Mailbag: Trout, Pineda, Lynn, Kelly, Halladay


Only four questions week and they kinda suck. Nah, just kidding. I say they’re good every week, so I wanted to see if anyone is actually pays attention. Remember, the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar is the best way to send us anything throughout the week.

(Ronald Martinez/Getty)

(Ronald Martinez/Getty)

Keith asks: Since there is lots of discussion this offseason about the Yankees’ minor leagues and their development of prospects, I’ve been kind of obsessed with the what ifs. One that particularly sticks out is Mike Trout. It’s been widely reported that the Yankees scouts were on him and of course the Angels ended up drafting Trout with the Yankees compensation pick. If the Yankees don’t sign Mark Teixeira and instead draft Mike Trout, would he even be in the Majors yet? Would they have found a way to screw up his development too?

First things first: if the Yankees did not sign Teixeira, their first round pick would have gone to the Brewers for CC Sabathia. If they did not sign Teixeira and Sabathia, it would have gone to the Blue Jays for A.J. Burnett. They would have had to pass on all three to keep their first rounder, and even then the Angels still would have had a pick (the compensation pick for Francisco Rodriguez) before the Yankees. Ken Rosenthal said the Halos had Trout second on their behind only Stephen Strasburg, so I assume they would have still taken him before New York had a chance at him.

Anyway, just for the sake of argument, let’s assume the Yankees somehow landed Trout in the draft that year. I think that in some cases, with historically great players and generational talents like Trout, the development part almost doesn’t matter. They’re going to succeed no matter what because there isn’t even that much developing that needs to be done, the raw talent is enough. Alex Rodriguez was like that. Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Rickey Henderson … players like that. They’re so good and physically gifted that the only thing that can stop them (other than injury) is a lack of effort and work ethic on their part. I truly believe that. Trout was so good that not even the Yankees could have screwed him up. He would have been in the show right now and still been a star.

Kevin asks: Obviously they’ll try starting first but any chance Michael Pineda‘s future with the team is ultimately in the bullpen? It wouldn’t put the stress of 170+ innings on his arm and that way they could possibly get some return on the investment.

Oh it’s definitely possible his future lies in the bullpen. He kept running into a wall around the 70-ish pitch mark during his minor league starts this year, and after such a major shoulder surgery, there’s a chance he may not be able to hold up for 100+ pitches anymore. I’m not sold on the idea that relieving on an unpredictable schedule is less stressful than having a routine and starting every five days, but a move to the bullpen is the next logical step if the starting thing proves to be too much for Pineda.

(Brian Kersey/Getty)

(Brian Kersey/Getty)

Ryan asks: What are your thoughts on Roy Halladay? Even though he is older and had the injury, I think the Yankees should sign him. Still has the stuff and experience, similarly to David Cone when they signed him.

I strongly disagree there. He doesn’t have the stuff. He might as he gets further away from the shoulder surgery in May, but Halladay was a shell of his former self late in the season. It wasn’t even Jamie Moyer stuff. No life on his fastball, loopy breaking balls, no command … it was ugly. He looked no part of a big league pitcher. Watching him pitch like that in September made it hard to believe he was the best pitcher in the world as recently as 2011.

The Yankees can’t help themselves when it comes to once-great big name players, so I do expect them to kick the tires on Halladay this winter. He has AL East experience obviously, though I’m not sure that matters much at this point. He’s not the same guy. He hasn’t been the same guy for two years now. There is no way I would guarantee Halladay anything — minor league contract or no contract, that’s it — based on that look in September, there’s no chance whatsoever I would guarantee him a rotation spot. Absolutely zero. If he wants to take a minor league deal and earn his way onto the roster, great. If not, oh well.

Ben asks: It’s pretty staggering to think about all the pitching St. Louis has right now: Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez, even Jaime Garcia. It’s fair to say they’d benefit from trading one or two of those guys. If you were the Yankees GM, what would you think a fair package would be to trade for Lynn or Kelly? Would we possibly have the pieces to trade for Martinez or Rosenthal?

Definite no on Martinez and Rosenthal. As for Lynn or Kelly, I have to think a shortstop would be atop the Cardinals wishlist. It’s hard to believe they did so well this season with a total zero at short in Pete Kozma. The Yankees don’t have a shortstop to give up unless St. Louis is particularly high on Eduardo Nunez, which I doubt they are. Jon Jay had a better year than I realized, so Brett Gardner doesn’t make much sense for them either. I’d have no trouble getting behind a Gardner for Lynn or (especially) Kelly trade, but that doesn’t seem realistic at all. I’m not sure there’s much of a fit here otherwise. The Cardinals are pretty stacked everywhere except short.

Categories : Mailbag
  • blake

    The whole Trout thing is something we really will never know…’s too painful to even think about really.

    one thing Ive always been curious about is if the Angels really had Trout #2 on their board after Strasburg then why did they take Randall Grichuk (another outfielder) with their first pick instead of Trout? Was it because they knew it didn’t matter because they had the next pick anyway and could take Trout then?

    It just seems logical that you’d take the player you’re higher on first when you have back to back picks like that….but again we’ll never know if they would have passed on Trout or not and he’d be a Yankee now. We signed Tex and won a title and then he lost the ability to hit RHP almost immediately afterwards and the rest is history.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      I think the fans are going to be brutal on Tex next yr. They have been on him the past couple of seasons due to his PS performance but it feels like he is the new whipping boy.

      • blake

        well honestly he was the player they thought they were signing exaxtly 1 season of 8. He still has value but his is one of the worst contracts in baseball because you could literally almost replace his production from the last couple of years with a good platoon at 1B…..for a fraction of the price.

        Overbay 2013 vs RHP: .258/.317/.432/.748
        Tex 2012 vs RHP: .239/.331/.438/.770

        so basically in 2/3 of the games Tex is only marginally better than Lyle Overbay at 1B……obviously he makes up for it by hitting LHP much better but if you found a guy to play 1B that could hit lefties and platooned him with Overbay then you basically have Tex’s production.

        Tex is still a useful player when healthy (which he hasn’t been lately much) but with regards to production per dollar he’s not very good because you could replace him at 1B much cheaper… least Arod plays a premium position when he can play.

        • MannyGeee

          You can’t put a price on the ring. It is what it is. You overpay Tex and in turn win a championship.

          Go ask the Sawx how they’re gonna like year 3 of Victorino. These hings happen.

          • gc

            Agreed. And not for nuthin’, but Teixeira DID hit a walk-off homer in the playoffs in 2009 as well, so he did contribute to the attaining of that ring in at least one memorable way. Nobody was complaining about his contract then. That’s the way it goes with these things.

          • blake

            true I mean I wouldn’t trade the ring to get out of Tex’s contract but my issue with it is that it’s causing them to not spend money elsewhere. Victorino doesn’t cost as much as Tex and also it’s 3 years instead of 8.

            Flags do fly forever but there has to be some limit to how much equity they buy you…..also Tex had an OPS of .647, .550, and .614 in the 3 series of the 09 playoffs…….they won that year because of the team in general and because of Arod…..

            • gc

              At the same time, they GOT to the playoffs and put themselves in the position to win because guys like Teixeira had monster years (OPS of .948 and 2nd in MVP voting in 2009). Can’t win if you don’t get there, and as I said, he won one of those playoff games with one swing of the bat. David Ortiz had two hits in the ALCS this year and an OPS of .427. And nobody cares because one of those hits was a game-tying grand slam.

              • blake

                not disputing that….but 1 good year out of 8 signed isn’t very good. They signed him to be a cornerstone type player and he’s not been that since 2009.

                It doesn’t bother me about the money… bothers me that the owner won’t spend more because of it and it’s hanging over the teams head now.

                • Mike Axisa

                  He’s had a lot more than “1 good year” with the Yankees.

                  • jjyank

                    Yes. I get what blake is trying to say here, but it would be more accurate to say that Tex only had 1 elite season with the Yankees. Then he had two really good years, and one pretty good year.

                    His 2012 numbers are not representative of his paycheck, I agree on that. Maybe his 2010-2011 aren’t either, but if they aren’t, they’re not terribly far off.

                    Let’s not sell Tex too short. We signed him expecting several years like 2009, but like Mike said, that sure wasn’t his only good year.

                    • blake

                      I meant he’s had one year as the player they thought they were getting…..they signed him to be the player he was in 2009. He’s been on a steady decline ever since then.

                      Lots of players in baseball are overpaid yes and teams get burned often on big contracts…..but my point was that when you sign a guy for a 180 million dollar deal you’d like for him to be the guy you thought you were signing for more than 1 season.

                  • blake

                    good yes….but he hasn’t been the player they thought they were signing since 2009 and has declined further every year since. He hasn’t OPS’d .800 vs RHP since 2009. He’s a useful player still when healthy….he’s just one of the more overpaid players in baseball due to his contract and the position he plays. You can find 1B production like his the last couple of years fairly easy and cheaply.

                  • qwerty

                    His numbers began to nose dive after his first season here to the point where they were the worst of his career, and every year he posts new career lows. He’s lucky he’s playing in yankee stadium where he can still hit a few more home runs.

          • Dirty Water

            You mean how are we going to like 2 years of Victorino because I think most Boston fans liked the first year just fine.

          • qwerty

            Couldn’t they have simply signed Adam Dunn to a two year contract like he did with the Nationals? He probably would have hit 50 home runs in yankee stadium. We did not need Tex, and I stated so at the time. The signing was completely unnecessary.

      • RetroRob

        Some fans, although as with A-Rod, it is still the minority.

  • MB923
    • MannyGeee

      Just saw that. Its a blanket “Yankees are interested/kicking the tires on all the Free Agents” report we have been reading every November since 2000.

      Nothing to see here, move on.

      • RetroRob

        Yup, although the one positive is that the Yankees appear to be active players this offseason unlike recent ones.

        • JCK

          Of course, last year around this time there were reports the Yankees were pursuing Torii Hunter, Scott Hairston and Russell Martin… so it literally means nothing at this point.

          Writers just have to file something by their deadline each day.

  • MannyGeee

    Its hard to close the book on Pineda already, but shit…

    • The Big City of Dreams

      They need him going forward in a big way. The silver lining is Montero hasn’t taken off

      • qwerty

        Maybe he’ll fill the 7th inning spot vacated by Joba.

  • Laz

    Cards threw away shortstop offense.
    Yankees threw away rf/ss/3b/1b/c offense last year.

  • gbyanks

    What about prado. I heard the dbacks were worried about paryroll for 2014 on mlbtr. also their top position player prospect is a 3rd baseman and had a good year in AAA so maybe they are willing to part with prado and go the cheaper rout.

  • The Thumb

    “I wanted to see if anyone plays attention.”

    What does one play this game “attention”? ;)

  • Chris Z.

    I pay attention enough to know that you wrote “plays attention” haha!

  • Matt DiBari

    I don’t think its fair to say the Yankees developmental staff wouldn’t screw up Trout. Give them some credit! Its what they’re good at!

    Seriously though, at least anecdotally, it seems like the people that are “supposed” to be good are the ones that flame out and the guys that aren’t hyped surefire prospects (Cano, Wang, Gardner, Robertson, I guess Nova) are the ones that actually contribute.

    Perhaps when the Yankee hierarchy sets their minds to “DEVELOPING A STAR” something goes horribly wrong and they should just let the players develop?

    • blake

      The Yankees haven’t had a player anywhere close to Trout’s level of talent in their system in years. I’m pretty certain they wouldn’t have screwed him up…..

      • The Bronx

        Right, not since the early ’90s when Rivera and Jeter were still prospects. But then again, Trout is on a HOF trajectory so you could say that about pretty much every franchise

        • OhioYanks

          I would say that it’s been a lot longer than that: since Mantle. I mean it’s hard to talk about raw talent and potential (maybe Brien Taylor, Ruben Rivera, or Nick Johnson had his talent for example or Jeter had the talent but not the production), but Trout is arguably on an entirely different level than Mo or even Jeter. He’s 22, two full years into his career, and is already at 21.1 fWAR. That’s over 50% of Mo’s career fWAR in ~17 years (though that might not be a fair comparison) and almost 30% of Jeter’s career total in ~17 years. Jeter’s career high fWAR season is like 75% of Trout’s average season, and Mo’s is below 50%.

          • The Bronx

            But we’re only 2+ years into his career. I have no problem with anyone who thinks he could be better (emphasis on could), but it’s hard to put him above the greatest closer and arguably the greatest SS ever, first ballot HOF for both.

      • qwerty

        It’s only been twenty years since we had anybody like that.

    • OhioYanks

      This meme has got to stop… Take a look back at the Yankees prospects from a few years ago. It’s not that coaches somehow failed to magically develop the Yankees’ players. There were some injuries, some trades, some guys still developing, and some guys who developed but just didn’t have great talent. In the period leading up to that they actually had a very productive farm system.

  • OhioYanks

    When you going to actually analyze the Yankees farm system rather than simply saying that changes are needed and they are terrible at developing players?

    Try this. Look back at your own top 30 rankings from around 2010 (give or take, some of those guys should be young contributors and MLB ready prospects right about now). Analyze where things went wrong. Notice how many of the guys you ranked as their very best prospects suffered uncorrelated injuries at different levels of the system (I’d include Pineda there as Montero’s stand-in). Notice how many are still prospects with various probabilities of contributing or are already young contributors on the MLB team. Notice that several were traded. Certainly the results haven’t been there recently and it could be all incompetence, but this insistence on explaining it as incompetence without actually analyzing the causes in any way is so ridiculous. There are some other factors playing as much of a role and possibly a much larger one.

    • OhioYanks

      Also, I love how you are completely down on every young arm in the entire Yankees’ organization but hold Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn up as total studs. Maybe Kelly is really a master of pitching to contact, but in the AL East it’s not obvious obvious that he’s any better than David Phelps or even Adam Warren. Lynn has been more consistent but not a ton better than Nova (a player you have 1,000% given up on and written off only a few months ago).

      The grass is always greener, but try to compensate for your own biases to be more objective.

      • qwerty

        Lance lynn doesn’t need to be sent down to the minors every season in order to fix whatever is wrong with him.