Scouting The Trade Market: Phillies’ Pitchers

Hitting, Pitching, Defense: Yankees bad in all phases in 4-2 loss to Rangers
Heyman: Yankees, White Sox discussing John Danks

With four-fifths of the Opening Day rotation on the disabled list and not due back anytime soon, the Yankees are facing a pitching crisis. It’s not as bad as it could be thanks to the Brandon McCarthy pickup and the emergence of Shane Greene, but the team is pretty desperate for some quality arms. It’s tough to expect Masahiro Tanaka and/or Michael Pineda to return in the second half given the nature of their injuries.

The trade deadline is next Thursday and at this point it’s tough to see the Phillies not selling. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. recently told Jim Salisbury nothing more than “we’re going to try to do what we can to improve our club,” which makes sense. It’s not often a team will come out and announce they’re in sell mode. It pushes fans away. The Phillies do have baseball’s sixth worst record at 43-56 though, and the rumors of a fire sale are louder than ever. If and when they do pull the plug, they have several players who would interest the Yankees. Here are the pitchers, later today we’ll cover the position players.

Why have I not worn pinstripes yet? (Mitchell Leff/Getty)
Why have I not worn pinstripes yet? (Mitchell Leff/Getty)

LHP Cliff Lee
Lee, 35, returned to the mound last night after spending two months on the disabled list with a flexor pronator strain. That’s a muscle in your forearm, though forearm issues are usually symptoms of an elbow problem. Either way, Lee returned last night and was terrible, allowing six runs on a career high-tying 12 hits in 5.2 innings. I watched the game and he just looked rusty. PitchFX confirms his velocity was fine and he threw all of his pitches, but his location was terrible. He looked like a guy who threw only 10.2 rehab innings after missing two months.

Anyway, prior to last night, Lee had a 3.18 ERA (2.70 FIP) in ten starts and 68 innings, numbers that are right in line with his stellar 2008-2013 performance (2.89 ERA and 2.85 FIP). His strikeout rate (8.07 K/9 and 21.1 K%) was down a touch from recent years but still very good while his walk rate (1.19 BB/9 and 3.1 BB%) was outstanding as usual and his ground ball rate (49.1%) was a career high. Cliff Lee was pitching exactly like Cliff Lee before the injury. Here is his pitch breakdown:

Four-Seam Sinker Cutter Changeup Curveball Slider
Avg. Velocity 91.0 90.9 87.3 84.2 74.9 81.0
% Thrown 2.6% 54.9% 14.8% 19.9% 5.8% 2.0%
Whiff+ 155 86 59 130 73 251
GB+ 53 92 116 127 160 57

Even during these last seven years, when he was one of the three or four best pitchers in baseball, Lee never had blow you away stuff. It’s good stuff but not great stuff that plays up (a lot) because he locates everything so well. Lee is essentially a sinker/cutter/changeup pitcher who will mix in a few four-seamers, curveballs, and sliders per start, with the changeup being the only pitch that is above-average at getting both swings and misses and grounders. (Whiff+ and GB+ are like ERA+, but for swing-and-miss and ground ball rates for the individual pitches.)

Lee’s contract is pricey but it’s not an albatross given how well he was pitching before getting hurt — he is owed roughly $10M through the end of this season plus another $25M last year. His $27.5M option for 2016 comes with a $12.5M buyout and vests if he throws 200 innings next year or 400 innings combined from 2014-15. The injury will hurt his chances of meeting the latter. Lee has thrown at least 210 innings every year since 2008, so he’s been very durable in recent years. He’s guaranteed $47.5M or so through the end of next year and at most $62.5M through 2016. I don’t see that as a deal-breaker for a pitcher of this caliber.

The Yankees are included in Lee’s 20-team no-trade list according to Jon Morosi, but that doesn’t appear to be much of an obstacle. In a perfect world New York would just absorb Lee’s contract and give up little in the way of prospects. The Phillies are a financial powerhouse though and shedding salary is not a priority at the deadline. In fact, Ken Rosenthal says they’re willing to eat money to get the best possible prospect package in return. Jim Bowden (subs. req’d) suggested Aaron Judge and Luis Severino for Lee, which is ludicrous, but he isn’t going to come cheap either. Giving up two very good but not truly elite prospects for a legitimate difference maker like Lee seems pretty reasonable in a vacuum, actually.

Of course, the health of Lee’s forearm/elbow is a critical and any team that trades for him will have to have to feel confident in the medicals. Lee is scheduled to start again Saturday, his last scheduled start before the deadline (he is scheduled to start again on the 31st). Teams are only going to get two looks at him before the deadline and the first look last night stunk. Saturday’s outing could be enough to convince a pitching needy club to pull the trigger, or Lee’s post-injury audition could stretch a little longer and make him an August waiver trade candidate. The Yankees are enamored with him and they are desperate for pitching. The stars are aligned.

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

LHP Cole Hamels
Want an elite left-hander who is younger than Lee and doesn’t have the same immediate injury concerns? The Phillies can also offer up the 30-year-old Hamels, who is once again pitching brilliantly (2.83 ERA and 3.14 FIP in 17 starts and 114.1 innings) after opening the season on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis. It clearly has not had any lingering effect — his strikeout rate (9.05 K/9 and 24.7 K%) is excellent and both his walk (2.99 BB/9 and 8.2 BB%) and ground ball (48.5%) rates are strong. His fastball velocity is also identical to last year and 2010-13 in general.

Let’s dive in to his pitch breakdown:

Four-Seam Sinker Cutter Changeup Curveball
Avg. Velocity 92.6 92.5 89.1 84.5 78.5
% Thrown 36.7% 15.5% 15.6% 21.9% 9.9%
Whiff+ 108 93 107 190 132
GB+ 103 121 114 112 114

The changeup has always been Hamels’ bread and butter. It’s an elite offspeed pitch he can and will throw in any count to batters on both sides of the plate. He picked up the cutter during the 2010 season and it has helped him go from very good to excellent. Hamels throws five different pitches at least 10% of the time each (give or take) and has a go-to out pitch in his changeup. That kind of repertoire makes him one of the best (and most underappreciated?) pitchers in the game.

The Phillies signed Hamels to a massive six-year extension worth $144M two years ago, and at this point he is still owed approximately $99M through the 2018 season. That’s broken down into $9M for the rest of this year plus $22.5M annually over the next four years. The deal also includes a $20M team option/$24M vesting option for 2019. The option vests based on innings and shoulder-related time on the disabled list. Hamels wouldn’t be a short-term commitment like Lee, you’d be getting this guy from age 30-34 and possibly his age 35 season as well.

Both Jon Heyman and Nick Cafardo hear the Phillies are not inclined to move Hamels unless they’re blown away. They see him as someone who can anchor the rotation going forward and be part of the next winning team in Philadelphia. In fact, Cafardo says they’d need three top prospects and a team to absorb his full contract to move him. That seems unlikely to happen. (For what it’s worth, Buster Olney says the Phillies are telling teams Hamels is not available at all.) Like Lee, Hamels is an elite left-hander who has been a workhorse, has experience in a big market, and shown he can dominate in the postseason. Either guy would fit wonderfully in the Yankees’ rotation.

Kendrick. (Brian Garfinkel/Getty)
Kendrick. (Brian Garfinkel/Getty)

RHP Kyle Kendrick and RHP Roberto Hernandez
Regardless of whether you think the Yankees should be buying or selling — this is a very binary thing, of course, nothing in the middle is allowed — I think we can all agree they need to add another starter to eat up some innings at the very least. Hanging Chase Whitley out to dry in the second half is a recipe for disaster. Another McCarthy-esque pickup feels like the absolutely minimum for New York before the deadline.

The 29-year-old Kendrick has thrown at least 150 innings three times in the last four years and is at 20 starts and 125.2 innings this season. The problem? He’s been terrible, with a 4.87 ERA (4.57 FIP) this year and 5.38 ERA (4.51 FIP) over the last calendar year. Hernandez, 33, has also thrown 150+ innings in three of the last four years and is poised to do so again this year (17 starts, three relief appearances, 100.1 innings). He has a 4.22 ERA (4.78 FIP) this season and a 4.41 ERA (4.78 FIP) over the last calendar year. Both guys would likely come cheap and chew up some innings, but that’s it. They won’t have an impact.

RHP Jonathan Papelbon and various relievers
Papelbon, who is now 33, recently told Matt Gelb he would welcome a trade to a contender, assuming someone is willing to take on the $18M he is owed through next season (plus a $13M vesting option for 2016). He has been excellent in 2014 (1.17 ERA and 2.36 FIP) even though his strikeout rate (7.75 K/9 and 22.5 K%) has fallen for the third straight year. The Yankees could use another reliever, every team could, but this seems like overkill. If they’re willing to invest that kind of money in a reliever, I’d so much rather see them give it to the younger and better David Robertson.

Bastardo. (Rich Schultz/Getty)
Bastardo. (Rich Schultz/Getty)

The rest of Philadelphia’s bullpen includes 28-year-old lefty Antonio Bastardo, who has a 3.38 ERA (3.19 FIP) in 42.2 innings this year. He has been effective against right-handed hitters over the years and is not just a specialist. Veteran righty Mike Adams is once again on the disabled list with a shoulder problem and is likely done for the year. He’s a non-option. Others like lefty Jake Diekman (4.43 ERA and 3.01 FIP) and righty Justin De Fratus (3.07 ERA and 3.86 FIP) are fresh off the generic middle reliever farm. There’s a reason the Phillies have been looking for quality bullpen help for about two years now. There’s not much to see here.

* * *

The Yankees are said to have no interest in a reunion with A.J. Burnett — the Orioles are reportedly trying to acquire him, by the way (imagine having Burnett and Ubaldo Jimenez in the same rotation, yikes) — which isn’t surprising. I doubt we’ll see any reunions with failed Yankees starters for a little while after the Javy Vazquez fiasco. They’ve shown they’ll let things like that scare them away from repeats for a little while.

Lee and Hamels are obviously the big pitching names with the Phillies and I get the sense both are more available now than ever before. Lee seems more easily attainable, not that it won’t sting to get him. You have to give something to get an impact pitcher like that, assuming his arm is sound following the injury. Kendrick, Hernandez, and the miscellaneous bullpen arms are not needle-movers, just warm bodies to give innings in the second half. The Yankees could use use some of those types of pitchers too.

Hitting, Pitching, Defense: Yankees bad in all phases in 4-2 loss to Rangers
Heyman: Yankees, White Sox discussing John Danks
  • Duzzi

    Jesus Montero, Eduardo Nunez, and David Adams, get it done this time Cashman!
    I don’t think I would give up Judge and Severino for anyone. Those seem to be the two prospects with the best chance of making a real impact in the future for this team. I would have no problem dealing two of O’Brien, Sanchez, Murphy, Jagielo or anyone else.

    • I’m One

      Yeah, I’m pretty much with you on this. I’d hate to give up Severino or Judge, but might consider giving up one of them for Hamels. Might consider both for Hamels, not sure on that yet. In this market, his contract is reasonable based on his performance. I’d hate it, but would probably do it in the end.

      Anybody else? I’d probably drive them myself.

      • I’m One

        Such a poorly constructed response.

        I might give up one or both for Hamels (not sure on giving up 2, but that’s probably the cost of doing business with the Phillies).

        • TopChuckie

          I like the self-critique.

          • I’m One

            Yeah, well if I’m going to call out other people, I better be at least as hard on myself. :-)

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I hug Judge way tighter than I hug Severino. I mean, like, death grip tight right now.

        • I’m One

          I generally hug position prospects tighter, but I’m pretty equal on these 2. Severino, based on age and scouting reports, could really provided some value to the team for a significant period of time. That said, give me some Judge!

    • ajra21

      i really have no desire to give up anyone. given this team, i really see no reason to trade away the young for the old.

      • Wayne

        You’re exactly right, ajra21! Mike is crazy if he thinks it’s a good idea to trade our two best prospects (Aaron Judge and Luis Severino) for Lee. Lee is a quarter step away from being another CC: a huge contract with little or no return for the future.

        The Yankees need to stop mortgaging the future for everybody’s overpaid, injured, and old pitchers and position players. If we made the Lee trade for Judge and Severino, we’d be guaranteeing that we’ll be in this same lousy position ever year for the next three years. Stop it!

        Our farm is finally showing the potential of developing some real major league talent (Ref, Judge, and Severino), and what’s our response: Oh, let’s unload them for some once-great player who could literally fall of the face of the planet tomorrow, as CC did.

        Trading top prospects for aged veterans is only a smart move when you have a top-flight line up with only one or two holes. This team has five major holes on the field (2B, SS, 3B, RF, and DH) and at least two-to-three holes in the starting staff (if Tanaka & Pineda can’t come back and pitch effectively).

        That’s 9-10 holes on this team. We are NOT a real contending team. And spare me that BS that once you’re in the playoffs anything can happen: This team is SIGNIFICANTLY WORSE (!) than the previous Yankee teams that lost in the first round. Adding Lee would increase our chances of winning it all from 0.0 to 0.000000000001. Stop it!

        Adding a great lefty like Hamels is the only appealing player mentioned in this piece, but that would probably cost us at least 3 or 4 of our top five prospects. So, even though I’d love to see Hamels in pinstripes, I would vote No on that deal, too.

        And, yes, I know, prospects usually fail, but sometimes they turn into Jeter, Cano, Mattingly, or Munson; and the only way to find those gems in the MiLB rough is to keep them on your team.

        IMO, the smartest move would be to trade Kuroda to a contending team (such as the Dodgers or Giants) for someone who can help us next year. He should bring a really good prospect from a contending team in need of another starter.

        This year is a done deal: don’t do anything that harms us for next year when we’ll (hopefully) have a decent infield and an honest-to-god right fielder with something more than infield-fly-rule power.

  • Chip

    I would love to get Hamels but think that would require Betances, Severino, Judge and Mason Williams and if I’m going to part with that group it’s going to be for Tulo.

    I’m not as thrilled with the notion of Lee, but it’s more realistic. Cliff Lee’s probably going to request that his club option be guaranteed in exchange for waiving his NTC. Assuming CC does wind up needing microfracture surgery, insurance will pick up his salary and Lee would slot right into that. I think an offer of JR Murphy and Rafael DePaula for Lee is probably a fair deal for both sides.

    With Tex now having back concerns I would also push for Headley of the Padres who shouldn’t cost much.

    These aren’t necessarily moves that are just about this year. Lee would be an asset to the rotation going forward and trading for Headley gives the Yankees a month to see how he plays outside of PETCO to determine if he’s someone who they want to sign for next year.

  • TopChuckie

    Let’s do what the A’s did, get both Lee and Hamels. That’s probably what it’s going to take to be realistic WS contenders.

    More likely, I hope teams with less ability to risk their resources, either financial or prospects, are scared off by Lee’s injury and subsequent struggling and that opens the door for the Yanks to use their financial might to get Lee for, at the most, Sanchez and some lesser prospects, maybe Mason Williams, while taking on all the contract and maybe picking up Pabelbon’s too if that’s what it takes. I’d like to think they can get Lee for less prospect cost, but I’d be ok if they let either of those two go or both, as long as the hold on to this year’s hotter prospects, like Judge, Severino, Ref, etc. I would only consider them if it was for Hamels too, and it would still hurt.

    Just because the Phillies might be able to afford all their bloated contracts, it doesn’t mean they want to and wouldn’t be intrigued by the additional financial flexibility.

    • ac1

      Speaking Of Oakland.
      Tommy Milone wants to be traded.
      He would fit quite nicely in our rotation.

      • Mike Axisa

        Only of the Yankees move into the Coliseum.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          There’s no Metro North stop there. Pass.

      • MB923

        Tommy Milone in a Yankee uniform will be Phil Hughes 2.0.

        • IRememberCelerinoSanchez

          Worse. Vidal Nuno 2.0.

      • Kosmo

        contrary to the raised expectations other may have and share on this blog I´d take Milone in a NY minute. His road splits aren´t good BUT if you examine what he´s done on the road this season it isn´t all bad. I think he´s had a couple of clunkers but otherwise he´s pitched OK. IF he comes cheap I´m on board.

        Hamel(s) is a longshot and would cost NY handsomely. Lee wants no part of NY. I doubt he´d waive his no trade clause to pitch for a .500 team. IMO Lee,if traded will endup pitching for LAA or Seattle.

        • MB923

          4.85 FIP, 1.34 HR/9 (yes HR/9, not WHIP) Away this year. And that 1.34 HR/9 is under his career 1.37 HR/9

          As I said, Phil Hughes 2.0 in YS.

          • Kosmo

            We´re looking at the DeLaRosas, Milones of the world maybe in an parallel Universe a Miley or Tyson Ross.
            The bar is low, be real.

    • BillyBall

      when will you learn to stop playing fantasy GM!

      In no world do I trade Sanchez with others or by himself for Lee!

      No wayyyyy!

      Lee is worth a b level prospect and we agree to eat rest of contract, maybe you trade a Romine and another low level starter and that’s it. No Murphy, No Sanchez, no Depaula. Lee is not the difference maker people, he is 35 years old with a bum elbow and that’s that. except it and stop trading away players like Sanchez with huge upside for aging veteran injured pitchers!

  • Frankie Cerveddardi

    I think they need bats more the arms. You saw the game last night. Starter gives up 1 run and loses because Girardi left him in too long and because they didn’t score more than 2 runs off a guy with a 10 ERA. And one of those runs was on a walk, a balk and a sac fly.

    If they’re 6-7 out in the next few days I’d just stand pat. If it’s 3-4 like now then try to get a decent arm and a power bat but don’t sell the farm.

    • Pinedamaybegreata (formerly Monterowasdinero)

      They need bats and arms. This team will tease us and stay close with a couple of acquisitions but there is NO way, without a dominant Tanaka, that they would advance in the post season should they sneak in… team or not.

      I would like to get younger. Sox started 4 rookies last night and they had a combined 8 hits on the road. Be nice to have that kind of future and flexibility in our lineup.

      • Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew) RIP Egon

        Younger does NOT mean better. So you would rather be 5 games under .500 and completely out of it in July but start 4 rookies? What kind of fan are you? It shouldn’t matter how the Yankees win, as long as they win. That is kind of the point of sports isn’t it? Saying you want the team to be in last place for roster flexibility is the most ass backwards thing I have ever heard of.

        • Pinedamaybegreata (formerly Monterowasdinero)

          What kind of fan am I? A fan since the 1960’s. Seen the good and the very bad. The Sox are not completely out of it by any means-certainly not in July at 7.5 games out in the AL East. It would be nice to have 4 home grown rookies starting in the field and making big contributions rather than the Sorianos and Beltrans and Suzukis who have, are and will take us nowhere.

          Check out the Yanks in 1976 to see if the Sox are out of it completely in July.


          • Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew) RIP Egon

            So you defense of wanting your team to suck is 1976?

            So if Beltran/McCann get back on track you would still want younger guys? You are acting like the Yankees are in last place, they are a lot closer to a playoff spot than the Red Sox that is for sure.


            • RefsnyderRob

              I’d rather take a step back for a few years, get younger AND better by making smart trades and allowing your younger prospects to develop. NOT what everyone seems to want to do, which is trade them for for another old player who could be declining in 1-2 years when he’s 34-35. The Yankees tactic seems to be for the most part, “let’s sign a bunch of pieces and try to cobble together a winning team, then do it all over again the next season when contracts expire, players decline etc”. That’s not working, we’ve been trying that for the last few years, time to try a new approach. Rather than say, “all we need is player X, let’s get it done”, maybe we should say, “you know what guys? We need way too much to have a realistic chance to win the WS AND make it worth trading our organization’s future, so rather than maintaining the status quo every year, let’s rebuild into something special”. But, that would mean losing fair-weather fans and ticket sales, which we all know Hal will never do. So we’re stuck with the current Yankees of struggling to cobble together a winning team every single year, so that the Yankees are consistently competitive enough to line the shareholders’ pockets every season, which is what this regime is obviously all about. Until the bottom completely falls out, they will not change this approach.

          • BaltimoreYankee

            To see a real comeback, check out the 78 Yankees.

      • Terry

        The Yankees are not going to be able to get all the toys.

        And the more valuable the piece, the more expensive it gets, so having fans outlining what they want without specifying what they’d be willing to give up is just trolling.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I’d like to get younger too, which is why I’d like to introduce you to my new friend, Dr. Bosch.

  • nicknowsky

    Phillies want top prospects and team to eat Lee’s contract, for site that knows how our farm system works you don’t give up anyone except maybe JR Murphy for a starter being serious Edwin Jackson is realistic

  • nicknowsky

    Cmon now with Cliff Lee there’s conflicting reports that say Yankees scouts didn’t attend I just wrote a nice piece saying we should move on from the whole Lee phenomenon/pipe dream/idea

    • Silvio

      The period is your friend–and the friend of your reader. Why should the latter waste time on prose that’s beginning to resemble the run-together look of classical Greek? And your own time is surely not so valuable–as if you were a member of the NSC–that you can’t click the period key.

      • JohnnyC

        I do like the way he worked that solitary comma in there in the first post. Just for variety’s sake.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          He’s Emily Fucking Post compared to some here.

  • WFAN Caller

    1) Whitely/Nic Turley/Heathcott for Lee gets it done.
    2) Henley/Sanchez for Headley/IPK
    3) Solarte for Soria (never hurts to have extra arms in the pen)

    Rotation – Lee, IPK, Kuroda, Greene, McCarthy = AL East Champs. Phelps to pen. If Tanaka comes back then trade Greene for Asdrubrall Cabrear

    • Jorge Steinbrenner


  • MB923

    I said this in the other thread, but for those who missed it, instead of Phillies pitchers, how about the Phillies OFer Marlon Byrd who has a higher OPS than any starter on the Yankees (except Wheeler and his oh so large sample 24 PA)

    This team’s problem is Offense, not pitching

    Starting Pitching ranks
    WHIP – 12th
    K/BB – 3rd
    WAR – 6th

    Not sure where they rank in ERA+. I refuse to use ERA for obvious reasons and it is not because it is not good, but the fact that they play in a band box

    Now Yankees offense ranks
    Runs scored – 21st
    OBP – 19th
    wRC+ – 22nd

    Now of course that SP rankings has A LOT to do with Tanaka, but they’ve had very good pitching from starters not named Chase Whitley the past few weeks.

    Before last night, the last time the Yankees did not get a QS from a starter not named Chase Whitley (Or Tanaka) was Kuroda way back on July 6th and we can agree he’s look muched better lately

    I am not saying they shouldn’t go after a SP, but we need a RFer and I think Marlon Byrd would be perfect. Wouldn’t cost a lot because of his age and contract (much like Lee).

    • nicknowsky

      Byrd is good idea I was talking about him the other day Ichiro is slowly but surely coming back down to .270 hitter. What’s worse is he 0HR & 11RBI that’s unacceptable

      • MB923

        Not sure why you’re using RBI, they are as overrated as W-L are for pitchers. But the 0 HR usually means no power and that .318 Slugging percentage kind of shows that.

        • nicknowsky

          Let’s see RBIs not an issue for a corner OFer, wins and losses are not nearly as important as runs batted in and power, looking at metrics to quantify this, just use your eyes, Ichiro can’t get it done and is only gonna get worse

          • MB923

            I know he can’t get it done. That’s why I suggested they go for Byrd, but to use RBI’s as not getting it done is kind of silly if you ask me.

            • nicknowsky

              I think in this case and in this season RBIs are very important for supposed power positions

              • I’m One

                But RBIs are largely impacted by the hitters in front of him getting into scoring position. No one on 2nd? No chance for an RBI (since’s he’s not hitting for any power). It’s not a great stat, especially not for him.

                • Darren

                  11 RBIs is pretty much just as a good of a stat as .318 slugging percentage to indicate The Problem With Ichiro.

                  Of course RBIs on their own don’t tell the full story, just like wins and losses don’t the full story for pitchers. But be careful not to swing the pendulum too far in the other direction by totally devaluing them.

                  • Jorge Steinbrenner

                    No matter how I look at Ichiro, they’re still a small piece of the puzzle.

                    They’re a visible symptom. They’re not actually the disease.

                    • nycsportzfan

                      You guys love hating the RBI. Its not a coincidence the Yankees offense has struggled all yr and not one player is gonna finish near 100RBI on the season. It does kinda tell the story, with that simple glance at thee old RBI if you ask me.

    • nicknowsky

      Problem is Mariners are connected to him along with Price and Lee, they’re willing to go all in this year it looks like

      • MB923

        I heard about Price, but did not hear about Byrd and Lee, but it’s really not going to take a big package to get Byrd

        Maybe the Yankees can offer the better package of A/AA prospects than the Mariners. Aren’t most of the Mariners top prospects in AAA anyway? And I can’t see any team giving up an AAA player for Byrd.

        • nicknowsky

          Ms have been looking at Byrd for a few weeks now and they also had scouts in attendance last night to watch Lee, like I said they’re going all in this year at all costs it seems, last I read over at MLBTR they keep saying M’s are interested in Byrd

          • Terry

            I’d be surprised if the Yankees got Byrd.

            His personality seems to suit Seattle’s culture; I’m not sure he’d want to have the handcuffs placed on his personality in New York.

            • Mandy Stankiewicz

              he thrived on the mets last year

  • Silvio

    Papelbon may want to be traded to a contender. The deadline is next week. After this Texas series, the Yankees may not be looking like a contender, especially if that “defense” of theirs continues to perform as it did last night.

  • Frank

    Please stop with the Cliff Lee proposals. That would be an utterly stupid move by the Yanks considering what they would have to give up and then taking on his hefty salary. This would be another Carlos Beltran- 5 years too late.

  • ac1

    The thing about the Yankees and SP is that they have to think beyond 2014. Look at 2015 for a minute. Right now, the ONLY guaranteed starter we have for opening say 2015 is David Phelps. (Maybe Whitley and Greene battle for #5). Pineda cant be counted on, Nova is out until late next year, CC cannot be counted on, and Tanaka will inevitably need TJS.

    We need to get starters and use the guys actually hitting in the minors to fill the offense. Don’t tell me we don’t have players that can be better than what we have now. Refs cannot be worse than Roberts at the plate, or in the field. Almonte cannot be worse than Ichiro (if they let him play everyday). I am actually fine with Wheeler at 3rd for now. Pirela can back up 2b and rf. And for the love of god, get a back up first baseman.

  • nicknowsky

    I don’t see Burnett listed anywhere he’s connected to the Yanks O’s Pitt and Toronto

    • ac1

      NO….. Just no.

    • Scott

      He is not connected to the Yanks. It came out last week on mlbtraderumors the Yanks have NO interest in a Burnett reunion.

  • Leg-End

    Take on Lee’s full salary and offer up a B prospect, if they want more than that then walk away.

    Yanks need pitching but giving up legit prospects for a 35 year old coming off an arm injury on a big salary? No thanks.

    • Terry

      Cashman wouldn’t even make that offer because it would be considered an insult to the Phillies organization

  • TheEvilUmpire

    I want Bastardo based on name only!

    That way if he stinks, I can just yell at my TV, “hey Girardi, get that bastard off the mound!”

  • ac1

    And finally, so sick of all of this Ortiz future HOF talk last night on ESPN. If Ortiz is a HOF, you better damn sure vote Bonds in. Ortiz is a DH with a steroid test fail. Bonds is the carrier HR leader, played the field, hit for average, etc…..

    I cannot believe how analysts just pretend like Ortiz never tested positive for PEDs.

    • TopChuckie

      And he’s not as good as Edgar Martinez, who’s not in the HOF.

  • Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew) RIP Egon

    My trade proposal sucks but

    Lee and Utley for Murphy,Refsnyder,Servino

    • Frank

      That’s arguably the Yanks’ 3 best propspects for 2 players past their prime who make a ton of $$. You’re right, that does suck.

      • Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew) RIP Egon

        Lee is still a top 15 pitcher in baseball and Utley is the 2nd best 2B in baseball, you just look at their age and eh they suck but these young guys those are the guys! The prospect hugging here is unbelievable. Also what does money have to do with anything, are you part of the ownership? Then why do you care if they have to increase the payroll? There is a team right across town that hugs prospects and are afraid to expand their payroll, you would fit right in there at Citi Field.

    • ac1

      Absolutely not.
      How about for once, we actually use what we have in the system for our own future, not another teams?

      I would trade Murphy only because we have Sanchez, Cervelli, Romine and McCann.

      But Refs is going to be our future 2B and Severino is the best pitching prospect we have had in years. I say give him 5-10 starts in AA, and if he excels, get him to Scranton this year. After watching what has become of Manny Banuelos, I say dont let Sev linger in the minors. If he shows he can pitch in AAA, bring him up and start getting value out of him before he loses two years like ManBan.

      I hope they have learned that babying these pitchers DOES NOT WORK! They still get hurt.

      • Jonathan

        The fact that you think the Yankees baby their minor league pitching prospects is HILARIOUS. And you can’t argue for rushing prospects way faster than can be reasonably expected because you realize you’re only going to get a tiny bit out of them, if anything, without basically arguing that you should pretty much trade almost all prospects for established players. Even while older they’re WAY more likely to give you value than the prospects and if you can afford the difference in what you have to pay a pre-arbitration player vs an established vet you’re almost always going to be happy. Look at all the players we’ve passed on when we had legitimate trump card prospects like Montero/Joba/Hughes etc.

  • nicknowsky

    I’m pretty sure that ChiSix have said Quintana is untouchable, but he was another Yankee prospect that we just gave up on. Too bad he would be perfect right now and if we had to give Severino/Judge/Sanchez I’d be all for that

    • ac1

      WHAT! So two of our best three offensive minor league prospects and our best pitching prospect for Quintana? Thinking like that is what put this system back so many years.

      Severino and Judge could be making a different by the end of 2015. Sanchez is struggling a bit but still….

      • nicknowsky

        Keep Severino i understand that, then give up Judge/Sanchez and whoever else you wanna throw in, Quintana has been pretty darn good this year

        • Terry

          I wasn’t aware that the White Sox were sellers, being 3 games behind the Yankees in the Wildcard.

          Does that mean the Yankees are sellers too?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      You had zero clue who Quintana was at the time.

      • nicknowsky

        Seems like nobody did

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          That means something, though, and I was only trying to be half-snarky.

          In restrospect, yes, they made a grave mistake there. The odds of your pitcher repeating single-A who doesn’t get brought back becoming an All-Star within two years are miniscule.

          Someone name me the equivalent of Jose Quintana, Yankee, in our system right now.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Big names. Zero practicality in obtaining them. Lee and Koal Hammels get brought up simply out of sheer habit around here.

    There is no way in this world the Phillies would take what Lee is actually worth right now, nor would I feel inclined to give them more than that.

    I can see the argument for gutting the system for Hamels (this is how his name is actually spelled, folks. I know. Crazy, right?). This is where I got about 3/4 TWTR and say that team philosophy needs to be about keeping the pipeline stacked more than it needs to be about making trade deadline splashes, even if the alternative is throwing Chase Whitley to the wolves. You want to make splashes? Spend to your heart’s content in the off-season.

    Brandon McCarthy was a great move for the team in that they got out on the market early, grabbed a guy with some risk, but decent potential of reward, and did so at a minimal hit. This will get harder to do the closer we get to the deadline, but I’d much rather see a couple of those rabbits gets pulled out of a hat, even if they wind up hopping away afterwards because, you know, bunnies and shit.

    • I’m One

      There is no way in this world the Phillies would take what Lee is actually worth right now, nor would I feel inclined to give them more than that.

      I agree with this and suspect the Phils will want more than what Lee is actually worth. If the Yankees go to them with a realistic offer for Lee and are turned down, they should just walk away. Maybe the Phillies think about it and make the deal in August, maybe not. Either way, I hope that’s the Yankees’ strategy.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        And, I mean, we’re talking B- and below prospects here. Two players not above Mason Williams on the depth chart and a willingness to eat some money. That’s the highest I go here.

        • Terry

          Riveraveblues needs to generate some discussion somehow.

          This is as good a subject as any.

          Realistically, Yankee fans are better off cheering on the current rotation, since the Yankees need a bat – if anything – and even that might not be forthcoming.

          Personally, I’m fine with keeping the status quo (no trade) and watching the season play out with a few additions from Scranton in the offing.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            I’m not quite sure whether I still even prioritize a bat over pitching. I’m probably in the minority there.

            I’m fine with keeping the status quo if the alternative is a one step forward, two steps back proposition.

            Of course we cheer the current rotation, but confident in their chances moving forward? Not so sure.

    • Darren

      You misspelled Hamel’s name. Muphry’s Law.

      • I’m One

        Hamels’ name. (Right?)

        • Darren


          • DF

            No. It’s Hamels’s


  • TWTR


  • JLC 776

    Every instinct tells me that Lee is not a good idea (injury, age, the fact that he doesn’t want to be here and actually likes Philly), but every instinct tells me somehow he’s the guy we’ll end up grabbing.

    I really hope my instincts are wrong.

    Hamels, however, would be an amazing grab. Great guy, too – I eat at the same deli as him fairly often.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      What does he order?

      • JLC 776

        I’ve seen him order french toast before (it’s real good here (

        He’s usually there with his wife, kids, and au pair. My wife about died once when my son dropped a fork that Cole then picked up and handed to her.

        My wife will never forgive me if the Yankees take Lee from the Phillies :)

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Is the au pair hot?

          • I’m One

            Not if his wife has anything to do with choosing her. ;-)

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              A bit of eye candy for distraction never hurt anyone.

              • JLC 776

                The au pair, and the wife, are both smoking hot.

  • kenthadley

    Unless Tanaka comes back soon and fully healthy, this isn’t even a .500 team realistically. To give away even a mid level prospect to make a “run” at a second wild card seems just a move to keep attendance and ratings strong as long as possible. Right now I don’t even think the trade last year for Soriano was worth it, except for attendance and ratings at the end of last year. I wish we still had Corey Black for that matter (or even Kahnle). If this was a franchise like KC who rarely sniffs the playoffs it would be understandable. But a “real” championship challenging team is about 5 or more players away. Pass.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Real easy to say in retrospect, though, Ken (or is it Kent? A great mystery.)

      We know they didn’t make it last year. They also were in it until halfway through September, most of that on Soriano’s back. That “almost,” as well as his role in it, make that trade worth it for me.

      Make moves if they improve the team now AND for the forseable future. That’s all I ask. I don’t see how 5 for 1 trades would do that, although it’d be possible depending on the player, and that player probably isn’t on the market anyway.

      • Terry

        “Improving the team now and for the forseeable future” sounds like “Having your cake and eating it too”

        I’m pretty sure that “Mortgagin the Future” at the same time that you “Build a Nest Egg” leads to either financial ruin, jail, or career as a rich politician.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I disagree. I think the two can look rather different from one another. It’s as easy as saying you won’t take on someone who will be a free agent at the end of the season at an excessive cost, among other possibilities.

    • emac2

      Wait a minute…

      It’s a business and it’s entertainment.

      I’m all for spending money or trading some prospects to improve chances this year if we’re likely to make the first round and make enough to replace whatever we trade away. We spent 30 mil or so in IFA. If we make an extra 50 by trading all those guys (not going to happen but shows the concept) I would think it’s a great deal. More profit and more fun.

      Lee doesn’t fit but I wouldn’t ignore the fact that prospects are replaceable with cash alone.

  • Mike HC

    I have faith that Cashman will not trade all of our top young talent for either of these guys. I mean, he is the guy who shut down the first Cliff Lee deal because he refused to give Nunez.

    Now, Randy Levine, god only knows what he has got cookin’ up.

    • TWTR

      If Cashman makes trades merely because Levine has instructed him to do so, as long as he keeps taking the big check, then that strategy is imputed to him as well.

      • I’m One

        I see your point, but if Cashman wants to retain his job, he does what his boss asks (provided it’s not illegal, of course). Personally, I like having food on the table, a roof over my head and indoor plumbing. I’m sure Cashman isn’t in the same situation as me financially, but I think you get my point. I may not like what I’m asked to do, but until I have a way out that provides me with the standard of living I’m used to, I do as I’m told.

        • TWTR

          Sure, but no one can have it both ways, right? If you continue to work for an employer, then what that employer does is part of your resume as well, for good or bad.

          Also, are we to think that a skilled GM can’t get a comparable job somewhere else? That would seem to be what someone with options who is never given the supposed autonomy he has sought would probably do.

          That is why I am skeptical that Cashman really disagrees with the “Levine Plan,” if there really is such a thing.

          • I’m One

            are we to think that a skilled GM can’t get a comparable job somewhere else?

            Timing. Baseball is a small world (29 other possible employers, may of which not looking to make a change). I’m also sure most are aware of the situation Cashman is in, so they’d understand why he may want to do as told till his contract ends. This is, however, all specuation. We don’t really know what’s going on internally with the Yankees.

            • I’m One

              may many of which …

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            I don’t think company and employee are that fully linked to one another. No.

            I agree with you, though, that who the hell knows what a “Levine plan” is, other than it involving embarrasing text messages.

  • TopChuckie

    I still think Mike Fiers of MIL would be a good low cost target. Not the be all end all, obviously, but a useful piece this year and going forward.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Interesting. Never heard of him.

      Seems to have had it pretty together in AAA in 2011, but that’s a while ago, at this point.

  • hornblower

    The silly season of trade speculation is upon us. Any story real or made up is worth a headline. Spare us.

    • TopChuckie

      The Lee talk is not silly though, because he makes sense for the Yankees to at least consider because they probably aren’t going to make the playoffs this year, so they should be averse to risking the future by trading top prospects. Lee represents a gamble to get an ace quality SP who provides the long shot possibility of carrying them to the post season, and all his circumstances represent a chance for the Yankees to take advantage of their financial strength to get that ace potential with the most minimal prospect cost. He could possibly only really cost them money, and by at least keeping them competitive, he will help them make that money back. Then playoffs or not, he will help the team field a rotation next season.

      Plus, the Yanks have obviously always valued him.

      He makes the most sense for the Yanks and their situation. We know the Yanks like him and he offers the most talent in exchange for what the Yanks a most willing to spend, money instead of prospects.

      • emac2

        Lee makes no sense if you aren’t going for it this year.

        You don’t pay 45 mil for one year of an old pitcher and even if he’s great and the option triggers you end up paying over 60 mil for 2 years.

        You can have your choice in free agency at those numbers.

        • TopChuckie

          Any close to equivalent free agent pitcher is going to require far more years. That is why Lee is more appealing.

          • emac2

            more years is good. We’re going to be rebuilding for two years as Jeter, Arod and CC come off the books. It would be nice to get someone great for 5 years.

            The issue is never years to me. It’s how many years you are worth what you’re being paid. Lee is unlikely to ever be worth what you have into him unless you go deep in the playoffs this year or simply value him based on numbers that don’t impact the team.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Minimal prospect cost? For Lee? I’d be shocked.

        It’s what he’s worth right now, to me, though.

        • TopChuckie

          Obviously it depends on the offers they get from other teams and the allure of getting completely out from under Lee’s contract.

          I’m hoping he’s viewed as too big of a gamble for other teams to risk their limited prospect resource, opening up the possibility for the Yanks to utilize their almost unlimited financial resource.

          We can’t be the only people who don’t think he’s worth top prospects, but then again, it only takes one stupid GM.

  • emac2

    Lee is just a bad idea at any price. The team is going to have a budget in the future and that means paying him 25 million next year is going to cost us 25 million somewhere else. Are we really going to spend over 75 million next year on CC, Arod and Lee? My God!

    The system is really exciting now and we just dumped a half dozen really good prospects into the lower levels. It would be a big mistake to dip into that mix for help in the next year and a half.

    The team is perfectly set up to add a number one starter in free agency this summer and then go forward building from the farm. I guarantee that if you force management to develop their own players they will. Trades in the future or even now are OK but not for old players making top dollar.

    • I’m One

      Lee provides the possibility of righty/lefty aces at the top of the rotation next year, with the cost being “only” money, on top of whatever he brings the remainder of this season. That’s something they don’t have at the moment. Who else would you suggest as a lefty at the top of the rotation next season and what would they cost? Will they even be available?

      This is worth discussion, even if the likelyhood of this happening is small.

      • emac2

        I just mentioned it above but because you asked…

        if he’s good next year you end up paying 60 mil for about 2 years.

        You get a better player in free agency for less money and less health risk.

        I care less about a lefty than the health and age which both indicate he could be Jamie Moyer at any moment. I would just sign the best player this winter.

        30 million a year buys anyone. You don’t trade for that contract or give it to a player at his age or with his health risk.

        • TopChuckie

          As I alluded to above, I’d rather have Lee 2 years for $60M than Scherzer 10 years for $250M, or 7/175.

          • emac2

            OK. I’d rather have a nail in my head than a bullet through it.

            Wrong pattern? :)

            Do you think anyone is giving Scherzer 10 years? He’ll be lucky to get 6 and probably ends up at 5 or less unless he discounts.

            Either way the chance of Lee being worth 60 mil is 25% or less. There is a better chance he isn’t worth 25 over the balance of his contract.

          • I’m One

            Agree. And, emac2, name that better player you’re so sure will be available to sign that will agree to come to the Yankees. There are no guarantees with free agents (if they even become free agents).

            • emac2

              The key with this process is knowing that you have enough to pay 30 mil per year and waiting for the right player instead of making a panic move out of fear no one will accept your money.

              If no one is worth 30 million I would spread it around in other areas where it will provide more value. We aren’t close enough to greatness to spend it all on what we think is our biggest current need.

              Next spring we could have a rotation of Tanaka, Pineda, CC, Greene and Phelps with Nova, Severino, Banuelos ready in a matter of months. Lee could also be out for the year and 30 mil that could have been spent on hitting is wasted. It might work out the opposite way but I don’t want to make the bet now.

              There just isn’t enough reason to make a forced move. Even if you don’t get the best arm in free agency I am almost certain 30 mil per year in free agency will return more for the team than Lee.

      • BillyBall

        If all it costs is money for Lee I’m on board but in no way do I trade any valuable prospect with upside such as Sanchez, Murphy, etc for an aging soon to be 36yo with elbow issues. No way.

        Stick to the rebuilding while staying competitive plan and trade for overpriced players with no prospects of high end upside going the other way. And if that is not possible than go forward with what we have but enough fantasy baseball gm shit.

        The best part is when these same trolls call for Cashman’s head for not developing young players and trading them away for aging overpriced have beens. It’s like dealing with Bi-Polar trolling RAB addicts!

        I wish RAB had a way to archive every trade proposal made by these trolls and when a silly fantasy GM trade proposal is made we can access all of their silly trade proposals and than when someone complains about not having young players to follow such as Judge, Severino, Sanchez who has a huge bat and big upside, etc we can than access all of their silly trade proposals and use it against them and ban them for a month from all internet posting!

        Here’s a great idea, if someone refutes a silly trade proposal;

        ex: I debated with half of this website 2 years back including the editor of the post when a trade proposal with Colorado demanded Cashman trade the following Yankee prospects:

        Ivan Nova, Mason Williams or Heathcott, and Betances, and Banuelos (Ironically 3 are injured but there is still value in each one)

        for Ubaldo Jimenez (who is just plain awful)

        I should be rewarded with RAB points and be able to disqualify and suspend all silly fantasy trade requests for a month!

        LMAO, that would be a little dramatic I know but it would be cool.

        • TopChuckie

          What would all the people calling Cashman an idiot for not signing Choo, Drew, and Morales get?

        • Jorge Steinbrenner


    • TopChuckie

      I really think budget talk is just a facade. The Yanks could comfortably spend far more than they are already spending. Other teams are approaching their spending but still not approaching their revenue.

      I think budget talk is just for appearances so the Commish and other teams back off on all the attempted restrictions and so players and agents are less likely to bend them over a barrel knowing they can pay whatever it takes.

      • emac2

        Budget talk doesn’t mean talking about what you can afford.

        It means a business is run with a budget. It is set every year, adjusted for industry inflation and then adjusted when needed for circumstances.

        Ignoring this force in the decision making process makes it impossible to understand why they do what they do.

  • mick taylor

    i would take lee only if the highest prospect was mason williams. if i can get edwin jackson for nothing, i would take him. yanks need lefty power in the stadium . morneau , will be off dl in a week, trade for him. i do not care they have nowhere to play him. that will work itself out, with whoever hits among tex, beltran and morneau. priority is to make playoffs. yanks cannot make playoffs without more lefty power

    • Tar

      I looked it up awhile back, and if remember correctly Morneau crushes the ball at Yankee Stadium. He also has great numbers against our primary opponents in the AL East. I would be all for getting Justice…I mean Justin.

      • Tar

        Morneau’s Career numbers

        .433 .507 .883 1.391 Yankee Stadium
        .338 .390 .493 .883 vs Sox
        .307 .393 .505 .898 vs O’s

        We could use his bat…and just maybe he will have one of those bumps that comes with being traded to a new team.

        • trr

          He just hit the DL, Tar…

  • TopChuckie

    Jorge, Fiers has had it together at AAA this year, was leading all the minors in K’s with a sparkling ERA, right along with Jimmy Nelson, until Fiers was called up and put in the bullpen for a while. Also, Fiers had a real good stretch in the majors in 2012. And he’s only 29.

    Thanks to Nelson, he appears to be an overlooked luxury for MIL and someone a smart GM would try to pluck on the cheap.

    • TopChuckie

      Fiers this year in AAA: 97.2 IP, 76 H, 19 BB, 120 K, 2.67 ERA.

      No idea what MIL needs prospect-wise, but could probably use some of the Yanks OF prospects.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      The Fangraphs app is spitting out some nonsensical numbers at me. It’s claiming 69 relief appearances out of the MLB bullpen AND 15 AAA starts this year. Obviously, that’s very, very wrong compared to what I see on BRef now.

      • TopChuckie

        Real nice site for minor leaguers in particular.

        • TopChuckie

          Ironically, I just noticed Fiers is from Nova Southeastern University, which Michael Kay mentioned last night our good friend Miles Mikolas is from.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            I know plenty who went to school there as well.

  • nycsportzfan

    I’m fine staying far away from anything Phillies personally.

  • Lehman College Rocks !!
    • JLC 776


  • Dan G

    In response to the caption under the Cliff Lee pic, he’s technically wearing pinstripes in that very picture…


  • Dan G

    First of all, Severino and Judge seem to be quickly making their way toward the top of the Yankees prospect heap so I doubt Cashman would go against his new prospect hoarding ways to trade for a 35 year old coming off an arm injury, regardless of how long he’s lusted after him.

    I especially think he’ll be a little gun shy after seeing what just happened to a former super-durable left handed workhorse that suddenly starts to break down in CC.

    If they want to do anything but tread water for the next decade, they should not trade anyone of value for anyone on the downside of their career (i.e., the old way of doing business). Don’t mortgage your future for 83 wins.

  • trr

    As far as Lee is concerned, it’s a game of brinksmanship that teams play at the deadline. Philly is probably asking for the world for Lee now, but I think a deal might be struck at 11:59 7/31. Myself, I would not overpay for him, nothing above a few ‘b’ level prospects. I’m sure opinions vary as to what exactly constitutes a ‘b’ level prospect! I’m very open to dealing Banuelos, but I’m not sure what his perceived value is around the game right now.

    • ChuckIt

      That’s what Iv’e been saying.I’m sure Lee will be available for less,the closer to the deadline. Hamels is another story.They aren’t giving up their ace for low level prospects.and ,though he’s younger than Lee,he’s no spring chicken either.

  • rogue

    I lost my shit when I saw that name.


    I kept thinking of that scene in Godfather III (terrible movie, I know) when Andy Garcia’s character bit Joe Mantegna’s ear after Joe whispered “bastardo”.

  • Chuck_D84

    I read a while ago that before last year’s draft, the Phillies were really high on Ian Clarkin. I am wondering if Cashman drafted him with the idea of using him as a chip,in a future trade with the Phillies knowing they had a couple of very good LHP. I know he has a high ceiling, but could we use Clarkin as a trade chip for Hamels (no way I would include him for Lee) so we can hang on to Severino? I was thinking Clarkin, Jagielo, Cervelli, Williams, and Warren for Hamels, Papelbon (replaces Warren in BP) and Mayberry., with the Yankees eating all the salary. Is this even close? Would Papelbon agree to a trade to be a 7th inning guy?