his swing, but he wasn’t always that way.

      In his 2009 Padres Top 11 for Baseball Prospectus KG wrote “In stark contrast to most players his size, he’s a highly adept hitter with excellent contact skills and significant leverage in his swing.”

      I’m not sure what happened between now and then (31.5% K rate and excellent contact skills do not compute), but this seems like the kind of situation where a good hitting coach might be able to have a real impact. It seems like he must have developed a bad habit, or a hole in his swing, or something, and given that he doesn’t seem to have much role there I imagine the price might be reasonable even if you see him as a bit of a project. Makes a lot of sense to me.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Could be a change in his swing, but it might also be a problem hitting better stuff. His K% in AAA was comparable at two years apart in 2009 and 2010. In AA 2008 v. 2011 he did take a hit, but 15.9% in 2008 was a career low and in 2011 it was a 201 PA sample where we was a few Ks from being in the teens.

        • thenamestsam says:

          True. The scouting report listing him as having excellent contact skills gives me hope that it might be more of something that fell apart mechanically, but he definitely might be just a AAAA type. I haven’t seen him play enough to offer an opinion, and it’s the kind of question you can’t really answer looking at numbers. Obviously whether or not to go after him depends on what the scouts say about him, but my hope would be that you could get him at a price where if a AAAA guy is all he turns out to be, you wash your hands and move on.

          The Padres love to take young reliever types and pump up their values before moving them again. Something like Mitchell or Kontos for Blanks might make some sense for both sides.

      • Pasqua says:

        Add to the mystery the fact that he’s got a good walk rate, which means that he’s not chasing bad pitches. So…he’s got a good eye, makes contact, and yet strikes out 1 out of every 3 at-bats. Weird.

    • Me not U says:

      Just have him on the bench anytime the Red Suxs want to have a bench clearing “get together”

  5. Dave B says:

    I’d still take Matsui over any of these guys (outside of Heyward but why DH that guy?). I would have to believe the guys hitting around him in the Yankee order would help his production more than the stiffs he was with last year.

  6. Anthony says:

    How about trading for Brandon Inge as the DH with Fielder in the fold he may be out of a spot

  7. RobertGKramer@AOL.Com says:

    My favorites are Jason Giambi and Travis Hafner. Hafner would have to be an AJ contract swap.

  8. LiterallyFigurative says:

    Do we really need a masher to be our platoon DH? I know he’d get more AB’s than Andruw Jones, but is it all about Hrs?

    Let’s say we had two options:

    Option A might hit 10 hr’s, but puts good at bats together and hits .275/.335/.375

    Option B might hit 20 hr’s, but strikes out far more than option A and have a slash of .240/.320/.390.

    Strictly from a hypothetical standpoint, who fits better into the lineup? Especially hitting 7th for our beloved Yankees?

    • MattG says:

      In your hypothetical, Option A is the more valuable player, due to the importance of OBP vs SP. So what? Power and patience are components of a good hitter. So are putting the ball in play and hitting for average, but less so.

      If you’re looking for a good hitter, you’ll probably be finding someone with power and patience. Not always, but more often than not.

  9. LiterallyFigurative says:

    I vote for an AJ Burnett – Carlos Lee swap, with the Yanks obviously bearing more of the financial brunt.

  10. Mike says:

    Johnny Damon. He’ll hit 20 homers again with the short porch. His price will come down.

  11. RobertGKramer@AOL.Com says:

    And a real dark horse Juan Miranda. A couple more of those jacks to the back wall of the Trop would be ideal!

  12. monkeypants says:

    I would love to see the Yanks get someone young and cost-controlled who can really hit. Maybe even take a chance on a prospect. For example, the Mariners have a slugging DH/C named Jesus Montero. He would be ideal. Of course, to get such a player, the Yankees would have to trade some of their surplus young pitching. A Montero-type is going to be costly—probably someone like Pineda.

  13. thenamestsam says:

    Looks like the Yankees might be setting up for the hitting version of what they did last year with starting pitching. Sign a bunch of shit, throw it at the wall and hope some sticks. Fortunately, this is a lot less worrisome when you’re talking about a part-time DH who will probably hit 7th or 8th most of the time than 2/5 of your starting rotation.

    Plus as other people have pointed out, Cashman and his team have done a great job recently with their scrap heap pickings. Hopefully Cash can find another diamond in the rough. I bet there is at least one more trade before spring training starts.

  14. yoo-boo says:

    Two words.

    CHASE HEADLEY.

    • MattG says:

      Why is Headley available? Who’s going to play 3B for San Diego?

      You know who would’ve been a nice option is Carlos Quentin. Too late.

      • Steve (different one) says:

        Agreed on Quentin, but nothing you can do about that…

      • CJ says:

        Quentin definitely would have been perfect dealt before montero deal. Second best choice was Seth smith dealt the day after. I hope that means next dh will be at least better than Seth Smith.

      • yoo-boo says:

        Last time I checked Padres are loaded at 3B but I am not sure whether or not they are more than enough to make Headley expendable.

        I would try on sending the package of Hughes, Nunez and Laird or Warren to SD for him. That means Yanks have to re-sign Chavez and find a veteran utility man like Cora or Theriot. I prefer the latter.

    • thenamestsam says:

      Love Headley, and if they’re interested in making a bigger move I’d prefer him greatly to Wright. But it would probably take a decent package to get him, and I’m guessing they’re more likely to make a smallish trade or a small signing or two.

  15. jsbrendog says:

    jermaine dye. or maybe barry bonds. i wonder what white sammy sosa is doing.

    the point is, at this point, i don’t care. over saturation.

    carry on

  16. tyrone sharpton says:

    Walter or dimitri Young. Brothas can still play

  17. steve s says:

    If either can even limp a little how about Magglio (will cost next to nothing and is free agent) or Kendrys Morales (wouldn’t cost a lot in trade).

  18. paul a says:

    GLOAD ? Come on now.Fukodome? Lou Pinella wanted to run him out of Chicago.I’ll take Damon over any of those guys,but i can live with a Eric Chavez/Jorge Vazquez at least for the time being.

  19. Jake says:

    BIG PAPI1!1!1!

  20. kyle says:

    I would still prefer Damon. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they got matsui back especially since he apparently brings in extra revenue (I think there was an article on this). Plus the addition of kuroda and if okajima makes the team the yankees could probably make some extra dough and publicity from the Japanese market with three Japanese stars on the team.

  21. Steve says:

    I’d take Pat Burrell or JD Drew on a minor league deal to see what they can do in Spring training.

  22. Steviedatsun says:

    How about brennen boesch of the tigers

  23. JeffG says:

    Justin Morneau

    1) Jeter
    2) Granderson
    3) Cano
    4) Arod
    5) Tex
    6) Morneau
    7) Swisher
    8) Martin
    9) Gardner

    Justin Morneau is off the books by 2014… and the Twins probably don’t need him seeing they are not going anywhere. Talk about a difference maker for the Yanks.

  24. Reggie C. says:

    Considering Yonder Alonso is now a member of the Padres org, I can see Kyle Blanks being available.

  25. bpdelia says:

    I hate to say this but morneau could be done. His concussion and injury issues basically make him a HUGE gamble. And the salary absolutely will not fit. Reneged we are talking about nothing more than 2 million being available here. And before you suggest aj for morneau why would the twins do that. They cant get any value for him so the obvious move is to hold a popular, talented but badly damaged player, close your eyes and pray.

    I could see hafner being moved but it wont be a salary dump. He still has legit value against rhp…… when he is healthy.

  26. Richard Leo says:

    Jason Giambi please

  27. bpdelia says:

    Yeah, to me giambi is utterly wasted in the national league. That would be a real solid move

  28. Jeff Long says:

    I think that the most intriguing idea is Billy Butler. When I first heard the rumor I thought “Phil Hughes for Butler” straight up. Now I’m thinking “Butler for AJ Burnett and David Phelps or Adam Warren”. Burnett would be a veteren presence for all the young players KC has coming up and in Kauffman Stadium, Burnett would pitch more to his past labeling of “NUMBER 2 PITCHER”. Also, in the Yankees organization, Warren and Phelps are projected to be 4th or 5th starters at best. If they were to make the move to KC they would maybe be a legit number 3 starter. Only hang up with this deal is that the Royals front office has stated they “want to give the young pitching prospects a shot at the Bigs”. If I am Cashman, I’m trying to get ahold of Billy Butler. Knowing the master genius that is Brian Cashman, he has something really tricky up his sleeve that is going to come way out of left field…..and I dont mean Brett Garder!!!

  29. Westcoastyankfan says:

    If the Yanks are going to eat a year, then I’m for sending Burnett to Houston for Lee. The salaries almost match up for the one year left on Lee’s contract. Houston can just spin Burnett off next year since the Yank’s are eating the rest of the contract, which would be their motivation for the trade.

  30. nycsportzfan says:

    I actually like the Fukodome idea.. The guy can hit a bit and i’m not completely sold on him not being able to put a couple banner seasons together(banner for him anyways).. He’d basically be a afterthought in NY and have that short porch in RF that could add a few dingers to his total.. I like the fact that hes walked alot in most seasons.. Also hes older and should mesh well with guys like Kuroda and the other older vets.. I think he could surprise in the big apple as a after thought DH/LF’er

  31. cc says:

    whats manny doin?

  32. Jeff Long says:

    The only reason the Royals would even consider Butler is because he is due big bucks relative to the Royals payroll. Eric Hosmer is OFF LIMITS for two reasons. One-He’s going to be a top 1st baseman in 2 years and Two-He is under team control for years to come.

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