Mailbag: Special Hot Stove Rapid Fire Edition

Cashman: "As far as I'm concerned, all the coaches are safe"
Update: Soriano likely to opt-out after the season

Remember when I said I would like to do a rapid fire mailbag featuring a lot of questions and short answers? I’m doing that now. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything, mailbag questions or otherwise.

(Jason Szenes/Getty)

Joe asks: Do you think it’s a possibility the Yankees and Dodgers swap A-Rod for Carl Crawford?

The Red Sox put a ridiculous clause in Crawford’s contract prohibiting teams from trading him to the Yankees after they acquired him from Boston, so a trade isn’t possible. Even if it was, I don’t think the Dodgers would go for it. They’d probably rather add Alex Rodriguez to Crawford and go all-in than sell-off an undervalued asset. I think Crawford can come back and be a very good outfielder again, but it just won’t be with the Yankees.

John asks: Do you think this postseason has changed the mindset of ownership on Robinson Cano? There is no question he is a great hitter but this was an opportunity to make this his team and he has totally failed. Also with history of second basemen, do you think they will not sign a new deal?

I don’t expect the Yankees to change their long-term opinion of Cano based on one postseason, and frankly they shouldn’t. It’s not like Robbie has never hit in the playoffs (he mashed in October from 2010-2011), it’s just an ill-timed (and really ugly) slump. Barring a catastrophic injury or a total collapse in performance, I fully expect the Yankees to sign Cano to a massive extension at some point in the next 12-14 months.

Mat asks: Is Lance Berkman a viable one-year stop gap? Granted he’s coming off an injury but a one-year deal could make sense. With Michael Pineda needing time to heal and question marks about rotation, is Edwin Jackson another possibility? Finally with his versatility would Marco Scutaro make sense? He can back up 2B, 3B and SS and he’s still showing he can hit for average.

No on Berkman, his knees are so bad that he’s considering retirement because he can’t run anymore. That would be too much of a risk for the Yankees to take. I do consider Jackson an option regardless of Pineda’s status, but I think the team would look to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda and/or Andy Pettitte to one-year deals first. That’s what I would prefer. I’m a Scutaro fan but he’ll sign somewhere that guarantees him a spot in the everyday lineup, likely back with the Giants. Maybe he becomes more of an option if A-Rod is actually traded somewhere. He’d be a great fit though.

(Chris Trotman/Getty)

Travis asks: Would the Yankees be interested in Scott Baker, Blake Hawksworth, or Mike Pelfrey (if he is non-tendered) this coming offseason?

I’ll say yes on Baker and Hawksworth but not on Pelfrey. Baker would have to be a minor league contract only since he missed all of this season and wasn’t exactly Mr. Durable prior to having elbow surgery. Hawksworth has a nice arm but is just a reliever (he missed 2012 with a shoulder injury), so adding him on a minor league deal and stashing him in Triple-A for depth is fine with me. Pelfrey just flat-out isn’t that good and I don’t expect the light bulb to turn on after Tommy John surgery. He could be a bargain for an NL team in a big park, but not the Yankees.

Kyle asks: Hey Mike, I saw Ryan Ludwick declined his half of the mutual option and (barring a new deal) will be a free agent. Any interest as a stopgap right fielder?

I’m skeptical of Ludwick because he’s never strung two really good years together back-to-back. He’s struggled for a few years, had one great year, struggled again, so on and so forth. That said, the crop of reasonably-price free agent outfielders is weak and Ludwick does have the kind of big right-handed power that would play in Yankee Stadium. He wouldn’t be Plan A or even Plan B, but he is a viable option.

Joe asks: What do you think about the Yanks bringing in Delmon Young to play right field? He’s had his character issues in the past, however he’s young and a playoff producer.

Not a fan at all. Don’t care that he’s young (27), don’t care about his playoff performance. We’ve got over 3,500 plate appearances telling us he’s a below average big league hitter (96 wRC+), and the last 1,100 plate appearances have been even worse (89 wRC+). Young also isn’t any kind of outfielder, he’s a DH. Unusable in the field. The character issues are pretty severe considering that he has a criminal record now, so add that all up and you get a big “no” here.

Travis asks:If the Rockies wanted to trade Carlos Gonzalez to the Yankees, but wanted Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, David Phelps, David Robertson and Brett Marshall, would you do it?

That’s basically every young pitcher in the organization who is a) healthy, and b) worth a damn. At the same time, Hughes will be a free agent in a year and Robertson in two years. Marshall is unproven above Double-A and we have no idea if Phelps can cut it as a starter in the big leagues. That deal would cripple the team’s pitching depth, but I also don’t think it’s an insane asking price for someone of CarGo’s caliber. I’d say no, too much pitching to sacrifice in one trade.

(Ezra Shaw/Getty)

Will asks: As I’m watching the NLCS, I’ve had an opportunity to watch Jon Jay. His style of play really reminds me of the core guys during the late-90’s. What kind of package would the Yankees have to offer for him?

It’s funny, I actually liked Jay quite a bit in his draft year (2006), but he’s turned into the exact opposite of what I thought he would. I thought he would develop into a .260/.370/.440 type who drew a ton of walks and hit 20+ homers while playing a decent right or left field, so basically a number six hitter. Instead, he’s a .300/.380/.400 leadoff guy who plays a legitimate center field and steals bases with little power. Funny how that works. Anyway, it would take a lot to acquire him since he’s still under team control for another four years, so something along the lines of the three players the Yankees gave up to acquire Curtis Granderson. I don’t think the Cardinals are looking to move him anyway, but he would be a great fit for New York.

Patrick asks: How serious is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome? Have there been enough cases to know what to expect how someone’s going to bounce back? How much would that procedure deter you from signing someone like Mike Adams?

Long story short, TOS occurs when a pectoral muscle (using on the pitching arm side) displaces an artery and it can lead to numbness, an aneurysm, all sorts of nasty stuff. I remember early last season, when the Yankees were still trying to figure out what was wrong with Hughes, there was some concern that he had TOS. That turned out to not be the case, however. Chris Carpenter had surgery for TOS in mid-June and didn’t return to the team until mid-September, and he’s the most notable recent example of the problem aside from Adams. Adams has a history of arm problems but TOS wouldn’t stop me from at least kicking the tires on the right-hander, who is one of the very best relievers in the game. You’d just have to go through the medicals very thoroughly and understand that he carries more risk (and reward) and your typical free agent reliever.

Ethan asks: Would you do Hughes and Nova for Tim Lincecum? I have no idea how much this makes sense (and yes, it probably totally sucks), but with Madison Bumgarner getting tired down the stretch and maybe affecting next season, Barry Zito being Barry Zito, and Ryan Vogelsong maybe going up in smoke, I think they could use some back-enders that can at least give innings. Plus the whole AL-to-NL thing.

I would hold off on that deal for a few reasons, most notably that Lincecum has seen his performance decline steadily in recent years. He was basically league average this year in a big ballpark in the NL, so sticking him in Yankee Stadium could be quite ugly even if he doesn’t decline any further and remains the same guy. You dream of him turning back into the Cy Young caliber pitcher who could dominate anywhere, but it’s not a safe assumption. Lincecum will be a free agent after next season, so you’re getting one year of him, plus the Yankees would be creating a rotation opening with the deal. I don’t think it’s an unfair asking price, if anything it’s probably a steal considering what the Giants could fetch for him in a bidding war, but I don’t believe it makes sense for the Yankees at the moment.

Cashman: "As far as I'm concerned, all the coaches are safe"
Update: Soriano likely to opt-out after the season
  • Travis L.

    A little off topic, but do Jayson Nix and Clay Rapada stay with the team as Arb eligible players or do they hit free agency this year? If Nix hits free agency, who do we look to acquire to be the backup infielder (apart from Nunez, who I expect to be traded this year)?

    • DERP

      Rapada isn’t arbitration eligible. He will make right around the minimum. Nix is arbitration eligible for the first time and I don’t think he will break 1M in salary if offered. My guess is they will both be back, although I guess they could non-tender Nix and try to sign him to a minor league deal as well.

      • jjyank

        Yeah, I’d imagine they’d both be back as well. Rapada maybe a bit more than Nix, just because the Yanks might look for an upgrade in that area more than they might for a LOOGY.

    • Mike Axisa

      I think Rapada will definitely stay and Nix is likely to. They’ve wasted a ton of money on LOOGYs over the years and they finally have a good one at the league minimum. No reason to let him go now.

      • Travis L.

        Assuming (whether its safe to or not) that Soriano opts out, they re-sign Rivera, and keep Chamberlain, Logan, and Robertson in the bullpen, who has the best shot to fill out the rest of it? Eppley again? Try to sign upgrades or try to fill it in with the likes of Chase Whitley, Preston Claiborne or Kelvin Perez?

  • The Moral Majority is Neither

    The Cardinals have 17 out of 25 players on their postseason roster developed from their system, yet 1) they never seem to be a team with Baseball America buzz 2) don’t draft high every year and 3) are winning even post-Pujols.

    I’m hoping the Yankees farm system with depth but little hype can turn out like that.

    What else do they do that we can copy?

    • Mike Axisa

      The Cardinals have kind of done it backwards. Usually you hear that a team wants a homegrown core and supplements with free agents, but their core is all players brought in from the outside and the roster was filled out with homegrown player. Their only notable homegrown core guy is Molina.

  • Matt :: Sec110

    “I fully expect the Yankees to sign Cano to a massive extension at some point in the next 12-14 months.”

    Can to elaborate on what you thing a ‘massive extension’ will be? I really wouldn’t go past 6 years…and it’s not a reaction to his bad 2012 postseason, I’ve thought that for the last year or so.

    • Mike Axisa

      I think it’ll be something in the Matt Kemp/Joe Mauer range, so eight years and $160-184M.

      • Matt :: Sec110

        oh boy, for me that’s just too much, I’d let him walk for that many years. He’ll be age 31 during the first year of that deal.

    • bacciagaloop

      My question is… What could the Yankees get for Cano in a trade… based on what we need, how much could we get?

      • Travis L.

        Is there a team out there that needs a 2nd baseman, whether Cano’s caliber or not, that also matches up with the Yankees?

  • Luisergi

    Damn, can you even imagine Hughes in Coors Field?

  • DERP

    Any interest in Uehara? Those strikeout and walks numbers are just silly. Fly ball numbers kind of scary though.

  • mustang

    Agree on both Young and Scutaro. Scutaro is a bit old, but maybe they can give Nunez a try at 3rd and have Scutaro as a back up perfect stopgap option.

    And yes I’m acting like A-Rod is gone because I just don’t seem him staying regardless of recent denies.

  • Andrew Brotherton

    Cano is the best second baseman in baseball right now, so he still has a lot of value regardless of contract situation. I would say the value of Miguel Cabrera when he was traded. Two top 50 or better prospects, a solid major leaguer, and a few wild cards.

  • kenthadley

    Apparently, according to Kirk Gibson, Arizona would/could be interested in Arod. Interesting comments from Kirk, seeing Arod paralleling his own career. Hope Brian is still on good terms with the Arizona GM.

    • Francesa

      Would Towers be gullible enough to surrender Upton in that deal? Not unless Yankees sent a boatload of prospects along with Alex.

      • kenthadley

        Yanks would get only as much in return as they are willing to pick up…..but the more they pick up, the less it makes sense to trade him, since it counts against their 189M. So the thought that it would require the Yanks to pick up 80% makes almost no sense at all.

  • Andrew Brotherton

    I think I would go for the Cardinals or Pirates or Royals if I were to trade Cano. Taveras, Wong, Wacha or Cole/Taillon, Hanson, and Polanco or Myers, Ventura, Colon, Calixte.

  • The Moral Majority is Neither

    The Kemp and Mauer extensions will end when the players are 35/36. The problem with a Cano deal is those 37/38/39/40 seasons, especially for a middle infielder.

    When most of the ‘mega deals’ don’t work out, why do teams still do them?

    • Mike Axisa

      Lots of reasons. Pressure from ownership, the willingness to take the hit later for the chance to win now, etc. I’m sure a few of those deals have been handed out by a GM trying to save his job, figuring he won’t be around to see the end of the deal anyway.

  • Joe F

    I really like Hughes so I’m not going to like him being traded away. However I’d definitely try and get rid of Grandy, but don’t go giving up prospects for Outfielders.

    We have Williams and Austin in the farm. We have to be patient for another 2-3 years because if we’re not we lose their future talent. Which can be a high ceiling.

    • jjyank

      Williams and Austin are exciting, for sure, but don’t hug them too tightly. I would say “don’t go giving up prospects for non-star outfielders”.

      If it takes one of those guys in a deal for Justin Upton…pull the trigger.

      • Travis L.

        Would you rather have Upton or Gonzalez? What would you give up for them?

        • jjyank

          I’m not sure. Upton is two years young, though CarGo seems to be more consistent year-to-year. Since 2009, his wRC+ was 117 at the lowest (in 2009). He followed that up with 144, 128, 122. Upton seems to have been alternating great years with slightly above average ones. Since 2009, he’s put up 130, 109, 139, 108. Though like I said, Upton is younger (only 24), so that doesn’t mean that he can’t become more consistently great. Both have pretty sizeable home/road splits for their careers, but CarGo’s is a bit more pronounced.

          Upton is more durable I suppose. In the 4 year span I’m working with, CarGo’s highest total of games played (144) would be Upton’s second lowest. I haven’t watched either enough to make judgements on their fielding.

          I think I do prefer Upton. From what I can tell just glancing over his Fangraphs page, he’s younger, more durable, has a lesser home/road split, and has a far superior lefty/righty split. As for what it would take to get them…our trade proposals sucks. I really have no idea. A big league ready pitcher, a couple of our top 5 prospects, and an intriguing reliever prospect? Just a guess, I dunno.

          • Matt :: Sec110

            Granderson and Nova to start. In Nova they get a ML ready pitcher who’s cheap and would benefit going from the AL East to NL West.

            Granderson is the interesting one. They could either plan on extending him or perhaps flip him at the trade deadline.

            The real question is the prospects the Yanks would have to give up?

            • jjyank

              At least one of Williams/Sanchez would have to go, I’d imagine. Maybe another guy a notch below, like of Nunez/Adams/CoJo ilk. Then a reliever maybe? A good one, not just some random dude in AA. Like a Montgomery or a Whitely. Something like that?

              I’m not entirely sure they’d want Granderson. They might, or they might think that a guy that will be gone in a year (and 2013 won’t exactly be a cheap year either) may not be worth it. I guess they could extend him, but I wouldn’t if I were Kevin Towers. Again though, our trade proposals suck.

        • El Maestro

          Cargo’s Home/Away split always has scared me.

      • Joe F

        Upton scares me. He shows he can be really good, but then he shows me he can be a dud. Either way he’s what? 26 years old? So I wouldn’t mind I guess. I’m just a big Williams fan at the moment and he’s only 21. So I figure we can wait him out.

        I’d rather give away Austin and some pitchers for Upton than giving up both Williams and Austin.

        Gardy, Williams, and Upton in the OF? Speed.

        • jjyank

          Upton is 25. I said 24 above, but forgot that he turned 25 in August. I have more analysis above :)

          • Joe F

            Yea that does make him enticing. I would rather hold onto Mason Williams somehow to get Upton. I’m sure that’s possible too.

            I like Upton more than Cargo too.

            Also isn’t Arizona’s park huge? YSIII could help him out.

            • jjyank

              Not sure off the top of my head. If it is, he still hits better at home than on the road.

              I love Williams too, I picked him as my “favorite prospect” label after Montero was traded. But he’s still a prospect, and one not on the brink of the majors either.

              To be honest, I’m a bit more antsy about trading for an outfielder than normal, thanks do Swisher’s potential vacancy and a generally bad selection of free agent options.

              • Joe F

                I dubbed Williams with that title at the same time haha.

                Yea I’d rather platoon Ichiro next year if possible, but I’d really want Upton to come here. That would kind of eliminate Ichiro’s return because I want Gardy in CF. And I want him out there saving runs every day.

                • jjyank

                  I’d be really nervous opening 2013 with Ichiro as our starting RF. I guess you could platoon, but that’s far from ideal. Plus you’d have to find a righty who is both not terrible and can play RF. Look at Andruw Jones this past year, finding a guy like that isn’t a given either.

                  Absolutely agreed about Gradner though. If Granderson is still on the team, they need to take him off CF.

                  Another possibility to think about is Grandy in RF, Gardner in CF, and try to find a LF? Just food for thought.

                  • Kosmo

                    why platoon Ichiro ? A .330 lifetime hitter vs. LHP. He batted close to .400 vs LHP while with NY. Anyway Ichiro is 400 hits shy of 3,000 and would probably want a 2 year deal with a mutual option for a 3rd.

                    • jjyank

                      His lifetime numbers mean absolutely nothing to me at this point. I am not convinced that a couple months in New York overrides the previous season and a half.

                    • jjyank

                      Even including his good months with the Yanks, he still put up an 80 wRC+ against lefties in 2012, and 85 in 2011. Pretty certain he’s going to need a platoon partner. I just don’t buy Ichiro’s resurgence for a whole season. Sure, it made some sense and was a fun narrative for August – October, but no way am I banking on that for 2013.

                    • Kosmo

                      so Gardner´s anemic career mark of .256 vs LHP is OK but Ichiro´s .330 isn´t. seems like Gardner is the one needing a platoon partner.

                    • jjyank

                      Nobody said it was. The choice isn’t between Ichrio and Gardner, it’s between Ichiro and all the RF options out there. In fact, your point strengthened mine. Why do the Yankees want two outfielders that have trouble with LHP and need platoon partners? Gardner is already on the team, so he is irrelevant to this discussion.

                • Travis L.

                  Would you guys take on Chris Young if it wasnt expensive? That could be a platoon with Ichiro scenario.

                  • jjyank

                    Hm. Career .373 wOBA and 124 wRC+ against lefties. I assume he had some injury problems in 2012, but seems pretty durable otherwise.

                    No idea on the cost or his defensive abilities, but assuming he’s relatively cheap and not a total butcher out there, I would be interested.

                    • bobtaco

                      He’s an Oakland A now…

  • OldYanksFan

    Hey Mike… I know Swisher wants Werth money, so I did a little analysis and here’s what I found.

    Swisher has averaged 2.5 WAR durng his 4 years with the Yanks, and less than that over his career.
    Werth had averaged a 3.75 WAR in his 4 years with the Phillies.

    What do ya all think Swisher is worth?
    What do ya all think Swisher WILL GET?

    to me, he’s a 4/$52m guy.

    • Magilla Gorilla Mama Called me Roy tho

      This year, if a team wants an opportunity to get a single sandwich pick (between first and second rounds)as it looses a free agent, it must make a one year “qualified offer” of around $13.3M. That means that Soriano, Kuroda and Swisher will receive those offers. The Yankees are free not to make such an offer and make a non qualified offer to any of them. For example, they could offer Kuroda two years at $12M. If a non qualified offer is declined, then there is no sandwich pick. All of this is to say that Swisher will be able to start the bidding with an offer of $13.3M for one year.

  • Magilla Gorilla Mama Called me Roy tho

    Blue Jays may be interested in moving up their AAA Catcher. Would Arencibia be preferable to Russell Martin?

    • Travis L.

      I dont think we would have a chance to land Arencibia. Not only due to the whole same division thing, but just because I dont see them selling him off just yet.

  • Joe Kotulak

    I want the Yankees to trade Granderson for Yonder Alonso of the Padres. If you put him in the Yankees lineup I guarantee he’ll open eyes. Alonso was projected to have a much better season 2 years ago for the Reds albeit playing only 46 games and I think the Padres are in desperate need of a guy who has proven to hit 30 homeruns in a pitcher’s park that Granderson has proven to do. I think Alonso could be like a 290 hitter with 20-25 homers and 100 RBIS. He also provides versatility as you can play him in the corner outfield and first base. The Yankees can also pay for a lot of Granderson’s salary in the trade. Gardner can move to center, Alonso in left, and Swisher / Ichiro platoon in right.

    And yes the Yankees can overcome missing 40 homeruns from Granderson in the lineup. Texas hit 45 less homeruns than the Yankees as a team, yet still managed to score a few more runs than the Yankees. So it’s not like giving up more homeruns that Granderson can provide can’t be made up. This team needs contact hitters and while Alonso struck out 101 times, that’s not too bad when you consider very few players strike out under 100 times.

    • Matt :: Sec110

      why would the yankees pay ‘a lot of Granderson’s salary’?

      • Joe Kotulak

        So the Padres would be more enticed to do the deal. The Yankees can pay part of it if they don’t want to pay a lot of it and throw Nunez in there as well if they want.

        • Kosmo

          c´mon absolutely no reason the Pads would want to give up Alonso who they really like for Granderson. No reason in the world.

      • DC

        If Alonso is going to be that good, why would they give up his 3 remaining years of control for 1 year of Granderson?

        • Joe Kotulak

          Because he’s more likely to end up like Pablo Sandoval than he is Chase Headley playing in Petco Park. For the rest of his career with the Giants, most years Sandoval will hit only 20 homers with years he hits only 15 because of the spacious ball park. Granderson gives the Padres a sure fired guy to hit 30 homers in that ball park because he proved he could do it at Comerica Park. For the Padres they care more about how they are going to get guys in there to hit the most homeruns and they probably would realize that even if Alonso hits, they would not be ensured of getting the kind of 30 homerun power they have desperately been searching for many years. For them it’s not about hitters, but about power they need to knock the ball out of the park as they have been basically near the bottom of the league in homeruns almost every year.

          • DC

            Granderson is no “sure fire” to hit 30 HRs in that park. No player is a “sure fire” for anything.

  • Travis L.

    Does anyone think that Colorado has given up on Pomeranz and White? The two prospects they got from Cleveland for Ubaldo Jimenez havent quite lived up to their supposed status. Do you think being moved to a different park would help them or are they a perfect example of prospect failure?

  • Pete

    If the Yanks bring back Kuroda, and Pettitte, we have a 5 man rotation. I think it goes CC, Andy, Kuroda, Hughes, and Nova. But maybe Pineda, and possible veteran competing with Nova for the 5th spot.

    • Preston

      We definitely should bring both back. You can never have enough starting pitchers. Pineda probably isn’t going to be ready to start the season so send him to AAA when he’s healthy to get sharp, he’ll be ready to go when inevitable injuries/ineffectiveness create an opening for him. I think Nova’s performance this year does not guarantee him a spot next season. He and Phelps should have an open competition for the 5th starter spot in ST. If Nova regains his FB location, great, Phelps can be the swingman like he was this season. If not, Phelps can get a shot at showing what he can do in a starters role (I wouldn’t be to optimistic about him sticking for a full season)and Nova should be sent to AAA where hopefully he can work out whatever he needs to in order to keep the ball down.

  • Morgan

    I would do that CarGo trade, but I doubt the Rockies would.