Mailbag: Belt, Wade, Twitter, Big Base Stealers

3/29 Camp Notes: Nova, Soriano, Swisher
2012 Season Preview: AL Contenders

I kinda took it easy this week, so only four questions. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar whenever you want to send us something, mailbag questions or otherwise.

(Jeff Gross/Getty)

Sam asks: The Dom Brown trade idea has been repeated ad nauseum, but what about another guy in a similar situation: Brandon Belt. The Giants don’t seem to want to play him, but he could definitely help the Yankees. Short term he relieves Ibanez of his duties and long-term he can play a corner OF spot, back up 1B and help the Yankees get under 189. The Giants SS situation is pitiful. Nunez seems like a reasonable start to a trade. Thoughts?

I love me some Brandon Belt. He’s kinda like a prospect version of Curtis Granderson in the sense that he was a solid prospect who made some mechanical adjustments to his swing and turned into a monster. He makes perfect sense for the Yankees as a left-handed power bat who can hit for average and is willing to take a walk, plus he’s shown he can handle a corner outfield spot over the last year even though his nature position is first base. The Giants have been jerking him around a bit even though he’s clearly one of the four or five best hitters in the organization.

The problem is this: Belt is their Jesus Montero, and we saw what kind of return it took to get Montero. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable comparison at all. Eduardo Nunez would probably be the second or third piece of the trade package, not the headline. The Giants could be in the market for some young arms with a Matt Cain extension looking more and more unlikely, so maybe a Manny Banuelos, Eduardo Nunez, plus a really nice third piece gets it done. Someone like Adam Warren or Brett Marshall. Maybe it takes someone more established like Ivan Nova instead of Banuelos.

I’d have no trouble dealing Nova/Banuelos, Nunez, and Warren/Marshall for Belt, but I’m not sure the Giants would bite. Aubrey Huff’s disaster contract will be off the books after the season, and the club will have some outfield openings with Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera due to hit free agency next winter. I love to see the Yankees land Belt at some point, but I don’t think he’s a realistic option right now.

Steve asks: It appears that both Clay Rapada and Cesar Cabral both could have solid value if they made the roster; Rapada destroys lefties and Cabral has been effective and has youth and potential on his side. Why not demote Cory Wade, who has options, and has been ineffective this spring?

Wade does have one option left, and I think it’s very reasonable to consider sending him to Triple-A to open the season. If the Yankees feel comfortable with Cabral’s ability to get out right-handers with his changeup, having three left-handers in the bullpen for a few weeks won’t be the worst thing in the world. I’m inclined to ignore Wade’s spring just because it is Spring Training, but he obviously has little margin for error given his soft stuff.

I do worry that Girardi won’t be able to control himself with three lefties to deploy, but sending Wade down is a definite option if the Yankees want a little more time to evaluate Rapada and Cabral. I just don’t think they’ll do it.

Richard asks: I’m looking for some good Twitter feeds to follow for baseball in general, and also fantasy baseball – can you make any suggestions/recommendations?

I’m going to tell you what I tell everyone else: look through who I follow and you’ll get an idea of the best baseball feeds out there, both real and fantasy baseball. Some of my personal favorite follows are @MLBDepthCharts, @2003BPro, @2003BA, @McCoveyChron, @BayCityBall, @MLBFakeRumors, @LookoutLanding, @BenBadler, @SamMillerBP, and @CloserNews. Of course, there’s also @RiverAveBlues as well.

Still my all-time favorite player. (Photo via NY Mag)

Jon asks: Is Justin Maxwell an aberration — a large man who can steal bases?

Now that’s a good one. Maxwell is listed at 6-foot-5 and 235 lbs. on the official site and he’s averaged 44.5 steals per 162 games in Triple-A. Let’s assume that translates into 30 steals over a full big league season just for argument’s sake. The number of players that large to steal that many bases in a single MLB season is … zero. It’s never been done. Dropping the weight requirement altogether gives us just five 30+ steal seasons by a player standing at least 6-foot-5. Alex Rios did it twice (2008 & 2010), Von Hayes did it twice (1982 & 1984), and Darryl Strawberry did it once (1987). If you reduce it further to 6-foot-5 and at least 20 steals, you still only get 29 instances in baseball history.

Tall base stealers are obviously very rare, making Maxwell quite unique. He is a crazy good athlete, that’s never been the problem, it’s just his inability to make contact. Injuries have hindered him as well, and I’m not just talking about last year’s shoulder problem. I’m pretty surprised there are so few tall base stealers, but I guess the Rios/Strawberry/Maxwell type of athletes who opt for baseball are few and far between.

3/29 Camp Notes: Nova, Soriano, Swisher
2012 Season Preview: AL Contenders
  • Steve (different one)

    Trading Belt makes very little sense from the Giants’ POV. Basically it would be like the Mariners had Montero and the Yankees had Pineda and the trade happened. The Giants have no offense, they aren’t in a position to deal hitting for pitching, even if Nunez is coming along for the ride.

    • Slugger27

      i agree with your point, that dealing hitting for pitching would be a strange move by the giants, but i do think we’re overvaluing belt here. he hasnt proven anything in the big leagues, and his prospect status was never that of monteros.

      • Sayid J.

        Agree. Banuelos and Nunez would be a bit much IMO

      • Anthony

        Couldn’t agree more. Offense isn’t an immediate need. I’m not at all sold on Belt any more than I am sold on Gary Sanchez or Mason Williams. To me, they have just as much chance as panning out, and we don’t even have to give up our low cost pitching. However, if Cain or Hamels makes it to free agency, I’ll trade the low cost pitching for low cost hitting to make up the difference. But not for Belt. I’d want must more of a sure thing.

  • Reggie C.

    As much as I would jump at the chance of trading Banuelos, Nunez to secure a corner OF spot cheaply for the next four years, SF has been unable to produce a quality hitting prospect aside from Posey.

    • Slugger27


  • Sweet Dick Willie

    I agree that the Yanks should keep Stairs and Rapada and option Wade to start the season.

    Is it fair to Wade? Possibly not, but at this point it’s the only way to keep all three.

    Hey, it wasn’t “fair” that Nova got optioned last summer, but sometimes that’s the way the numbers break.

    It isn’t like it’s a permanent solution. One (or both) of Cabral/Rapada could suck, or perhaps be dealt for something more than they could fetch right now.

    Time to think outside the box Cash!

    • MannyGeee

      meh… fair. Go ask Jo-Va about FAIR!!

    • Rookie

      Absolutely. Two lefties like Rapada and Cabral in addition to Logan would be quite a weapon at times — for example, against the Red Sox.

      Stashing Wade — and Nova or Pineda for that matter when Pettitte is MLB-ready — in AAA would leave the Yankees stacked and ready for the inevitable injuries that happen and loaded for trades that could upgrade their rotation or otherwise better the team.

  • tomaconda

    I would personally drive Nova, Nunez, Betances, and any combination of Marshall, Phelps, and Warren to SF, pay to charter a private jet to fly Belt to NY evev if it meant selling a kidney or two. Nova is expendable this year and if Andy retires after 1 more than Banuelos slots in as your number 5!

    • Slugger27

      so… you like belt, then?

      • tomaconda

        a little bit!

  • Plank

    Ty Cobb was 6’1″ and stole a lot of bases over 100 years ago. I don’t know what the average height of a player was back then, but I would assume 6’1″ was considered big back then.

    • Plank

      Players are nearly 5 inches taller now on average than in the 1870s.

    •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      He was 6’1′, but only 175 lbs.

      •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        For comparison, Ramiro Pena is listed at 175 lbs.

    • Don W

      Bill James wrote in his Historical Abstract that Ty Cobb was the Dave Winfield with regards to size. Winfield was 6’6″ 240lbs.

  • thenamestsam

    Those offers for Belt in the piece and the ones people are throwing around in here seem like way way too much. He’s a very nice prospect, but so is Banuelos.

    A year ago was the last time both Belt and Banuelos were rated on prospect lists. Consensus had Belt slightly higher, but not way higher. Banuelos had a merely average year, but Belt had a disappointing year as well. Their prospect status is probably pretty similar right now. Banuelos for Belt straight up makes sense. Nunez + a nice piece for Belt makes sense. Banuelos + Nunez + a nice piece seems like way too much to give up. You’re basically giving them a starting SS with 5 years of team control and Warren to upgrade from the #35 prospect to #25 or so? Doesn’t make sense. Nunez + Betances or Nunez + Mason Williams + Warren seem a lot more balanced to me.

    • Plank

      Good point. I don’t think the Giants make any of those trade proposals though. It seems like a case of teams liking their prospects more than anyone else’s.

      Nunez, Williams, and Warren seems balanced to me, but I don’t think the Giants would do that.

      • thenamestsam

        I think the unresolved question is how much they like Belt. Sending him down again this year so they can keep giving at-bats to Huff and Schierholtz etc. just seems weird. If they’re a little down on him I could see them taking a reasonable package. Sabean is also a pretty unpredictable (and bad) GM. That’s always a good thing.

    • Don W

      The comparison to Montero misses due to the age difference. Montero is a 1 1/2 years younger than Belt who will be 24 this year.

  •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

    Just curious, how is Straw your all-time fave? Did you start off as a Met fan?

    • Plank

      I’ve always been a Yankees fan but Strawberry is one of my all-time favorites, too. None of my favorite players are Yankees, actually. Except for Doc Gooden, but he was on the list before he wore pinstripes.

      • Plank

        I’m the same age as Mike, so maybe it was just the timing of when he was the king. It would be like a little kid in the Bay area being an As fan but having Tim Lincecum or Pablo Sandoval as their favorite player.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Belt hit like .220 in his MLB stint. Calling him a clearly better option than 3 or 4 hitters is a stretch and a half. Of course his new mechanics may help a lot but we don’t know that.

  • jack knife

    put Romanski in that trade get hin to SF That would be great for him

    • Steve (different one)

      Lol. Don’t ever change.

  • David

    I’d say you’ll want to follow Keith Law as well on Twitter.

    • Plank

      What is the appeal of using twitter? How is it better than just reading articles on the internet?

      Also, what do all those codes mean?

      • Anchen

        To me, the appeal of twitter is a combination of instant news and interaction. Stuff on twitter, especially on something that doesn’t have immediate media scrutiny (for instance a planned press conference or something) will come about way before an article is out about it. It frequently has multiple accounts quickly too.

        People are also more willing to respond on twitter. Most writers for instance will never respond to the comments sections of their article, but if you reply to a tweet or ask a question in a tweet they are more likely to respond. This of course depends on the writer/person/question. Keith Law for instance fairly frequently responds on twitter with replies to questions that wouldn’t be covered in a full article.

        The only two codes I am aware of, at least that are of major usage are @ (appersand, before a person’s name, which is a “mention”, meaning it will appear in their timeline. It is the primary way of messaging someone basically or asking questions. The other s #, hashtag, which is basically used for search topics. You use it when searching to look up tweets on the specific topic. For instance #yankees or #espn or something.

  • Rainbow connection

    Andre The Giant stole 35 bases in 1985 and that was with 2 midgets clinging to his legs and after drinking 46 beers.
    7′ 5″
    550 pounds

  • Rookie

    Maxwell’s stats impress the heck out of me. But boy did he look lost in the field recently when he made that error in left field. Bottom line: I haven’t seen him enough to have an informed opinion. But maybe he’s a bit like Bernie Williams — great athletic skills and ability, but lousy instincts. Maybe that explains how other teams could let him go despite his promising stats. Again, I don’t know. I’m just wondering.