The Remaining Roster Holes


(Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

The Yankees addressed their third base and right field vacancies earlier this week, agreeing to sign both Kevin Youkilis and Ichiro Suzuki to short-term contracts. A few weeks back they shored up the rotation with new one-year contracts for Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera returned on a one-year pact of his own to reclaim the ninth inning. That’s five pretty substantial additions addressing five major roster holes, but there is still plenty of work to be done.

Starting Catcher
With each passing day, I am less and less confident the Yankees will add a legitimate starting catcher this offseason. The options are limited enough already, but the club’s continued insistence that the internal solutions (Chris Stewart, Austin Romine, and Frankie Cervelli) will get an opportunity is difficult to avoid. Yeah, this could be another “Bubba Crosby will be our center fielder” moment, but you’d think there would be a little more urgency given the importance of the position. The Yankees need a starting-caliber catcher and this will remain priority number one until they get one, whether it be this offseason or at the trade deadline or next winter.

Right-Handed Hitting Outfielder
With Ichiro on his way back to join Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson, the Bombers are going to have three left-handed hitting outfielders. Ichiro is most in need of a platoon partner, though the case can be made that Gardner and (to a lesser extent) Granderson should be platooned as well. There are far too many good lefties in the AL East (and AL in general) for any team to not carry a big right-handed bat, and I’m sorry, Youkilis and Derek Jeter alone are not going to cut it when the season opens. Scott Hairston is the popular free agent name but he’s hardly perfect given his lack of plate discipline (.308 OBP vs. LHP since 2010) and affinity for the DL. The recently designated Scott Van Slyke could be a cheap option as well. A right-handed outfield bat is an absolute necessity given the team’s current roster construction.

Starting DH
Even if his rehab from the fracture ankle goes perfectly, I suspect we’ll see Jeter get plenty of starts at DH early next year. Ichiro and Youkilis figure to get regular turns at DH as well given their age and brittleness, respectively, so the Yankees are unlikely to target a true full-time DH. As I wrote earlier this week, someone who can actually play a position and rotation in and out of the DH spot fits the roster best. It could be Raul Ibanez again, though I’d prefer someone who can provide more offensively given the expected production hit at right field and behind the plate.

Utility Infielder
With Jeter (and eventually A-Rod) coming off injuries and Youkilis a perpetual threat to land on the DL, having a competent backup infielder will be important for the Yankees next season. The team vows that Eduardo Nunez will be limited to shortstop duties going forward, so they’d have to change plans to use him at different positions. Given his defensive issues, he’s not an ideal candidate anyway. Jayson Nix is an okay reserve player and he remained with the organization after being removed from the 40-man roster, but he’s not someone the team should feel comfortable playing at short for a week should the Cap’n get banged up. The Yankees have some decent internal options and the free agent market is barren, but upgrading the utility infielder position should be on the agenda.

Spence. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

Depth, Depth, Depth
The Yankees have been aggressive with the scrap heap pick-ups this offseason, claiming four relievers (lefty Josh Spence and righties Jim Miller, Mickey Storey, David Herndon) off waivers. Storey has since been lost on waivers, but Spence and Miller remain with the team while Herndon was released and re-signed to a minor league contract. He’s rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and will be ready at midseason.

Ivan Nova and David Phelps will serve as the fifth and sixth starter in whatever order, then Adam Warren is the obvious candidate for the seventh starter’s spot. Chase Whitley and maybe Dellin Betances will open the year in the Triple-A bullpen while Mark Montgomery will be one notch down in Double-A. Nix and David Adams provide infield depth while I guess Melky Mesa is first in line for outfield reinforcements.

Baseball these days isn’t just about the 25 guys on the active roster, teams need viable depth players stashed in Triple-A to make it through the season. These players are especially important for the Yankees, who sport a ton of older players and have a number of players who will be coming off offseason surgery when Spring Training opens. Waiver claims, minor league signings, all of those moves are important no matter how inconsequential they may seem.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. MB923 says:

    What about Manager?

    Or a new 3B Coach! I’m sick of Rob Thomson. Yankees probably get more runners thrown out at home than anybody.

  2. WFAN CALLER says:

    Still can’t believe we lost Storey…


  3. Travis L. says:

    Minor League Signings: Stuart Pomeranz, Kyle McClellan, Jair Jurrjens and Aaron Laffey.

    Can Kelly Johnson play anywhere other than 2B? I know he’s a lefty, but in the case of SS and 3B, we could give them rest against RH pitching and use Johnson. Stephen Drew would be great, but he’ll start somewhere else.

    • MannyGeee says:

      I could co-sign on a Jair Jurrjens MiLB signing.

    • Jersey Joe says:

      I mentioned him as a supersub much earlier this offseason. He can play LF, kind of 3B, maybe RF, so if we can sign him for under $2 million I’d be fine with it.

    • commerce says:

      Johnson has been a 2b for almost all of his big league career (a little LF too). He can hit a bit and has above avg power for a middle-infielder. At $6MM+, he may be a bit pricey too. His defense appears just average looking at numbers–I recall a couple of nightmarish games against the Yankees this past season, but that is a sample too small to draw any conclusions. Doesn’t look like an answer for the Yankees.

  4. Long-Past-His-Day-Rod says:

    All good points, but Teixeira also counts as a big right handed bat against leftys, it’s not just Jeter and Youkilis.

  5. CountryClub says:

    It appears the Phillies are still very much alive with Ichiro.

  6. LarryM., Fl. says:

    Are the Yankees looking at a trade for a RH, OF bat. If so who could be targeted for the trade? Granderson has to have some value for one or more of our needs.

    • LK says:

      Sure, but trading Granderson also creates an additional hole that wasn’t present before. The only way trading Granderson makes sense in terms of filling out the roster is if you get a C/IF/OF in addition to a Granderson replacement.

    • commerce says:

      With Hamilton now in Anaheim, we trade Grandy and Phelps for Trumbo–or do you think the Tigers would take Grandy back–straight up–for Ajax?

  7. entonces says:

    Yanks worry too much about big contracts. Why not learn from RedSox (can’t believe I wrote that) who sign players to big headline deals, then find minor injuries in the physical and rewrite the deals to protect themselves. Slippery larry (“the Lizard”) Lucchino has the technique mastered — now they’re backing off Napoli- or at least trying to insert language in contract to protect them if he suffers injury. Guess something can be learned from just about anyone.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      This is what big money teams do, and there’s a place for big-money contracts. I think there’s a legit argument that there’s one too many of them on the Yankees right now, but I don’t think you just scrap the concept altogether.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Is this a joke? What protection did the Red Sox get from Dice-K, Lackey, Crawford, and Beckett when they all got injured and were basically unusable?

      The Red Sox are the worst example ever of a team that was protected against injuries. There team was decimated by injuries. I’m hoping it was a poorly delivered ironic joke.

      • entonces says:

        Read and learn, Ted. They wrote protection into both J.D. Drew and Lackey contracts. Now Napoli.

        • pinchhitter says:

          How much good did that “protection” do them?

        • Ted Nelson says:

          LOL. Literally all it says is: “The Red Sox have inserted medical clauses in contracts in the past (John Lackey, J.D. Drew), particularly when Dr. Thomas Gill served as the team’s medical director.”

          Do you read all the Yankees’ player contracts to see what language is in there? I am willing to bet this “language” refers to pre-existing injuries, not injuries incurred going forward. And that it’s fairly standard.

          Have the Red Sox saved a penny when Lackey, Dice-K, Crawford, Beckett, etc. got hurt?

    • Pisano says:

      Even a scumbag like Lucchino has some value.

  8. Brandon says:

    Does anyone else find it funny what the Red Sox are doing? They basically get a get out of jail free card from the Dodgers and are not putting it to good use. Replacing Gonzalez, Crawford, and Beckett with Napoli Victorino and Dempster. Yea there’s about a 200 million dollar difference but they definitely overpaid for each player.

    • CountryClub says:

      I agree. I thought they’d be quieter this winter.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I don’t find it funny at all. These contracts are not at all comparable to those dealt. You’re talking about more recent production for less money. They still want to field a competitive team, they’d just like to do it more efficiently.

      They’re also loading up on RH power, since it plays up in their ballpark.

      • Brandon says:

        So your saying you would rather have Napoli and Victorino who are both coming off down years and are older then Gonzalez and Crawford? Not to mention the 35 year old Dempster who had over a 5 ERA in the AL and can’t throw 90mph. All three players are signed for 3 years and at least 13 million annually. The only right handed power they got was Napoli who is a borderline DH only option. I would be pissed if I was a sox fan, there is no reason to pay these players when it won’t be anywhere near enough to field a playoff team. Especially in the AL east.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          While I’d rather have Gonzalez than any of the others, yes I would take Napoli and Victorino @ $26 million per for three year over AGon and Crawford for $40+ mill the next 5 years and then $21 for two after that. Crawford has produced a TOTAL of 0.3 fWAR the past two seasons. Maybe he’ll rebound, but there’s a decent chance that he’s dead weight the next 5 years.

          Coming off a down year it not necessarily a bad thing. If it was really a down year and not the start of a decline, next year will be an up year.

          Tiny sample you’re judging Dempster by. A lot of very good SPs haven’t averaged 90 MPH.

          “The only right handed power they got was Napoli who is a borderline DH only option. I would be pissed if I was a sox fan,”

          What? Gomes has great RH power. Victorino does too. That you don’t know that isn’t the Red Sox fault.

          “there is no reason to pay these players when it won’t be anywhere near enough to field a playoff team.”

          This is not a dichotomous thing: playoffs or non-playoffs. A team will still earn more revenue from winning 85 games than 65 games even if they miss the playoffs. It’s also not a one year thing.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            *Total of 0.6 fWAR. Average of 0.3.

            • Brandon says:

              Obviously I didn’t get my point across. If I was a sox fan I’d rather have Crawford Gonzalez and Beckett who have all proven themselves at one point to be able to handle to the Al east. Dempster spent his entire career in the NL and as soon as he comes over to the AL he gets rocked. Good enough sample for me not to spend close to 40 mil on, especially since he’s in his mid thirties. I forgot about gnomes signin with them, but he’s only platoon guy. Sox fans are used to getting to the play offs, so I doubt if they field a 85 win team that they will be satisfied.Right now they are posed to finish last in the East again. You can’t honestly believe Shane Victorino is better then Crawford. Crawfords been hurt so bringing up his stats is pointless.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                I got your point. I disagree with it. That you think something doesn’t make it a fact.

                You are completely ignoring salary, and revenues. Those are the drivers of a baseball team’s decisions.

                Crawford and Beckett have proven nothing in a few years.

                “Crawfords been hurt so bringing up his stats is pointless.”

                And you know he’ll be healthy next season how exactly? He’s been awful for two seasons. I can hope that A-Rod or Tex gives the Yankees 10 fWAR next season, but it’s not likely to happen.

        • Steve says:

          Dempster isn’t signed at all and all indications are that it will be for two years once he gets signed.

  9. 42isNotMortal says:

    Axisa is right. This platoon C deal is looking worse and worse by the day. We’re looking at a .220/.280/.300 cumulative slash with only Stewart providing close to any defensive value. Martin turned down a 3/21 offer last year, which would have equated to 2/14 this year, so the Yanks really couldn’t go up 1.5 in AAV to match 2/17?

    And if you believe the pitch framing metrics to go along with Martin’s short porch poke ability. I think the Yanks FO picked the wrong area to be excessively frugal.

    • entonces says:

      Nobody knows for sure what Romine can do. But he offers hope of far better performance than .220/.280/.300. Instead of looking at small sample AFL numbers, look at solid performance before he was hurt last year. Romine could hit .260-275 with 10-15 HRs. Perhaps not in his first year. But the Yankees would do well to break him in at major league level this year as he could be vaulable contributor by 2014. Simply no substitute for letting these kids play.

    • RetroRob says:

      The Yankees have been going through their off-season list, checking off their needs, getting everyone on their list with one exception: catcher. I don’t know what happened with Martin. I don’t think it was being frugal. I really do believe they would have matched Martin’s offer from the Pirates, and that Martin would rather have played in NY. Maybe Russell’s agent just couldn’t read the Yankees and they got nervous and took the best deal sitting out there.

      I really don’t think either side got what they wanted. The only other explanation is the Yankees really didn’t want Martin back. Maybe there’s something here we just don’t know. Perhaps Girardi didn’t like his pitch-calling, or maybe Hughes and Nova didn’t llike pitching to him.

      • Preston says:

        This wasn’t mixed up signals. Martin gave the Yankees the chance to match, they declined. For whatever reason, they did not want him for that price.

      • commerce says:

        There is a love for RussM among some fans, bloggers, and some beat writers…I don’t get it–the NYY are the organization that can claim a line of receivers back to Dickey thru Berra, Howard, Munson, and Posada. RussM? What is wrong w/ that picture? He would be a fine back-up catcher in any organization, but the moaning in Yankeeland when he took the Pirate deal is hard to understand. Nice guy, tough guy, good defensive guy…but just an awful hitter except for power where he is above avg for his position. He was a perfect guy to cut loose if the club is serious about getting below the $189 luxury tax threshold…that’s why he isn’t back.

        On your second point, I have only one reason to doubt RussM as a receiver–I have no idea what Girardi and Pena think of him. My reason is as follows: He is reluctant, indeed stubbornly resists, setting up on the inside when the pitcher is same side as batter–he likes the angle away. If I were a hitter batting w/ him behind the plate, I would look AWAY almost every pitch delivered w/ less than 2-strikes.

    • commerce says:

      I have a hunch that MikeA would tell me how to make a watch as a reply to my Q, “What time is it?”
      The new metrics are experiencing a halo effect…they are not useless (in general), but they are not the denouement either. But, I digress. The “platoon catcher” plan is serviceable given the characters available/ready…Cervelli, Romine, and Stewart. The “slash line” suggested by 42isNotMortal is straight out of thin air. Alone, Cervelli has a 162 game slash line of .271/.339/.353…it was amassed largely as a part-time player over 4 seasons (’08–’12) in which he appeared in 184 games. The recently departed and beloved RMartin had a 162 game slash line in two campaigns in NY .224/.317/.405. Taken category by category, Cervelli is the better hitter except as a HR hitter. The combined slash w/ Stewart or Romine would drive the number down but not to the depths offered by “42″.

      MikeA is an excellent writer and generally fair…also has some respect for the “eye” test v. numbers on occasion; however, recently he dissed Cervelli when he denigrated his defense misleading the reader–he said (to this effect), “Cervelli has a knack for the deadly passed ball in big spots.” My memory told me that was not true…check it out. He had 3 in one season and 2 in another for a total of 5!!!

      For those who want to debate Cervelli’s defensive ability, go see how a watch is made…or, ask CC why he favored the fiery Venezuelan over Posada, then Martin in ’11. While not without weaknesses, the team’s record when he was a starting catcher suffered no decline. And, oh my god, please don’t get into “FRAMING” value…no big league starting catcher has a glaring weakness in that skill–it’s just not acceptable for a catcher not to know how to make something high seem at the top of the strike zone, and so on. As a trainer of catchers for nearly 40 years, I know who is exceptional and who is good (there aren’t many below that bar). Martin was exceptional…but so is Cervelli. I rate Cervelli better than Martin in game management and blocking the plate. They are even in blocking the balls in the dirt and arm strength while RussM is superior in throwing accuracy and corralling pops.

      The platoon system should work just fine.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        I totally agree that the slash offered is laughable, at the same time I would point out that there’s no real value to measuring offense category-by-category instead of in aggregate and that it’s pretty absurd to argue that pitch-framing is a commodity rather than a skill.

        • commerce says:

          Ted, both the aggregate and category-by-category are acceptable ways to measure a player’s strengths and weaknesses; thus, I disagree w/ your “no real value” comment in its entirety.

          As for framing, of course it is a skill–maybe I made it seem like raw material. It clearly isn’t the point to which I was driving. It is simply a skill that big league receivers have been taught and mastered to a reasonable level–one wouldn’t even be a back-up if that skill wasn’t understood nor executed. It would be “absurd” to argue that catchers are born to “frame” pitches–I didn’t mean that at all.

        • commerce says:

          Ted, both the aggregate and category-by-category are acceptable ways to measure a player’s strengths and weaknesses; thus, I disagree w/ your “no real value” comment in its entirety.

          As for framing, of course it is a skill–maybe I made it seem like raw material. It clearly isn’t the point to which I was driving. It is simply a skill that big league receivers have been taught and mastered to a reasonable level–one wouldn’t even be a back-up if that skill wasn’t understood nor executed. It would be “absurd” to argue that catchers are born to “frame” pitches–I didn’t mean that at all.

  10. k says:

    Mike Morse for DH. Not a great defender but can spell Ichiro against lefties, and can be the DH against righties. If the Nats sign LaRoche they will be looking to move him.

    • j says:

      They have talked about being willing to move Espinosa too, so there is our utility IF.

      • Gerald Williams says:

        I like those ideas. Morse can really be a solid hitter at DH. Espinosa has some pop. Who is realistic to trade for one or both?

      • Laz says:

        They also talked about emptying the farm system. Espinosa is a young proven 2B, makes no sense to pay the huge cost of that and then sit him on the bench.

        • josh says:

          i really like morse. he can be the 4th of, DH. and also play at 1B. Which is exactly what they need, a DH who can play the field, and another LHP killer. I would love this move, and he could not possibly cost that much. Maybe 2 B prospects. Plus he is a free agent after the year, so no commitment. Make a move cash

        • RetroRob says:

          Who talked about emptying the farm system?

  11. kenthadley says:

    Does anyone have a scouting report on Van Slyke? His AAA numbers look pretty good, but he might just be a Shelly Duncan clone…although he seems to be able to take some walks.

    • MannyGeee says:

      Considering the left handedness of this outfield, I would even take Shelly Duncan for 50 or so starts!

    • Jersey Joe says:

      He’s not a good fielder, but he’s merely passable. I would be OK with it if he only plays RF. With Ichiro moving to left and/or Grandy going to center when Gardner gets a day off.

  12. Laz says:

    Disagree on a few.
    I don’t see them needing a DH just because once Arod comes back in June you will probably see him, Youk, or Teix DH most days, they are all better hitters than you can find to play DH elsewhere.

    RH outfielder would be nice, but really the Yankees don’t sit vets. Granderson, Gardner, and Ichiro will be the starting group, and will probably not get all that many days off unless they get injured. RH is preferable, but if none of them even come close to Dickerson then just stick with him.

    IDK if there are really any Catchers left worth targeting. Wouldn’t expect much offense from Cervelli or Romine, but what are the catchers offering that are actually still available?

    • MannyGeee says:

      I would disagree with you on the RH OF. I am positive Gardner/Ichiro would be sat in favor on a RH bat against tough leftys. Granderson’s bat and 40-some odd home runs are too valuable to the line up, but the other two would be sat.

      FWIW Ichiro sat in favor of RH bats last season if memory serves.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I’d also disagree about the “not sitting vets” thing. If you’re not physically able to play every day, you’re not going to play every day. Eric Chavez wasn’t out there playing every day because he was a vet.

      • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod says:

        I agree with you that Gardy/Ichiro would be benched for a righty against tough LHP, although I think Grandy has earned his share of platoon benchings against tough LHP going forward. Doubt it will happen though, they prefer taking the chance he’ll hit a HR, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He looked downright awful against LHP many times last year though.

  13. Mickey McMick says:

    We’re well on out way to the early 80′s – Wade Boggs, Don Baylor, Gary Ward, Mike Easler, Ken Phelps, Jose Cruz, Bert Campenaris – keep going front office. The over-thirty veteran parade. Been there, done that.

    • kenthadley says:

      It’s called smoke and mirror gm’ing.

    • Laz says:

      If they are doing what I think is the plan I kinda like it. Prospects take time to develop, so they are still putting a competitive team on the field without having to give up too much.

      • jjyank says:

        Agreed. I think the plan of short term veteran contracts while they wait to see what prospects pan out is a sound one. It’s not like there is a young star FA we can sign and/or our stud prospects are sitting in AAA.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        And they can also trade those prospects for cost controlled players if good value comes along.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      That you listed Wade Boggs as a Yankee in the early 80s invalidates your ridiculous point before you even made it.

      Wade Boggs was an MVP caliber player for the Red Sox in the early ’80s and came to the Yankees in 1993 as a free agent just in time to contribute to three playoff runs, a WS, and a 1st place team the strike shortened year.

      • Mickey McMick says:

        I meant early 90′s Typola. Slap me.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          You didn’t, but if you did it wouldn’t make your point any better. Boggs was still a good signing for the Yankees. The early ’90s were the run up to a dynasty.

          Literally not one of those other players you mentioned played for the Yankees in ’90s. Not even one game between them. Baylor and Campaneris didn’t even play for them in the late ’80s (Campaneris was done after ’83).

          • Mickey McMick says:

            You’re right, Ted, from now on I will keep my mouth shut and marvel in your marvelousness. ::eats humble pie, retreats to corner, puts picture of Ted on wall and lights candle::

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Boggs’s rookie year was ’83, and he wasn’t a Yankee until the mid-90′s.

      Easler and Baylor were TRADED for one another (A rare Yanks/Sox trade!)

      Phelps, Cruz, and Campenaris hardly played big roles, although maybe Bert could still play all nine positions in one game! Phelps just smarts because of the shit trade that brought him to the Yanks but, hey……we miss Papa Bear!

      Ward played a decent role on some declining teams before the bottom fell out. He also had a great ‘fro.

    • tmoney says:

      Hey Ken Phelps was a great Yankee and we only got rid of that scrub Buhner to get him here.

  14. Pablo says:

    I predict that the team will foolishly trade what few prospects that are left for some 30 something average Players to fill holes. There are no Stars on the 2014 F/A list so it will be back to the 1980′s.

    • MannyGeee says:

      The 1980′s were bery bery good to me…

    • craig says:

      Seriously? You really don’t know a whole lot about the organization, do you?

      It’s so easy to say silly (and, in this case, stupid) things on the interwebs.

      But, but, wait…I though Georgie was rolling over in his grave. Trading the farm for Ken Phelps is just what people have been clamoring for.

      Ah…remember the “good old days”.

    • jsbrendog says:

      and what resulted from the 80s? the core 4 and a dynasty. SIGN ME UP

      • entonces says:

        Yeah, but you’ll have to wait 15 years for the new Dynasty. That’s how long it took Yanks to overcome effects of giving away Buhner, McGee, Drabek, McGriff and others — all dumped for over the hill veterans during the 80s. Now it might be even worse than 15 years — Yanks can’t buy their way out with Latin talent (Bernie, Mo) due to new CBA restrictions. The high-end prospects they now have are about their only hope of getting out of this mess. That, and some wise free agent spending once they hike budget. Trades — unless they get very lucky or reverse course and trade veterans for young talent — are the worst route of all.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          If you get nothing back in those trades, sure. Looking at one example of one organization for one five year period as the end-all-be-all determinant of the effectiveness of trades is silly, though.

          • steve g says:

            trades cant build a dynasty?
            i would suggest you look at the 1970s yankees-
            chambliss, nettles, randolph, rivers, lyle, and figueroa all acquired via trade

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Did you mean to reply to me? I never made anything resembling that point, and was basically agreeing with you.

              You don’t even have to look back that far. Several key ’90s players were acquired via trade including Tino, O’Neill, Clemens, Knoblauch, Cone (with only 1/2 a season left on his deal), Brosius, Justice, I probably wouldn’t count Neagle and definitely not Irabu but they came via trade too…

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Reading this leads me to exactly the type of fatigue which makes me say “don’t trade any of them. Fuck it.” Tired of the “trade em!/Keep em!” stuff.

  15. Granderslam says:

    Alfonso Soriano – RH OF?

    • MannyGeee says:

      Thats a whole lot of money. but sure, I’d co-sign on that if Theo asked for nothing of value in return

    • jjyank says:

      If the Cubs eat almost all of the contract and the Yankees only give up a non-prospect, sure. Don’t think he’s even an average fielder anymore, though.

      • craig says:

        From what I’ve read, the Cubs only *want* to pay $10 million of the $36 million. They could certainly change, but I totally agree that if they paid $30 million and wanted a non-prospect it would be worth it.

        • jjyank says:

          And if that doesn’t change, it’s a definite pass. I’m not really sure why the Cubs (or any team, really) would literally pay him to play for another team and take nothing in return. I don’t see it happening. If it did though, sure.

        • RetroRob says:

          I thought it was the other way around. The would pay $26M, but they also want a decent prospect back. Regardless, I’d still pass.

  16. Ted Nelson says:

    Ever been to an auction, Mike? When no one is matching the opening bid and they’re calling out progressively lower prices… do you think that’s a good time to raise your hand and make the opening bid?
    It’s not. It’s especially not if the ask is still above your willingness to pay, or how much you value that item. The only C I can think of who has come off the board since Martin is Soto. With guys like AJP, Shoppach, Olivo, etc. or trade partners (especially the Blue Jays), do you think it’s wise to make the opening bid while their prices are still above market value? Or to wait until they come down to reality? The Yankees didn’t let Martin go so that they could give a worse player the same contract.

    “I’m sorry, Youkilis and Derek Jeter alone are not going to cut it when the season opens”

    Good thing they have that big dude over at 1B, and A-Rod is out 1-3 months. My question about whether you have been kidnapped by Eddard still stands.

    RH hitters who hit LHP well are relatively easy to find. While it’s a hole, it’s not one I am particularly worried about.

    Starting DH – Why do you insist on acting like A-Rod is out for the year?

    • Travis L. says:

      Ted…what do you think about Franklin Gutierrez (sp?) from the Mariners? Could he be a decent platoon option, if SEA wants to trade him.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Interesting name. Hadn’t thought of him. Maybe if the Mariners were willing to pick up most of his salary (especially if they are allowed to pick up the $500,000 buy-out for 2014) and not ask for much of anything back. For more than that I don’t know if I’d take the risk. He has crushed LHP some years, but also disappeared against it several recent years. It also depends on whether his down defensive 2012 was just small sample size noise or he’s declined defensively. If he’s still a good CF, that versatility would be nice.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      Starting DH – Why do you insist on acting like A-Rod is out for the year?


      He’s not but he’s coming back from another hip surgery and his skills are declining. Forget the fact that when he returns his timing will be off and it’s going to take time for him to get back on track.

      • jjyank says:

        The point I think Ted is making there is that when A-Rod comes back, he will likely be spending a lot of time at DH due in part to the hip surgery.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Thanks for using your crystal ball to tell me what’s going to happen with A-Rod’s recovery from a surgery that he hasn’t even had yet, Dr.

        There’s a pretty good chance he recovers to the ~.365 wOBA level he was at for 2.5 seasons before the end of last year when he gets back 1-3 months into the season. While fans will whine incessantly about it, that’s strong production.

        • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod says:

          I understand your point, but you aren’t a doctor either. You seem to be convinced he’ll be back quickly and better than ever. “There’s a pretty good chance he recovers to the ~.365 wOBA level he was at for 2.5 seasons before the end of last year when he gets back”, ok, why? Just because you say so? That may very well be true, but he could also end up having a setback (i.e. Pettitte) or just not returning till the later end of his recovery window. What Big City said about him needing time to regain his timing and get back on track could very well be the case. Your speculations are just as baseless.

          The fact is nobody knows what they’re going to get out of Alex going forward so there’s no harm in looking for an insurance bat.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            From your comment I don’t think you do understand my point.

            I am not convinced he will be back quickly and healthy. I am convinced that there is a chance. Since I am not a Dr. and don’t have inside info, I think it’s reasonable to assume that chance is as great as him taking the long end of his recovery window or longer.

            I am simply reacting to people here almost universally taking the pessimistic view on his recovery. If they were all assuming he’s back one month into the season and better than ever, I’d also point out that they’re being overly optimistic.

            “ok, why? Just because you say so?”

            No, because that’s what he did for the most recent 2.5 years before he fell off a cliff with what appears to be a hip injury.

            “he could also end up having a setback (i.e. Pettitte)”

            Seriously? Pettitte got hit in the shin with a comebacker. That could happen to any P. That wasn’t a setback, it was a fluke injury.

            “Your speculations are just as baseless.”

            Again, you are misrepresenting what I’m saying. Never once have I said he will be back at any particular time. I have said there’s a chance he recovers well just like there’s a chance he recovers poorly.

            “What Big City said about him needing time to regain his timing and get back on track could very well be the case.”

            And it could not be the case. He assumed it as a certainty.

            • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod says:

              We’re really not that far off from each other’s viewpoints here. I’m simply trying to play Devil’s Advocate. A lot of people are doom and gloom on A-Rod’s return, you seem to be more on the optimistic side. Neither is necessarily right or wrong, my point is nobody knows what they’re going to get out of him going forward, so there’s no harm in looking for another RH bat to have around.

              He put up 0.365 wOBA for those 2.5 years but is now older and will be recovering from another major surgery. I don’t think it’s fair to assume he will jump right back to that level of production once fully healed. It’s certainly possible, but definitely not certain.

              On Pettitte, you completely misunderstood my point. He suffered a setback in rehabbing from his injury, causing him to return later in the season than he initially planned. That is what I was referencing, in the context that something similar could happen to Alex. I hope it doesn’t, but it could.

              Big City did make his point with an unrealistic level of certainty, I wasn’t agreeing with that. Just that the possibility does exist.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                I’m not being optimistic on A-Rod. I’m just pointing out that “optimistic” outcomes exist. I’m not taking any stance. I have no idea at all how long he’ll take to recover or what sort of form he’ll be in when he does.

                Fair point on Pettitte.

        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          SMH again with a rude remark but it’s not surprising.

    • bingo bango says:

      In an auction you know who is bidding and how much. This is nothing like an auction.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        You think AJ or any other FA (or team in a trade situation) is going to take the first offer he gets without shopping it around to the Yankees and other clubs who are clearly looking for a C? You can tell his agent to give you a call when he has an offer or when the price comes down to what you consider a reasonable range, but you don’t just rush out to make an offer so that bloggers can be happy reading rumors.

        The idea is that price is a function of demand (as well as supply). If you want the price to fall, you don’t go around demanding the product at its current price.

        • bingo bango says:

          Doesn’t sound like an auction to me.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Try listening a little harder, and maybe you will hear it.

            This is a type of auction.

            • bingo bango says:

              Still don’t hear anyone calling out lower numbers. I’ll just assume you pulled that one out of your butt. I don’t think you have any front office experience. You don’t know at all what it’s like.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                You don’t need MLB front office experience to understand how contract negotiations work, or how supply and demand work. These concepts are not baseball-specific.

  17. Joba is Einhorn...Einhorn is Joba says:

    dont see how they fill these vacant spots for this year and even more for next without either trading prospect (not ideal) or granderson and maybe hughes. After seeing what the reds paid for choo, i suspect cashman is looking to make a trade. I hope for it because I know if cash does trade him it will only be for a big haul that will make this team more complete and set them up for next season

    • craig says:

      There are still players out there and some movement will occur as teams figure out their 40 man rosters.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Drew Stubbs and Didi Gregorius?

      I think there’s a chance they do trade Granderson, but it’s going to be tough to make your team more complete by dealing a guy who has averaged 4.4 fWAR the past three seasons.

      • Joba is Einhorn...Einhorn is Joba says:

        no way that trading him doesn’t hurt but i am looking as much at next year than this year and they have multiple holes to fill. catcher will be a negative WAR as it stands now, they need more right handed hitters somewhere in the lineup and they need to start to look for long term solutions at 3B and SS (not this year but in the near future)…and next year, when these 1 year contracts expire and they have to fill half the roster on a very very strict budget?

        i dont want to get rid of a 40hr centerfielder, but if they arent giving long term FA contracts, how else are they going to find quality players

        • entonces says:

          Well, I think part of the problem is that with 189 the Yankees have basically consigned themselves to be a decent but non-championship-type team in 2014. This inhibits them for 2013 as well, but they don’t want to fall totally apart this year. Fan reaction and impact on revenues could be severe with 2-year decline.
          I believe that’s why they won’t consider trading Grandy, Cano and Hughes. Would hurt too much this year, even though it could really help set them up for future. Kind of stuck in the middle. Personally, I’d be willing to give up this year if I knew they were assembling young core that would help going forward.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            “Personally, I’d be willing to give up this year if I knew they were assembling young core that would help going forward.”

            What they are most likely trying to do is assemble that young core without giving up this year.

            • entonces says:

              But there’s no evidence they are assembling new core. They ranked last in baseball in terms of rookie ABs last year.
              Obviously, their best prosects are still a couple of years away, but Adams and Mustelier and perhaps Z. Almonte and Warren could have been given at least some time. (Warren in a characteristic move was treated like a leper after one bad outing. Shades of Kontos).
              Also, they have assets who could be traded for young core players but have not done so. Maybe they will still make such a move (Grandy, Hughes, Cano).Obviously, that would hurt this year. But that’s my point. They’re afraid to give up on this year even if it means improving future. I’m guessing they’re scatred of attendance and YES viewership impact of two bad years. But that’s what they may need to rebuild.
              And significantly, they don’t seem very concerned about extending two of their young pitchers about to be free agents. I would think they should at least try to extend Hughes and Joba. If they can’t get it done, they should see what Hughes at least could fetch in trade.
              So that’s three areas where they could be building new core but have — at least to this poit — done nothing.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                You’re not looking for evidence. Nova, Pineda, Phelps, DRob are all evidence. You seem to be actively looking to prove your narrative, no matter how ridiculous your examples. Zoilo? Dude was eaten alive in AA for half the season. Mustelier? Warren? Adams was coming off a massive injury and played the same position as the Yankees best player other than maybe a dozen games. They moved him to 3B, maybe precisely to give him a chance soon.

                You can’t just force bad young players onto your roster and hope that they somehow magically become a good core.

                “Also, they have assets who could be traded for young core players but have not done so. Maybe they will still make such a move (Grandy, Hughes, Cano).”

                Again, because they are trying to win now and later. As they have successfully for about the past two decades.

                That you can get a young prospect doesn’t mean he’s going to be a core player. The majority of prospects fail. Trading veterans for prospects is not some fail-proof way to construct a team. In fact, it usually fails.

                And they reportedly are listening to offers for Hughes and Granderson. Which you are choosing to ignore. Cashman can’t make teams overpay.

                “I would think they should at least try to extend Hughes and Joba.”

                And what salaries are those guys worth going forward? Joba has barely pitched the last two seasons. Hughes was injured/awful in 2011 and then pretty good in 2012. Chances are that each wants to prove himself to get what he thinks he worth, rather than taking the salary he deserves at this point.

              • Preston says:

                There isn’t going to be another core. If we sell of every single MLB piece for MiLB players, if we lose every game and draft first in the draft, it will not mean that we will develop a Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera to build the next dynasty around. If all it took was acquiring minor league talent and then letting them play, then everybody would do it. We need to build a farm system that gives our team supplemental players so that we can stop overpaying for back end starters, relievers and bench players, and hope every once in a while we get a Robinson Cano. Not sell of MLB parts fingers crossed, in the hopes of getting a future star.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Through the farm system. Promoting players and/or trading them. And also continuing to sign some cheap vets.

          I disagree about the number of holes and the severity of them.

          -Cervelli and Stewart have both contributed 0.5-1 fWAR seasons as part-time players. Expecting that they’ll suddenly be below replacement in 2013 is odd. Romine is still a decent prospect if he’s healthy. Not a stud, but could certainly be above replacement. Same with Murphy in 2014. Sanchez could even be rushed up in 2014 or certainly 2015. It’s not that rare to push an elite prospect onto the scene from AA, even if it takes him a few years to adjust (hate to boil it down to one example, but Yadier Molina is one). To be clear, I’m not counting on any of those guys… there are options, though. Chances are pretty good that at least one will work out.
          I don’t deny that it’s an important hole, but not the black hole some people are making it out to be.

          -You might want a new 3B, but A-Rod might still be playing there part-time for a while. David Adams is a pretty legit internal option there. Before his ankle injury he was a strong prospect, and he seems to be picking back up where he left off. If Jeter moves off SS he could also be an option at 3B, maybe split time with A-Rod as some have suggested. Cano could even be an option is CoJo, Adams, or someone else can handle 2B.

          -I don’t see why they need RH hitters with Jeter, Youk, Tex, A-Rod, almost definitely at least one RH C, probably a RH UTL, and most likely a RH 4th OF. Cano has handled LHP fine most years. Finding RH hitter who handle LHP is relatively easy.

  18. dalelama says:

    So far we have lost Martin, Swisher, and Soriano, and Aroid (for half a season) and picked up Youklis. We are going backwards.

  19. Aly says:

    Guys on “Hot Stove” are saying that the Cubs will pay 26 out of 36 for Soriano. Receiving team only pays 5 million per year for 2 years. Sounds good to me.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      But what are you giving up prospect wise for the pleasure?

      • MannyGeee says:

        Also, celery cap…

        The Yankees would pay none of the money but be saddled with all of the AAV, methinks. If they were gonna sit with all the AAV and miss the $189M caqp, then they shoulda just signed Torii Hunter instead and not give up the prospects.

      • Laz says:

        That’s the thing. I don’t think that Soriano is the answer to the team’s problems, and don’t feel they should trade anything decent for him. He is just another 150k hr hitter. He doesn’t even usually give you a decent obp.

  20. Hornets686 says:

    Bring in John Jaso and Alfonso Soriano!

    • Laz says:

      But at what cost?
      Jaso had a great year, and will be expensive.

      • Preston says:

        And Seattle is desperately trying to add hitters, any hitter regardeless of position or cost. So trading the one guy who hit for them last year doesn’t seem smart. I’d be fine with Soriano depending on the cost, I have no idea what they think they’ll get for him. He can DH and play some LF, the advantage of having Granderson, Ichiro and Gardner, is that we don’t need a guy on the bench who can play CF.

  21. Aly says:

    Sounds like a low level prospect is all it would take for Alfonso.

  22. Mike HC says:

    I think the Yanks will still add a veteran catcher either by trade or free agency. Whether he will be “starting” quality, I doubt it.

  23. FLYER7 says:

    RH OFs wanted? Cody Ross? Soriano? Stubbs?

  24. aluis says:

    Cashman should trade Cano to the Cards for O. Tavares, M. Wacha, K. Wong and J.Jay. Flip Granderson for a C and a prospect, Sign Hamilton for 4 yrs @ $100M.

  25. Adam says:

    Don’t worry, guys. We just signed Bobby Wilson. Caching problem solved.

  26. Dan says:

    IF a team eats a lot of a contract, how does that add up for luxury tax purposes? The reason I ask is Vernon Wells is going to be traded, he’s a righty power bat, an outfielder, and could fit the Andruw Jones mold from 2 years ago. I’m sure the Angels will devour his horrible contract to trade him.

    If the Yanks had to pay $4m/year for the next 3 seasons, would it count to the luxury tax as $4m, or would it be his full contract ($21m, in which case, no way we should ever get him)?

    • Tom says:

      The team that acquires the player absorbs the AAV but then the amount the other team pays gets subtracted off of it. (so the Yankees would be on the hook for Wells AAV minus what the Angels are paying)

      For a multi-year deal I’m not sure if the subsidy is averaged (it might not be) – if it’s not it might be a way for the Yankees to game the system say pay 8/2/2 instead of 4/4/4. Again if the subsidy is not averaged (I’m not sure if it is) it would mean Wells luxury tax impact would be more in 2013 and less in 2014/15 if the Angels kicked in less in 2013 and more in 2014/15

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