Mailbag: Price, Bonifacio, Plouffe, Gumbs

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Got four post-Winter Meetings questions for you today. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything throughout the week.

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Daniel asks: I know you guys always refer to David Price as “Future Yankee David Price.” But I’m not exactly sure why. When is his contract up and what are the chances we could actually pull off a deal?

The Future Yankee David Price thing is mostly a joke built around the idea that he’s an ace-caliber left-handed pitcher on a small market team who they won’t be able to sign long-term. The kind of guy we tend to expect the Yankees to swoop in and sign when he’s a free agent. Plus I like to poke some fun at some Rays fans friends of mine.

Price, who just turned 27 in August, is going to make massive money through arbitration with his credentials. Even before he was named the Cy Young Award winner, MLBTR projected him to earn $9.5M through arbitration this winter, which would be a new record for a second time eligible pitcher. He’s also a Super Two, meaning he still has two more years of arbitration left ahead of him. He could (and should as long as he doesn’t get hurt) be earning upwards of $20M+ by 2015, before he even hits free agency. The Rays figure to trade him at some point, but I highly doubt they would trade him within the division. The Yankees will have to wait three more years until he’s a free agent.

Richard asks: If the Yankees were able to initially smoke-and-mirror their way to something approaching contention with cheap pickups and players from the minors, which teams would be out of the running in mid-season (assuming the Yankees aren’t) and which players better suited to the Yankees’ needs might become available?

This isn’t the easiest question to answer because there is so much offseason left, but I think the most obvious candidates are the Cubs, Twins, Astros, Marlins, and Rockies. The Indians, Pirates, Mariners, and Padres are the next tier since you can kinda see sneaking into contention if things breaks right. The Twins have Josh Willingham and Jamey Carroll to offer while the Cubs have David DeJesus and the pricey Alfonso Soriano, but that’s really it. Maybe Ramon Hernandez of the Rockies stays healthy and becomes available. The Astros have nothing and the Yankees don’t really have the pieces to land a Dexter Fowler type. Maybe they will at midseason.

(Ronald Martinez/Getty)

Zac asks: Would Trevor Plouffe make sense as a 3B option for the Yankees, and would the Twins consider trading him? Also, seeing that Emilio Bonifacio is potentially available, would he be an option?

I’ll say yes and no for Bonifacio. Yes he would be an option given his ability to play all over the infield and dabble in the outfield, but no I don’t think he’s an option because the Blue Jays hate trading within the division. GM Alex Anthopoulos has said so publicly many times.

As for Plouffe, I assume the Twins are open to dealing anyone following the Denard Span and Ben Revere trades. The 26-year-old hit .235/.301/.455 (106 wRC+) with 24 homers in 465 plate appearances for Minnesota this year while spending most of his time at third base. He also dabbled at second base and in right field. Plouffe is a right-handed hitter who does almost all of his damage, especially in the power department, against lefties. He wasn’t a big prospect and he really doesn’t offer much except power, though he is under team control for five more years (and will be a Super Two). Does Ivan Nova in a one-for-one trade work? I feel like that’s too much given the fact that a starting pitcher is far more valuable than a platoon bat.

Frank asks: When Angelo Gumbs came out of prep school he was touted as a CF/SS prospect with decent tools. Since the Yanks really don’t have a SS prospect that’s highly rated, wouldn’t it benefit the Yanks to try him at short again?

Before we start, here’s what Baseball America (subs. req’d) wrote about Gumbs’ defense in their recent top ten Yankees prospects list…

Gumbs has made significant growth defensively and is beginning to take advantage of his plus arm and range. He still has some stiffness and hardness to his hands, but as his footwork improves with repetition, he should be a solid defender at second base.

If Gumbs, 20, truly has “plus arm and range” at second base, I think it’s worth a shot to try him back at shortstop since the whole Cito Culver thing just isn’t happening. That’s very easy to say from here, especially since my knowledge of Gumbs’ defense doesn’t extend far beyond those two sentences above, but the Yankees should look to maximize his value and shortstop is more valuable than second base. The team has some solid second base prospects in David Adams and to a lesser extent Corban Joseph, but that shouldn’t really be a factor in moving him. If Gumbs can play the more premium position, they should try it.

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  • Murderers’ Row Boat

    Price will never be a Yankee. The Rays will either find the money to lock him up or the more likely option is that they will trade him and the team that trades for him will lock up him up long term.

  • 0-fur

    He doesn’t strike he as an extension type of guy. Seems like he wants to test free agency.

  • Bruce

    What’s the deal with Cito Culver? First time I’d heard he wasn’t panning out. Why/how is the Cito Culver “thing” not working out?

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

      Because he can’t hit. At all.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        I’m going to give Culver one more year before I start to worry about him. If he’s one of the older players in the league instead of being one the youngest, I would be really worried.

        • Preston

          Eh, the problem is he doesn’t K that much, and walks a ton. If this was a kid with a good hit tool and just needed to stop chasing, that’s one thing. Culver is picking the right pitches, putting the bat on them and just can’t do anything with it. Plus he got a taste of low A in 2010, repeated the level in 2011 and then still couldn’t hit in 2012. What is going to change in 2013? I haven’t given up on him completely, but he’s going to have to completely transform himself. Either by adding bulk in the upper body to have some power, which might be robbing peter to pay paul because he might not stick at SS if he bulked up, cutting out switch hitting or some other radical change to the way he hits.

    • Rick in Philly

      His hit tool has been non-existent. He can draw walks, but right now, that’s about it. The hope is that he was really young for his draft class and that as he matures he might get stronger, but that’s a big if right now.

    • Facepalm

      If I may provide an opinion that holds no weight on a topic that has bothered me for awhile. Culver is a switch hitter with no power and has a poor feel for his very poor (dropping hands and high leg kick) mechanics, thus he cannot hit. Being a switch hitter with no power these days is rather pointless as switch hitting was meant to cover for a flaw in the hitters swing that creates a hole preventing him to cover the whole plate with his swing. Switch hitting made it easier for hitters to prevent exposure against the abuse a curve inflicts. I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you have a hard time making contact but hit a ton of homers you’ll be in the show with plenty of chances to grow into your swing. Seeing as his swing from both sides has MASSIVE holes in it, might as well can one side and make him create one consistent not so long swing, the question is from which side?

      The numbers and scouting reports match up with a minor problem. from the left side, culver, in the last two years had a 15.3% LD and a 45.5% GB rates, his BABIP a .273 while walking at a 12.6% and striking out at 18.4. All four of his bombs have been lefty.

      As a righty he has a 20.2% LD and 37.4% GB rates his babip here is a .308, but he pulls less walks (10%) and more strikeouts (19.5%). The scouting reports say he has better power from the right side, and despite missing homerun power from that side, he does seem to get more lift as shown in his LD% and subsequently babip. The problem here, is he takes less walks and strikes out more as a righty, while it isn’t much, you have to wonder how much worse that problem will become the higher he goes. Assuming he falls apart as a right handed bat against a right handed pitcher, you’ll regret not sticking him as a lefty as he’ll be seeing right handers way more. obviously, batting from the other side gives you a little more time. So should he take advantage of his plate discipline and get a little more time, or his power side and maybe hit a few more out?

      Either way, he needs to get in touch with his inner Austin Jackson and get rid of all the moment this off season, he may not have A-Jax’s power but he has more natural plate discipline so we won’t have to go through that experience. He’s a contact hitter and it’s time for him to swing like one.

      Again, this is just a stupid post, meant to stir up a conversation about a former first rounder, don’t take it seriously.

      • Preston

        I agree, he’s at the point where he needs to just blow it up, because what he’s doing isn’t working. Getting rid of switch hitting allows him to double his reps on that swing, allow him to feel more comfortable and maybe hit better. If the trade of is he can’t hit pitchers of one hand, at least he can project as a platoon or backup. Because right now he projects as nothing. Whenever prospect guys at fangraphs talk about Culver they bring up that as a HS pitcher he through low to mid 90’s so maybe he should move to the pen.

  • antd12185

    Would the nats take a deal like this….cano for espinosa, j.zimmerman, anthony rendon and lombardozzi or moore?

    • 0-fur

      Deja Vu all over again. I swear I’ve seen this offer already.

    • Knoxvillain

      No way.

    • vin

      Only if they throw in either Harper or Strasburg.

      • Gonzo

        Or?

        • 0-fur

          And they have to take A-Rod :)

          • Gonzo

            Isn’t Tex from that area too? :)

    • Kosmo

      rendon,Goodwin,Ramos,Lombo and J Zimmerman.

    • Phil

      Add Moore to that deal and it is a great move for the Yankees..Zimmerman is a sold number 3 Lombardozzi is a inf/out sh utility player; espinosa a pretty good second baseman and Rendon is a future star 3rd and Moore can play LF and b/u first base….for one player (cano) who will be looking for a huge contract 8-10 year contract…

  • Reggie C.

    So long as Price keeps healthy, I believe the Cy Young level campaigns will follow suit. The Rays will ride Price for another full season and then trade Price. Why? B/c if there’s one young pitcher in baseball primed for a contract BIGGER than Sabathia’s, its Price. The Rays will fall an easy $5 million short annually in a bidding war against the Yanks, Red Sox, or Orioles.

  • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM)

    Literally anybody but Plouffe. Youkilis over Plouffe.

    • jjyank

      But then you can change your name back!!

      • Preston

        I hadn’t thought of Plouffe and was mildly intrigued, but his defense has been pretty bad at every position they’ve played him at. So pass.

  • Robert

    Saw Gumbs play in Staten Island,definetly a stand out above the rest.Saw CC Culver there also,good glove,no hit yet.
    IF Gumbs produces and stays healthy than we can see himm in Trenton come July…..

  • Gonzo

    Couldn’t the Cubs trade Nate Schierholtz mid-season to the Yankees? If they could get a good prospect, that’s a Theo/Hoyer type move, no?

  • vin

    I find it exciting when the Yankees go against the grain with their first round picks (Culver, DB3). But it makes it that much more painful when those guys struggle.

    • Preston

      DB3 is fine, he got rushed. If he put up the same BA and OBP with a 150 ISO we’d all be stoked about it, and power is the one tool that every scout agrees he has. If he doesn’t improve next season I’ll worry. But I think he will hit and earn a mid-season promotion putting himself right back on track.

      • CS Yankee

        How in the hell did Dbich get rushed?

        He played SS, mashed well there for the whole season. His second year he went to low-A and totally sucked. He’ll have to start low-A again and hopefully he won’t have to repeat as his value would drop like a lead weight.

        • Preston

          Charleston is considered A ball, low A would be Staten Island. DBJ had 54 games at rookie ball, his normal trajectory would have been to go to extended spring training and then SI. They skipped that and put him right into full season ball. Which is fine, but it was aggressive and he obviously failed. But if he hits at Charleston next year and gets promoted then he’s still on his normal track.

  • The Moral Majority is Neither

    Culver could be a modern day Rey Ordonez.

    Hoping they add Hamilton with a 3-4 year deal, let Cano and Granderson walk for picks after 2013 and see where the prospects are.

    • Gonzo

      I’ve never heard anyone compare his glove to Iglesias let alone Ordonez.

      • Preston

        All I’ve ever heard is that he’s good enough to stick at SS, I’ve also heard people say he’s thick in the lower half, so that doesn’t sound good going forward. I still hold out some hope for Culver, that if he gives up switch hitting he might be able to put the bat on the ball better or start to hit with power. The bar for shortstop offense is so low, and he already walks a ton, it wouldn’t take a ton of improvement to make him a viable prospect again. Not that I think the Yankees are ever going to count on such a flawed position player as a long term option.

  • Kingslayer

    The Yanks have essentially thrown in the towel for 2013 & 2014! It would seem to me that they will lose more money in live gate, TV rights, etc. then if they just paid the damn luxery tax. Can someone explain the math to me?

    • vin

      The luxury tax is enormous. They’re already getting paid for the tv rights. And the attendance is unlikely to change much (even if does, it’ll be a relative drop in the bucket).

      • Ghost of Joe Dugan

        Not to mention the luxury $’s they have to pay go directly to their competition to compete against them.

    • pinchhitter

      When was it they threw in the towel? When they didn’t tell you their plans for the offseason?

  • Damix

    Damn you Christian Garcia for not staying healthy for us. Yes I know, random.

    • Gonzo

      I heard the Nats are thinking of having him start. I don’t know if his soft tissue is going to like that.

  • eddiedi

    Charleston is low A. Tampa is high A. Both are full season. Staten island is short season nypenn league.

  • Dave M

    “If Gumbs, 20, truly has “plus arm and range” at second base, I think it’s worth a shot to try him back at shortstop since the whole Cito Culver thing just isn’t happening. ”

    Mike, I’ve seen him play 2b a few times. If you think Edwardo Sissorhands is bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Seriously, he makes Nunez look like Ozzie Smith. Now, I saw him in 2010 with Staten Island. Maybe he has improved this year. I just thought of him as a future outfielder when I saw him.