Giants originally asked for David Phelps in Chris Stewart trade

4/6-4/8 Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays
The RAB Radio Show: April 6th, 2012

Via George King, the Giants originally asked the Yankees for right-hander David Phelps in the Chris Stewart trade. They eventually settled on George Kontos.

Phelps — who made the Opening Day roster as the long man — obviously wasn’t going to happen for an all-glove backup catcher, and I still feel like even Kontos was a bit too much. Stewart is out of options and San Fran’s hands were tied, they either had to trade him or lose him on waivers for nothing. Did Austin Romine‘s injury really take that much of a bite out of the catching depth?

4/6-4/8 Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays
The RAB Radio Show: April 6th, 2012
  • vin

    I wouldn’t have dignified this with a full written post. Just:


  • Ray Fuego

    If the Giants wanted him he must be pretty good.

    • AndrewYF

      Either that, or they thought so little of him they thought he was a reasonable return for Chris Stewart.

      • Ray Fuego

        I was trying to be positive lol

  • Gonzo

    Makes you wonder how bad Romine’s injury is. I hope it’s just a weird move.

  • the Other Steve S.

    This really fries me. Gave away a little for basically nothing. When Romine comes back this guy is history. Heck, bring Sanchez or Murphy up to AAA for a coupe weeks. How much damage could they do?

    • Steve (different one)

      Bring Sanchez up to AAA? Ok….

    • RetroRob

      The move wasn’t done for AAA. It’s done for the MLB Yankees. The AAA catchers are the backups for the MLB catchers, so if they brought up Sanchez or Murphy, the team would have to be confident they could be MLB catchers. Neither is anywhere near that level yet.

      • the Other Steve S.

        Leave Cervelli in MLB, Let Sanchez/Murphy work AAA. Nobody uses options, Kontos stays in the organization. Why doesn’t that work? Who really cares if SWB gets no production out of their C?

        • Slugger27

          Who really cares if SWB gets no production out of their C?

          who really cares if the yankees lose kontos?

          • JobaWockeeZ

            Mike does above but continue the dick waving.

        • Steve (different one)

          Just to be clear, we’re talking about Gary Sanchez, right? The 19 year old kid who has yet to play above A ball? You want to jump him to AAA? You want to possibly screw with the development of the yankees #1 position player prospect because you are upset about trading a generic middle reliever?

  •!/czm26 Craig

    Maybe there’s really more to the Romine injury than they’re letting everyone know.

  • DM

    I like Kontos more than most. Prior to his injury, he was the same level of SP prospect as a Phelps or a Mitchell — or even a Nova back then. That said, I don’t mind farming Cervelli out to play every day. I just would’ve survived with Tatum instead. But I’m thinking the Romine prognosis is worse than it was originally depicted. Apparently he had the issue over the winter but didn’t mention it until he hit camp.

  • jjyank

    Now THAT would have been a stupid trade. I can live with Kontos, that trade barely even registered for me. But trading Phelps would have been really dumb. I mean I get why the Giants start high, but I’m glad Cashman didn’t make a mistake there.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    Maybe Sabean’s strategy was to stun Cashman with an outlandish request and then dump a piece of crap player about to be cut anyway for potentially useful middle reliever.

    I’d bet my right arm that Stewart is replaced as backup catcher by the All Star break.

    • RetroRob

      It could happen at any time. If I understand the process correctly, all the Yankees have to do is place Stewart on waivers, and if he passes through, they can assign him in AAA and then recall Cervelli. (Remember, when Stewart and Cervelli were both in the Yankees organization, they called up Cervelli, not Stewart.)

      The reason it probably didn’t happen now is one of timing. There were a couple teams, one being the Rays, looking for back-up catchers. That’s probably why the Yankees went the deal route, knowing that Stewart wouldn’t make it through waivers to the Yankees. The Yankees can keep reading the market, and when they think the likely teams to claim Stewart have filled their needs, they can put Stewart on waivers. If someone claims him, they can still pull him back again.

      Maybe I’m wrong about how the waiver process works, and please tell me if I am, but I think it’s just a matter of time before they can get Stewart down to AAA and Cervelli back up. It just couldn’t happen right now. I don’t really care that much about the back-up catcher, although I’d rather have Cervelli since he has some ability to get on base and the few extra runners Stewart will throw out just won’t matter that much.

      • Manny’s BanWagon

        Maybe they are planning on flip flopping Stewart and Cervelli but I still don’t see how Stewart is really much better than the Jose Gil and Gustavo Molina’s of the world, especially if all they’re gonna be asking him to do is catch at the AAA level.

        Kontos is no world beater by any stretch but then again neither were guys like Clippard, Melancon, Aceves and John Axford at one time. Doesn’t mean you just give away someone who can possibly be of use for a guy I’d be willing to bet never gets close to 100 ABs for the Yankees

  • Dicka24

    Maybe Stewart is insurance for next year should the Yankees fail to resign Martin. With the absurd contract Yadier Molina got, I think Martins next deal will likely price him out of the Yankees 2014 budget. Maybe they see Stewart as a cheap veteran insurance policy should they give the starting job to one of the kids (Cervelli or Romine). Just a thought since I don’t like giving up a potentially servicable Kontos for JAG fodder.

    This deal reminds me Clippard for that releiver from the Nationals who’s name I could never spell (Abaladejo or whatever). The deal doesn’t kill you obviously, but a year or two down the road you look back and kinda wouldn’t mind having the peice you traded away, since the piece you traded for is long since gone.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    I’m not sure exactly what the organization sees in Romine. He’s an ok defender, with a nothing special bat, but the FO is treating his loss like the next Johnny Bench went down.

    “The Revenge of the Back-up Catcher” is at work again.

    • AndrewYF

      Trading for Chris Stewart is treating Romine’s loss like losing Johnny Bench? You’d think they would make a bigger move, like for Grandal or Mesoraco.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        It’s an over reaction to a nothing problem. There is plenty of catching depth in this minor league system already. Jose Gil could have been promoted to AAA as back-up to Molina until Romine was healthy and Cervelli could have stayed with the big club.

        • Slugger27

          there is plenty of catching depth in the system. there is NOT plenty of healthy catching depth ready to play at the major league level in early 2012.

          • Needed Pitching

            I would argue against Stewart really being ready to play at the MLB level given his complete lack of offensive ability, but it’s just not worth the argument. To me, Craig Tatum or Gus Molina are similar players to Stewart and could have provided that depth at no cost.

    • RetroRob

      I’m not sure I get your point. Finding a back-up catcher to provide depth says nothing about what they think of Romine. They see a situation where their starting MLB catcher had a significant injury as recently as 2010, with some people questioning if he could catch at all in 2011, and a back-up catcher in Cervelli who is prone to concussions. They felt exposed on the MLB level at a critical position.

      With the loss of Romine, they had to bring in some depth. I’m still with Mike in that the price seemed higher than I would have expected, but Cashman knows exactly what the back-up market for catchers is right now, and he paid the price. It’s like buying insurance. Hopefully you never use it but it’s nice to have. The only thing the move says about Romine is that his injury is more significant than they originally figured.

  • Guest

    Meh, this just does not feel like its worthy of any level concern.

    Even those of us who don’t like his production and copious playing time like Cisco the Kid, so it’s sad to see him blindsided by this demotion. But is the difference between Stewart and Cervelli going to make a difference in how the Yanks perform this year? HIGHLY unlikely.

    Kontos seems like someone who has the potential to be a solid (cost controlled) middle reliever. Is that a chip with some value, of course. But “solid right-handed middle reliever” might be the most fungible and replaceble positive contributer in baseball. Tyler Clippard is actually a great example. The Yanks guessed wron on him…and still had a sick nasty bullpen last year.

    The Kontos’ of the world are a dime a dozen and the Yanks have a bunch of guys in the minors whom they can turn into Kontos (or better) just by switching them from starting to relieving.

    • jjyank

      Exactly. Kontos isn’t even really a prospect anymore. He’s getting old for the minors, and has been left off of most prospect lists. Is there a possibility we gave away a future solid middle reliever? Sure. Is it also possible that we just gave away a guy who flames out in a couple years after getting rocked in the majors? Or a guy that blows out his arm in a few months? Also, sure.

      I really don’t see why anyone has a reaction other than “meh…*shrugs shoulders*” do the trade. If Kontos morphs into a lefty D-Rob or something, I’ll be pissed. But I seriously doubt we will ever miss Kontos. Middle relief options are not this team’s problem, and not likely to be in the foreseeable future.

  • David Ortizs Dealer

    I have had the notion the the FO didn’t see Cervelli as a long term solution to anything. Between fistpumps, health, lack of offense, I don’t think the organization has been that high on him.

    • Slugger27

      youre right. they dont like his fist pumps, thats why they sent him down.

      • jjyank

        His point still stands though. Condescending remarks like that don’t facilitate the discussion. Take the word “fistpump” out of the sentence and he’s right. The Yankees don’t seem high on Cervelli. It seems that they want a more solid defensive option for the BUC.

        • David Ortizs Dealer

          I didn’t mean it to be condescending, I like him, saw him play in the minors I like Frankie (not sure what happened to that part of my original post), but I do think there is a attitude / demeanor issue that doesn’t fit into the mold of a Yankee in the eyes of some. I think Swish who I also like rubs some Yankee brass the wrong way as well.

          On the flip side, CC seems to throw good when he’s behind the plate.

        • Slugger27

          hes been the backup C 2 years in a row. and besides, even if i take fist pumps out of the sentence, it still just leaves health and offense. i dont find cervelli particularly injury prone, and his offense is fine for a starter, great for a backup.

          • Steve (different one)

            It’s not his fault, but I would say Cervelli is injury prone as he has a propensity for concussions….

  • Jesse

    You can file that trade proposal with the other 99.9999999% that suck.

  • Elmgrovegnome

    I think this move has more to do with Cervelli and working with the AAA pitchers, than it does with Martin or the future.

    Sending Cervelli down will give the Yankees a catcher that has extensive time with the AAA pitchers.

    1 That could help in developing them.
    2 If they end up bringing Cervelli back to New York (likely once Romine is healthy), they will have a catcher at the big league level that is familiar with the the AAA pitchers. Cervelli may already know some of those guys. So mid season call ups could have a smoother transition.
    3 The Yankees want Cervelli to get at bats
    4 It is better to have the main catcher in AAA be an organization guy that is more likely to be around all year or more

    • jjyank

      I do think there is something to be said for having your prospects pitch to a catcher with experience calling a major league game. I’m not sure if that was the primary motivator for the trade, but I think it’s a nice bonus.

    • RetroRob

      Cervelli had an option left allowing him to be sent to the minors. Stewart is out of options. That’s the only reason Stewart is on the MLB roster and Cervelli is on a never-ending road trip with the Empire State Yankees, or whatever they’re calling their AAA team!

    • David Ortizs Dealer

      I’d agree that back up catchers do not get many AB’s and this will change that.

    • Don W

      Cervelli got Crash Davis’d. Who knew Frankie had veteran presents to distribute.

    • Tomm

      no way, Cervelli is toast. If that. They will release him if they can’t give him away. He’s a worthless player, a guy who can’t hit or field.

  • Blue

    Matt Nokes would bring a much to the table as Stewart does. Don’t get why you throw a chip away for somthing you could have gotten for free?

  • Fernando

    Phelps? HA-HA. Any truth to the rumor that Cashman responded by asking for Bumgarner?

  • BK2ATL

    I have no problem losing Kontos. Can’t prospect hug someone who’s not even really a prospect anymore, nor of the age to still be toiling AAA. The Yanks have more pitching of Kontos’ skillset than they currently have use for, in Phelps, Warren and Mitchell.

    Cervelli’s really on his way out. They’re just trying to build some value back up for him, since the lack of performance and health issues have dampened his prospects.

    Basically, Cashman appears to be going all in for the quest for #28, leaving no stone or weakness not addressed. Stewart puts a decent defender behind the plate when Martin has a day off. Cervelli is always one home plate collision away from BUC disaster at the MLB level. Mariano will walk off into the sunset along with Pettitte, again, in November, if Cashman has anything to do with it.

  • Monterowasdinero

    I really like Phelps and would love to see him as our 4/5 starter in the next few years. No big deal for Cervelli since he wasn’t going to play in April. Of course, it is cold playing in Rochester/Buffalo/Syracuse etc in April and:

    he could get hurt too playing every day.

  • Tomm

    It’s hard to see why so many Yankee fans are oblivious to catcher defense. This is the most important defensive position. A catcher who defends: 1) can completely shut down a running game, which is material against a team like the Rays (yes, the team that is their main competition with the Red Sox); 2) can greatly assist a pitching staff by calling a good game, blocking wild pitches, catching wild curve balls (as Jose Molina did with A.J. Burnett). If you think about it, this can allow a somewhat wild pitcher to throw more curve balls and therefore be moe effective.

    So the guy can’t hit. Cervelli can’t catch, and he will either have to change positions or go to law school.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    I’ll say what I said in the previous thread: I’m not going to lose any sleep over losing kontos. But he was potentially a solid big league reliever and that’s a valuable asset. That the Giants were able to trade chris stewart (worthless) for a valuable asset is a shame. If the Yankees really wanted Stewart they should have been able to get him for less than Kontos. I haven’t taken a peek at the free agent catchers available lately but theres probably 1 or 2 that could fill that same production and we’d keep Kontos.

    Makes me think there was something the Yankees didn’t like about Kontos