Yankees trade George Kontos for Chris Stewart; Cervelli to AAA

Update: MRI negative on Logan's back
Yankees designate Justin Maxwell for assignment

So much for George Kontos stealing a bullpen spot. Multiple sources report that the Yankees have traded him to the Giants for catcher Chris Stewart. You might remember Stewart from 2008, when the Yankees ran through a half dozen catchers. He also spent time with AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2009. He will start the season as the Yankees’ backup catcher, as Francisco Cervelli will start the season at AAA.

Color me confused on this one. Stewart has a career .328 OBP in the minors, and .273 in the majors. How he’s an upgrade over Cervelli in any way is beyond me. If this was made to cover the catcher position at AAA since Austin Romine will start the season on the DL, well, it still doesn’t seem to make much sense. Kontos seems like a useful piece. Couldn’t the Yankees have found a .273 OBP catcher who cost a bit less?

Update: MRI negative on Logan's back
Yankees designate Justin Maxwell for assignment
  • http://twitter.com/sprotster sprot

    The only way I can make sense of this is maybe Cervelli is annoying as we imagine him to be.

    • The209

      i feel a slideshow coming…

  • Needed Pitching

    dumb, dumb, dumb

    Lose potentially useful bullpen depth to downgrade your major league roster.

    Makes sense.

    • Typical MIT Nerd

      And with Martin, the Yankees need a guy who can catch more than the average backup. Martin should not be playing 130 games a year. He wears down too easily.

      Cervelli is at least average with the stick. He could be catching 40-60 games a year. They must not think too highly of his defense.

      • http://yes jim

        Another move in the Cashman universe. Kontos was a good pitcher, another Melancon never given a chance. I think he gave up one run. So far in the last couple of years, Melancon, Aceves, now Kontos, given up for a box of rocks. COSTANZA!!!! Also, Bringing back Stewart who didn’t do jack the first two times because they need depth at catcher. Why did they claim Tatum? The same only different. Why not get Nieves back. Couldn’t of cost more than Kontos….Why not Whalen? Sorry, Cervelli is a better choice than Stewart. I wouldn’t understand this deal if it was Stewart going to Empire State.

        • Evan3457

          Keep on pluckin’ that chicken.

        • frank

          another bone headed mistake along with signing a 10 million dollar pitcher who will be lucky to win 10.question will he lose 10 before winning 10? stewart could of been picked up off wires for nothing.the giant would not keep him.Great job.

  • SevenAces

    Am I the only one who thinks that Stewart is not going to be of any upgrade over Cerve The Over-Enthusiastic?

    • Needed Pitching


    • Slugger27

      after last season, i think its tough to imagine him being worse than cervelli defensively. offensively, yes, cervelli has the edge.

    • nglaer

      Stewart is a terrific defensive catcher. Not sure how Cervelli is (don’t live in NYC anymore, have been following the Giants.) But I think the Yankees can afford a pretty dead spot in the order more than the Giants can.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    So dumb. At least it was only a reliever, I suppose.

    • Platano Man

      I totally disagree with this trade. It doesn’t really make any sense to trade an useful piece for garbage. Mike can you please provide us with the name of some backup catchers that would have been cheaper.

    • Slugger27

      what doesnt make sense? theyre both major league fodder. the yankees have plenty of bullpen/long man depth… they dont have plenty of mlb ready catching depth. if they think hes a solid defender at the mlb level, kontos seems like small price to pay. he’s already behind phelps, mitchell, warren, and in a month, you’ll be able to add garcia/nova to that list.

      • Needed Pitching

        except kontos is more of a short man. All the names you mentioned would likely only be long men in MLB bullpen this year.

        • Slugger27

          fair enough. i think the point stands even if hes a 1 inning guy. are those guys tough to replace? last year we won the division by what, 8 games? our low-leverage 1 inning relievers included buddy carlyle, amauri sanit, scott proctor, and luis ayala. just seems like kontos is extremely replaceable, and a backup C a little less so.

          if the injury bug hits us in june, are we more likely worried about the 7th guy in the bullpen or the backup C? my guess is if our 7th bullpen guy goes down nobody would give a shit, but if cervelli went down everyone would be like wtf cashman wheres our catcher depth

          • Havok9120

            I think part of it is that Kontos still has some Prospect left in him. I mean, ship Whelan off for this guy if we really have to have him.

            Sure, its prospect hugging, but I still would’ve liked to know what (if anything) we had. We traded upside for a known (and sub par) commodity.

            • Slugger27

              i guess we disagree on the “has prospect left in him” part. as a 26 year old last year he posted a 3.85 FIP in AAA, and hes battled injury issues in recent years. our very own mike axisa (while i completely disagree with his analysis on this trade, mike knows the minor league system very well) didnt even include him in his top 30 preseason prospect list.

              im not sure “prospect hugging” really does the reaction in this thread justice.

              • Havok9120

                No one thought he was a high quality prospect. Just a prospect. Some upside, not much.

                And you’re absolutely right, they’ve gone off the deepend a bit, though I haven’t read it all yet.

              • Havok9120

                Read Pitching’s post to more or less sum up my thoughts.

          • Needed Pitching

            I’m not saying Kontos isn’t replaceable. It just seems to me this move is completely unnecessary as they just signed Craig Tatum (a similar no-hit, defense first catcher) to fill the role of emergency catcher.
            Also, I think Kontos had at least a chance to develop into a useful mid-inning reliever for the Yankees, where Stewart likely has no future with the Yankees beyond this season (if he lasts even that long)

            In the end, it’s probably not a big deal either way, it just seems to be an overpay for a Backup Catcher, when they were just able to get a similar catcher while giving up nothing. And in the meantime, it seems the MLB team may be unnecessarily worse off (unless Stewart’s defense is so great it offsets Cervelli’s large offensive advantage)

            • http://www.fangraphs.com/ channelclemente

              Stewart can be a spectacular defensive catcher. Last year he hit .295 against LHP, RHP just buried him, .169.

              • Stan the Man

                Great so Stewart will be great defensively in the 3 games he plays this month. He won’t be on the roster by mid-May, so you never trade a anything or anyone for scrap heap guys.

      • DSFC

        Chris Stewart is NOT an “MLB ready catcher”. He’s atrocious, and he’s 30 years old. Giving away Kontos and putting this pile of crap on the roster ahead of the much better Cervelli makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

        • Slugger27

          its hard to find backup MLB catchers that arent atrociious. finding non-atrocious starters is hard enough.

          its unclear to me why him being 30 is relevant and/or bad? is that an abnormal backup C age?

          • Needed Pitching

            at 30, he likely is what he is, without much chance of improving

            If he were younger, there would be more of a chance of further improvement.

            • Slugger27

              i just figured it was understood this was a short-term move to solve the catching depth problem and that nobody was counting on him to blossom into something.

              • Needed Pitching

                true, I’m just saying that’s part of the issue of the trade, in the sense that Kontos still has at least a slight chance to develop into something better, while Stewart will never be anything better than a no-hit, all glove catcher.

                Really not a big deal either way.

      • ragsNpags

        So you think that justifies making a trade in which you clearly gave up more than you got back? I don’t care if they have 15 David Phelps in AAA. What does that have to do with trading away a valuable young reliever for the sake of “catching depth”? Not to mention you effectively weakened the major league roster. This trade is idiotic no matter how slice it.

    • JonS

      Why? He’s at least 2x the defensive catcher that Cervelli was.

  • DM

    I can see sending Cervelli down to catch/hit every day while Romine is down — but I would’ve swapped him with Tatum rather than trading Kontos away.

  • Dan

    Can’t understand this trade at all.

  • RetroRob


  • Ed in SF

    Only makes sense if Yankees are about to trade Cervelli and wanted to make sure they were covered before making the move.

    • David

      My thoughts exactly after the Tatum move. Franky to KC perhaps?

      • BronxBombers98

        That’s the only thing I can think of too. Cashman is always 3 steps ahead of all of us, so for now I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

        • http://www.fangraphs.com/ channelclemente

          I know Kontos is in Church now lighting candles for having escaped Rothschild’s tender embrace before it was too late.

  • Rey22

    Both are pieces that will hardly impact the season. Kontos was the backup last arm in the bullpen. Useful, but meh. Color me indifferent about this.

    • mustang

      No I’m with you can’t really say that I understand it, but then again I don’t think such a big deal.

      • Havok9120

        Indeed. I think Kontos had some chance to be a useful BP arm (see, Cory Wade/ Logan), but only a chance. I would’ve preferred to keep him, but I’ll live.

  • Raza

    According to most Giant fans, Stewart is an exceptional defensive catcher. I don’t really have any stats that show this.

    • Havok9120

      If that’s true, then I have no real problem with this.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        He is. The Yankees had him in the minors a few years ago.

        • Dave M

          And according to my eyes, not looking at any defensive stats here, Cervelli is not a great defensive catcher.

  • Dan 2

    Stewart was out of options. Couldn’t we have just waited and picked him up on waivers. Anyway Kontos is too much for a 30 year old journeyman.

  • Aubesians&Such

    Stewart threw out 39% of base stealers last year. Cervelli couldn’t throw me out, and I’m quite fat.

  • chmch

    What I saw of him, Frankie looked like he looked before he go hurt last year — turning into an interesting hitter.

  • steve s

    Only thing that makes sense is that Cervelli is headed somewhere for something. If there is no Part B to this move then its just a shockingly stupid move (not the trade per se but demoting Cervelli for this non-entity).

  • BigGuy

    I remember Stewart from his SWB days. He can throw out runners, which Cervelli can’t do. That has to be the main reason. 41% in 08, 46 in 09.

  • Tomm

    Cervelli cannot throw. And that is the main job of a backup catcher. And this Stewart guy apparently can. And Joe Girardi used to be a defense first catcher. Is it that hard to figure this out?

    • Slugger27

      preaching to the choir…. there really isn’t a circumstance in which kontos would be a significant piece of this team or make a real impact in any way. is martin goes down, our catchers are cervelli and who? gus molina?

      i dont get whats hard to figure out about it either.

      • DSFC

        I don’t care if he’s better than Johnny Bench behind the plate – he hits like a pitcher.

        • Slugger27

          if you honestly wouldnt take johnny bench behind the plate while hitting like a pitcher as your backup catcher… then thats a you problem.

          • mustang

            Your on a roll bro.

          • Havok9120

            No kidding. People need to step away from the prospect ledge.

      • RetroRob

        It’s not hard to figure out, but it has nothing to do with the strength of Cervelli’s arm. It’s about depth and options and there are no options on Stewart. Yes, it’s that simple. Nothing to do with defense. All this means is Martin will get less rest than originally planned.

        • Tomm

          I guess you’ve never watched a game with Cervelli in it.

  • Cheese at the Knees

    I can just hear Girardi now: “We think Stewey gives us a better option behind the plate.”

    • SweetLouSoundsInebriated

      I laughed.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    I’m not going to lose any sleep over Kontos, but he’s got the potential to be a good reliever at the big league level. That’s a decent asset. For the giants to be able to get a decent asset for a guy like Chris Stewart is absurd. If the Yanks really wanted Chris Stewart I don’t see how they weren’t able to get him for less

    • Fernando


    • Fin

      Umm, for the same reason that the Yankees just didnt give Pena to the Philies. Its the Yankees that need catching depth. They over paid a bit to get it, if thats what you want to call trading Kontos. I’m not defending the trade, just saying that because you or others think the Yankees should have paid less doesnt mean thats what the Giants thought.

  • Tomm

    This has to be the most diwmitted piece I’ve ever read on this site.

    • Slugger27

      not mikes best work in my opinion, in fact i couldnt disagree more… but dimwitted? not a great word to use

      • RetroRob

        Tomm didn’t say dimwitted. He was quite clear. He called it a “diwmitted” piece.

        • neaks


    • Havok9120

      Well, for one, Mike didn’t write it. If you’re going to be rude, at least have the target straight.

      Two, they’ve (we’ve) explained our position quite well. If you disagree, that’s fine, but it doesn’t mean everyone else is stupid.

  • Dicka24

    Cervelli did catch AJ Burnett a lot, and he is possibly the worst in the league at holding runners. That might skew the numbers a little bit. I could be wrong though.

    At first I thought it was strictly a depth move, but when I saw that Stewart is out of options, the move made no sense. I can understand wanting a back up with some big league experience roaming around, with Romine hurt, Cervelli a concussion waiting to happen, and Montero traded away, but wouldn’t a catcher with options make more sense? Is Stewart that much of an improvement over a guy like Tatum who can at least be stashed at AAA? I don’t know much about Stewart so I do admit ignorance on his ability.

  • Plank

    This is a huge upgrade for the Yankees! Huh? We’re not talking about the Empire State Yankees but the NY Yankees? Oh, then it’s a downgrade.

  • mustang

    I don’t really understand this trade to much myself, but again it’s for bullpen arm that might not even make the team.

    How come every time the Yankees make a trade people here always make it like they are giving up too much?

    • Havok9120

      Its true that people generally do that, but in this case its hard to argue that we didn’t unless there’s something else in the works. We just got Tatum (same basic template), Stewart is an out of options journeymen with next to no value, and Kontos COULD have contributed to the MLB club on a longer-term basis than a throwaway backup catcher. This is especially true on a team with a weaker BP than the Yankees (or than the Yankees are likely to have in a month or two).

      • mustang

        I see your point but this ” especially true on a team with a weaker BP than the Yankees” is the turning point because the Yankees BP is not weak right now.

        I’m more on this boat:
        “look, theyre both MLB fodder. one is fodder at a less important position that the yankees are stocked in. the other is fodder at a more important position the yankees have depth issues in. thats all.”

        All credit to Slugger27

        • Havok9120

          But they aren’t saying “right now” they’re saying, in the future. I think most of them see him with potential greater than, say, Cory Wade waiver wire. Not sure I agree, but I can see their point without knee-jerking as badly as they are in the other direction.

          • mustang

            Ok, I can see this.

          • Slugger27

            I think most of them see him with potential greater than, say, Cory Wade

            thats their problem, they shouldnt. kontos has a career 4.69 FIP across the minor leagues, injury issues, and he turns 27 this year. mike didnt include him in the top 30 prospect list for a reason, hes a non-prospect.

  • RetroRob

    Geez, I had forgot that Stewart was once already on the Yankees, serving as the primary catcher in AAA for two years before Montero.

    When the Yankees traded for Tatum, my first reaction was the acquisition was all about Romine and that his back was worse than thought. We found out later that day to be correct. My reaction again on this deal is the prognosis for Romine must have gone from bad to worse.

    The Yankees felt a need to bring in another catcher as protection for Martin, and Stewart must not have any options left to be sent down, so Cervelli drew the short straw.

    Sucks for Cervelli.

  • Cheese at the Knees

    Meh, we’re talking about the BUC. No sense in getting worked up over it.

    Once Romine comes off the DL things get shuffled again anyway.

    Just let it go, man. Let it go.

    • RetroRob

      While the initial surprise was on Cervelli, I can see why they did what they did.

      The part that is more difficult is the team gave up a potential useful bullpen arm for a player who is not a MLB-caliber catcher. The market for AAA catchers must be tough right now, because I can’t see Cashman willingly giving up an arm if there were other options.

  • Peter North

    Maybe Kontos’ blister actually turned out to be a torn rotator cuff. Shhhh.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    it’s a weird deal but a guy like Kontos can be found on waivers almost every day of the season so it isn’t a big loss. Stewart is kinda like Jose Molina: a catcher that is great defensively but doesn’t know what to do with the bat.

    • RetroRob

      We already got that in Tatum.

      • Slugger27

        and we already have plenty of kontoses too… look at the roster of the yankees across the board and ask yourself this: which is most likely to be an issue for the team in 2012, backup C or 7th bullpen spot?

        • mustang

          Can I get Amen?



        • Havok9120

          The point they’re making, and that you’re ignoring in every response, is that they think Kontos could’ve been more than a throwaway piece. As in, he sticks on the team in the mid-term as a reliever. Most of them also think that Stewart WON’T stick passed this season, if he lasts that long. They’re saying its about more than just this season

          You can disagree, and I might even join you in doing so. But misrepresenting their argument in order to make them sound silly doesn’t help you make your point any clearer.

          • Slugger27

            The point they’re making, and that you’re ignoring in every response, is that they think Kontos could’ve been more than a throwaway piece. As in, he sticks on the team in the mid-term as a reliever. Most of them also think that Stewart WON’T stick passed this season, if he lasts that long. They’re saying its about more than just this season

            heres the comment i responded to: “we already got that in tatum” (referring to stewart being all glove, no bat). id love to hear how his point is 1) kontos is more than a throwaway piece 2) this trade is about more than just this season

            then you criticize me for misrepresenting someones argument… oh the irony.

            • Havok9120


              You know what? I don’t care anymore. It really doesn’t matter. I was responding the the arguments, all the arguments you’ve made all over the thread, not just this particular response. You’ve said everything I said in there in this thread.

              And I’m not saying he is. I’ve made that pretty damn clear. I’m saying what their viewpoint is. They think he has more potential. Its part prospect hugging, part optimism. Is it reasonable? Who knows. Thats subjective. They also VIEW KONTOS as someone who could’ve contributed more than this season. That’s they’re point. A point you obviously disagree with, and that’s fine. Sigh. Respect for opposing viewpoints seems to be at a low 2 days before the season starts.

              We need some meaningful baseball. This is insane.

              • mustang

                “We need some meaningful baseball. This is insane.”

                WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!

                • Slugger27

                  agreed with both of you here

              • Slugger27

                havok, you seem to have a problem with my commenting well before this thread. thats fine, i dont give a shit. but just cuz you keep saying something doesnt mean its true.

                ive read thru the comments ive responded to… other than you saying he has upside as a prospect (he doesnt), i cant find any of them talking about kontos contributions beyond this year. its as if you made it up or something.

                people can disagree with my stance, thats fine. mike and joe both seem to and theyre both more knowledgable on the yankees than i am. but dont say i lack a respect for opposing viewpoints. i just lack a respect for yours (in this thread, im fine with you otherwise) because you’re mostly putting words in other peoples mouths and then accusing me of strawmen arguments. i feel like any comments ive made in this thread as a response to someone elses have directly addressed what they said. in other words, im not ignoring anything.

              • RetroRob

                Don’t bother.

                I actually agree with his overall point, but he was quite strident, and even questioned Mike for writing the article (which he didn’t), and then blamed most people’s reaction to Mike.

                Stewart’s MLB career with the Yankees will end as soon as Romine is healthy, at which point Cervelli will be recalled. At that point, my guess is Stewart will pass through waivers and the Yankees will assign him to AAA.

                • Slugger27

                  when did i question mike for writing the article? i mentioned mikes name, then corrected it to joe. my bad on that. dont remember questioning the article.

                  and my point about peoples reactions stands. same with joe as it would be for mike. if the post presented it in a positive light, the comments in the thread would be more positive. thats obviously my opinion.

          • Fin

            Its hard to see their point. Kontos might stick, and might be an ok middle reliever just doesnt seem a valid reasons to get so upset over a minor trade. As has been stated they traded fodder from strenth for fodder of need.

    • mustang

      “a guy like Kontos can be found on waivers almost every day ”

      Shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone, but that’s actually what the Yankees did with Cory Wade on June 13, 2011.

      • Needed Pitching

        and a guy like Stewart was found on waivers just last week. His name is Craig Tatum.

        • Slugger27

          right… look, theyre both MLB fodder. one is fodder at a less important position that the yankees are stocked in. the other is fodder at a more important position the yankees have depth issues in. thats all.

          • Needed Pitching

            yeah, I see your point.
            My opinion of the trade is beginning to be swayed.

            • mustang

              Yes, step away from the Dark side of the force.

          • RetroRob

            Just as long as you don’t turn into one of those fans who start screaming bloody hell as soon as Kontos pitches well on the MLB level and Stewart is cut and passed around from team to team without even minor leaguers being exchanged.

            • Slugger27

              i can assure you i wont be that guy.

          • IRememberCelerinoSanchez

            Actually, that’s not all. For four reasons:

            1) You can get a Stewart whenever you want for nothing or next to nothing. It happens all the time. You want proof? The Yanks did just that in 2009 when the White Sox gave him to the Yanks for literally nothing. There are tens of defense-first catchers knocking around the AAA-MLB circuit. If the Yanks needed one at some point, they could have gotten one, and likely for less than Kontos (regardless of what you think of him).

            2) The last line I wrote in 1: “If the Yanks needed one …” This is a “What if?” deal. So they gave away an asset (again, you may not like Kontos, but he has some value) just in case, but the eventuality they’re planning for could be addressed just as easily at the time as it was now, probably for a lower price (again, there is a glut of AAAA defense-first catchers).

            3) They have Craig Tatum. He is Chris Stewart. And he didn’t cost a reliever. And he was available on waivers (and cleared waivers when the Yanks sent him through). Why? Because there is a glut of AAAA defense-first catchers, so they have no value.

            4) The best-case-scenario in Cashman’s mind involves Stewart being waived this season. If Romine heals, he plays everyday in AAA, and Cervelli backs up Martin (with Stewart waived, clearing waivers, which he probably would, and then backing up Romine, or if he’s claimed, letting Tatum do it). So they’re giving away an asset for a guy they’re hoping to waive in a few weeks/months. I admit #4 doesn’t apply if Romine is seriously hurt and not coming back anytime soon.

            • Evan3457

              An asset. Yeah, I suppose so. Like a coupon in my pocket for 25 cents off at the supermarket. Maybe it’s worth 50 cents if I wait for double coupons week.

  • pat

    LI’ve how people are flipping out about a guy who could possibly maybe be 3rd in
    line for the long man role in the bullpen. With guys like Wetherell, Montgomery, Pinder, Whitley, Claiborne, Etc in the system he is expendable.

    • pat

      * I love

    • jsbrendog


      ietc(and totally agree)

    • Slugger27

      right there with you pat…. im floored by the negative reaction in this thread.

    • mustang


    • Havok9120

      The actual reasonable guys (I like to think I’m among them) just think its an overpay. Not a big deal, but unfortunate in principal.

      The reaction as a whole is far too negative to make any sense, however.

      • mustang

        You are.

        “The reaction as a whole is far too negative to make any sense, however.”

        I think this is more of my point.

    • IRememberCelerinoSanchez

      But none of those guys (Weatherall, Montgomery, Pinder, Whitley or Claiborne) or close to MLB ready. None are even in AAA. If one of the Yankee relievers were to get hurt tomorrow, none of the guys on your list would be an option to replace him. But Kontos would have been. In fact, he probably would have been the guy.

      After living through the parade of Carlyle/Sanit/Proctor last year, it seems to me it’s harder to find a 7th guy in the pen who isn’t useless than a AAAA defense-first catcher, which are a dime a dozen.

      • Peter Lacock

        DJ Mitchell

  • Tim

    It’s pretty clear by now that the Yankees value defense first at the catcher position, particularly from their back-up catcher. Cervelli doesn’t provide much in the defense department. When you add in the fact that he cannot hit, if really isn’t hard to see how this trade does provide an upgrade to the major league roster by adding by all accounts a significant defensive upgrade. The only question here is whether Kontos was too much to give up for said upgrade. I really don’t know the answer to that, but I will say this – Kontos was likely the 8th or 9th guy in the bullpen for the Yankees. Not a whole lot to get worked up about. Feels like another example of Yankee fans loving their minor leaguers a bit too much and over-estimating their value.

    • Needed Pitching

      ” When you add in the fact that he cannot hit”

      Cervelli is a very solid hitter for a backup catcher, and a much better hitter than Stewart.

      MLB catcher average last season: 245/313/389
      Cervelli last year: 266/324/395

      If you think Cervelli can’t hit, wait til you watch Stewart try to hit.

  • Gerald Williams

    Back up catcher is one Martin injury away from starting catcher. OUCH. Something strange is going on…

  • thenamestsam

    I think the appropriate reaction is to trust the front office on this one. When it comes to defensive catchers we (as fans) are still almost entirely in the dark about their value. What we do know suggests Stewart may be excellent. According to Mike Fast’s pitch framing study he was one of the very best in that category, better even than Martin on a rate basis. He has an excellent arm by all accounts. The Yankees could reasonably believe Stewart to be the best defensive catcher in baseball or very close to that. If that’s the case the trade seems fine to me.

    • DSFC

      Chris Stewart is so good that he barely saw the major leagues until he was 29 years old!

      The guy isn’t a major league hitter. Period. I don’t care how good he is behind the player, it’s not good enough to outweight his horrific bat.

      • jsbrendog

        dude, relax, catchers are like loogys, 9 lives

      • thenamestsam

        Really? It doesn’t matter how good his glove is? Last year, Cervelli was about 5 runs better on offense. You’re saying that it’s impossible that Stewart is 5 runs better on defense, that it’s inconceivable to you? That seems like a bit of hyperbole.

      • http://www.fangraphs.com/ channelclemente

        Before you stroke out, look at his splits.

      • Evan3457

        Really? Why is Jose Molina the Rays #1 catcher, then? Are the Rays idiots, too? (career OPS of .617 before 2011’s fluke) Stewart has a career OPS of .563, but it’s .778 in 63 career PA vs. LHP. Small sample size, of course, but Stewart’s entire major league career is small sample size.

    • Slugger27

      i think the negative reaction is mostly cuz mike didnt like the deal. ive said this before, but i dont think people realize the influence mike has on commenters here. if he had simply posted the trade and written “the yankees lack healthy catchers at the upper levels and have plenty of bullpen options. its a solid depth move and gives cervellie a chance to play everyday and continue to develop”, then this thread would be completely different.

      • Slugger27

        ^joe wrote the piece, my bad

        • RetroRob

          Don’t worry. We don’t think you’re a diwitt.

      • mustang

        You have won commenter of day congratulations.

      • thenamestsam

        Definitely a part of it. We also always overvalue our own guys. That’s just a fact of life. If we had swapped Cervelli for a 26 year old reliever on the fringes of someone else’s roster who couldn’t make the top 30 of a non top-10 system, I don’t think everyone would be in here proclaiming this the greatest heist ever. The reaction would be “This is all Cervelli was worth?!?!?” The reality is they’re both fringe big leaguers and we swapped one at a position we needed for one at a position we didn’t need. Seems simple enough to me.

        • Slugger27

          The reality is they’re both fringe big leaguers and we swapped one at a position we needed for one at a position we didn’t need.

          this is an excellent 1-sentence summary of the trade. really all that needs to be said on it.

  • Sarah

    I wonder if this isn’t also a reflection on Cervelli’s health, with all the concussions. So let’s say Cervy gets another concussion, Romine’s back is bothersome, who would be the BUC? In that way, I guess it makes sense. Still, very odd.

    • Paul VuvuZuvella

      Would have to agree. Unfortunately, likely means Romine’s back is serious and Cervelli still concerns the Yanks having had a concussion history.

  • Zack

    SOrry, this move makes NO sense to me. None whatsoever.

    • Evan3457

      I’m OK with that.

  • Rafael

    Do GMs make trades sometimes just to build/maintain good relantionships with others GMs?

  • JoeyA

    There has to be something going on behind the scenes for Cash to basically give away Kontos for this guy.

    • RetroRob

      The need to build depth at the catcher position to protect Martin and the MLB roster is what made Kontos expendable. I disagree with the poster above who believes that pitchers like Kontos are available on the MLB waiver wire all the time. They are not. They are pitchers will less ability, but Kontos is not critical to anything, but having back-up catcher depth is.

      I understand the deal. Just surprised that they had to give up a potential useful arm. It’s probably more a matter of timing.

      The deal has nothing to do with Cervelli’s defense.

  • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com Eric

    “How he’s an upgrade over Cervelli in any way is beyond me.”

    I think he’s a big upgrade defensively, and as we’ve learned defense is very important from the catcher position. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of this trade either (I’ve followed Kontos since he was drafted), but let’s not pretend that Kontos is some great relief prospect. He’s a 26 year-old with an injury history whose upside is probably a middle reliever. Potentially useful, sure. Irreplaceable? Far from it.

  • STONE COLD Austin Romine

    So I take it as if Martin gets injured then Cervelli gets optioned up and becomes the starting catcher ? Amirite?

  • mustang

    This whole thread should place under the headline:


    • Needed Pitching


    • jsbrendog


      this thread makes my head hurt

    • mustang

      Seriously 83 replies and counting on the “George Kontos for Chris Stewart trade”

      God please forgive us for our sins we been with MLB for 6 months and spring training is way too long.

  • Adam

    Am trying to imagine what Frankie’s sad fist pump looked like when he received the news…

    • jsbrendog

      best comment of the thread, i laughed

      • Adam

        I picture something akin to Seinfeld’s “Newman!”

    • RetroRob

      I heard him being interviewed. His fist pump was quite limp.

      Fan reaction to back-up catchers fall into two camps, with rarely a happy middle ground. They are hated for minor weaknesses which caused them to be backups in the first place, or they are universally loved because their defensive contributions are wildly overrated.

      • Slugger27

        haha, so true.

  • Jeff Karstens, Male Model

    Really classless move, sending down a guy that’s been up for 3 seasons and helping us to win games.

  • Alex S

    Another stupid move by Cashman. If he want to give Cervelli more playing time in AAA that’s ok with me. But trading Kontos for Stewart is just stupid. You can keep Kontos a useful pitcher and Gustavo Molina as backup. Are Stewart a much better catcher than Gus? I don’t think so. Cashman with all the resources he has is mediocre at best.

    • Havok9120

      I was wondering when you and yours would show up here to bash Cashman. Where’s Joba?

  • Alex S

    Another dumb move by Cashman. If he want to give Cervelli more playing time in AAA that’s ok with me. But trading Kontos for Stewart is just dumb. You can keep Kontos a useful pitcher and Gustavo Molina as backup. Are Stewart a much better catcher than Gus? I don’t think so. Cashman with all the resources he has is mediocre at best.

  • Havok9120

    Here we have Angry Internet Men making LOUD NOISES….

    Breathe, people. Take some sleeping pills, do a shot, and sleep until Friday. You’ll be much happier.

  • TheEvilUmpire

    April Fools?!?!?!

  • coolerking101

    Actually, I think this smells like a move Girardi might have pushed for. I’m sure he would like nothing more than to have catcher who he trusts absolutely to help out Hughes/Nova/Pineda.

    That being said, I have to imagine there are other catchers with no hitting skills out there who could have been had for much cheaper.

  • Azzmat

    Next move most likely could be, trading Cervelli for LaTroy Hawkins !

  • DM

    As much as I dislike the trade, I think the bigger story is what they must be thinking regarding Romine’s health.

  • Joe D

    It’s a Jump To Conclusions Mat. You can…jump…to different conclusions.

    But you should look before you leap.

    Per Fangraphs:
    Stewart had 1.2 WAR in 67 games / 183 PAs
    Cervelli had 0.5 WAR in 43 games / 137 PAs

    Stewart outproduced Cervelli last year despite having a .215 BABIP which may well shoot up.

    His offensive totals, it needs to be remembered were (in addition to some likely bad luck) accumulated in a pitcher-friendly park as opposed to Yankee Stadium.

    Cervelli is putrid defensively. Awful. Stewart might match Cervelli’s offense, but will at least be close enough to make his huge defensive advantage make him the better value.

    On top of that, the Yankees have enough juice that I’ll gladly take the far superior defensive option over the might-be-somewhat-better offensive option, hands down.

    We just upgraded one position for upwards of 40 games and all we gave up was a reliever? I love it. I’m surprised at the reaction on this board, honestly.

    • Needed Pitching

      I would say Cervelli is more than ” might-be-somewhat-better” offensively than Stewart. I would in fact say he is substantially better than Stewart offensively. As for the BABIP, Stewart is mostly a fly ball hitter and has little power. That useually translates into a relatively low BABIP.

      That said, Cervelli is poor defensively, and maybe Stewart is that good defensively to outweigh his complete lack of offense.

    • Plank

      Those WAR numbers are close enough and in a small enough sample for both of them to be useless in terms of using it as any kind of skill assessment much less an assessment of skill going forward.

      Stewart may be better than Cervelli, but I doubt it. Using WAR based on such a small sample doesn’t show anything.

    • Joe D

      Baseball Reference

      0.3 WAR for Cervelli (316 INN / 137 PA)
      0.8 WAR for Stewart (460 INN / 183 PA)

      That’s a second site that had Stewart as worth more (both overall and by rate) than Cervelli last season.

      It may well wind up being a tiny upgrade. It might be an upgrade of upwards of a win if Stewart can do a wee bit more with the bat than he did last year.

      For a sorta-kinda-decentish-RP-prospect who has 6 MLB IP under his belt and is going to be 27 years old in three months? Yah, I take any tiny upgrade I can get, especially at a position where I can use the depth.

      • Needed Pitching

        Essentially all of Stewart’s positive WAR over Cervelli is based on defense, for which the measures of catcher defense are nowhere near precise/accurate/established enough to use the numbers as gosphel, or proof that one player is more valuable than another, especially based on small sample sizes.

        Cervelli is definitely better offensively than Stewart. Stewart is definitely better defensively than Cervelli.

        Is the difference in defense enough to offset the difference in offense??? Maybe. (I would guess that overall, there would not be a big difference either way)

        • Slugger27

          very well put.

    • Slugger27

      i dont think WAR is all that meaningful when dealing with that sample size. when dealing with backup players that dont get a lot of playing time (especially catchers) i think traditional scouting trumps WAR totals. the yankees must like stewarts defense

    • Aubesians&Such

      Not just a reliever. A replacement-level, minor league reliever. It only took 130 comments to get to one that makes sense.

      • Plank

        I don’t think anyone is too bothered by the loss of Kontos. The downgrade from Cervelli to Stewart is what is concerning.

        • Evan3457

          The downgrade from Cervelli to Stewart may be concerning.
          It may also be insubstantial.

  • awy

    the irrational overestimation of the known bad(we are out of catchers!!!) over the unknown bad(taking a chance on a guy without ‘proven experience’.

  • JoeyA

    Upon further review, if we think about it, with Cervelli having an option and, correct me if my research is wrong but Stewart being out of options, this allows Yanks to add catching depth w/o losing player.

    • Plank

      Except that they lost Kontos and Cervelli is better than Stewart. So the major league team gets worse.

      • Joe D

        If we want Cervelli’s defense/offense combination that badly, we might as well just bite the bullet and resign Posada to back up Martin, tbh.

        And Cervelli wasn’t better than Stewart last year.

      • Evan3457

        Except, just as likely, that it doesn’t.

  • Kiko Jones

    Why would you give up a pitching prospect with a 3.00 ERA (George Kontos) for a .200-hitting, 30 year-old, backup catcher (Chris Stewart), when you are loaded w/ catching prospects and Cervelli can be a more than adequate backup to Russell Martin in the meantime? I don’t get it…

  • Louedwards

    The only thing i dislike about this trade was the cost coupled with the need. I see the immediate need for a catcher and the absurd depth we have with pitching BUT let me use a hyperbole to express my disappointment:

    Lets say we had 20 ace level pitchers and zero BUCs. Does it make sense to trade a pitcher for a BUC? In this scenario we are making a depth for need trade.

    Now lets reconcile with this situation.

    1) how likely will stuart provide value for this year and going forward?
    1WAR if lucky?
    2) how likely will kontos provide value going forward as a middle innings receiver (also remember that he has options and is earning league minimum)
    Over 1WAR eventually is quite possible. Lets say worse case its max at 1WAR
    3) what opportunity cost exists by having tatum or molina play over stuart? Arent they also defensive first no hit catchers? Is the “upgrade” of stuart over tatum or molina worth kontos?
    If yes, then this trade is ok. If not, its a worthless overpay. Get it?

    Now understand the uproar.

    • Evan3457

      If it’s an overpay, it’s barely one. That’s what the people who disagree are trying to say. Get it?

      Me? I don’t think much of the trade either way. It’s unlikely to help them much; unlikely to hurt them much.

  • CS Yankee

    Seems like a Hall &/or Maxwell trade for Stewart would have been a better thing versus losing a guy with options left. A my DFA guy is better than your DFA guy type thing. Oh, well.

    Feel bad for The Great Gazoo though…he did decent with the stick, handled pitchers well, framed alright, but threw Damon-like. Hope he gets a shot with KC or somebody that’ll give him some MLB time as he deserves that. Thanks, Frankie! (as I don’t feel we’ll see you around anymore)

  • bpdelia

    Im going with the “romines back is scaring us….lets get the best defensive buc we can get because if martin is hurt stewart and cervelli rolled into one actually make a decent big leaguer.” Theory.

    Seems they are nervous about romine and cervelli the starter is unacceptable to sabathia and the other veterans.

  • steve s

    Wouldn’t it have made more prudent for the Yanks to wait at least until all clubs made their final cuts/releases to see if they could have picked-up a comparable BUC for nothing? What was the rush?

  • Jesse

    I don’t get this trade. That is all.

  • Justin Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (formerly Rainbow Connection)

    You mean they got a backup catcher who (as I’m reading) can actually CATCH for a volatile reliever?
    Cashman is a real jerk.

    • Evan3457

      Stop that. Logic hurts my brain.

  • Ac

    Looks like a depth move. Injury to Romine is a bit more serious and he just had a setback. Why trade Kontos for Stewart who can’t hit a lick. Cervelli has options left and Stewart didn’t so there’s your answer. I say trade someone of lesser value than Kontos for Stewart. Is this another Cash / Towers trade or what. Seems we have up a notch more than we got back.

  • mustang

    Wow all this over George Kontos and Chris Stewart.

    I bet if we raise the volume on our computers and scrolled up fast enough on this thread the words “EVIL DEMON” would come scream out.

  • Stratman9652

    Long term though, this does make it much easier to bring up Romine when he is healthy and ready. I’d much rather cut a 30 year old glove first journeyman type catcher than the guy who has been a dependable average or better backup for the past few years

  • Ro

    Little late to the party on this one and its probably been said by now, but this is purely an organizational move and quite frankly, a very smart one. Yeah it sucks for Cervelli, but the Yanks MUST HAVE a ready and able body in AAA in the event both MLB catchers go down. We all remember last season with the Angels and Posada wound up catching. The Romine injury really REALLY through a wrench in the process. Hypothetically, if Martin were to become injured and Cervelli becomes the primary catcher and subsequently gets plunked with a 92 MPH fastball in the helmet, even if he is fine and can play, there is a huge risk in immediately putting him back on the field, including the mandated MLB concussion rules. Beyond that, there was no immediate depth without Romine. Murphy and Sanchez aren’t ready, I have no idea what the deal is with Tatum so this was a last minute straight up business move by Cashman. As for Kontos, what, we’ve seen him a handful of times while I agree he was probably more useful over other back up arms, the Yanks have Mitchell too, who I think is a much more complete player. There are half dozen teams already clamoring for back up catching depth. The Yanks are fine and they got a strong defensive back up catcher. He probably won’t last the entire season on the roster and he may be valuable enough come July, that they turn around and get a Kontos like player in return. I suppose the question could be asked that since Stewart was out of options, could he have been designated and would the Yanks 1) been inline to pick up first or 2) was there another swap on the table for the Giants and the Yanks swooped in “I’ll use swooped lightly,” and made the deal?

  • Yankeefan91 Arod Fan

    Might ass well Should of Traded Him For Ronny Paulino.

  • Justin Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (formerly Rainbow Connection)

    Cashman hates Greek people.
    Obviously, he had a bad experience with a certain sexual act in an uncomfortable place (like the back of a pinto??) and now hates everything Greek.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I initially thought “what the fuck?” here, but I then realized it was more because I looked forward to Kontos working his way through the system (with a brief pit stop in San Diego, was it?) than what his probably actual long-term contribution would be. Nothing to see here, in the grand scheme of things, although I do raise an eyebrow at Cervelli being sent down after being the backup catcher fixture he’s been. That took the teeniest bit of balls.

  • Ac

    Just read in the post , that SF originally asked for Phelps in exchange for Stewart. thank god Cashman didn’t agree to that. We need our young arms who are starters. As much as everyone wants Banuelos you have to remember Phelps, Warren and DJ Mitchell aren’t too shabby either.

  • Public Enemy #1

    Non-intelligent baseball fans who only look at offensive production, please do yourself a favor and look up what the Giants’ pitching staff did with Stewart behind the dish. I’ll give you a little preview and let you look just how impressive he was…the Giants’ team ERA with him back there was well below 3.00. Also, check out a little defensive stat called “caught stealing percentage” for Chris Stewart. He caught an impressive 39% of runners last year. Kudos to the Yankees for understanding that another way to improve your staff besides signing every 10+ million dollar arm is to get a catcher who understands the finer points of the game.

  • Public Enemy #1

    Despite what I said above, it is refreshing to see that a decent amount of the Yankee fans in this forum are fairly baseball savvy. Kudos to all of you who display a finer understanding of the game.

    From your friendly Dodger fan,
    Public Enemy #1

    • fin

      But the GIants dont play in the AL east so it didnt happen.

  • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

    Cervelli needs to be playing every day if the Yanks are going to get any trade value for him.

    Let’s face it, Frankie is going to be traded evennnntually.

    Plus, with the arms in AAA, it doesn’t hurt to have him down there vs. your random catching hire. Frankie’s got a feel for what the big club wants.

    I understand why this would upset some people. But it makes more sense than you think.

  • the Other Steve S.

    They should have just activated Girardi.