Jul
24

Revisiting the Yankees’ trade deadline needs

By

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

When I looked at the Yankees and their potential needs two months ago, I noted that injuries were going to play a big part in their trade deadline strategy. Brett Gardner‘s elbow never healed and the team responded by acquiring Ichiro Suzuki, but Joba Chamberlain‘s return from Tommy John and ankle surgery have gone well so far. He could be back as soon as next week. Injuries at the minor league level also play a role since rosters these days run deeper than 25 players.

The trade deadline is one week from today, though in reality the deadline extends into August as well. Those players just have to pass through revocable waivers first, which usually isn’t an issue. The Yankees may have the best record in baseball and some a sizable lead in the AL East, but there are still some cracks in the dam worth plugging.

A Quality Reliever
I’ve been harping on this for weeks, but New York needs another reliable, non-specialist reliever. This is tricky because relievers are just so unpredictable, but having four OOGYs in a seven-man bullpen really handcuffs Joe Girardi. Perhaps Joba is that guy and it would be amazing if he is, but as I’ve been saying, you can’t really count on him for anything until he’s actually back out on a big league mound contributing in a positive way. Those were two major injuries he suffered. Finding a solid middle reliever who can pitch to batters on both sides of the plate should be a priority, lest we be subjected to more Chad Qualls.

(REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

A Catcher
Somehow Russell Martin‘s second half BABIP (.143) is lower than his first half BABIP (.193). Yes, I know it’s only been eight games, but the point is that the Yankees can’t turn a blind eye to their catching situation forever. Martin has been awful (79 wRC+), Chris Stewart has been even worse (45 wRC+), and we aren’t talking about a pair of Yadier Molina-level defenders either. They’re below league average in throwing out base-stealers (24.1%), have allowed the sixth most passed pitches (wild pitches plus passed balls) in baseball (37), and rank 24th in Total Zone (-4). It’s ugly.

I understand that quality catchers are hard to find, but we’re not looking asking for a miracle. Just someone better with Stewart that can split time with Martin. Russ always hits better with more rest, so finding someone to take the load off three times a week would be ideal. Quality, above-average catching isn’t a prerequisite for winning the World Series, but it’s not a coincidence that most years the champion has a strong backstop.

Pitching Depth
This kinda ties in with the quality reliever thing above, but I’m talking more about the Triple-A level. The only 40-man roster pitchers in the highest level of the minors are Adam Warren, Cory Wade, Ryota Igarashi, and lefty specialist Justin Thomas following the trade of D.J. Mitchell. Dellin Betances in Double-A doesn’t really count. It’s not a super-high priority because the Yankees do have some non-40-man options — Manny Delcarmen and Juan Cedeno, specifically — but I would expect them to scour the waiver wire for an up-and-down arm or two over the next few weeks. Just to replenish the pipeline and add depth.

Utility Infielder
Jayson Nix has hit well enough for a utility infielder (79 wRC+), especially against left-handed pitchers (99 wRC+). He’s not much of a defender though, especially at shortstop. Ramiro Pena is the club’s only real shortstop alternative in Triple-A, at least until Eduardo Nunez returns from his thumb injury in a week or so, so the Yankees are stuck with Nix for the time being. That’s fine for spot starts but will be a problem if Derek Jeter misses any length of time. This is the last item on the deadline shopping list, but digging up a 2009 Jerry Hairston Jr. type would be a marginal though legitimate upgrade.

* * *

The starting rotation has held up fine following Andy Pettitte‘s injury and even during CC Sabathia‘s DL stint, so I wouldn’t expect the Yankees to swing a trade for a starter. Freddy Garcia has been serviceable as the fifth starter and both David Phelps and Warren provide some insurance. Pettitte’s rehab is reportedly going well which is all we could ask for at this point. Maybe if they find out things hit a speed bump at some point they’ll swing an August waiver trade, but otherwise I wouldn’t expect a deal for a starter. The bullpen and catcher situation are obvious areas of need leading up to the trade deadline, with miscellaneous pitching depth and a utility infielder further down the list.

Categories : Trade Deadline

76 Comments»

  1. MMMyyKuroda says:

    Mike,

    Does the Ichiro trade end any realistic possibility of obtaining Justin Upton?

    And what would it take to land Carlos Ruiz? Is that realistic/advisable?

    Thanks

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Upton seemed like an offseason thing anyway. The Phillies are more likely to re-sign Ruiz than trade him and every if they did, I have a hard time thinking he’ll keep this up.

      • Dale Mohorcic says:

        How about Ruiz as a rental? He’s in his walk year and if they could swing a deal he’s free to go back to Philly after that.

  2. Carl G says:

    Re: Catcher…

    …just what is wrong with Cervelli again?

  3. Andy Pettitte's Fibula (former Manny's BanWagon) says:

    Cue the Martin apologists in 3, 2, 1………

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Or cue the people who bother to look at teams outside the Yankees…

      • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (former Manny's BanWagon) says:

        Look at teams outside the Yankees as much as you want and it won’t change the fact that Martin has been abysmal.

  4. Cy Pettitte says:

    K-Rod? not having a good year but they could probably get him for nothing besides taking on some of his remaining salary

    • jjyank says:

      Meh…4.47 ERA, 4.22 FIP, 4.87 BB/9, -.1 fWAR all in the NL…maybe if they only sent the bat boy over there or something.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      It seems like they have a policy of only getting those good character types. KRod is a clown of clowns.

  5. NYYROC says:

    Even if he isn’t tearing up AAA, it seems odd that the NYY don’t give Cervelli a shot. IIRC career .270 and a knack for hits with RISP. Can’t be worse than what they have.

    • Dan says:

      Since Stewart has mainly been catching CC, I wonder if they brought up with CC whether he would prefer Stewart or Cervelli and he chose Stewart? I doubt the Yankees would give too many players power over personnel decisions, but I could see them doing it in this spot.

      • Preston says:

        Yeah I don’t like Cervelli as a Martin replacement, but it’s curious why he hasn’t replaced Stewart.

        • BrooklynRats says:

          Stewart is out of options and Cashman is uncomfortable without a quality backup in AAA.
          You will not see Cervelli unless one of our catchers are DLed.

  6. A.D. says:

    Any chance on Soto from the Cubs, another bad offensive year, but at least is suppose to be a pretty good defender

    • Reggie C. says:

      I’m not up to date with my metics knowledge but Fangraphs has Soto at a 62 wRC+. Soto put up a 93 score last season in that metric so he’s definitely mired in a Russell Martin-esque season long slump. I dont think Soto could help any team this season.

  7. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I agree with most of this.

    My gut feeling is that the team is ready to make Phelps that extra reliever if there’s not a better option and that it’s why he’s here. I think someone in the Mendoza/Aceves role (multi-inning reliver of better quality than prototypical long man who can pitch high and low leverage innings) is what’s suited here. I don’t blame them for trying Qualls. It didn’t work. Joba will be here soon enough and he won’t be.

    I’m not adverse to seeing if there’s lightning in a bottle (and, trust me, I mean that in the loosest definition of the term) with Cervelli instead of looking elsewhere.

    An upgrade from Nix and having Joba/notQualls around would be good enough moves for me.

    • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (former Manny's BanWagon) says:

      I think Nunez could be back soon enough to upgrade utility infielder though I don’t know if his defense could be trusted. With the Yankees having a big lead they could role the dice, though.

      Chances are no sure fire catching upgrades will be available for a palatable cost so I’d be down with dumping Stewart and giving Cervelli a chance.

      Also agree that with Joba and Pettitte coming back, Appley and Qualls could be replaced to shore up the pen.

      One interesting question is assuming Pettitte comes back strong, which starter gets pushed to the pen for the playoffs?

      • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (former Manny's BanWagon) says:

        Eppley that is.

      • BK2ATL says:

        Good idea on Nunez, but let’s see how he progresses. He’s been hurt for quite a while now. Nothing much to gauge his progress on the field. He was pretty bad in the field earlier this season.

        I’m coming around to the Cervelli thing. There’s just not much on the trade market which would upgrade the team there. At least, Stewart’s gotta go.

        With the Florida firesale kicking off (and hopefully the start of contraction from that miserable sports town), I wonder what it would cost for an Emilio Bonafacio or Donovan Solano. Or even a Marco Scutaro deal with Colorado, if they kick in $$$ on some of his salary in return for an Adam Warren type.

        When Pettitte comes back, either Garcia or Phelps gets bumped to bullpen in Sept. For the postseason, we’d probably have CC, Kuroda, Pettitte and Nova as starters, with Soriano, Robertson, Joba, Logan, Hughes, Garcia/Phelps and Rapada in the pen.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          I’m not sold right now on Nunez as the replacement UTL. They wanted him to work on defense. He’s been injured. He is going to extend innings out there in the field.

          My trade proposal (and ideas) suck but, yeah, I’d be pursuing a guy like Scutaro right now.

          I’m fine with Eppley. I’m not fine with Eppley in a non-ROOGY role for the time being. Qualls doesn’t look like a guy you keep around for the stretch run in the least. I think “traditional long man” should go out the window for more versatility. That may be Phelps. It may come via trade.

          I have no clue who goes to the pen in the playoffs. There’s a ton of factors to consider there. I’d assume CC, Kuroda, and Pettitte are the veteran locks.

          • BK2ATL says:

            I really don’t know what to think on Nunez. He’s supposed to be down there to work on his defense at one position, SS. He’s been hurt. They like him, but I’m not sure why, at this point. It is what it is.

            Maybe instead of Nunez, how about CoJo???

            Your trade proposals suck??? You’re kinda harsh on yourself. You’re one of the reasonable, balanced posters here.

            Scutaro can be had on the cheap (prospect-wise) as a rental, since he’s a FA after the season and had a $6 million salary this season. I have no idea what Colorado is looking for in return, but if the Ichiro deal is a precedent, something like an Adam Warren and Ramiro Pena, at most, might figure in, if salary relief is included. Somehow they included a DFA’d pitcher in the Ichiro deal…:)

            I’m fine with Eppley, but we’ve gotten a lot of value out of him already. Now we’re just playing with house money. As strictly a ROOGY, I’d be fine with it. Phelps needs to be on this team AND being used somehow.

            Playoff-wise, I just threw out my logical scenario, if all continues to go according to plan. While there’s still plenty of season left, those are the 11 pitchers that figure in, at this current moment. On paper, it’s strong. However, maybe NinjaCash strike again before the deadline’s up.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I wouldn’t want to see a poll on whether I’m reasonable and balanced on here. :)

              All our trade proposals suck. Remember. Always safe to be a bit self-deprecating.

              Logan’s become a better pitcher. Eppley could as well. I’m encouraged by him. We shouldn’t count on it happening this year. He sticks around since, by the time he might get caught in a crunch, rosters will be expanding anyway, unless he rides the shuttle instead of Phelps if an acquisition gets made (assumming Qualls goes for Joba, of course.)

              I love me some Marco Scutaro. This is the type of depth move I love when the team makes at the deadline as long as the price is right. Give them Pena. Sure.

              • BK2ATL says:

                Sounds like Baltimore and Miami are looking into a Josh Johnson and possibly Hanley Ramirez deal. Things just got interesting. I’m wondering if Bundy and Machado are on the table.

                For Scutaro, they could have all of Warren, Pena and Laird as far as I’m concerned. It’ll be an upgrade and possible FA cheap deal audition for 2013. He’d bring someone who could truly provide backup for SS, 2B, and even 3B once in a blue moon.

                I like the side-winding RHP/LHP ROOGY/LOOGY combo, even if only for the comedic angle. Problem is when Girardi leaves them out there for more than 1-2 side-sided batters. Qualls??? Gotta go….and as soon as Joba’s ready.

                I really like the Ichiro deal, by the way. The upside is pretty damn good.

  8. Ethan says:

    This is a bit off topic but I wonder what John Sterling’s call will be for Ichiro.

  9. BK2ATL says:

    I’m not sure if we truly need to make any moves for a quality reliever, until we know what Joba brings. Obviously, that means we’d need to get him into a couple of games before 7/31. I do think that the Qualls/Eppley/Wade run of effectiveness and usefulness may be coming to an end.

    I don’t really think Jayson Nix has done anything to cost us any games. If there’s no visible upgrade available for minimal cost, just let it be.

    Martin…we need to just DFA Stewart and bring up Cervelli. It’ll probably a wash, on the field, but at least a bit of energy to the C position and build a little value/interest for Cervelli. Maybe a Ninja Cashman stealth move is in order here. I got nothing on a Martin replacement. We did win a WS in 2009 with a faded Posada and Jose Molina tandem. So, there’s that.

    • Josh says:

      Posada in 2009 hit 285 with 22 dingers and 81 rbi. Please don’t compare the situation at all. Even Jose Molina is infinitely better than Stewart, at least he is a ridiculous fielder.

      • BK2ATL says:

        How many runs did he give up behind the plate?

        You’re only considering his offense, which, of course, Posada was much better than the current guys.

    • Kosmo says:

      except the recent game in Oakland.

      • BK2ATL says:

        I missed this weekend series for the most part. Just know that we lost 4 in row in squeakers. Can you fill me in?

        • Kosmo says:

          Nix botched 2 plays in crucial moments. One an error and one a bobbled DP ball, it led a frustrated Girardi using Jeter as a late inning defensive replacement

          • BK2ATL says:

            Thanks.

            It might’ve just been a rough patch. Surely Jeter had that weekend in Boston prior to the All-Star break. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to see what else is out there.

        • RI$P FTW says:

          Just know it’s everyone’s fault except CC’s. It’s never his fault.

  10. Reggie C. says:

    This is a shot in the dark but how about Salvador Perez as a trade target. I know we’re supposed to hate KC, but that squad is in need of pitching prospects. Perez could platoon with Martin and take over duties fulltime next season.

    Would a package of David Phelps and Brett Marshall suffice?

  11. Kosmo says:

    Here´s a list of utility IF who might become available:
    Irving Falu SWH
    Yuniesky Betancourt is reported to being shopped
    Alexi Amarista
    Luis Valbuena

    all of them can play SS,3B and 2B.

  12. Preston says:

    I don’t think the need for a reliever is pressing. The bullpen is good enough and will be better for the post-season when we will probably move Hughes out there. Soriano, Robertson, Hughes and Phelps would give us four guys who have no need for a platoon, with a solid chance that Joba is also there and a really outside chance that Mo is there. If we had a bullpen of a healthy Mo, Soriano, Robertson, Joba, Hughes, Phelps and Logan that would be the best bullpen I can ever remember a Yankee team having in the post-season.

  13. max says:

    I really think it is a rarity to see so many top of the rotation pitchers seemingly available and it would be unwise to not at least look into Hamels (if he doesn’t sign an extension) or Josh Johnson. I know Josh Johnson has struggled, but the xFIP and Siera and the other advanced ERA stats suggest he’s been unlucky.

    Aside from that, I agree that catcher needs to be addressed. I’m surprised no one has mentioned John Jaso, but he seems like a perfect fit considering his handedness and the fact that the Ms are in sell mode.

    • Kosmo says:

      go back to a few weeks ago you will see his name been mentioned alot.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Issue with Jaso is that he’s one of the only guys on their team that hits. They’re probably going to have to be pretty blown away to trade him, but who knows?

      • MannyGeee says:

        I dont know if ‘blown away’ is on the nose, but I am assuming they would see Jaso as a definate need to keep considering they have not fully committed to Montero behind the dish.

        So he will cost more than he’s worth for sure.

        • max says:

          hate to play online GM, but wouldn’t Stewart or Cervelli plus a Brandon Laird or Brett Marshall type get it done?

          • BK2ATL says:

            It’s silly season until 7/31. Your guess is as good as the many “sources” we’ll read about in the next week. Play GM all you want.

            Stewart has no trade value. Laird is only seen around here as a AAAA guy. I have no opinion on that. Cervelli isn’t going anywhere, but maybe to the big club, depending on Romine’s progress as well. Marshall does seem to have more value and upside than is needed for the Scutaro deal.

            The AL East would get a lot more interesting if Baltimore acquires Hanley and/or Josh Johnson. Sounds like they’re going for it. I wonder if Bundy and Machado are in play.

            • max says:

              Gosh I hope they trade away Bundy or Machado for either of those guys– one fewer team to worry about for the next few years. Their record is a mirage (just look at their run differential!). They are a .500 team at best and will likely finish in 4th or 5th in the AL East IMHO.

              • BK2ATL says:

                I don’t think their record is a mirage. They finished pretty decently down the stretch last year, lest you forget. I think they are just a couple pieces away from being a real contender.

                One thing that is not getting any major acclaim is the job that Showalter is doing with that team. They have some young pieces and some decent vets mixed in. If they do in fact trade for Hanley and Johnson, you just handed Showalter two still-young premium talents. While I think the Yanks would still be fine, if I were Tampa, Boston or Toronto, I’d be worried.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I’m passingly intrigued by looking into buying low on Johnson, but that’s more due to me wanting to save the Marlins I actually like from that shithole than anything else.

      Hamels has been mentioned here more times than people actually playing for the Yankees. :)

  14. JobaWockeeZ says:

    Please get a new catcher. It will be sickening to see Stewart start game one of the ALDS and any subsequent games started by CC.

    And Martin sucks too but there’s not much to do about that.

    • RI$P FTW says:

      We all know you HAVE to have an All-Star at every position to win the WS.
      How do the Yanks expect to compete with the Angels and Dodgers when they have a catcher who isn’t famous???

  15. Knoxvillain says:

    I don’t think that anyone wants Martin or Stewart on the team since they are both terrible offensively and pretty bad defensively. But the catching market is horrid. They won’t add any catchers because there aren’t any worth making a trade for. All the catchers worth anything are locked up (Molina, McCann, and Montero) and are all unavailable.

    Shit.

    • Bavarian Yankee says:

      they are bad defensively? I’d say both are at least average on D.

      • Knoxvillain says:

        They can’t throw runners out for shit if I recall correctly and they’ve made a handful of errors this year behind the plate. I’m not sure about the numbers but just off of my memory they are far from impressive.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Someone can pull out some defensive metric and argue the merits of that metric, but the sniff test isn’t going so well as of late with either of them.

        The sniff test and…..about two dollars…..buys you a cup of coffee in NYC.

    • Deep Thoughts says:

      Speak for yourself dude. I’ll take his game calling and pitch framing, and either he figures it out / BABIP regresses, or he has a shitty year and costs less during the winter. Either way there’s no point making a panic move.

  16. Eddard says:

    We need to upgrade the catcher position if we’re to win the WS. All those years we won rings we had a catcher that could actually hit. Jorgie’s retirement is certainly being felt this season. I would trade for a catcher. Just about anybody will be an upgrade over a .170 hitter. Pitchers can hit .170, that’s how bad Martin has been. Either call up Cervelli and see what he can do or trade for a catcher.

    • Knoxvillain says:

      But there is nobody available worth anything. That’s how bad the catching market is. Who do you suggest we trade for?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      The Yankees won a WS with Joe Girardi behind the plate. You don’t necessarily need an offense-first guy.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Posada was definitely a catcher who could hit, but the question is did he ACTUALLY hit during those World Series? Survey says….no.

      .219/.333/.333 in 114 PA’s.

      That looks a lot like….Russell Martin.

  17. Strat says:

    It’s unfortunate that due to injury they Yankees still can’t make an educated decision on what to expect from Nunez before the deadline. If they bring him up at some point, they’ll likely lose Nix. Then they’ll find themselves after the non-waiver deadline hard pressed to acquire another quality back-up infielder if Nunez is bad defensively, or if he gets hurt.

  18. The Real Greg says:

    He would definitely not be an upgrade offensively but he would be defensively. What about Nick Hundley from the Padres? Has thrown out 35% of base stealers this year.
    The Padres already have their catcher of the future in Grandal hitting up there.

  19. DM says:

    Cashman was on with Kay. Gushing about the Mariners front office — made it sound like the whole Ichiro thing was a love fest. He said he has some concerns about Ichiro in left, but also said Swisher is their RFielder when he gets healthy. Also, he was asked about more moves — but unlike a few weeks ago when he acted like nothing was on the horizon, he went on for a minute about “the process” and other GM speak about moves for now as well as those that impact the future. Sounds like he’s up to something.

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