Mailbag: Granderson, Beltran, Choo, Trout, PEDs

Severino strikes out nine in River Dogs win
Report alleges A-Rod's people leaked un-redacted Biogenesis documents

Got five questions for you this week. The best way to send us anything is the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar.

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

John asks: Looking ahead to next year (because that’s sort of all we have at this point) the Yankees clearly need another outfielder (or two). As such, being purely hypothetical here, would you rather have Curtis Granderson at 1/$14M, Carlos Beltran at 2/$30M or Shin-Soo Choo at 4/$60M?

Of those three choices, I’m definitely taking Granderson on a one-year, $14M deal. Beltran would be my second choice and Choo a distant third. Choo sure gets a lot of attention for an injury prone platoon player who isn’t all that good on defense, doesn’t he? He’s awesome against right-handed pitchers, among the best in the world, but there’s much more to life than that.

Anyway, Beltran is still a really good hitter, the the big drop in walk rate and overall rise in swing-and-miss rate are major red flags for a 36-year-old hitter. I’ve explained this before. Add in his injury history and the overall risk that comes with guys closer to 40 than 30, and I’m very skeptical about giving him a multi-year pact. I don’t think it would be a disaster if the Yankee signed Beltran to a two-year, $30M contract (that would be a nice raise from his current two-year, $26M deal), but it’s not a slam dunk at this point.

Granderson, even at a premium salary, on a one-year contract is a pretty great deal. All of his injuries this year were flukes, he’s shown his old power, and he’s not at the point where you’d expect him fall of a cliff at age 32 (33 in March). The Yankees have enough really old veteran players on multi-year pacts and I really don’t want to see them add another to the pile at this point. Granderson for one year limits the risk and gives them a productive player. He’s the lesser of three evils, in this scenario.

Nick asks: Suggested post (motivated mainly by Jon Morosi’s column): Hiroki Kuroda‘s chances of winning the Cy Young. Consider the contenders and say what Hiroki realistically needs to do between now and season end to be in with any kind of shot.

I looked at the AL Cy Young race a little more in depth at CBS last week, so I’ll point you to that rather than regurgitate it all here. Long story short: there are a lot of legitimate candidates in the AL but Felix Hernandez and Max Scherzer stand out from the pack right now. Chris Sale deserves to be in that group as well, but he won’t get much love thanks to his crummy teammates.

Kuroda has the great 2.33 ERA and AL-best 174 ERA+, but his record (11-7) isn’t anything special, his strikeout rate (6.40 K/9 and 18.1 K%) is below-average, and his FIP (3.25) is very good but not on par with the other Cy Young candidates. To make a serious push for the award, pretty much one thing has to happen: the Yankees need to win his starts. A lot of them. He’ll have to maintain that ERA/FIP and finish the year with an 18-8 record or something to have a serious shot. That’s the easiest way to do it.

Even then, it’s probably not enough. Remember, for a Yankee to win a major award, they need to have an insanely great year that is far better than the other candidates. Think 2007 Alex Rodriguez. There’s definitely a Yankee bias at work in the voting. Kuroda’s been awesome, but his performance this year is still a notch between Felix, Scherzer, and Sale for me. Those guys have been outrageously good.

(Drew Hallowell/Getty)
(Drew Hallowell/Getty)

Brian asks: I saw a little blurb on MLBTR regarding Mike Trout and the Angels. Trout is obviously worth far more than his current league minimum contract, but if the Angels sit back and decide to continue to paying him league minimum, could Trout theoretically hold out like they do in football? Is there any baseball precedent to that?

There is no precedent for that in baseball as far as I know, certainly not recently. If he were the hold out, I imagine the team would suspend him without pay, which would do some damage to his image. It happens. At this point of his career, Trout is stuck making whatever the Angels are willing to pay him. Is it fair? Of course not. But that’s the salary system that was collectively bargained.

Trout has one more year at (or near) the league minimum before becoming eligible for arbitration, when he’ll at least have some say in his salary. He can’t become a free agent until after the 2017 campaign. I don’t know if Trout will hold enough of a grudge to pass on a long-term contract if the Halos make an offer, but it would surprise me. He’s already in nine-figure contract extension territory and that’s hard to pass up.

Rosco asks: I know a lot of people are praising MLB for suspending players for PEDs associated with the Miami clinic, but shouldn’t we worry that none of them tested positive? How many other players are using that we do not know about because it seems the testing systems has some holes?

That’s the part going completely unnoticed. Not a single player tested positive and a local newspaper in Miami managed to get wind of the scandal before the league. That’s the nature of the beast though, the drugs will always be ahead of the tests. There’s no doubt the recent suspensions send a strong message — we’re going to go to great lengths to find you if you’ve been cheating! — but that alone won’t be enough of a disincentive for many players. The only thing MLB can do is test and test, that’s all. Sports will never be completely clean.

Lee asks: I saw these stats on defensive shifts a couple of weeks ago, but haven’t seen any commentary on them anywhere, and would love to hear your thoughts. The Yankees are THIRD in the use of defensive shifts? Wow, I guess I’ve been so mesmerized by how bad their offense is that I didn’t notice! But even more incredible, ZERO runs saved???? That’s almost funny — they just can’t get anything right this year.

Yeah, the Yankees definitely seem to suck at shift. Anecdotally, they seem to pitch away from the situation quite a bit, meaning they pitch outside with soft stuff while playing the hitter to pull. That doesn’t make sense. The defense on the left side of the infield has been terrible pretty much all year, which is another factor. I give them credit for trying — it’s interesting that four of the top five shifting teams are from the AL East, no? — but I’m not sure they have the personnel to pull off some fancy shifts at this point. The infield defense is too immobile.

Severino strikes out nine in River Dogs win
Report alleges A-Rod's people leaked un-redacted Biogenesis documents
  • Eddard

    1. I’ll take Grandy on the 1 year deal as well. The shorter the better. But I’m sure the Yanks will opt for the oldest player and the longest contract.

    2. If the Yanks somehow get a playoff spot then Hiroki Kuroda is your Cy Young, Robbie Cano is your MVP, and Joe Girardi is MOY, period.

    3. The Angels should lock him up long term. He’s all they’ve got.

    4. And it’s revealed now that A-Rod snitched on Frankie Cervelli and Ryan Bruan. People here were up in arms that MLB was making deals with the devil to get their info. Turns out the devil was A-Rod.

    5. They need to be ready to shift early and shift often against Big Papi this weekened. A series sweep and they’re right back in it. 2/3 and they’re still alive. Anything less and it’s over.

    • Slugger27

      1. agreed

      2. who cares?

      3. agreed

      4. agreed as well. im sure droids will come on here any minute to trash mlb for looking into what was handed to them. or defend arod.

      5. theyve been shifting ortiz for years…….

    • JGYank

      No way Cano wins the MVP. Cabrera or Davis are way better than any other player except maybe Trout. One of those guys wins most likely one of the first two. As for Kuroda he needs to start racking up the Ks. I think the voters are starting to looking past record.

      • Lukaszek

        Right now I’d place Cano 5th

        1 – Miguel Cabrera
        2 – Chris Davis
        3 – Mike Trout
        4 – Adrian Beltre
        5 – Robinson Cano

        Cabrera, Davis, and Trout are simply too good this year. Unless Cano goes on a hot streak, he’ll probably finish in the Top-6 but no better. I can’t see him possibly overtaking Miggy

        • Lukaszek

          If Cano can get on a hot streak tho, I can see him finishing ahead of Beltre and maybe Trout. Cano’s hot streaks can be quite amazing; something in the range of 2010 April, 2012 June, or 2012 September can put him right back in the race

        • Cool Lester Smooth

          Davis hasn’t been near Trout’s level this season.

  • Slugger27

    im confused by your granderson paragraph. you say in the first sentence it’s a “pretty great deal” … then in the last sentence, you say he’s “the lesser of three evils”


    i personally agree with the first sentence stance, that its a good deal… but disagree with your last sentence 180 flip, that hes in any way an “evil”

    • Lukaszek

      I always liked Granderson because, come on, how many outfielders in this day and age can hit 40+ homeruns and 100+ RBI? Doesn’t matter how much they strike out, anyone who can do that is a valuable commodity. Granderson has already won two games for the Yankees with his power: the Padres game and the 1st Angels game

    • Lukaszek

      I always liked Granderson because, come on, how many outfielders in this day and age can hit 40+ homeruns and 100+ RBI? Doesn’t matter how much they strike out, anyone who can do that is a valuable commodity. Granderson has already won two games for the Yankees with his power: the Padres game and the 1st Angels gam

  • CP

    Not a single player tested positive and a local newspaper in Miami managed to get wind of the scandal before the league.

    Actually, a number of players tested positive including Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon.

    • Slugger27

      the internet is no place for facts, CP.

    • Ralph

      You can add Braun (who only got off on a technicality) and Yasmani Grandal. Add in the fact we don’t know what drugs they were doing. If say a majority of them were doing HGH, MLB would’ve had no way of catching them before this seasons implementation of HGH testing.

    • lee

      i’m sure Mike was referring only to the latest round of players who were banned (the 12 plus A-Rod) — none of that group had tested positive. and i agree with Mike’s point — this whole Biogenesis affair just highlights how totally ineffective the testing is, and so you have to wonder if this will really put a stop to the use of PEDs. it was a fluke that the Biogenesis story was even uncovered at all. how many other PED-peddling labs are there around the country just like Biogensis? dozens, maybe hundreds? the real lesson here to a PED user is just be careful about who you deal with, and you’ll be OK, as the testing is obviously very easy to beat.

      • Slugger27

        well, melky and colon and braun all failed tests, so they cant be that easy to beast.

        • Cool Lester Smooth

          They were all using testosterone, not HGH, because they’re idiots.

          • OldYanksFan

            HGH may be illegal, but it is NOT a PED.
            Even the witch hunt Mitchell Report stated that.

  • trr

    I think it’s a no-brainer that Granderson will get a Q/O from the team. Tough to say at this point what the narket will be for him. Beltran is a close call…some much age on this team already. I’d pass on Choo

    • trr

      sorry for the typos guys. big fingers, little buttons

  • Geno

    That’s the thing though, they didn’t even go to great lengths to get these guys. The whole thing fell into their lap because of a business deal gone bad.

  • 28 this year

    The shifting part, they just don’t pitch to it. The immobile defense part, to me, is less a factor in effective shifting because the whole purpose of shifting is that you bring you players closer to where the ball is hit and thus, reduce the need for a super athletic infield defense. A really good infield doesn’t need to shift as much because they have the range to cover more of the diamond. A worse infield defense can use the shift to cover a section of the diamond where the ball is more likely to be hit. The ineffectiveness is probably a combination of bad pitching and maybe even just shifting when they shouldnt be shifting like basically assuming a guy is a pull hitter when they are not, stuff like that.

  • Kramerica Industries

    All those CBS comment sections suck. It’s pretty much open season on whoever the author is.


  • JGYank

    Choo has an OBP above .400 who cares about platoon splits and defense when you are that good. He is the best at least offensively out of the three. I can see Beltran drop off a cliff and decline. I don’t like Grandy’s BA and strikeouts but I can live with them. I think we either keep Grandy or go with what we already have.

  • Oy

    Angels should approach Trout and offer him a 10 year 100 mill extension, under the condition that Angels must rename their team to Anaheim Trouts. A Choo/Ichiro platoon would be great.

  • David Brown

    I have never liked Alex Rodriguez, and wishes he never played for the Yankees. I have to say, though, if and this is a BIG if, MLB can prove the Rodriguez did this, it will be his worst transgression, and his career is over, because he will be treated like “The Invisible Man” in the Clubhouse (because no player or even the Players Association will support him (or anyone) snitching on fellow Players Association members). You can debate the PED issue over and over again (and how much time (if any) should Rodriguez be suspended for), but there is no debating the fact, that you should not have a RAT inside the Clubhouse. I have always believed the fairest solution was to pay Rodriguez his entire Contract (no one put a gun to the Yankees head and made them sign it), but in return, he must retire from Baseball and his Contract will not Count against the salary cap. Now, if this gets proven, it puts him on a level below a Police Informant, and I hope he gets banned forever, and collects NOT ONE RED CENT.

  • fezz

    listen to Joe Rogan’s podcast – free on Itunes. October 2012 he had Balco’s own Victor Conte on the podcast. the guys a bit of a douche but it was a 3 hour interview on how PED’s work, how easy it is to beat the testing and the overall doping in sports.

    long story short your body will retain the stronger, quicker, bigger, and enhancing benefits a few months after stopping the PEDs. so the players will juice October – January then cycle off completely. when they get to training camp they’re bigger faster and stronger, but not actively using and their body’s testosterone levels are about back to normal.

    this also would explain how many players are dominant the first half of the season, only to crash and be almost worthless after the all-star break.

    again podcasts through Itunes are free and the Victor Conte one is very educational for anyone who’s a sports fan.

    • RetroRob

      Conte would know this as well as anyone, yet there is one issue. Players are tested year-round.