Mailbag: Ortiz, Jackson, Choo, Sanchez, Soler


Got five questions this week; a nice mix of hypotheticals, prospect talk, and future targets. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send in anything, including mailbag questions.

lol (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Matt asks: Let’s say this Montero trade had happened a couple months ago, and the Yankees had been looking for a DH from the beginning of the offseason — would you have wanted the Yankees to go after David Ortiz for DH? I know he accepted arbitration, but couldn’t he have become a free agent if he had declined his option with the Sox? If that had been the case, and he had become a free agent, wouldn’t you have loved to sign Ortiz for a one or two year deal? I would have supported that completely, personally. Not only would we have taken him from the Sox, but I think Ortiz would kill it in Yankee stadium. Let me know what you guys think.

I’ve thought about this over the last few weeks and I keep going back and forth. Part of me says absolutely, that big left-handed bat sure would look wonderful in the lineup while simultaneously taking it away from the Red Sox, but another part of me thinks that 2011 was Ortiz’s dead cat bounce, his last hurrah. The Yankees would have also surrendered their first round pick to Boston, and that just feels yucky. Ultimately, yeah I would have been for it on a one-year deal. Two years would have been pushing it. I doubt it would have happened though, the Yankees don’t seem to like the idea of spending upwards of $15M for a DH, and I can’t say I blame them. I don’t think that would have been any different earlier in the offseason.

Mark asks: Now that we know that Edwin Jackson signed a one-year deal with the Nationals, in retrospect and assuming they could be bought for their current contracts, who would you have rather had the Yankees sign: Kuroda or Jackson?

I’d rather have Jackson because he’s ten years younger and more likely to repeat (and improve upon) his previous performance. That said, this wasn’t an either/or situation. The Hiroki Kuroda deal set the market for workhorse starters on one-year contracts, and we have no idea what Jackson would have signed for prior to the Yankees landing Kuroda. It changed everything. I’m pretty thrilled about getting Hiroki on that contract, so I have no complaints about how things turned out.

Nick asks: Make sense to try for Shin-Soo Choo?

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Sure, he’d step right into the lineup this year before taking over in right field next year. It’ll buy the Yankees time to sort out the position long-term, which could very well mean re-signing Choo when he becomes a free agent after 2013. I don’t have many concerns about his down year at age 29; I think he’s got a number of .290/.390/.480, 20+ HR, 20+ steal seasons left in him. The only problem is how are they supposed to get him? The Indians fancy themselves a contender at the moment, so I doubt they’ll trade their second best offensive player. The Yankees have the pitching to get a deal done, but it would really thin out their upper level depth. So yeah, it’s not going to happen, but definitely a guy worth pursuing in a trade.

Charlie asks: Hey guys, what about Anibal Sanchez? If Hamels and Cain sign extensions and the Yankees feel Greinke is too risky, is Anibal Sanchez a strong option on the free agent market next season?

Yes, definitely. Joe was touting him as a trade target last offseason, and the great year he had — 3.35 ERA in 196.1 IP, a mirror image of his 2010 season — only makes him that much more desirable. Sanchez is turning 28 this month, so he still has a number of peak years remaining, which is what you hope to get with every big money free agent. And make no mistake, if he has another year like the last two, he’ll command huge bucks. I think the Marlins will find a way to sign him long-term, maybe even before the season starts, but he’s definitely a worthy target.

Ross asks: If you guys have time, I would like to learn more about Jorge Soler. It seems like signing him wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg and he would provide the minor league outfield depth the Yankees currently lack … a perfect Cashmaneuver™.

Here’s a snippet of what Ben Badler wrote about the 19-year-old Soler earlier this week (subs. req’d)…

Listed at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds … Power is Soler’s best tool, as he shows great bat speed, the ability to hit balls out to all fields and the potential to hit 25 home runs per year. While scouts like his power and some like his swing, he bars his front arm and the stiffness in his stroke is a concern for some scouts. Scouts have offered differing opinions on his ability to hit breaking balls, but he has a history of laying off pitches outside the strike zone in international competition and has more on-base potential than Cespedes.

Soler is athletic for his size and there are reports of him running the 60-yard dash in 6.5 seconds—a time that grades out as well above-average speed—but several scouts have said he’s really an average runner at best … Depending on how much bigger he gets, there’s a chance he could end up at first base down the road, but he should be able to handle right field for the near future. Scouts are mixed on his outfield instincts but he does have an above-average arm.

I prefer Soler to Yoenis Cespedes based on the little we know, and I get the sense that the Yankees do as well. He’ll obviously need to spend a few years in the minors, but that’s to be expected with a teenager. I have no idea what it’ll take to sign him, but if the Gerardo Concepcion contract is any indication of the market, it’ll cost eight figures. Unlike Cespedes, Soler has not yet been declared a free agent and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement-mandated spending limits will apply to him come July 2nd. He’ll feel some pressure to sign for whatever he can get before the deadline.

Categories : Mailbag
  • Richard Leo

    it maybe much easier to bring back Giambi, is it worthy?

    • Plank

      Maybe at the trade deadline, but I don’t think the Rockies are sellers at this point.

      • Richard Leo

        Giambi is just a bench bat in the Rockies, will Rockies hold on him?

        • Plank

          He’s their primary pinch hitter, which is important on a NL team. He’s also amazingly productive in that role and makes 1 MM next year. They aren’t just going to give him away. And they won’t trade him until they are out of it.

          So I wouldn’t say he’s “just a bench player” and I would say yes, the Rockies will hold on to him for now.

          • Ted Nelson

            The Indians aren’t exactly likely to give away Choo, either…

            • Plank


              • Ted Nelson

                That was the point you responded to… that Giambi would be easier to get than Choo.

                • Plank

                  it maybe much easier to bring back Giambi, is it worthy?

                  Giambi is just a bench bat in the Rockies, will Rockies hold on him?

                  I was responding to the merits and feasibility of trading with the Rockies for Giambi. Where and why should I have reiterated Mike’s point that Choo will take a lot in a trade package with the Indians?

                  I think you’re forgetting the sky is blue…

                  • Ted Nelson

                    The Rockies aren’t going to hold onto Giambi if they get a decent return… a piece that will have more value. It’s easy to have more value than Giambi. He had 150 PAs last season and has averaged under 0.5 bWAR the past three seasons. I don’t think the Rockies are dying to give him away, but I don’t think they’re holding onto him if someone offers decent value. His value as a platoon DH could be considerably higher to the Yankees than his value as a PH to the Rockies.

                    Choo, on the other hand, will have a ton of value to the Indians if he turns it around.

                    • Plank

                      Do you think I’m saying Choo will be easier to get than Giambi? Where do you get that impression from?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I think you are saying “the Rockies will hold on to him for now.” And I get that impression because you typed it and then hit submit comment. Unless someone ghost wrote using your handle.

                    • Plank

                      What? I do think that, that’s why I wrote it. What does that have to do with Choo, who you brought up?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      It has to do with why Giambi is a more realistic option than Choo… the original point of this tangent. I was simply pointing out that the original point that Giambi is easier to get makes a lot of sense. How hard is this for you to get?

                    • Plank


  • Richard Leo

    it may be much easier to bring back Giambi, is it worthy?

  • Steve (different one)

    I have to think the prospect of stealing Ortiz from the Sox would have been too tempting to pass up. The Sox offered him $18M/2, and he obviously thinks he is worth $16.5M/1. Would he have taken $24M/2 to stick it to a team I don’t think he is very happy with? Maybe.

    I think he would rake at Yankee stadium, and taking him from the Sox would put the Sox in a pretty deep hole for the division.

    Obviously this is all moot, but we should all be rooting for him to win his arb case. If he wins, I think the Sox are done for the offseason. If he loses, they might be able to scrape up enough to get Oswalt. Does Fielder help him win? I don’t know, can’t hurt.

    • viridiana

      Pass on Ortiz. What a phony. I can still hear him promising to “get to the bottom of this” when his name was released among those testing positive for PEDs. Funny, isn’t it, that we haven’t ever heard anything more. Ortiz (with a history of charging the mound as a young player in the Dominican)) has apparently intimidated pitchers so that he is annually among the batters getting hit fewest times. This may make him attractive to some, but he’s a guy I would never want to see in a Yankee uniform.

      • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost


        I get so tired of his posing after home runs too, I think I remember him doing it to some young kid last year pitching in one of his first games in the majors. Great job fatty, you did what you are supposed to do, now go waddle around the bases you slob.

        That guy seems like a total dickbag to me.

        • TogaSean

          I’ve never liked the guy either, and honestly has nothing to do with him being on the Sox. I’d never want to see him in pinstripes, no thanks.

  • Steve (different one)

    Also, Choo had a down year coupled with a DWI. Seems like a red flag to me.

  • Ted Nelson

    I think Leonys Martin is a better indication of the market for Soler, but we’ll have to see.

    • Plank

      Why is a 23 year old who made the majors in his first year a better comp for an 18 year old?

      • Ted Nelson

        Because everything I’ve read is that Soler is better than Martin and will get more money than Martin.

        • Plank

          I disagree.

          • gc


          • Ted Nelson

            That’s awesome for you! Disagreeing with the reports I’ve read. As I said, we’ll have to see how much he gets when he signs.

            • Plank

              I disagree with you that Soler will make more money as an 18 year old than Martin as a 23 year old who was close enough to the big leagues that he made it within a year. It’s a ridiculous viewpoint to hold.

              Soler won’t even get a ML contract.

              • Ted Nelson

                You’re not disagreeing with me. You’re disagreeing with Jim Callis and others. If you’d like to call Jim Callis’ viewpoint ridiculous… be my guest. I have never seen Soler play, so I don’t have a clue how he compares to Martin.


                “Though Soler would need more minor league seasoning, it’s been written he could have more upside than Cespedes. Soler is younger and more talented than the Rangers’ Leonys Martin, wrote Baseball America’s Jim Callis, so he figures to beat Martin’s $15.6MM contract.”

                “Soler is four years younger and more talented than Leonys Martin, another Cuban outfielder who signed a $15.6 million major league contract with the Rangers in April. Once Soler is cleared to sign with a major league team, he’s expected to top Martin’s deal.”

                • Plank

                  I disagree with Jim Callis. Even if he has more upside than Martin, which he may, I have no idea, giving that much money to an 18 year old corner outfielder who may end up at 1B is a lot of risk. In that article you linked to, Callis said he would have gone 5th or 6th if he controlled the draft last year.

                  16 million to an 18 year old with that level of talent seems ridiculous to me. That is about what Harper got and he’s compared to Arod or Griffey. I realize draft money doesnt equal IFA money, but 16 million seems unrealistically high for Soler.

                  You wrote

                  I think Leonys Martin is a better indication of the market for Soler, but we’ll have to see.

                  then you wrote

                  You’re not disagreeing with me. You’re disagreeing with Jim Callis and others.

                  I’m most certainly disagreeing with you. You said Martin is a better indication of Soler’s market than Concepcion. I disagree. With you. And Jim Callis.

                  The other link was just MLBTR’s Soler-tagged articles. Why did you include that? That’s every article they’ve ritten that mentions Soler. Why not just write ‘Source: Google’?

                  • Plank


                  • Ted Nelson

                    I think it because I’ve read it not only from Are you really that unwilling to admit when you make a fool of yourself that you’re resorting to semantics here?

                    I think it because I’ve read it not only from Callis but elsewhere. Since those guys actually have their ears to the ground… they know more than I do about what teams are saying about Soler. I know nothing but what I read online. At the same time… Martin is an OF prospect everyone I’ve read thinks Soler is more talented than. “[M]ore talented than Leonys Martin.” Conception is a P whose peripherals didn’t match his production at all. Ps are far more volatile than hitters.

                    Callis said Soler is “expected” to sign for more. That implies that word around baseball is he’s going to sign for more. Not that Callis thinks it, but that it’s generally expected.

                    You can disagree with whoever on earth you want to. When Soler actually signs, we’ll see how much it’s for. You need me to repeat that 10 more times for you, or what?

                    Calling someone’s viewpoint and/or reporting on what they’ve heard ridiculous because you disagree is stupid. Who are you to say how much Soler will get? That you wouldn’t pay him something doesn’t mean a team won’t. You are the same guy who thinks lobbying is a more important background to run an MLB team than actually running the baseball operations of an MLB team.

                    • Plank

                      My work here is done.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Your agument is that Jim Callis’ viewpoint on how much Soler will get is ridiculous, and yours is correct?

                      Enough said.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    “I realize draft money doesnt equal IFA money, but 16 million seems unrealistically high for Soler.
                    You wrote”

                    Yeah… draft money has nothing to do with IFA money. Those guys can’t sign with any other MLB team that year, and in a lot of cases for 3 years if they choose NCAA.

                    Chapman gets $30 million, Leonys gets $15 million… but you watch enough Cuban baseball to know what Jorge Soler will get? Is that really your argument? How much Cuban baseball do you watch? What are your sources within MLB to know how much Soler might get? Jim Callis has those sources… and he says they expect Soler to get more than Martin… but my viewpoint that Callis knows more than the great Plank of lobbying is an essential skill fame is ridiculous? Whoa…

                    • Plank

                      Thank you for describing me as great. It’s a bit much, but thanks nonetheless.

                      Chapman was a 22 year old lefty pitcher who has literally thrown a baseball faster than any human in the history of time. Leonys Martin was a 22 year old lefty CF who was close enough to the big leagues to make it to the pros in his first year. Chapman did, too. Even if Soler’s ceiling is higher than Martin, he will probably start in short season A or low A. If everything goes perfectly, he might be in the majors in 3 years. There is value in certainty. Being closer to the big leagues is more certainty and that means more money.

                      but my viewpoint that Callis knows more than the great Plank of lobbying is an essential skill fame is ridiculous? Whoa…

                      Whoa, indeed. I don’t know what an essential skill fame is.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Thanks for your scouting report on a dude you’ve never seen before. I’ll take the scouting reports of the people who have seen him. If you think age is the only determinant of signing bonus, I don’t know what to tell you.

                      “Plank of… fame” Are you really as dumb as you come across?

                    • Plank


                      You’re welcome!

                      In the article you linked to, Callis thinks Soler isn’t as good as Manny Machado, Jameson Tallion, or Bryce Harper, but better than Christian Colon and Drew Pomerantz. In the 2011 draft, he says he’s similar to Bubba Starling meaning he’s not as desirable as Gerritt Cole, Danny Hultzen, Trevor Bauer, or Dylan Bundy.

                      That doesn’t seem like a 16 million dollar corner outfielder to me. Would you pay 16 million for Bubba Starling (the only mentioned player Callis regards as similar in value)?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Because he’s a free agent. Those guys were not free agents. Those guys had to choose between signing with one team or not signing that year. They only had the leverage of waiting another 1-3 year(s)… at which time they wouldn’t even face a similar situation, but probably a worse one with the new CBA. If the Yankees don’t want to pay Soler… maybe one of 29 other teams will. I have no idea what he’s actually going to get outside of what I’ve read. I just don’t see why you’re saying Callis is ridiculous and Concepcion is a relevant comp. They’re comparable in that they’re a year apart from the same country… which doesn’t tell us much about talent. I have read that Soler is directly better than Martin in the same general role.

                      According to Callis Martin > Soler > those draft picks… Why did Martin get $15.6 million? Because he was a free agent. If he were in the 2010 or 2011 draft, I don’t see any way you can argue he would have sniffed that money… if you agree with Callis that he’s less talented than Soler who is less talented than Machado and Taillon. He would have had to sign with the team that drafted him, waited a year, or signed in Japan, Mexico, etc.

                    • Plank

                      I understand free agency raises the salaries of players. I even mentioned it above. You responded to that post. Angrily. Did you read it? Thanks for reiterating what I said as though I don’t understand it though, that’s twice in a few days. Good job!


                      See. There it is.

                      My question was would you sign free agent Bubba Starling for 16MM? I wouldn’t. That’s the player Callis compared to Soler in value.

                    • CuriousRob

                      Are you two married?

                      Or, what if Ted Nelson and Plank were actually the same person, combating a split-personality disorder.

                    • Plank

                      That’s absurd. I only have 2 handles. Plank…and CuriousRob.

                      *cue organ music*

                    • Ted Nelson

                      You said it, then you ignored it.

                      Would you sign Leonys Martin for $15.6 million? Maybe not, but the Rangers did.

                      And yes. I think Bubba would get $15+ million in free agency. Whether that’s a 7, 8 year deal (about $2 mill per) or a signing bonus to carry him through the minors and then only get $1.5 million his first three seasons combined. He got $7.5 million in the draft.

                      You say you understand the difference between free agents and then you ignore it. Where would Concepcion be drafted? Would he get $8 million drafted there? If he were #8 or above he’d likely get 1/3-1/2 that.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      *8 or higher in number (i.e. lower)… not 8 or above.


                    • Ted Nelson

                      19 is fairly old for a top IFA. He’s not 25 with a track record like Yu… but he’s also not 16 like Sanchez, Ynoa, etc. Those guys get $3-5 million. If Gary Sanchez didn’t have the attitude questions, how much would he get on the open market after next season? Soler hasn’t shown it in MiLB, but he’s been playing those three years Sanchez wasn’t.

                      Iglesias got $6 mill at about the same age… and the guy can’t hit a lick. He’s usually compared to Rey Ordonez.

                    • Plank

                      I have a different opinion.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I understand that. I don’t understand why you think that Jim Callis’ opinion and my view of it are “ridiculous.”

                    • Plank

                      Is that really what this is about? One word? I called your opinion ridiculous because you are a ridiculous individual.

                      Soler isn’t near record high IFA signing bonus for a 19 year old corner OF.

                      Feel free to continue barraging me with insults.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      We’ll see what he signs for.

  • Seth Davis

    Choo’s a risk because of his compulsory military service. He may not be able to get out of it and therefore would be gone relatively soon for a few years.

    • Plank

      He got out of it when SK won the Asian games.

  • CJ

    Too conditioned to hate Big Papi, even if 1% if hatred for Manny. I would trade Betances plus if Choo was available. I say no to Anibal Sanchez, he will be expensive and may stink in AL East, think AJ Dos.

  • nsalem

    I’m glad we now have Kuroda instead of Jackson. In about 300 innings of pitching in all AL East ball parks he has numbers that would have you yearning for AJ Burnett to start ahead of him. He is now on his seventh team and I didn’t see much mention of his six former teams having any desire to have him back. Maybe he was asking too much or maybe there is an understandable distaste among FO’s across the land for Scott Boras clients who are league average. All of his traveling may have more to do with Boras rather than him. Somehow I think there is more of a story here than we all know about.

    • Plank

      Due to the reserve system in MLB, players have no ability to choose which team they play for. Edwin Jackson playing for multiple teams indicates he was traded a lot, not that he has character issues. I also doubt his agent has anything to do with it since most of his teams have current Boras clients on them. Bruce Chen was also traded a lot before he hit free agency and had no repeat teams. Do you doubt his character? How are they different?

      • nsalem

        Maybe Bruce Chen has been traded because of his agent also. Who is his agent anyway???

        • Plank

          Do you think Bruce Chen was traded so many times and didn’t re-sign with any team because of Scott Boras?

  • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

    How is no one worried about Sanchez’s injury history?

    • Ted Nelson

      Definitely worth looking into/considering.

  • CMP

    You can’t really compare the Jackson and Kuroda contracts for one reason:

    I don’t believe Jackson would have signed with a team in the AL east on a 1 year deal because if he posts a bad statistical season, it would kill his chances of getting a mega bucks long term contract.

    I’m sure part of the reason he signed with the Nationals was to maximize his chances of having a big year and that’s best served in the NL