Mailbag: Willingham, Soriano, Betances, CoJo

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I’ve got five questions for you this week and I was able to keep the answers to four of them reasonably short. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send up mailbag questions or anything else.

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Daniel asks: Is Josh Willingham a possible trade target at the trade deadline? He’s having a good year, signed to a reasonable mid-term deal, and the Twins are awful. Any idea what sort of return he would command?

Willingham is having an insane year with the Twins — 173 wRC+ and eleven homers — after signing a three-year, $27M deal this offseason. Given Minnesota’s terribleness — 22-34 with a -70 run differential — and the fact that his value is at its apex at age 33, it would make sense for them to shop him around before he comes back to Earth. Kinda like what the Pirates did with Xavier Nady in 2008. Because he signed as a free agent this winter, the Twinkies can not trade him without his consent until one week from today. In other words, it’s no big deal.

Anyway, the Yankees don’t really have anywhere to play Willingham this season unless Brett Gardner‘s elbow injury lingers. He’s supposed to play in his first minor league rehab game tonight, so we’ll find out how well he’s recovering soon enough. The Yankees will presumably need a corner outfielder to replace Nick Swisher after the season however, and Willingham is affordable enough. His defense is terrible though and his best position is DH. Still, right-handed power is in short supply.

I usually try to think of comparable players when thinking up trade scenarios, but I can’t come up with anyone like Willingham. Older guy who’s still productive with two full seasons left on his market rate free agent contract? Does Miguel Tejada to the Astros work? Scott Rolen to the Reds? Those two got traded for quantity over quality packages. I’m sure the Yankees could cull something together in that case, but this isn’t a vacuum. Willingham would help any team but he really doesn’t fit New York’s roster.

A different Daniel asks: If Rafael Soriano can put together an above average statistical season, what would you say the odds are that he hits the road after this season?

Zero percent. Soriano is owed $14M next season and there’s no chance he’ll match that on the open market. No one wanted to sign him two offseasons ago coming off the best season of his life and I doubt the sentiment has changed this time around. Heck, Ryan Madson is flat out better than Soriano and there was no market for him last winter. I’m sure every club will have Heath Bell in the back of their mind whenever they think about signing a free agent reliever going forward, and that won’t help his case. Considering that he’s a health risk and is very good but not dominant, I can’t imagine any number of saves will have Soriano thinking about opting out of his current deal.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Jacob asks: Do you think Dellin Betances needs a mechanical change to help with his walks? Maybe more of a sidearm or 3/4 delivery (Randy Johnson-esque) could possibly allow him to harness his abilities?

Dellin needs something to help with the walks and a mechanical change seems like an obvious solution. I’m not pitching coach or anything, so I have no idea if changing his arm slot or something like that will have a positive impact. I’ve always gotten the impression that it’s difficult to throw strikes with anything below a three-quarters slot, especially if there’s anything more an average velocity involved. Johnson was just a freak of nature and an extreme outlier, I wouldn’t use that guy as blueprint for anything.

At some point the Yankees need to do something about Betances, I can’t imagine an 8.1 BB/9 (19.0 BB%) is good for his confidence. I don’t know if it’s a move to the bullpen or a change in mechanics or a stern talking to, but this can’t go on forever.

Andrew asks: Why is nobody giving more attention to Corban Joseph? I know Single-A is the future, but he seems to have real pinstripes potential if he switches to the left side of the infield.

That’s the problem, he can’t switch to the left side of the infield. Joseph’s defense basically meets the minimum standards at second base and isn’t nearly good enough for short. He hasn’t even played one inning at shortstop in the minors and that’s not an accident. If he had a chance to play the position, they would have tried him there at some point. Joseph can handle third but not well, plus he’s unlikely to provide enough to play the position for a meaningful amount of time.

I don’t really know what Joseph is long-term. He makes good contact from the left side and draws some walks, so he has offensive value. Do they pigeon-hole him into a bench role and hope to hide his defense? Do they try him in an outfield corner and hope he can play second base as well as left and maybe right? I don’t really know. Joseph is on the 40-man though, so the Yankees see something they like in him.

J.R. asks: Mike, with all of the pre-draft deals that apparently took place this year, do you expect MLB to try and crack down on these next year?

They can try, but I’m not quite sure what they can do about it. I doubt the teams are getting these agreements in writing, so they’d basically have to look over the shoulder of every area scout to make sure he isn’t taking money with a player before the draft. I’m sure MLB would love to crack down on pre-draft arrangements, but it just might not be possible. Teams will always find a workaround.

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  • JobaWockeeZ

    Can they pay Soriano under the table to opt out? It’s going to be hard to spend less than 189 million when two bullpen guys making nearly 30 million.

    • forensic

      2013 is the last year of his contract. It won’t matter for 2014. For that matter, neither would Mo’s one-year deal for 2013.

    • NYinTX

      Soriano is gone before the payroll plan comes into play – his contract runs out in 2013.

  • Gonzo

    I forgot who brought this up, but the MLB probably doesn’t care about pre-draft arrangements. Their main goal was to bring bonuses down, and they are going to do that.

    • Ted Nelson

      And there’s also a fine line between assessing signability and loosely agreeing with a guy. It’s not a binding agreement, so it’s just sort of an understanding that what the guy is looking for and what you’re willing to pay him match up. Either side can back out.

      You have to allow teams to assess signability with the non-committal, soft-slotting MLB draft system.

      • Fernando

        The Nationals publicly admitted that strategy…
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....ls-journal

        “The same process played out inside the Nationals’ draft room, round after round. They identified the player they wanted to choose, and called him with a dollar amount. That would be his signing bonus. “If it was a ‘no,’ we passed,” scouting director Kris Kline said. “If they were hesitant at all, we passed. You just have to.”

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkely Drew

    I say no to Willingham. Having a nice year but I will pass on year 34 and 35 on an outfielder that doesn’t play defense.

    • MannyGeee

      tell you what, Willingham would be an easier sell to me if Ibanez and Andruw weren’t doing their jobs extremely well.

      If you had a dead roster spot in either of those guys, I could see moving/cutting them and making a ‘ton of bodies’ offer for Willingham to be a 4OF/Bench bat. and then you have a contingency plan for 2013 RF.

      but for what its worth, hes not a right now need.

      • forensic

        Eh, Jones is OPS’ing .620 against lefties. That’s not doing his job extremely well, and it’s no sure thing that he’ll suddenly start hitting them again in the 2nd half.

        I’d take Willingham over him easily (even though his 1.000+ OPS against lefties won’t last) and then he could just step in Swisher’s place next year if needed.

        That being said, there’s no way the Yankees cut Jones and almost no way they pay Willingham that much for the shorter side of a platoon (though if they did, Swisher might as well start picking up some boxes because he’s certainly gone with the price comparison between the two).

        • Ted Nelson

          You’re right to say he’s not excelling this season, but… It’s also pretty likely that Andruw Jones does turn it around. Guy has beasted against LHP for years. It’s 55 PAs against LHP this season we’re talking about. Or an 11 game slump. He’s had a .229 BABIP against LHP, and one more hit would have meant a 20 point jump in batting average (as an example of how small the sample is).

          As thrilled as I was with Ibanez’s May… I’d probably bet on Jones over him going forward. Hopefully he can do some damage against Santana and Niese.

  • Ted Nelson

    CoJo is only playing 2B in Scranton so far, so I think they see him as an offensive-minded 2B. Newman often says that in AAA they want a guy performing his MLB role.

    Personally I’d try him as a more versatile Chavez replacement, but I’ve never seen him play 3B. (Don’t know if they don’t play him there because he can’t, or because he’s more valuable at 2B.) On a team that doesn’t have Robinson Cano his offense could potentially carry him as a starting 2B.

    Isn’t it pretty obvious why they have a quality LH hitting IF on the 40-man? Plenty of guys who can hit are successful MLB players with suspect defense.

    • Dan

      Maybe they want him to stay at 2nd and improve his defense because they view him as a potential replacement in case Cano leaves for more money when he hits free agency.

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, that makes sense. If he keeps hitting this year, you can get at least a small sample against MLB P in a UTL role next season before committing to him.

  • Vinnie

    Could we trade mason Williams, banuelos, nova, and g sanchez for j upton and saunders?

    • forensic

      It depends. What are the settings we’re playing with on MLB 12: The Show?

      • Vinnie Gagliano

        the force trade setting.

        lets save the sarcasm for when the hughes for Hamels trades come in………….

      • Steve

        I get this response with terrible proposals but I’m not sure who it applies to here? If the Diamondbacks fall out of it, if Cashman proposed this, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the DBacks accepted it. Despite what people here think, these kinds of trades do happen from time to time. Texas has gone to back-to-back World Series in large part thanks to a trade just like this. Unless it’s Cashman that is getting his hand forced, I don’t see this as an outrageous proposal at all

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I thought I was the guy making the PS3 cracks. Actually haven’t made one in months.

    • Will (the other one)

      Why in God’s name would we do that?

      • Reggie C.

        You really mean why would Arizona ever do that.

        Lets not get fooled by Justin Upton’s sluggish season to date.

        • Ted Nelson

          If they were to trade him, I don’t think Arizona would do any better than that offer. You have three top 25-50 caliber prospects all at premium positions and a proven, cost controlled MLB starter. That’s a tremendous package.

          • forensic

            Wow, I’m lower on Upton than most people and I still don’t think I’d make that trade if I’m Arizona. Nova is fine, but he’s still got his issues which aren’t erased by one outing. Other than that, you have a AAA pitcher who’s battled control/injury issues for over a year and two low-A guys, one of whom can’t even catch at that level.

            As a Yankee fan, I’m hopeful that Nova’s last start was a sign of what’s to come. I also hope that Banuelos can recover some of his health and control, but he’s taken a huge hit in my opinion of him and his future in the last year and a half.

            • forensic

              Sorry didn’t finish, despite my opinion/hope for them as a Yankee fan, if I was the D-Backs I don’t think I could realistically trade Upton for them.

              • MannyGeee

                this. If I am Arizona, I am looking for a Montero/Pineda type deal for J-Up.

                As much future promise as “Williams, banuelos, nova, and g sanchez” might offer, I would look for one SURE THING for the face of your franchise

                • Ted Nelson

                  Seriously? You’re listing Montero and Pineda as examples of sure things? You know Pineda is out for the year and Montero has a .308 wOBA, right? There are no sure things in baseball.

                  Manny is a top 25 prospect in AAA… when his elbow is straightened out… there’s your “sure thing.” He is Montero or Pineda a year or two ago.

                  On top of that this package has another top 25 prospect, a top 50 prospect with the talent to be top 10, and a proven MLB starter.

                • Vinnie Gagliano

                  Id prefer to trade Pineda over Nova but you cant trade someone on the DL. The trade I sent is a realistic trade for Upton. I personally would do it. We would still have Betances Lawson and Campos in the minors.

                  • forensic

                    You can trade someone on the DL, it just doesn’t happen often because of the risks and potentially embarrassing appearance for the team acquiring the player (it also needs to be approved by the Commish’s office).

            • Ted Nelson

              I don’t think they’re going to trade him after literally coming out this off-season and saying they see their window to win as right now. They have a high payroll, he’s cheap, and if anything his stock is probably down right now.

              However, if they decided to trade Upton for prospects, I do not think they would get a better package. You’ve literally taken the negatives of all of those guys while completely ignoring the positives. If you wait till these guys are more proven… your not getting a package of several for one guy. That’s the trade-off teams make. And they make it all the time. Let’s not act like proven vets aren’t traded for prospects all the time.

              Nova’s still a low-4s ERA/FIP/xFIP guy in the AL East on his career. They’re not lacking for SP depth, but he would be a strong SP candidate for them.

              Manny’s injury is definitely an issue and I doubt anyone would trade for him while he’s on the DL. Otherwise… guy is a consensus top 25 prospect. He’s 21 years old, and when healthy has held his own in AAA. He’s a lefty with a plus change. It’s not like it’s a shoulder issue.

              Mason is also regarded as a top 25 prospect by a lot of people. Previous regime, but the DBacks traded Haren for a package built around a teenage A-ball SP.

              Developing Cs generally takes years. Sanchez is still 19. He has the tools to C and a strong bat. His PBs are WAY down from last season and he’s throwing out ~30% for the second straight year.

              • forensic

                Haren was 29, had been in their org only 2 1/2 years, and was two months away from free agency while the team was in last place that year and the year before.

                Upton is 24, has been in their org his whole career, and is more than 3 1/2 years away from free agency while the team was their division last year and are 3rd this year.

                It’s completely different.

                Not to mention that when you’re trading the face of your franchise you damn well better put a lot of stock in the risks of what you’re acquiring for him.

                Like I said, I’m hopefully that Banuelos will somehow come back around and that Nova is fine, but I don’t put that at the level that they would need to be able to deal Upton.

                • Ted Nelson

                  You’ve nitpicked one small point I made among many others.

                  And twisting that one point at that. This isn’t Mason + Nova + an OK arm… which would match up somewhat with the Haren deal. Manny is as good or better a prospect as Mason, and Sanchez isn’t far behind if you believe he’ll C. This is almost 3X the Haren package.

                  Again… I said that **IF THEY DECIDE TO TRADE UPTON** I specifically said I don’t think they will. If they decide to trade him… they’ve already decided to trade the “face of their franchise.” (Which I don’t put that much stock in anyway… revenue is related to winning, not stars… especially not semi-stars like Upton with short track records. He’ll be forgotten quickly.) At that point you want to get the best package. Most teams couldn’t even match that offer if they wanted to, because they just don’t have that sort of talent in their system. Many of the ones who could are rebuilding and not that likely to sell the farm for Upton leading up to him getting expensive.

                  Who is going to outbid the Yankees, and what are they offering?

            • Ted Nelson

              Instead of looking at one start or a half dozen starts… why not look at Nova’s career as a whole?

              Your opinion, I guess, but not the vast majority of commentators. Law says he’s still a top 25 prospect. BA had him at #29 going into the season. Dude was 20 years old in AAA last season. When he was healthy this season he was lights out in AAA at 21. No control problems when he was healthy.

        • Jim Is Bored

          I really don’t know why *either* team would do that, to be honest.

    • newguy

      no

    • Brian S.

      Oh hell no. One player isn’t worth that.

    • Kosmo

      3 reasons why Arizona would not make that deal
      Trevor Bauer
      Patrick Corbin
      Tyler Skaggs
      they have no need for Nova or Banuelos.
      I seriously doubt NY would part with Sanchez.

      • Ted Nelson

        I would argue that if they decided to trade him, they should take the best package regardless of position. Re-shuffle the deck later, or get a 3rd team involved now.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    I disagree completely on Soriano. Not only do I think the percent is not zero, I think it’s more likely he’ll opt out than not if he has a good season.

    You can’t judge the relievers market based on Ryan Madson. Madson played the market wrong and people were shocked at what a terrible deal he got. It’s not because teams smartened up and didn’t want to overpay for RPs. Every year we hear that teams are smart and don’t want to spend big on RP’s.
    Papelbon got paid, Heath Bell got paid. Sean Marshall who wasn’t even a FA got a 3 year 16.5m extension. The same way teams can look at Bell and say cautionary tale they can also look at the red sox bullpen implosions and say cautionary tale, they should have kept papelbon

    If Soriano finishes with 30 saves with good peripherals in the AL east, there’s a good chance he’s going to want to test the market. I don’t think he’d come anywhere near $14m AAV, but I could see him getting a Bell like deal 3 years 28m.

    Also, the guy clearly loves to close so an opportunity to go do that somewhere else has got to be appealing rather than being stuck behind Robertson and Mo in the pecking order again next year.

    • CS Yankee

      14M$ to be a part-time player on a WS contender or to go for a 5-8M$ Avg to be the man on whatev club…hmm? Good problem to have.

      I believe he saves his arm and put the extra cash in investments and tries to get half his current average in 18 months. A dollar is always worth more today (unless your Arod).

  • John Berardo

    The Kill B’s,as usual another of the so lcalled talented arms turns out to be a zeo.

    • Ted Nelson

      Welcome to minor league baseball

    • MannyGeee

      apparantly you didnt get the mome on “Prospects”. Let me summarize:

      all a dice roll. for every Killer B who turn out to be a ‘Zero’, you get a 17th round D-Rob or ‘not a real prospect’ Nova/Phelps who has turned into to legit MLB pitchers.

      As a wise man once told me, “Try as you might Suzyn….”

  • Dan

    So, why would he trade making 14 mill next year for opting out and getting only a little over 9 mill? Unless Boras believes he can top the current contract, its highly unlikely he will opt out. Also, the extra year waiting to hit the market will probably not hurt his value on the market because its not like the closer market is what it was.

    • TheOneWhoKnocks

      Because $28m, a closers role(which he’s made clear is important to him personally) and long term security might mean more to him than making an extra $5m in 2013?

      Boras will advise him to opt out, he always advises his clients to opt out if he thinks he can make more money (and he certainly will be in the position to do so this offseason)

      You can wait a year, but his value will be lower next offseason since he’d be behind Robertson and Mo and he’d be a year older. This offseason might be his last chance for another big contract, I don’t think he’ll pass it up.

      • Ted Nelson

        While I disagree with Mike, I think you’re going too far in the other direction.

        That Heath Bell made a certain amount does not mean Boras will expect Soriano to make that same amount.

        If he waits a year he already has $14 million in the bank. So if he now signs a 2 year deal rather than 3 years… he can still come out even or on top.

        I think it’s a close call.

        • MannyGeee

          yeah, this is a tough call. I see both sides of this, and I would not want to be in Soriano’s shoes this winter.

          While a bird in the hand is nice, and NO ONE is gonna give him $14M AAV, I could see LAD throwing 3/27 at him for their big push next season.

          • Rob

            seriously? I’ll take his place in making that decision. i’ll wear those shoes (they’re prob $800 gucci jordan’s or something).

      • DM

        I know it’s heresy to suggest otherwise, but you’re assuming Rivera comes back as a healthy and effective f/t closer for 2013. Soriano could have it all — his 14 mil next year and still be a closer heading into 2014 free agency. I wouldn’t say 0% chance he opts out — but pretty close — since the market for closers is not what people here are suggesting. By leaving the Yankees you’re already taking a big $ team off the board. And the signings of the other names this past off-season won’t enhance the market; they just reduce the number of potential suitors with deep pockets. It’s not every off-season that you have a Marlins team throwing cash all over.

        • Ted Nelson

          Though it’s not a given, what do you have to suggest Mariano won’t be back next season. No arm damage. Seems pretty likely he’ll be back and fine.

          How do you know what the market for a closer is, oh wise sage? It’s pretty common that teams are throwing money around in the off-season. You’ve got big, dumb teams like the Angels and White Sox with piss-poor bullpens. The Dodgers might want to make a statement. Most of the bad BPs in the league right now actually belong to teams capable of throwing money around. I have no idea if they will throw it at a closer, but it’s possible. I do trust Boras to know as much as anyone.

          • DM

            You said it yourself — “it’s not a given” — so why assume Soriano can’t see that potential. Do you think all questions will be answered by then? Rivera hasn’t been out for an extended period with injury since he was in the minors, but as a 42-43 yr old there should be legit concern regarding healing and the timetable for it. Most thought he would’ve had the surgery already but he couldn’t b/c of blood clots — did you expect over a month delay? Pitchers put their weight on and drive off their legs; if you can’t and there’s some adjustment you make to compensate you can hurt your arm and/or be less effective. Try to pitch with a good arm and bad knee — you can’t separate the two — but I have a hunch you wouldn’t know about actual pitching, oh wise fangraph sage.

            And your analysis of a potential market is no more conclusive than any other positive or negative comment here. A market is more than who might need a player; it’s who is willing to pay that player (not just b/c they have enough $, in your view), and further — a Boras client who’ll play negotiations to the hilt — an often to the last minute. I’m sure you could find as many bad bullpens when Soriano was a FA coming off an outstanding season 2 yrs ago — but no one except Randy Levine nudging Hal to make a splash in Yankeeland made that happen — and the Yankees didn’t even have a bad pen. And now Soriano had his elbow issue pop up again and he’s 2 yrs older. Closers never draw the same kind of bidding wars that starters and position players do. The market for a closer is more than simply listing a bunch of teams who have bad bullpens.

            I guess with all the poor starting rotations out there, there’ll be a big market for Hamels too, huh? — except despite their needs, most teams won’t/can’t pay that price. Your list would shrink to two or three as soon as Hamels and his agent float rumor about contract demands/

            • Ted Nelson

              Why assume Boras is so dumb that he weights the less likely outcome more than the more likely outcome? Boras is pretty damn good at what he does. That it’s not a given Mo comes back doesn’t mean Boras should plan entirely around that unlikely possibility.

              Torn knee ligaments are common surgeries with high recovery rates. He probably won’t be healed by the time free agency comes around, but they’ll know a lot more about his timetable and chances for a healthy recovery than they do now.
              Having a knee surgery doesn’t mean you have a bad knee. Not that it matters one bit, but I did play baseball. I could understand the importance of legs in pitching without having ever picked up a ball, though. Any baseball fan would only have to watch Ps running poles to understand that their legs are important… or have a working knowledge of anatomy and physics for that matter. I also understand that shoulder injuries have far lower recovery rates than knee injuries. That’s why I said it’s not arm damage… smart guy.

              Maybe try actually reading my analysis of the market. If you did that, you might realize I did not conclude there is one. I said there might be. Which is why I questioned how you know there’s not or that it’s weak. Stay in school, work on your reading comprehension.

              “Closers never draw the same kind of bidding wars that starters and position players do.”

              And yet… they get paid every year. Even Ryan Madson, who got “ripped off,” for an $8.5 million dollar 1 year contract, worth up to $17 million for two years.

              “I guess with all the poor starting rotations out there, there’ll be a big market for Hamels too, huh? ”

              So your contention is that there will not be a big market for Hamels? Do you even begin to understand supply and demand?

              Again, stay in school. Leave the drugs alone.

              • DM

                Did Boras announce that Soriano is opting out?

                We’re all giving opinions about what we think will happen “smart guy” — and you started with snide “sage” stuff — embedded in your usual strawman arguments. So you can keep pretending Ted. I can tell from all your other posts that your in itchy trigger finger mode today. Doubling up on replies is the give away.

                How could Madson get ripped off in a market with all those bad bullpens? Weren’t they all clamoring for him? Do you think he would’ve been better off accepting a 1 year deal for 14 mil if it was offered?

                And I’m sure you understand supply and demand very well with your recent start-up business experience. Your new firm must be doing very well since you have so much time to post here. Or maybe you need to go back to school — a PhD in Fantasy Baseball or something — then start another business with your friends — Statistical Misuse Consultants, LLC.

                I have to make a call now. I’m gonna schedule surgery on my good knee.

                • Ted Nelson

                  It has nothing to do with whether he opts out or not. It has to do with the reasoning behind it.

                  Again… I didn’t say there was a market for Soriano. I questioned your insistence that there wasn’t. That you accuse me of strawman arguments is hilarious. I explained already that I didn’t say a market definitely exists for Soriano, yet you’re still attacking me for a point I didn’t make and then told you I hadn’t made…

                  I have a degree in economics… so, yeah, I do. There’s really no need to get into personal lives on a blog about the Yankees. My professional life is just fine. Notice that I attack the content of your posts for being ridiculous. You try to attack my personal life with no idea what I actually do or who I am. Have fun with that. I’ll stick to your incredible stupidity when it comes to baseball and the Yankees. It’s just so easy to tear you apart.

                  Wow… really? The knee is bad before surgery… but not necessarily after.

                  • DM

                    I said there wasn’t the market that other people suggested — not that there’s NO MARKET, get it? Hence your strawman. As usual, you do exactly the thing you accuse others of — “missing your point” or “nitpicking”.

                    Ted, you told us about your start-up – now your degree (as though that means something — but it does explain a lot) — but leave personal stuff out of this? If it’s private why bring it up at all? And tell me how “stay in school” or “drugs” (wtf??) has anything to do with the content of my post. That’s not personal. Knowing nothing of baseball and hiding behind wishy-washy-likely-possible-maybe-escape hatch laden commentary is one thing — but being a blatant hypocrite and calling out others for what you’re chronically guilty of yourself is sad. If I irritate you b/c I don’t wrap everything in phrases that can mean everything and its opposite like do, don’t reply to me.

                    And playing “pitcher” — esp in tee-ball — really doesn’t count as actual pitching, Ted. Most everyone played baseball — but I’m not referring to the cattle call of 8 yr olds wearing blue, black, red, green and yellow on a Saturday morning. Your comments about the actual game show how little actual game experience you actually have.

    • Ted Nelson

      It’s not a matter of what he can make next year. It’s a matter of what he can make overall.

      I think it’s a pretty tough call, and not 0% at all. He gets $1.5 million even if he opts out. So if he could get Heath Bell $, he’ll have to make a combined $15.5 million in 2014-15 to stay with the Yankees and match his opting out money. (That’s a big assumption he can get Bell money, of course.) He’ll be 33 next year, so age is an issue and health has also been an issue. And then there are subjective considerations as far as whether he wants to be a closer, whether he wants to be a Yankee, where he wants to live, etc.

      • Dan

        It’s also a matter of the market that will exist for him, there aren’t many high-revenue clubs that might be willing to overpay for a closer that will have an opening at the end of the season. Maybe the Mets would, but with their financial issues its unlikely they would approach Heath Bell money.

        • MannyGeee

          You couldn’t see Kenny Williams falling for the ‘Proven Closer (C)’ routine? I could

        • Ted Nelson

          We’ll have to see. I don’t pretend to know who will pay a closer this offseason, but I’ll bet Boras has a good idea when the season ends. A lot of big revenue teams among the worst BPs this season, so it’s possible there’s a market.

          http://www.fangraphs.com/leade.....;sort=15,d

          Not saying all these teams would pursue Soriano, but towards the bottom 12 of the league in BP FIP: Blue Jays, Astros, Cubs, Mariners, White Sox, Angels, DBacks, Cardinals, Mets, Phillies, and Red Sox… only small budget team among the bottom 12 really is the Padres. (Of course… Astros and Cubs are probably too far out to consider BP help a priority… and teams like the Blue Jays might not pay a RP big $… and the Phillies have Paps… etc.)

          • Dan

            Right, and the Red Sox have Bailey, the Angels have a couple of young cheap options at closer. The Mariners are also probably too far out to focus on BP help. Maybe the Diamondbacks or White Sox would be options for him, but it seems like it would be better for him to wait another year collect his 14 mill and by the time he hits the market maybe the Mets and Cubs are getting closer to competing and he will be able to get another big payday. Arizona also has Putz as their closer now and he will be a free agent after 2013 as well.

            • Ted Nelson

              Every team has options in their pen… and yet every year big FA closers get big money.

              If you want to play the options game… not FA would ever get signed by anyone.

  • A.D.

    Surprised they haven’t had CoJo play some corner outfield, basically figure he has the potential to be a Martin Prado

  • Fernando

    Curious, if Soriano does opt out does the team get a draft pick for him?

    • MannyGeee

      Only if you offer him a ‘Qualifying Offer’ after he opts out, right?

      • Fernando

        Hmm, that would be interesting scenario. The qualifying offer would be around $12M (salary of top 125 players), which would be less than the salary he would opt out of.

        • Steve (different one)

          Right, the qualifying offer would be a no brainer, since we know he would automatically turn it down. That is a funny little wrinkle though.

          • Gonzo

            That’s an interesting catch. I wonder if we start seeing more ~$13mm+ mutual options or player options.

  • A.D.

    Joseph is on the 40-man though, so the Yankees see something they like in him.

    Figure he is Cano insurance at this point in case he walks after ’13

  • Steve (different one)

    Saying Madson is flat out better than Soriano strikes me as a “grass is always greener” assessment. Free agent Soriano was pretty clearly better than free agent Madson. Madson can’t sniff Soriano’s 2010 season. Not to mention the AL-NL discrepancy which is approaching MLB-AAA proportions (no, I have nothing to back that up…)

    • Ted Nelson

      Agreed… but I also don’t expect Mike to say anything kind or particularly rational about Soriano.

    • Gonzo

      The one thing to remember about NL closers though is that they rarely (if ever) pitch against pitchers like NL starters. So while I agree the competition is probably better in the AL, it’s not a laugher when it comes to closers.

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

      Soriano in 2010: 2.81 FIP, 24.1 K%, 5.9 BB%, 32.5 GB%
      Madson from 2009-2011: 2.74 FIP, 26.1 K%, 6.5 BB%, 48.0 GB%

      Soriano’s best year was a typical Madson year with fewer ground balls.

      • Ted Nelson

        Soriano was arguably better in 2009 than in 2010…

        GBs are a means to an end, not an end in themselves. A better GB% isn’t something I would use to call one guy a better P than another.

        “Flat out better” does seem like a stretch.

  • RetroRob

    I don’t understand the issue with predraft deals,or why MLB would care. First off, they’re not really deals, but I’m guessing more discussions on what the player is looking for and feedback from the team on what they can pay. The Yankees probably had these type of discussions with Hensley, as well as a half a dozen other players (or more) who they thought might be available when their first pick came up.

    The Rangers have already signed something like twenty of their picks, including everyone between the 4th-10th rounds. Obviously dicussions took place prior, but I don’t think any would be considered predraft deals. Just an understanding on both sides on what would work.

    What’s the downside? What am I missing?

  • Duzzi23

    I don’t know why the Yanks can’t bring CoJo up now? He has been in the minors long enough and has hit pretty well since being promoted to AAA. Maybe he can add a spark to the team like in 2005 when Cano was brought up with the Yankees underperforming. In the past lesser talented guys like Cody Ransom, Kevin Russo, and Jason Nix have gotten chances to be backups for the team why not give the kid a shot.

    • Ted Nelson

      It’s not that they won’t give him a shot. It’s that he’d come up to get sporadic playing time, rather than playing every day in AAA. It’s also that there’s no roster spot for him. If you replace Nix with him… no back-up SS. They probably don’t think he’s good enough to replace Chavez… not to mention he hasn’t played 3B in a few years. Hasn’t played OF at all.

      He’s had 32 PAs in AAA. 7 games. While some players skip AAA altogether and do fine, I’d like him to get some more time there.

      Do you really want him playing over Cano? Learning a position he’s never played professionally or one he’s played 43 pro games at in 2010 and before on the fly?