Mailbag: Cano, Mo, Overbay, Joba, Montero

Offense falters again as M's take rubber game
Hal Steinbrenner confirms contract talks with Cano's new agent

Rapid fire mailbag this week, so ten questions and ten answers. Please use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send up anything throughout the week, mailbag questions or otherwise.

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

Max asks: At what point should we worry about Robinson Cano‘s bad lefty splits going forward? He’s hitting .254/.299/.476 against lefties this year and had a .239/.309/.337 line last year. Sure, he still mashes righties but I’m really not comfortable with the idea of giving a potential platoon player a megadeal. Thanks.

Oh it’s definitely a red flag right. Cano hit lefties nearly as well as he hit righties until last season, when his performance fell off a cliff. I looked at the data as part of our season review and didn’t find any significant red flags. This year though, both his ground ball (56.3%) and strikeout (22.4%) rates are way up against southpaws. That could change in a hurry since it’s so early in the season. If that continues into the summer, I’d be very worried. Giving a super-long contract to a middle infielder is risky enough, and it would be even worse if he’s morphed into a platoon bat. Not worried yet, but I will be watching this.

Steve asks: Single-season saves record is Francisco Rodriguez at 62. Mariano Rivera is on pace for 66. What are the odds he does it?

This isn’t really a Mo thing, right? The other 24 players on the team have to create those save opportunities for him. They’d have to give him like, 67 save chances over the full season to get to 62 saves, which means another 51 save chances in the final 121 games of the year. It’s doable, the Yankees play a ton of close games because their pitching is good and their offense mostly stinks (94 wRC+!), but only twice has someone saved more than 55 games in one year. I think the odds are very small, maybe 5% on the high-end.

Vinny asks: Assuming Travis Hafner gets and stays healthy (big assumption), what will the Yankees do with Lyle Overbay whenever Mark Teixeira comes back? His performance against righties has been excellent.

His performance against righties has been excellent (160 wRC+), but so has Hafner’s (151 wRC+). Pronk also does a much better job of holding his own against southpaws (98 wRC+, where Overbay has been basically useless (-21 wRC+). Their overall hitting numbers aren’t particularly close either (106 vs. 139 wRC+). The Yankees will have to decide if Overbay’s advantages on defense and durability make up the difference in offensive production. Considering he’s a first baseman and first baseman only, I think the answer is clearly no.

The rarely seen Cesar Cabral. (Star-Ledger)
The rarely seen Cesar Cabral. (Star-Ledger)

Brad asks: Do you see the Yankees shopping for another LOOGY? Or do you believe Brian Cashman will wait to see what Clay Rapada and/or Cesar Cabral can contribute?

I definitely think they will see what they have internally first. That means Vidal Nuno and maybe even Josh Spence in addition to Rapada and Cabral. If those guys all manage to flop — or if Boone Logan gets hurt — in the coming weeks, yeah I could see them looking for lefty relief help at the deadline. It definitely isn’t a pressing need right now.

KG asks: Would the Yankees have the interest/package to trade for Nick Franklin? He may not end up a bonafide major league shortstop, but the Mariners have Dustin Ackley at second and Brad Miller just behind Franklin. Pipe dream?

I’m sure there would be some interest on New York’s part, but I don’t see why the Mariners would move him right now. He’s tearing up the Triple-A level (159 wRC+) and even though he’s unlikely to be a shortstop long-term, he’s much better than their big league shortstops. Ackley is awful but they won’t give up on him yet, but Miller is far from a sure thing. I think the Mariners will call Franklin up in the coming weeks and give him a chance. The only thing the Yankees have to offer are a bunch High-A and Double-A outfielders, none of whom is performing particularly well this year. I don’t really see a trade fit.

Anonymous asks: With Seattle having uber-catching prospect Mike Zunino just about ready for the show — any chance Seattle will take offers for Jesus Montero? What would the Yankees have to give to reacquire Jesus?

Teams usually aren’t quick to admit failure after a trade of that magnitude, so I don’t think Seattle would be open to moving Montero so soon without getting a big piece in return. They’re not going to sell-low and take two Grade-C prospects despite his dismal big league performance. The Yankees could stick him at DH, teach him first base, catch him on rare occasions … basically everything they could have done when he was with the organization. I don’t see this happening at all.

Anonymous asks: Do you believe the Yankees are planning to trade Joba Chamberlain for pieces around the deadline, considering the Yankees’ surplus of middle relief options? Joba could bring back a cost-controlled piece.

He’s an injury-prone middle reliever who will be a free agent after the season. You don’t get “pieces” in return for that, and the only cost-controlled piece he’ll bring back in a mid-level prospect. Joba’s value to the Yankees as a seventh inning reliever is much greater than anything they’ll realistically get in return. Teams aren’t giving up anything worthwhile for him, I know I wouldn’t.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Mike asks: Sort of a two-part David Aardsma question now that the Marlins released him. Firstly, why are teams not giving him a shot in the Majors, and secondly, would it make sense for the Yanks to go pick him up again?

I don’t know why he hasn’t been given a big league shot yet, but I don’t believe it’s because he’s been overlooked. Teams know Aardsma, and anytime a former standout closer becomes a free agent, he gets looked into. They must not like what they’ve seen, either in his stuff or command — he did walk eight in 14 innings before the release, which he requested — or whatever. If Aardsma wants to come back to the organization and pitch in Triple-A for a few weeks, great. I wouldn’t give him a big league job over Shawn Kelley or Preston Claiborne (or Joba) right now though.

Tuckers asks: I know it’s too soon to predict, but what do you think about the Yankees signing Tim Lincecum after the season? I think there’s a good argument to be made either way.

My answer at this exact moment is no. That is subject to change between now and the offseason, but his velocity continues to hover around 90 mph and his offspeed stuff isn’t as devastating as it was when he was 93-95. His walk (4.25 BB/9 and 11.0 BB%) and homer (0.92 HR/FB and 15.6% HR/FB) rates are career-worsts, and that’s in a big park in the NL. The Yankees do a wonderful job of squeezing production from seemingly cooked veterans, but I don’t think Lincecum is coming on a cheap one-year deal. So yeah, right now my answer is no. If he adds some velocity this summer, my opinion will change.

Brad asks: So the Yankees seem to have a glut of serviceable, young starting pitchers. Is there a deal out there for them to turn some quantity of these into an impact bat?

I don’t think so. I don’t see any team giving up an impact back for guys like Ivan Nova and David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno. Two or three projected fifth starters doesn’t get you one really good bat. Maybe they could get a David Adams type, but that wouldn’t qualify as an impact bat in my opinion.

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Offense falters again as M's take rubber game
Hal Steinbrenner confirms contract talks with Cano's new agent
  • CS Yankee

    Mike,

    If Stew’ needs a 15 day DL because of the groin, what would need to happen to have a Murph’ debut?

    DFA a 40-man (Fransisco) guy and promote Melky Kesa as well?

    • jjyank

      Not a bad question. I didn’t really think about this at all. For some reason, I thought they had Bobby Wilson on the 40 man, but apparently not. Murphy will need to be protected from the Rule 5 draft after the season anyway, so maybe there is some merit to this.

      The only reason I don’t want that to happen is Romine. He’s languished enough on the bench, and I think he needs to some playing time. Calling up Murphy is start ahead of Romine doesn’t make much sense to me, and ditto calling him up just to sit on the bench like Romine has been doing.

      If it were up to me, I think I’d make Romine the starter and call up Wilson to be the BUC. I also would do this with Stewart even if he didn’t need a DL stint, but I digress.

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

      I don’t see them carrying two kid catchers, especially since Girardi seems to have no trust in Romine. Wilson gives them more flexibility through the end of the season because they can cut him easily. Once Murphy is added, he’s staying.

      • trr

        Agreed! It can and should (unfortunately) be Wilson, unless some other servicable back up veteran (and don’t ask me who) can be had via trade

      • CS Yankee

        How about Melky K’sa in leiu of Ben “the non OBA treat” Francisco?

  • dfdf

    I call bullshit on not getting anything in return for Joba. Every year you see teams overpay for relief help.

    • jjyank

      Well sure, you’d get something in return for Joba, but that’s not really the point. The idea is to get more value in a trade than what Joba can give the team himself, and I really don’t see that happening. What team is going to give up value for Joba that is equal to or more than what he brings as a solid 7th inning guy? If he had another year of control left, maybe. I don’t see it.

    • Slugger27

      what kind of prospects would you want the yanks to give up for a player similar to joba?

      • Sarcasm

        the Yankees already have Joba, why would they give up prospects for him?

        • trr

          I see Joba more as a guy who would be a throw-in in a multi-player deal at the trading deadline, for, hmmm let’s see…
          Brian McCann???

          • MannyGeee

            Hold on. I can kinda see some merit here.

            McCann is on a contract year, and he fits a team need. If you trade a Joba/semi-useful piece package (Spence maybe?) for McCann and a B/C prospect…. there might be a match there. And it serves as an extended tryout to see if McCann is an answer for 2014.

        • Slugger27

          this joke wouldnt have been a complete disaster had i not included “a player similar to….”

          still wouldve been awful and unfunny obviously, just not the disaster it was.

          • Thomas

            Funniest part of his post is his name is Sarcasm.

            • Slugger27

              yeah i obviously know what he was attempting… but the way i worded my question, the joke just didnt really make sense and fell flat on its face.

              had things worked out, it wouldve just been boring and not funny. instead, its a complete eye roll and we have all lost IQ points having read it.

        • Craig Maduro

          ::crickets::

  • Robert

    Cervelli was called up from AA, Murphy is better than Cervelli was back then.Call him up!!

    • Kosmo

      Cervelli was called up in 2008 for all of 5 ABs.

      • CS Yankee

        He wasn’t called up for 5 AB’s, 5 AB’s is what he got when he was called up. My fear is that Wilson makes Stew’ look like Cano and maybe having the kids that can hit is worth some merit versus just going with a broke dick.

  • Mike

    Perhaps they trade Overbay when Tex gets back? Who knows how much, or how little, valuable he’ll be going forward, but If the team has no use for him, I say trade him, regardless if it’s a MLB player or minor leaguer(s).

    • Wolfgang’s Fault

      I now have a real serious man crush on Overbay. He does just about everything right, and he’s been money in big spots. That throw he made earlier in the year to finish off that triple play which just precisely thread the needle was just about the damndest throw I’ve ever seen in 55 years of watching baseball. At this point, I don’t miss Tex at all, & if he happened to need the rest of the summer off to get healthy or whatever, I’d be fine w/Overbay the rest of the year. The only reason this club has been so competitive so far is because of those two Blue Jay refugees, Vernon Wells, & yes, Lyle Overbay.

  • mt

    Thought I read somewhere that Wilson was hurt but have not seen that repeated.

    No Martin, no Cervelli, no Stewart leaves Romine and Wilson, I guess.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    I don’t get why some people want Montero back.

    • trr

      me neither; he needs to go back to MiL BB for another year or so.

      Even so, The Yanks have no interest in reacquiring him; why would they?

    • WhittakerWalt

      I don’t get why some any people want Montero back.

      Because we have a tendency to overrate our prospects, even when they’ve proven to be a bust with another team. They’ll be rejuvenated by pinstripes, I tell you!

    • Slugger27

      same reason they wanted CMW back. he used to play here.

      nothing more nothing less

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Because he’s not that far removed from the prospect we thought we had. Because we don’t know if “being ruined by Seattle” is an actual thing, what kind of thing it is, etc.

      I’d take him back, but certainly not for a value equal to what he was traded for.

    • mustang (The Has Been & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

      Because he is still Miguel Cabrera/ Babe Ruth with the catching abilities of Posada.

      :)

  • I’m not the droids you’re looking for…

    Betances call up ?!?

  • Yankees

    Does anyone else agree or think that the Yankees should move away from Gardner, Hughes and Joba? I would be willing to see if anyone is out there to trade these guys? I think the Yankees gave plenty of time to see Hughes and I think the Yankees could use a better corner outfielder rather then Gardner. What do you all think?

    • jjyank

      No. The Yankees are in first place, they’re not going to sell off three MLB pieces that have value. And yes, all three of them have value.

      • Anderson Silva

        I think now is the perfect time to trade Gardner. He’s only getting worse. At least now you can find some takers

        • trr

          Joba will be gone by next season, IMO.

          Hughes is baffling because of his inconsistency; just when you think he’s turned the corner he throws up a couple of stinkers back to back. Everyone is low on him right now because he is coming off the worst start of his career; but he’s just as likely to throw 6 shutout innings next start. This is the problem; you never know what you’re gonna get, like that Gumpian box of chocolates.

          Gardner, now there’s an interesting case; he’s still realtively inexpensive, a player of value, but oft injured – yet he may be at his career peak now..

          So – yes to trading Joba anytime (if you can find any takers) but no to trading Hughes + Gardner as long as we’re competetive

        • jjyank

          How do you know he’s only getting worse? He had a career year in 2011, and didn’t play enough in 2012 to make a judgement. And it’s only mid-May in 2013. That’s a pretty baseless statement. Trading Gardner, or just about any MLB piece, is a mistake. You’re not going to get as much value back as you’re giving away. You just don’t see the value you’re giving away.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            I in no way think this is what AS is saying, but there is credence to Mike’s thinking that, once he loses his speed, he becomes a much less valuable player.

            I’d rather squeeze every last drop out of him, as I don’t share the survivor guilt others have on here, but that’s just me.

            Use the Hoigle if you don’t understand what “survivor guilt” means.

            • jjyank

              I agree that once his speed goes, he’s pretty much done. And I’m perfectly okay with not extending him or re-signing him when he becomes a free agent. But he’s still a valuable piece to a first place team, and I don’t see a reason to trade him right now.

  • Vern Sneaker

    Re Joba (and let’s throw Hughes into this since it’s the same principle): It’s less easy than it might seem to replace a proven adequate 7th-inning guy and a proven adequate #4 starter with players of equal ability. These roles are by definition filled by inconsistent talents. The question is $$. What are they worth, and for that particular $$ value who else can you find that you can have confidence in? Assuming they perform as per their history the rest of the year, I’d rather pay Joba than replace him. Hughes I’m less certain about not because of his ability but I fear the market may make his price ridiculous.

  • nsalem

    Maybe there is little interest in Aardsma because of his 5.1/9 BB rate even when he was supposedly great.
    His lifetime pitches per inning rate is up around 19 which may not allow him to go more than one inning per appearance. I think the Yankee’s have better and more versatile options internally. Just don’t understand the continued Aardsma love.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Name value. Thought to be a nice guy. That sort of thing.

      My eyebrows were certainly raised when he was let go, and I said that on here, but I do feel like I understand why the team did so the more time passes, and the more guys Shawn Kelley strikes out.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I don’t get the get-rid-of-Joba obsession, other than a belief that Mariano Rivera can’t fight his own damn battles.

    It seems very hard for me to hold “he’s an underperforming middle reliever and problem child” and “we can get something of value for him” at the same time. Those are seemingly contradictory to each other.

    I ride out the season witbh him and see if you feel you have something different at the end of the season than what you thought you had, however unlikely that is. Then, if what you have is a middle reliever with some name value asking for a multi-year deal, you say “thanks for the memories” and replace him from within. That’s most likely what you have anyway.

    Now, if some GM is dealing with an unfortunate frontal lobe injury and wants to acquire him in July thinking “Joba Rules” Joba is the missing piece for their franchise, and wants to pay the Yankees accordingly, sure, trade him. I doubt that’s happening.

    Obviously this all ends in him winning 20 games in the National League this year because God, in the end, has a sick sense of humor, but that’s besides the point.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Next year, not this year.

    • DC

      Agree 100%. Seems too many people think baseball works like American Pickers and other teams will pay good money for our “trash”.

      • mustang (The Has Been & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

        agree

        well said.