Mar
01

Mailbag: April Rotation, Lohse, Stanton

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Only three questions this week because you folks sent in a whole lot of repeats and wildly outrageous hypotheticals. Don’t get me wrong, I love to talk about crazy trade scenarios as much as anyone, but no, the Yankees won’t make a monster offer for Bryce Harper in the wake of Curtis Granderson‘s injury. So yeah, use the Submit A Tip box and step up your mailbagin’ game.

(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)

(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)

Paul asks: In years past I remember the season starting off with enough off days to make a fifth starter unnecessary until 2-3 weeks into the season. Freddy Garcia specifically had that happen. What’s this season like in that regard? Any chance that, even if Phil Hughes is on the DL they just go with four starters for a couple of weeks?

Unfortunately the schedule works against the Yankees this year. They play their first game on April 1st, have April 2nd off, then play 12 games in the next 12 days. Barring any weather-related postponements, the absolute latest the Yankees will need their fifth start this season April 8th in Cleveland, the seventh game of the season. They’ll need him again five days later, so it’s not even a situation where they would need him once in the first four weeks or something.

The Yankees are in relatively good shape because they do have have that spare starter — the loser of the Ivan Nova/David Phelps fifth starter battle — to stick in Hughes’ spot if his back injury delays the start of his season for any reason. My big concern is someone else getting hurt and having to miss time. All of a sudden Adam Warren would be taking the ball every five days in April and that is less than ideal. As I’ve written recently, I’m a fan of exploring a contract with Kyle Lohse even though it’ll cost a draft pick. If he’s willing to take favorable terms (one or two years at $7-8M annually?), having that extra quality depth will be nice. The Yankees are going to lean on their pitching staff more than usual this year, so might as well beef it up as much as possible.

Ben asks: Let’s pretend for a moment that you’re the GM of a team that has either a protected first round pick or you’ve already lost it because you’ve signed a qualifying free agent. Would the thought of signing Kyle Lohse to a one-year deal cross your mind? Consider this: if you do, you lose a second round pick, but if he pitches well then you can make a qualifying offer and be in line to get a BETTER pick than the one you gave up. How long would you entertain that idea before you dismissed it?

Well, isn’t that convenient. As I just said, I would absolutely explore signing Lohse at this point. I think draft picks are being overvalued these days, especially by legitimate contenders who are trying to win now. If you’re trying to win in 2013 and 2014, adding Lohse is going to help you a helluva lot more than a draft pick in whatever round. The scary part is that these St. Louis journeymen/reclamation types tend to stink as soon as they leave the Cardinals, however. The Jeffs — Suppan and Weaver — are the primary examples. That does make me nervous.

I’m not sure I buy the idea of getting a pick when Lohse leaves — given how his free agency has played out, I’m guessing Lohse would take a qualifying offer in the future, especially since they’re expected to climb into the $14-15M range in the coming years — but that’s always possible. I certainly wouldn’t assume a future draft pick when signing the right-hander. Without knowing what Scott Boras is seeking, I think there’s a pretty great opportunity out there for someone to get a bargain with Lohse at this point. The Braves, who already forfeited their first rounder to sign B.J. Upton and have questions at the back of the rotation, should be all over him.

"Someone get me the hell out of here." (Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

“Someone get me the hell out of here.” (Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

Frank asks: Nonsense (maybe not) hypothetical … If Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, and Mason Williams have somewhat outstanding years in AA/AAA, would you trade all three for Giancarlo Stanton, straight up?

Yep, in a heartbeat. Stanton is a proven star at the big league level and is basically in those guys’ age range — he’s ten months older than Heathcott and less than two years older than Austin and Williams — so it would be both a win-now and win-later move. I said before that I think draft picks are being overrated and I feel the same way about prospects, even top prospects. If you can’t trade multiple top prospects for someone like Stanton, who can you trade them for?

As much as we don’t want to admit it, those three young outfielders aren’t all going to work out. If the Yankees get one above-average big leaguer from that group, they should be thrilled. Two would be a minor miracle. Heathcott is an injury risk because he plays like a maniac, Austin’s power ceiling is limited because he doesn’t generate enough backspin, and Williams is a bit of a hacker. There are red flags there. Stanton isn’t the perfect player, but he fits the Yankees’ needs so beautifully. Empty out that farm system.

Categories : Mailbag

81 Comments»

  1. Jim Is Bored says:

    I’m just not sure non-STL Kyle Lohse gives you more bang for the buck than the 4-7 guys the Yankees have. But I’d be pretty OK with that signing, if it’s closer to 6 mil annually.

    And I love the minor league guys, but the way I see it, if even ONE of those three became 4/5ths of Stanton, we’d be ecstatic. Why not get the guarantee?

    And I’m in a particularly unmotivated day at work due to a variety of factors, so bring on the trolls, RAB.

    • jjyank says:

      I’m not sure about Loshe, but I agree on Stanton. Besides, in this scenario, the Yankees still get to keep Sanchez, which would be a minor coup in a Stanton trade methinks.

  2. RobA says:

    I dont think Lohse would sign that low. If $6-$7 million was all he could get he’d probably just get game ready and sign June 1 when the draft pick attachment expires. Theres a good chance he could do better then.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      It’s possible. I think he’d take a 2 yr 14 mil contract right now rather than wait the 3 months though.

      • RobA says:

        at his age, I doubt it. Even if hes forced to take a low salary, I cant imagine it would be for anymore then one year. If he has a good year he can still cash in. But even if he has two good years he’ll likely be too old to get that one big contract.

        Also, even if he goes through the nightmare of getting a QO agan, at least that would be for $14 million for one.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          Conversely, at his age, if someone wants to pay you for 2 years, I think you take it. While a QQ could net you 14 next year, you also could get hurt, or suck, this year.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Yes, but its prorated. So he’d have to do 40% better just to break even.

  3. RobA says:

    I agree about the overvaluing of draft picks too. I get the Mets not wanting to give up the 11th for Bourn, but if you could sign a player where the Yanks are picking (late round) who turns into Lohse, you’d be ecstatic. And thats 4-5 years down the road.

    About the “pitchers turning bad when they leave StL” thing…..thats a fun narrative, but in reality there shouod be zero predictive power in that analysis. Its most likely just random chance that that has happened to a few pitchers. Any serious GM cant make major personnel decisions based on it, it’s be like the FO calling a fortune teller to get advice about a potential signing.

  4. Steve (different one) says:

    Lohse is the rare non-star where I’d be more in favor of a two year deal than 1 year. If you are giving up the draft pick (and let’s not forget, it isn’t really the PICK, it’s the money….even if the yanks wanted to waste that pick on a college senior, they’d still have that pool money to spend on others), then I think you want to get that insurance policy for next season when you will need starters. I don’t think Lohse is that great, so I would probably pass on him, but I see Mike’s argument: at some price point, he can be an asset.

    The question is, would Boras take the 2 year deal, or does he go the “pillow” route? I’d be willing to bet he takes the pillow route.

  5. So what you’re trying to say is that the Nationals won’t take Betances for Harper straight up?

    Hard to believe thevNationals would want to hold on to him when he only hit 22 HR last year, plus they have Werth!!!!

    Maybe Betances and Dante Jr will get it done, but we might be overpaying at that point.

  6. Also joking aside, was anyone else happy to see Jeff Weaver pitch awesome and win a WS with the Cardinals? After all the bs he went through and struggles here I was happy to see him succeed elsewhere. Mike he also had a few good years with the Dodgers, he was the ace of that staff for a while.

  7. jjyank says:

    I’m very much on the fence with Lohse. Maybe I’m too big of a prospect/draft hugger. I understand the volatility of it all, but I just feel that this draft in particular is of unusual importance to the team, assuming the budget doesn’t get scrapped. If draft picks are such a crap shoot, why not horde as many as possible? The more picks, the better chance one’s gonna pan out. Kinda like buying 2 lottery tickets instead of 1.

    I realize a lot of people are going to disagree with that logic, because I acknowledge the Yankees are definitely in “win-now” mode. So I won’t bitch and moan about losing the pick if they sign him. I would have no problem doing it for a star, but I don’t know how much better Lohse will be from what we all ready have.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      I think if the Yankees want him, they’re best off doing what RobA suggested above and waiting until June. Someone at that level going to be available mid-season, be it him or a number of other pitchers you can probably get for a non-prospect.

      • jjyank says:

        Sure, if he’s still available after the draft, by all means, go for it. I’m just hesitant to give up picks for guys who aren’t sure things. Give up a pick for the Sabathia’s and Teixeira’s (at the time, anyway) of the world? Hell yes. Give up a pick for Lohse…ehh.

        Like I said, I might feel differently without the budget. I think this draft is going to be rather important for the team if they’re trying to stay under budget.

        • Jersey Joe says:

          Ya I agree for the most part. I mean from 2006-2010, 3 picks were Jeremy Bleich, Cito Culver, and Andrew Brackman. It’s safe to say that Bleich will be a non-factor going forward, same for Culver, and Brackman is being DFA’d team after team. Not to mention Gerrit Cole in ’08. I think our system is pretty good as it is, we have a lot of depth, and if we lose one first round pick, we still have a few more thanks to Swisher and Martin. I don’t the draft pick is a big deal, it’s just the money. Lohse wants the big bucks after last year, A) He doesn’t want a 1 year deal in YS3, B) He wants at least 9 million per. I think a Lohse deal has capacity for disaster.

          • jjyank says:

            Your point A is a good one. If Boras and Lohse are looking for a 1 year pillow contract, why would he take that in Yankee Stadium in the AL East?

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              I have no idea. I don’t think he’s going to be a Yankee.

              Just saying, if he WERE willing to do that for one year, on june 1st, I wouldn’t be too upset about it.

  8. Jersey Joe says:

    It seems like the Mariners are going all in this year, and they also have a ton of starting pitching prospects and in 3-4 years, they could be a AL West powerhouse. OK maybe not, but if Lohse is trying to keep his shine from St. Louis, then Seattle would be a good fit. They just traded away Vargas, so I makes perfect sense for Lohse to sign there for like 1 year $10 million as a veteran presence and to further prove his worth in Safeco.

  9. Jersey Joe says:

    BTW, I have no idea why we as Yankee fans are still holding onto the thought of having Stanton. There really haven’t been rumors in a while. Seriously, we just have to let it go. Stanton is not coming to the Yankees. Ever.

    • jjyank says:

      Why do you say that? Stanton isn’t a free agent until 2017, there’s plenty of time for those rumors to surface. I agree they won’t get him this year, as he’s still pre-arb, but once he starts getting expensive and Miami still isn’t contending, don’t you’d think they’d explore some trade options? Just because we haven’t heard any rumors in awhile doesn’t mean we won’t in the next 4 years.

      • Jersey Joe says:

        I just think that with Cano and ARod probably taking up payroll from 2014-2017, And then Cano on the payroll until 2019, that arbitration will be a nightmare with Stanton. With all the OF prospects we have, it’s not worth it.

        • jjyank says:

          Well let’s wait and see what the OF prospects do before we declare them a better option than Stanton.

          • Jersey Joe says:

            OK.

            Zolio, Abe, Adonis, Tyler Austin, Mason, Slade, Ronnie, Gardner for a few more years, CoJo maybe in OF later, plus a few more that I am forgetting right now.

            A few of those will work out. Plus a few bargain signings like we had with Swisher, AAAA guys that can breakout, I think Stanton is not exactly what we need.

            • jjyank says:

              Well it depends what the cost of Stanton is. If he’s starting to get expensive and has less years of control left, he might require less prospects. I think Stanton would be great. There’s no reason to say the Yankees will “never” get him, because there are four more years that Miami might try to shop him.

              As far as those prospects go, a few of them are fringe guys anyway. Besides, predicting the roster construction of 2015 or 2016 is a pretty futile exercise.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              I think it’s funny that you responded with “OK” to wait and see, then proceeded to do your best to not wait and see.

  10. Pat D says:

    Considering that utterly horrible, ridiculous trade proposal in yesterday’s KLaw chat, I am tempted to try and ask him if three out of Williams, Heathcott, Austin and Sanchez would be enough for the Marlins. But since it’s not even a remote possibility, why bother?

    • RobA says:

      At this point, I doubt all four of them would be enough. I doubt many teams in baseball would be able to trade for Stanton.

      You would need quality AND quantity When I say “quality” I mean a package based around a top 5-10 prospect, and another couple in the first 30. Then maybe a top 100 guy. Something like Profar and Olt woukd be a good start, but not enough.

      • Mouse says:

        Let’s not go overboard. Stanton might be a very good player but let’s not make him out to be the second coming of Babe Ruth here.

        • Now Batting says:

          The package RobA described is basically what the Mariners offered for Upton and I think Stanton is the better player.

          • RobA says:

            Stanton is the better player comfortably. Factor in the years sof control and the cost, and then its not even close.

            As a tradechip, Stanton is far more valuable then Upton.

        • RobA says:

          Prospects bust. Thats the long and short of it, there are very very few “cant miss” prospects (I wouldnt say there are any in the minors right now) and even then they sometimes miss.

          Whereas Stanton is a superstar who plays for peanuts.

          Look at what Wil Myers got……and Stanton is significanrly more valuable (when you factor in perfomance, years of control, cost) then Shields and the other guy. Its not even close.

          At this point, Stanton is pretty much untradeable in that hes so valuable then the cost it would take to get him no team would be willing to pay. Four 50-100 ranked prospects are just not going to get it done.

          The only likely way another team would get him is if Miami felt they NEEDED to trade him for whatever reason. Even then he’d fetch a kings ransom. And Miami isnt there yet. Maybe soon.

  11. Kosmo says:

    The more time goes by with Lohse remaining unsigned it becomes more unlikely as ST days slip away that he´d be ready to go by the second week OTS.

  12. Now Batting says:

    Stanton is the successor to Felix as far as Yankee pipe dreams go.

  13. Barry says:

    “As much as we don’t want to admit it, those three young outfielders aren’t all going to work out.”
    Blaspheme!

  14. ClusterDuck says:

    “As much as we don’t want to admit it, those three young outfielders aren’t all going to work out. If the Yankees get one above-average big leaguer from that group, they should be thrilled. Two would be a minor miracle.”

    The same thing was said by many about Hughes/Kennedy/Joba.

    I consider the three outfielder prospects to be equivalent. I can’t say that all three aren’t going to work out.

    • RobA says:

      You can’t cherrypick a few players who worked out and use that as justifcation to hold onto prospects if the right oppourtunity presents itself (and even the ones you chose is retty debatable…..if people back then could see into the future to right now, most would be pretty disappointed with Hughes so far and everybody would be disappointed with Joba)

      Prospects bust. That is the facts. History has shown that overalll, the team getting the established star for prospects usually does better. That doesnt mean prospects dont have value. Just that you cant fall in love with them.

      And the bust rate for prospects in the lower levels goes up exponentially then ones in, say,AAA.

      • ClusterDuck says:

        You miss my point.

        I said that “I can’t say that all three (outfield prospects) aren’t going to work out.”

        I was responding to a comment that said that all three prospects won’t work out.

        My point still stands.

    • Havok9120 says:

      A) Yes, the same thing was said, and they were kinda right when they said it. Guys that were projected to be front of the rotation starters became a back end guy and a middle reliever while IPK’s track record has it’s own set of problems.

      B ) I can easily cherry pick prospects too and give you the Killer B’s as an example.

  15. Favrest says:

    Lohse is a consistent pitcher and a big time performer in October. It’s amazing that after doing it more than once he’s still out there.

    He’s better than Zack Grienke.

  16. Giancarlo Stanton is officially the most overrated player of all time. . . ive never seen such a man crush effect on a promising young good looking player who hasn’t done much to show he will be a superstar. . . that’s why athletes never mature or fulfill their potential nowadays people are always talking them up, I would maybe trade 2 of the 3 but mike Stanton is not that great

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      Did you just not watch baseball last year?

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        I mean come on, he had a 140 wRC+ in 2011 and a 156 last year and was a slightly above average outfielder.

        What else do you want from a 24 year old?

        Giancarlo Stanton is that great. Although it’s true, Mike Stanton is probably not, at this point.

        • jjyank says:

          Slight nitpick that enhances your point: He didn’t turn 23 until November, so that 2012 season all happened while he was still 22. If a 140 wRC+ at 21 and a 156 wRC+ at 22 isn’t a star, I have no idea what is.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            Yeah, I saw 1989 and didn’t check the month…lazy on my part and detracted from my overall point.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            For goodness sake.

            Albert Pujols at 21: 159 wrc+
            at 22: 150 wrc+

            Better than Stanton, but not by much, and Stanton plays better defense at a slightly more valuable position. Of course, Pujols took another step the next 10 years, but there’s no evidence that Stanton can’t too.

    • jjyank says:

      Uhhh….are we being serious here?

      He’s been in the bigs for 3 seasons so far (age 20, 21, and 22) and posted wRC+’s of 118, 140, and 156. As a 22 year old last yeah, he had a .405 wOBA and hit 37 home runs.

      If that’s “not showing much to be a superstar” by age 23, then…I dunno, I guess you’re just crazy.

      Of course, you could also be talking about this Mike Stanton, instead of Giancarlo: http://www.fangraphs.com/stats.....position=P

    • RobA says:

      Yeah hes crap, for sure. Never mind that he’s among the best in baseball at an age where if he wa OPS’ing .900 in AAA he’d be a top 5 prospect.

      In the best 22 y/o seasons since WW2 (min 500 PA) his past season ranks as the 4th best. Ahead of Mantle, Aaron, Miggy, Pujols.

      And he plays for under $1 million.

  17. trr says:

    Even if we wanted to make that Stanton trade, I don’t see the Marlins doing it. Why wouldn’t they want more? As Mike C wrote, he hasn’t yet fufilled his potential, but he’s still young…

    As for Loshse, well, I think that’s never gonna happen….

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      How much do you think Stanton can grow, offensively? He’s already a beast.

      • ClusterDuck says:

        Hitters like Foxx, Ott, T. Williams, F. Robinson, ARod, Pujols also hit for average(.300+) at a young age in addition to being home run hitters. So let’s start out by saying that Stanton hasn’t done that.

        Stanton’s numbers at a similar age show that he has similar power but they don’t show that he can hit for average (.300+).

        I would compare Stanton’s numbers to the early numbers of Sierra, Canseco and Andrew Jones.

        Would I trade Mason, Tyler and Slade for such a player?

        My answer would be no.

        • jjyank says:

          He hit .290 last year. Seems like an arbitrary distinction.

          Also, you wouldn’t trade those guys for a young Andruw Jones? Ha.

          • ClusterDuck says:

            Sure Stanton hit .290. one season to go along with his two seasons of hitting a high number of HR’s.

            But similarly aged players like Foxx, Ott, T. Williams, F. Robinson, ARod, Pujols all had one or more seasons of .320+ at a similar early age.

            My point is that Stanton’s early numbers are not similar to the early numbers of Foxx, Ott, T. Williams, F. Robinson, ARod, Pujols when it comes to BA. Instead his early numbers match him up to players like Canseco, A. Jones and Sierra. All three mashed home runs early in their career, all three weren’t .300+ hitters and all three were meh by the time they reached 30 years of age.

            If you want to trade three top OF prospects for a young A. Jones, I think that one could reasonably argue for or against that.

            My main point when dsicussing such a trade is to argue against those who think Stanton’s numbers project him to be a Foxx, Ott, T. Williams, F. Robinson, ARod, Pujols…type of player.

            They don’t.

        • Pat D says:

          Foxx, Ott, Williams, ARod and Pujols all started playing in eras of bigger offensive numbers where a ton of people could hit .300.

        • Havok9120 says:

          So in addition to adding a ton of importance to that extra .010 in BA, you’re also making no allowances for offensive trends changing between those eras and the current era. A guy that can produce 90% of ARod’s prime in a period where nearly no one is producing at that level anymore is enormously valuable.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            He’s comparing a 150 wrc+ to guys who were around 110.

            I posted some comparisons below, and I think that’s all anyone has to say about comparing Stanton to Andruw Jones, Jose Canseco and Ruben Sierra.

            Not to mention I’d love if we got an Andruw Jones out of Austin, Heathcott or Williams.

            • ClusterDuck says:

              “Not to mention I’d love if we got an Andruw Jones out of Austin, Heathcott or Williams.”

              Or??

              The conversation has been about trading all three.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          If you’re willing to make a huge difference in .010 points of batting average, go for it. But you’re going to be silly in doing so.

          Lou Gehrig first full season: .295, nope, no future there.
          Mantle only hit .300 in 1 of his first 3 seasons.

          Andruw jones broke 130 wrc+ ONCE in his first 9 seasons.
          Canseco didn’t even break 130 wrc+ his first FOUR years.
          Ruben Sierra barely broke 100 wrc+, aka was not even AVERAGE, his first 3 years.

          Please, man. Please. Why, why why would you compare Giancarlo Stanton’s 21/22 seasons to Andruw Jones, Canseco or Sierra?

          You can have a valid reason for not wanting to trade our 3 outfielders for Stanton, but your reasoning is not one of them.

          • ClusterDuck says:

            “Lou Gehrig first full season: .295, nope, no future there.
            Mantle only hit .300 in 1 of his first 3 seasons.”

            Again you miss my point. Please don’t do that. I never said that Stanton couldn’t be a Gehrig or a Mantle based on his first three seasons. Heck, Tyler/Slade/Mason could be too.

            Instead the point has been made based on Stanton’s first three seasons that he is a T. William, Foxx, Pujols, Arod… type of player.

            I don’t agree with that point.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              Lol.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              Instead his early numbers match him up to players like Canseco, A. Jones and Sierra. All three mashed home runs early in their career, all three weren’t .300+ hitters and all three were meh by the time they reached 30 years of age.

              If that wasn’t your point. I don’t know what is. Your’e using batting average, ONLY, to compare players. Whatever, man.

  18. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    Damn. $7-8 million to $14 million for Lohse…that’s like $250-$400k a year tax free for the rest of your life, with some money left over for your kids.

    I will never say no to my son if he asks me to go play catch. Ever.

  19. Gonzo says:

    First off, I’d make the trade for Stanton, but there are downsides to the deal.

    The question was If Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, and Mason Williams have somewhat outstanding years in AA/AAA… That’s means that all three are probably going to be consensus top 30 players in most if not all prospect lists and close to the majors. Maybe even better on some lists. I guess it depends on what he meant by somewhat outstanding.

    That also means that the trade would be consummated when Stanton reaches arb. Assuming similar production in ’13 from Stanton, you are going to pay him roughly $10mm+ that first year (Ryan Howard comp). Factor in inflation, and it might be more. Howard filed for $18mm the next year, BTW.

    So, you would give 3 top 30 players (probably, it’s fine if you think otherwise) for a player with three years of control on what would (hopefully) be roughly a 3/45mm deal. He also had some knee problems last year.

    Like I said, I’d make the deal, but I think there would be more people here on the other side of the argument in a year than there is today.

  20. godfather says:

    how about a two for one deal with the maudlins? cano/boras for stanton…not gonna be winning anything while cano’s still here anyway

  21. Larry B. says:

    Lohse is a pretty darn good pitcher. I think I’d risk losing the 2nd. The odds are in your favor considering most picks don’t make it.

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