Outfield Notes: Melky, Ichiro, Andruw, Upton

Update: Dodgers win bidding for Hyun-Jin Ryu
Preliminary 2013 Yankees ZiPS Projections
(Christian Petersen/Getty)

The Yankees need a right fielder and maybe a fourth outfielder depending on how they feel about Chris Dickerson and Melky Mesa, so let’s round up the latest on the outfield search…

  • At least five teams have already shown interest in Melky Cabrera, but the Yankees (and Mets) aren’t one of them. Given the team’s emphasis on makeup and character, I’m guessing they’ll steer clear of the Melkman following his PED fiasco. [Joel Sherman]
  • Brian Cashman said there is nothing new going on with Ichiro Suzuki, though he did acknowledge talking to his agent. The Yankees are reportedly open to re-signing Ichiro and he “strongly wants to stay” with the team. [Chad Jennings]
  • Unsurprisingly, Cashman hasn’t spoken to Scott Boras about bringing Andruw Jones back. The 35-year-old wants to keep playing, but the Yankees figure to go in a different direction after his miserable second half. [Dan Barbarisi]
  • Still nothing on Justin Upton; the Yankees are apparently not involved in any trade talks for the Diamondbacks outfielder. [Jon Heyman]
Update: Dodgers win bidding for Hyun-Jin Ryu
Preliminary 2013 Yankees ZiPS Projections
  • Hoss

    Unsurprisingly, Mike? I thought Cashman would be all over bringing Andruw back. He’s old, slow and cheap. And he performed better than most of the Yankee hitters in the postseason.

    • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

      …and he hits home runs which is all Cashman seems to care about.

      • Steve (different one)

        Yeah, stupid home runs!

  • Travis L.

    I’m telling ya…Cashman is going to swing a trade with Kansas City for Jeff Franceour (since KC wants to bring Meyers up) and probably Dejesus from Chicago, to platoon in RF.

    Also saw somewhere that they wanted an upgrade for Nix…someone who can play SS and 3B for 100 games. Andrew Romine!! LOL. Can play both positions and the Angels are wanting bullpen help. Send Joba.

    • Laz

      Wouldn’t mind francoer. He probably would come pretty cheap. Sure he isn’t the greatest, but I don’t want them to ship 3-4 of the top prospects for Upton.

  • Joe Savoia

    Kuroda should be the top target this off season. Swisher’s time has past and Soriano does not want to stay in a set up role. If Pettitte comes back and is healthy, the rotation would be good enough to get to the playoffs where much of the hitting goes south. That’s why some new outfield and bench help is needed. Martin should also be back.

    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

      Agree they need to bring back Pettitte and Kuroda and make a strong run at Soria. I think the offense is gonna get progressively worse over the next few years and the pitching staff is gonna need to carry this team like they do for the Giants.

  • dalelama

    The combination of all our fat contracts to broken down low production aging choke artists, barren farm system, mediocre free agent market, and sudden urge for false economies have created the perfect storm that will preclude any serious run for a WS title. It feels like the early 80’s all over again.

    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

      I think you’re exaggerating a bit but I do see the Yankees as trending downward for at least the next 2-3 years.

      Wallace Matthews wrote a scary column


      • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

        Someone’s been writing that same article every offseason since 2001.

      • Ghost of Joe Dugan

        All I had to do was read the headline to know it was another piece of Mathews garbage. That Yankee collapse was caused by management that was sucking the Yankee cash machine dry. The poor, poor Yankee fans of today will have to settle for a team that, for one year, won’t have the highest payroll by tens of millions…just by a few millions.

      • Get Phelps Up

        *clicks on article*

        *reads headline*

        *reads byline*

        *sees article is by Wallace Matthews*

        *closes tab*

    • Ted Nelson


    • Steve (different one)

      I think there is a decent chance that the addition of the Astros in the AL West, in combination with the 2014 budget, could cost the yanks a playoff spot next year. It think it’s a real possibility.

      That said, calling the farm system barren is just flat out trolling.

      • Ted Nelson

        It’s a possibility they don’t make the playoffs every year…

      • dalelama

        Tell me Sherlock who do they have on the farm with 5 tools? The system is barren with no impact prospects on the horizon.

        • Steve (different one)

          What are you talking about? Sanchez, Heathcott, and Williams are impact prospects. Austin is next. Just because you keep sayin something doesn’t make it so. Sherlock.

          • JAG

            This. Not having a Mike Trout in the farm system does not equal the farm system being barren. The prospects named have a good chance to be above average MLB producers, even if Sanchez’s defense doesn’t develop and Williams’ power doesn’t develop and Heathcott remains injury-prone. If those warts get fixed through training and development? Then the sky’s the limit.

            • G

              And even so Williams is basically an inferior Trout if he reaches his ceiling. If BA’s grades turned out accurately, he’d be a .300-.315 hitter with 25-30 homer power, Gold Glove defense, an average arm, and 30-40 SB per year. Expecting him to reach that ceiling is absurd, but he’s a 5 tool guy with all the potential in the world. Then Austin is about as sure of a bet as prospects get (polished, not getting ranked highly for absurd potential, just solid all around play), Heathcott is another 5 tool guy, and Sanchez’s scouting reports are littered with the word “MVP candidate.”

              I don’t see how the farm is barren. A bit young? Sure, but they have a couple guys with an outside chance to play in 2014 and a lot more who could arrive in 2015.

  • Ted Nelson

    I doubt Jones will get a guaranteed contract from anyone after the second half of 2012, so I think you wait until later in the off-season to see if there is a fit on a minor league deal. Perhaps if the Yankees still have at least a semi-open bench OF spot there will be a fit.

  • TJ

    I lived thru the 80’s being a Yankee fan and this is not what it feels like at all. We have been to the playoffs 16 out of 17 yrs. Too many spoiled Yankee fans. I also seriously doubt we will have a pathetic offense like the Giants and constantly have to rely on our pitching. I am just as anxious as everyone else about the offseason, but give the doom and gloom a rest.

    • Ted Nelson

      Thank you. The whining is too much. They were only one of the top 4 teams in MLB and not the top team last season, so somehow the majority of posters on here have decided everything is wrong. The farm system whining is just as bad. They have 4 or 5 top 100 prospects (the “or 5” being injured Banuelos… and a lot of fans were even calling Campos a top 100 prospect before he got hurt) and solid depth throughout the system… but somehow people are freaking out.

      • jjyank

        Agreed. I did not live though the 80’s (unless you count me being 2 years old), but just looking around at other franchises right now, it’s pretty clear that things could be significantly worse.

        As for the farm system, we’ve known for awhile now that most of the potential impact talent was further down the system. Very few (if any) baseball teams have a farm system that has MLB impact players from to bottom. The next wave of talent just happens to be lower in the system at this time, but it is far from “barren”. And hell, that will likely change pretty soon. A few of those guys are a couple of hot months away from being in AA.

        It always amuses me greatly how doom and gloomy some people get after the Yankees had the best record in the AL.

        • jjyank

          “from *top to* bottom”.

        • Ted Nelson

          I know it’s the general consensus, but I think people are wrong to keep saying that their talent is far down in the system. I think it’s outdated. Like everyone completely missed 2012 or something. People keep talking about Low-A… who is in Low-A? Bichette, Bird, Cote, maybe Aune?

          Two of their top 4 are in AA. The other two in High A, which is about half way through the system. Along with Marshall, they have three top 100 caliber talents in AAA who have battled some injuries but have the talent if they’re healthy: Banuelos, Romine, and Adams. Murphy and CoJo are potential starters at premium positions in AA and AAA. Montgomery, Goody, and a host of other potential BP arms aren’t far away. I’m not huge on either, but Almonte and Mesa are at least prospects to be MLB players and are in AAA.

    • Jimmy

      What team won the most games in MLB in the 80’s. (Answer: New York Yankees) It must have been really painful to live through it … Too many times on this site the 80’s are referenced as a low point for the Yankees, when in reality it was the early 90’s (with the addition of 1989 that was the down period). Yes, if judged only by WS titles, the 80’s were a miss, but for those of us fans that really lived through the 80’s, it wasn’t that bad. The team was always competitive and that was with a much more even budget compared to the rest of the league and only four divisions and no wild cards. From 1980-1989 (10 years), the AL had eight different representatives in the WS (with the Royals and A’s making it twice, that’s right … the Royals and A’s). It was a much different landscape and the Yanks were not dominant, but they were in no way the team that is too often referenced on this site. I loved being a fan in the 1980s with Guidry, Rags, Big Dave, Rickey, Donnie Baseball, Pags, Willie, and Reggie, Griffey Sr., Pinella. Watching those games on WPIX with the Scooter are some of my best memories, don’t ruin my memories with your seemingly “misremembered” accounts. Thanks.

    • dalelama

      I said the early 80’s which was the beginning of the decline.

  • Dicka24

    Franceour is a name I think we’ll hear mentioned. IIRC, he’s one of those guys who hits well every other year. I think he’s owed about $6 for what is the last year of a 2 year deal, so he fits in with the 2014 free up payroll plan. The one thing with Francouer is that he is an extremely impatient, swing early in the count type hitter. That doesn’t exactly jive with the Yankees philosophy. Still, the Royals would like to dump him and his $6 million salary. I wonder if they’d even eat some if they got a warm body in return.

    Don’t kill me, but how about a minor league, nonguaranteed flyer on Jason Bay? He’d give the Yankees a RH corner OF bat with some pop, should he regain form. Maybe he’d want to stick it to the Mets and prove his worth by signing with the cross town Yankees. Low risk potential high reward type signing. Just a thought. He could play RF in Yankee Stadium too. He might make some sense if they resign Ichiro. Basically he’d replace Andrew Jones.

    • I hate people who hate Nick Swisher

      I would rather have Bay than Frenchy, at least one will be dirt cheap and not require a player to be traded.

    • jjyank

      I will pretty much never have a problem with a minor league, non-guaranteed contract. If Bay will take that shot, then sure. There’s nothing to lose. It’s possible that he could be a serviceable platoon bat. He was all around bad in 2012, but he did post a 157 wRC+ in 2011 against lefties.

  • uyf1950

    Just say NO to Andruw Jones.

    • RetroRob

      I can’t see the Yankees have interest in a hacker like Francouer. I’d have no problem with a non roster invite to Bay, even though I have little belief he can bounce back.

  • Steve (different one)

    Frenchy owns a career .289/.341/.479 line against LHP. As the short half of a platoon, it wouldn’t be the worst thing ever.

    Where teams go wrong with Frenchy is when he goes on a little bit of a tear and they are tricked into thinking he is an everyday player.

    In the right role, he could be ok. A Frenchy/Dickerson or Ichiro platoon might get you an averagish RFer.

  • Hoss

    In terms of outfield, I’d target Josh Willingham (R, but weak D) and/or David DeJesus (L) instead of Bay or Francouer. With Gardner in center, a corner OF’s defense can be a little suspect, and Swisher’s was more than a little suspect anyway.
    For the bullpen, Luke Gregerson, who the Padres were ready to part with for Daniel Murphy of the Mets would be a terrific addition – better than Soria.
    Starters Carolos Villanueva or Shawn Marcum would also be worth looks.

    • Ted Nelson

      Murphy is a starting caliber MLB player… that’s not too much of a bargain for a RP. I’d take Soria on a fair deal without thinking twice.

      Likewise Willingham is going to cost the Yankees. He’s on a very reasonable deal.

      People don’t love Bay or Francouer. They just think they might be low-risk bargains.

      Swisher is a solid defender in RF.

  • Hornets686

    Yankees Off-Season Plan:

    3 Team Trade:
    Yankees get: OF Justin Upton, C John Buck and SP Josh Johnson
    Marlins get: 3B Alex Rodriguez, SP Ivan Nova, SP Brett Marshall, and SS Eduardo Nunez
    Diamondbacks get: SS Jose Reyes and SP Adam Warren

    Trade 2:
    Yankees get: 3B Chase Headley
    Padres get: OF Curtis Granderson

    Trade 3:
    Yankees get: DH Billy Butler
    Royals get: OF Slade Heathcott, 2B Angelo Gumbs, and SP Manny Banuelos

    Re-Sign : SP Andy Pettitte, UTIL Raul Ibanez and OF Ichiro Suzuki

    Sign: UTIL Placido Polanco, OF Grady Sizemore, and RP Joakim Soria

    Bring Up Catcher Austin Romine

    • Hoss

      The Padres would only make that trade if we were their parent club, ie the Boston Red Sox. But seriously, no way in hell the Padres make that deal, especially since Granderson’s $15 million is about 1/4 of their payroll and Headley is their best player.

    • jjyank

      Trade 1: So the Yankees get Upton, Buck, and Johnson without giving up a single top 10 prospect? Not happening.

      Trade 2: The Padres hang up the phone.

      Trade 3: I don’t think the Yankees need to be going after a DH.

      • forensic

        As of yesterday, Marshall was BA’s number 6 prospect.

        • jjyank

          You know what I mean.

    • forensic

      Those are some, um, interesting trades…

    • Steve (different one)

      Credit for creativity, but trade 1 is insane, trade 2 is unrealistic, and I don’t think I would even do trade 3.

    • Ted Nelson

      Don’t see any of those deals as realistic. First two are insane steals for the Yankees. Last one is a huge overpay for the Yankees.

  • Andrew Brotherton

    I think the gloom and doom posters are going a bit overboard. Right now our farm system has 3 of the top 50 prospects in the game, all in double A. Williams, Sanchez, and Austin-who has been called the best corner outfielder in the minor leagues. Two pitchers in double A that could be up in the next two years that project as mid to back rotation starters in Turley and Marshall. Far too many to mention bullpen options to make it almost irrelevant to go after very many at all free agent relievers. Plus some very interesting wild cards in Campos, Pineda, Depaula, Gallegos, and Flores.

    • Hoss

      I don’t agree with the doom, but the gloom is warranted for several reasons:
      1. This stated intention to be at $189 million in salary by 2014 in spite of being locked into some bad contracts (ie A-Rod, Tex) that limit flexibility;
      2. Aging roster with few key players under team control before arbitration eligible/free agent salary years;
      3. Poor track record of using top prospects in system at height of their marketability to obtain talented rising stars in return (eg A. Jackson, Kennedy, Clippard, Montero, Tabata, Melancon, Killer Bs, etc.).

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

        Number three makes no sense. Did you see who they traded Jackson, Kennedy, and Montero for?

        • Hoss

          Yes. They have gotten 3 years of Granderson, one of which was great (2011), one of which was, all things considered, average or below (2012) and one of which was awful (2010) at a fairly high salary, and a pitcher who may never throw again. We also gave up Phil Coke in the Granderson deal.
          The combined salaries of Jackson, Coke and Kennedy in 2012 was $1.2 million and they have years of team control left.
          Montero had a poor year, agreed.

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

            Who cares about Coke? He’s awful and the Yankees have two LOOGYs better than him.

            Granderson’s been a minimum 2.7 WAR in his three years with NYY, including two over 4 WAR. His low OPS+ is 107. Calling anything he’s done “average or below” is flat out wrong.

            Pineda was 22 coming off an All-Star year when they got him. That sure seems to satisfy the “talented rising stars in return” thing you’ve mentioned.

            • Hoss

              It was an example of trading our rising stars for the future and making miscalculations. In the case of Granderson, his defense was terrible before he arrived – that was obvious by the way he played CF at YS and the circuitous routes he took to the ball and bad jumps he got. His swing needed big-time adjustment, too. No doubt, he is a good guy and quality ballplayer, but has gone downhill in terms of defense, strikeouts, average – all to hit HRs. I doubt you could get much for him at his $15 million salary. And I disagree with the 2.7 WAR figure if that is for 2010… he struggled until mid-August.
              Jackson had (nearly) a ROY year in 2010, slumped in 2011 and is now an important piece of the Tiger offense as well as a top-notch defender. Kennedy is a top of the rotation pitcher. Don’t say it’s because of the NL West, becaue that’s where Kuroda pitched, too. Coke did pretty well this postseason and has had his moments as well, but he’s not the reason for the trade.
              The error with Pineda was misjudging his maturity/work ethic. Showing up at camp fat then throwing out his arm trying to get back up to speed indicates a problem that the Yankee “braintrust” should have identified. There are pitchers with great arms and poor heads (eg Oliver Perez, Kyle Farnsworth) and it’s the front office’s job to identify and stay away from them.

              • Need Pitching & Hitting

                Kennedy had one top of the rotation season. He’s been slightly above league average in his other seasons in Arizona.

                And CC continues to show up to camp fat. The Yankees should have stayed far away from him.

            • Jimmy


              From reading your posts for the last few years, I know that you are an intelligent, rational thinking fan, and that is why I am asking you to please give up on the defense of the Granderson trade. Using Granderson’s WAR doesn’t help when his WAR/$million dollars = (12.1/23.75) = .5, whereas Austin Jackson gave the Tigers 8.7 WAR/$million (14.8/1.7). Obviously this is not just a result of AJax’s salary as he outpaced Curtis in WAR 14.8 to 12.1, and did so with Granderson playing in the one park that is most helpful to his cause … not to mention AJax is still under team control longer and Curtis only has one more year. Also, bringing up Coke when trying to rebut is just embarrassing. Please, don’t embarrass yourself, you are too good for that. And finally when will everybody remember that IPK was drafted ahead on Joba, outperformed Joba in their brief minor league stints (always facing the same competition), and showed the highest pitching IQ when at the big league level of the three (Joba, Phil, and IPK). His struggles were followed by a diagnosis for an aneurism and since the surgery he has shown that he was the top pitcher of the three, no question about it. The truth is, and everyone should realize this, Brian Cashman is a competent GM, but that is it. He has a poor track record and you can see the shift away from all-around baseball players to “big hairy monsters” since he became GM, not following any traditions that he likes to suggest. Please Mike, I am asking nicely, please just say it, say “the Granderson trade was a bad trade.” You always have the Swisher trade to make Cashman look good. Which is ironic because Granderson has without a doubt been the better player for the Yankees.

              • Need Pitching & Hitting

                “He has a poor track record”

                Has any team in baseball been better during his tenure?

                Obviously he has a huge payroll advantage, but I don’t see any basis where he’d be considered “poor” overall. You should have stopped at competent. He’s at least that.

                As for the shift to “big hairy monsters” away from all around baseball players, his big acquisitions have almost always been guys considered all-around baseball players – Tex, ARod, Granderson… Cano is an all around guy. Gardner, Jeter, and Ichiro are hardly “big hairy monsters”.

              • Ted Nelson

                LOL… Cashman has a poor track record of making the playoffs every season but one… Look around the league at other GMs rather than judging him against hindsight perfection.

              • Steve (different one)

                This is very revisionist. I don’t know what has happened to Teixeira, but when he was signed, he WAS a very complete, all around hitter. He hit for average, hit to all fields, hit tons of doubles, hit with power from both sides of the plate, and fielded his position. He was the definition of the guy you’d argue the Yankees need right now. I have no idea why he has changed so much over the last few years, but I don’t know I that’s Cashman’s fault. Look up his pre-NY numbers.

          • Hoss

            Sorry… $2.1 million combined salary for Jackson, Coke and Kennedy. I’m a bit dyslexic.

    • G

      To make it even better, you’re forgetting that BA ranked Heathcott number 2 in our system, ahead of both Sanchez and Austin. Make that 4 top 50 prospects. Not to mention Campos is up there if he comes back and dominates like he did before going down. We’re talking 4 or 5 very high end prospects. Hardly deserving of this hilarious doom and gloom.

  • Dicka24

    I don’t think any of those trades are likely. #1 is a pipe dream. #2 might be the most possible, but I’m not sure either team would do it. Grandy is likely too pricey for SD, and they might prefer having Headley for less dollars and for a longer term. #3 I wouldn’t do. As much as I like Butler, that’s too high a price to pay for a DH.

  • Tomaconda

    I would love to see the Yankees get younger with Upton in right Gordon in left and Gardner in center. Trade Granderson, Nova, phelps, Sanchez, Willams and Austin. I wouldn’t even mind trading Cano if it could bring back a third baseman (Chase) and put Adams or mustelier at 2nd.

  • Reggie C.

    Cashman could make some serious headway in Justin Upton talks if the package looks like Nunez, Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, and Michael Pineda. Yep. Trade Pineda (if its even possible). Pineda is a Lottery ticket Arizona could reap huge returns from not too down the line.

  • FIPster Doofus

    This makeup and character garbage is annoying. Cabrera took some PEDs; big deal. He’s not an ax murderer. They’re dumpster diving for an outfielder because of their infuriating austerity budget, so Melky absolutely should be an option (assuming he’ll come at a fair price). It’s dumb that he isn’t.

    • jjyank

      I agree that Melky should at least be on consideration, but we have no idea if the Yankees are in or not in on him in reality. And if they’re not, we have no idea if his “character” is the reason why. That’s just Mike throwing something out there. Could have merit, or the Yankees could be staying away from Melky for other reasons.

    • forensic

      It’s actually nice not having a bunch of assholes on the team. Easier to give the benefit of the doubt to guys too.

    • steve (different one)

      If it were just the PED suspension, I’d more or less agree. That said, the “cover up” he attempted does NOT speak well of his character.

      I’d still be looking into him, but this runs deeper than just the PEDs.

    • Robinson Tilapia (IS Nate Silver)

      Well none of this is gospel.

      We all judge makeup and character different, and this is where it all gets a bit difficult. I’d have no problem with a guy busted for PEDs, but I’d probably extremely upset to see a Brett Myers on my team. I’m sure there’s people who feel the exact opposite as me.

      • FIPster Doofus

        I agree. Fuck Brett Myers.

    • Ted Nelson

      LOL… get a grip. Mike said he’s not an option, not the Yankees.

      • FIPster Doofus

        Well, Cashman didn’t exactly speak glowingly of Melky back when he was busted for PEDs.

        • Ted Nelson

          What did you expect him to say? “PEDs are great and Melky is the man for taking them?”

          Whether Melky is even a good target from a talent perspective is up in the air. Obviously it depends on the money, but it’s a lot to expect that he suddenly became an MVP player on a sustained basis after one half season where he happened to be doping. There’s a good chance he’s at best a mediocre hitter for a cOF on a long-term basis. I don’t know what his market value will be, but even at a somewhat reduced rate he might not be a steal.

  • Stump Merrill

    Is Mel Hall still available?

  • Mel Hall

    Do you think Chad Curtis or Randy Velarde are viable options?

    • Chad Curtis

      Matt Nokes was looking good at Old Timers Day.

  • yankeeEmpire

    Yankees should trade Cano for felix Hernandez or verlander. Should move Jeter to 2nd and sign wright from mets. I dislike boras clients. Cano for 10 years at top price. Not worth it. Excessively long deals suck.

    • Tony_Turdner

      So Seattle is going to give up King Felix or Detroit is going to give up Verlander for ONE YEAR of Cano? Your delusional.

      • Herby

        I told him to eat only one of those cookies…
        Wish they still had Justin Maxwell, but we all know how expendable younger unproven talent is over older mediocre talent is…put Chris Dickerson or either Melky in Swisher’s spot. Give them some time, there is always talent to be had at the trade deadline. Are either of those options going to be so terrible as to give up some good talent over down the line.

  • Conor


    Why isn’t Ronnie Mustelier mentioned as a possible fourth or fifth outfielder?

    Seems he could be a cheap in house solution, who could be reasonably productive for a bench player and given his age, he’s not a prospect to fear ruining by having him on sit 6 out of 7 days.