Archive for Trade Deadline
The trade deadline is 4pm ET today, and the Yankees will definitely be in the market for a fill-in third baseman with Alex Rodriguez on the DL with a broken bone in his hand. Mark Teixeira‘s wrist problem could spring them into further action as well, and pitching help — both rotation and bullpen — is always on the agenda. The Bombers are almost certainly done with the outfield market following the Ichiro Suzuki pickup, however. We’re going to keep track of any Yankees-related trade deadline rumors right here throughout the day, so check back often for updates. The latest will be on the bottom. Here are Sunday’s and Monday’s rumors if you missed them…
- 10:00am: Teixeira’s injury should have no impact the team’s deadline plans, and the Yankees are still trying to acquire a defense-first type player for third base. Things are pretty quiet right now. [Ken Rosenthal]
- The Yankees are focused on acquiring 40-man roster depth pieces, guys they can stash in Triple-A to cover for any injuries that pop-up down the stretch. [Joel Sherman]
- Reports indicate that the Yankees have stepped up their pursuit of Ryan Dempster in the last 48 hours — lines up with when we learned about Andy Pettitte‘s setback, no? — but that has since been shot down. Dempster has 10-and-5 no-trade protection and seems hellbent on joining the Dodgers. [David Kaplan, Jon Heyman & Jayson Stark]
- 12:34pm: There is still a “distinct possibility” the Yankees will acquire Ty Wigginton before the deadline. The Phillies are selling off all their movable pieces, with Shane Victorino headed to the Dodgers and Hunter Pence headed to the Giants. [Matt Gelb]
- 12:56pm: The Yankees don’t believe Wigginton can handle third and are valuing defense at the position. A deal is said to be “highly unlikely.” Guys like him will get through waivers in August. [Sherman]
- 2:03pm: The Yankees are “engaged in heavy discussions” with the Cubs about Dempster. I think this might be a case of the Cubbies trying to drive up the price for the Dodgers, but who knows. It’s worth mentioning that pitching coach Larry Rothschild knows the right-hander from his time in Chicago. [Bob Nightengale, Sherman & Rosenthal]
- 2:14pm: The Dempster stuff is basically due diligence, the Yankees did their homework and expressed some level of interest yesterday. [Marc Carig]
- 2:25pm: Dempster has told the Cubs that he will waive his 10-and-5 rights to join the Yankees because of his relationship with Rothschild and special advisor/former Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Chicago would have to kick in some money to facilitate a deal. [Heyman, Sherman & Sherman]
- 2:29pm: The Cubs are said to like Angelo Gumbs and Dante Bichette Jr., but the Yankees are unlikely to part with them for a fifth starter upgrade. [Sherman & Sherman]
- 3:12pm: Ownership has not been presented with any kind of financial information for a potential Dempster deal yet, so it doesn’t sound like anything is close as of right now. The commissioner’s office has to approve any trade involving more than $1M exchanging hands. [Sherman & Sherman]
- 3:31pm: With less than a half-hour to go, the Dempster talks are still “nothing serious.” Either they’re going to scramble to beat the clock or the deal isn’t happening. [Carig]
- 3:53pm: The Yankees “may” have acquired Dempster. No confirmation yet, however. [Jim Bowden]
- 3:58pm: Scratch that, Dempster has been traded to the Rangers. [Buster Olney]
Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.
The non-waiver trade deadline is less than seven hours away, and like everyone else the Yankees have holes to fill. Alex Rodriguez‘s injury created the need at third base, and the need for a solid non-matchup reliever has been obvious for weeks. Russell Martin and Chris Stewart have been one of the least productive catching tandems in baseball this season, so there’s lots of room for improvement behind the plate. Add in Mark Teixeira‘s wrist injury, and another bat could become a need in a hurry.
Naturally, Brian Cashman downplayed the team’s needs and potential dealings yesterday. “Tomorrow’s a big day, 4 o’clock deadline … A big day where we’ll do nothing, most likely, but a lot of false hustle goes into this stuff too,” he said. Obviously he won’t reveal too much; the Yankees could be working on a four-team blockbuster and he would say nothing’s up. Here are a few random thoughts in the hours leading up to the deadline…
The Yankees should do something …
As I said, the needs are obvious. The Yankees should know more about Teixeira’s wrist relatively soon — they won’t announce anything until after the trade deadline for leverage reasons, I assume — and that figures to change their plans one way or another. If it’s a day-to-day thing, then no big deal. Anything more than that will require some kind of action. I know they have a seven-game lead in the loss column, but the worst thing they could do is rest on their laurels.
… but not anything significant.
The Yankees don’t need a major move. Ichiro Suzuki was their big move and that was a big move in name only — he’s just a complementary player. Adding a reliever, replacing Chris Stewart, and finding a spare infielder to team with Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix aren’t complex moves that will require top prospects or tying up future payroll. A middle reliever, a backup catcher, and a bench player. That’s it. The Yankees swung three trades in 2010 — Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood, Austin Kearns –and that was their busiest deadline in a while. They don’t need wholesale changes, just minor upgrades to the fringes of the roster.
Don’t count on health.
The team can sugarcoat it all they want, but Andy Pettitte just suffered a setback. When you have to scale back physical activity because things aren’t healing as expected, it’s a setback. A-Rod‘s hand is a concern because hand injuries can linger, and when you don’t have the strength to hold or the swing the bat properly, you don’t produce. I know the Yankees expect both guys back and that’s swell, but adding some depth for that worst case scenario would be a pretty smart thing to do. Finding a spare starter for Pettitte will be damn near impossible, but David Phelps could fill that role if they replace him with another arm. Adding a bench player to replace Ramiro Pena during A-Rod’s absence seems all to obvious.
Patience, but not too much.
The one thing that Cashman has added to the front office since supposedly getting full control of the baseball operations is patience. They almost never rush into moves — panic moves are a thing of the past — and will wait out the market for the best possible deal. That’s how you get Bobby Abreu for nothing and Hiroki Kuroda on a below-market, one-year contract. Waiver trades can still be made in August, but sometimes the solution pops up sooner than expected (coughYorvitTorrealbacough). No need to wait on that stuff. The potential downside is so low that it might as well be nonexistent.
* * *
I’m a big believer in not sitting tight — a contender thinking they have all the right pieces and do not need to make any moves no matter how small. There is always room for improvement, and that is certainly true for this year’s Yankees. I don’t expect them to do anything more than add a bench player today — they already tried to acquire Brendan Ryan — though we know they have a tendency to pull off surprise moves. The three-game losing streak and ridiculous stretch of one-run losses make their current situation seem way worse than it really is, but the club does need to make a few minor adjustments and add depth as long as Teixeira’s injury is nothing significant. If it is, well there’s little they could do to fill that hole anyway.
Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees made an offer for shortstop Brendan Ryan, but it was declined by the Mariners. I suppose they were looking at him to replace Ramiro Pena and be part of that third base platoon while Alex Rodriguez is on the shelf. Ryan, 30, can’t hit a lick (61 wRC+ this year, 77 career) but is arguably the best defensive shortstop in baseball. He also has experience at second and third.
The Yankees would have been able to keep Ryan next year as a arbitration-eligible player, so I wonder if acquiring him would have made them more comfortable with trading Eduardo Nunez for … Chase Headley? I dunno, speculate at your own risk.
The trade deadline is 4pm ET tomorrow, and the Yankees will definitely be in the market for a fill-in third baseman with Alex Rodriguez on the DL with a broken bone in his hand. Pitching help — both rotation and bullpen — could also be a target, though they figure to be done looking for outfielders following the Ichiro Suzuki pickup. We’re going to keep track of any Yankees-related trade deadline rumors right here throughout the day, so check back often for updates. The latest will be on the bottom. Here are Sunday’s rumors if you missed them…
- Stephen Drew is one potential option as the Yankees look for infield help. Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers worked for the Yankees in 2010 and knows their farm system, which could expedite things. Drew will likely clear waivers in August, so he doesn’t necessarily have to be traded by tomorrow. Joe looked at him in-depth last week. [Joel Sherman]
- “I don’t think they are even in on it,” said someone in the know about the Yankees and Chase Headley. Yesterday we heard that the asking price was a bit too rich. [Sherman]
- Cliff Lee is on the market and the Phillies intend to trade him either before the deadline or in the offseason to clear payroll. They obviously want a monster haul in return, but the Yankees won’t get involved because they don’t want to take on his contract. [Buster Olney & Sherman]
- We heard yesterday that the Yankees had interest in Rafael Betancourt, but they have not contacted the Rockies about the right-handed reliever. [Sherman]
- The Yankees are prioritizing defense in their search for infield help. They have players ahead of Ty Wigginton on their shopping list, unsurprisingly. [Jon Heyman]
- The Yankees are not close to any trade as of this afternoon, but that is always subject to change rather quickly. [Olney]
The trade deadline is 4pm ET on Tuesday, and the Yankees will definitely be in the market for a fill-in third baseman with Alex Rodriguez on the DL with a broken bone in his hand. Pitching help — both rotation and bullpen — could also be a target, though they figure to be done looking for outfielders following the Ichiro Suzuki pickup. We’re going to keep track of any Yankees-related trade deadline rumors right here throughout the day, so check back often for updates. The latest stuff will be on the bottom…
- Chase Headley is still an option for the Bombers, who could use him at third base while A-Rod is hurt and then potentially stick him in right field to replace Nick Swisher next season. The two sides have not exchanged names yet, and the Yankees worry the asking price will be too high [Ken Rosenthal & Joel Sherman]
- The Yankees did try to acquire Marco Scutaro before he was traded to the Giants on Friday night. They wanted Colorado to foot a significant portion of the $2.25M left on his contract, but that wasn’t happening. [Jon Morosi & Sherman]
- Rockies right-hander Rafael Betancourt is on the Yankees’ radar. He’s under contract for $4.25M next year and continues to post fantastic peripherals (2.88 FIP), though he’s one of the most fly ball prone pitchers in the game (career 29.6% grounders). You’re also going to pay a premium for a Proven Closer™ tag, so I prefer teammate Matt Belisle. [Troy Renck]
- The Yankees have not been aggressive in their pursuit of Headley but they have inquired. Don’t expect them to part with much of anything for a stopgap third baseman. [Marc Carig]
- Some other names that have popped up in the team’s third base search include Willie Bloomquist, Brendan Ryan, Yunel Escobar, Chone Figgins, Jose Lopez, Cody Ransom (!), Mark Reynolds, and Scott Rolen. Obviously some are more available and desirable than others. [Jon Heyman]
The trade deadline is just three days away, and Alex Rodriguez‘s broken hand has given the Yankees a clear need for help at third base. Marco Scutaro, Ryan Roberts, and Omar Infante have all been dealt already and apparently Ty Wigginton is off limits since Placido Polanco is hurt. The infield pickin’s are slim, but not barren.
Once again we’re going to turn our attention to a non-contender for potential help, this time the Chicago Cubs. They’re looking to move significant pieces like Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, and Alfonso Soriano, but the best fit for the Yankees may be complementary player Jeff Baker. The 31-year-old utility man is have a solid season (105 wRC+) as the team’s right-handed bat off the bench, but when you’re as deep into a rebuild as the Cubbies, no player is untouchable. Let’s see if he’s a fit for the Yankees….
- Baker can hit a little, with a 108 wRC+ against lefties and a 101 wRC+ against righties this season. Since the start of 2010, he’s tagged lefties to the tune of a 129 wRC+ with a .186 ISO and a measly 14.1% strikeout rate.
- He’s versatile, having spent lots of time at first, second, third, and in right field during his career. Second base doesn’t happen too often these days, but Baker can play there in a pinch.
- A rental player scheduled to become a free agent after the season, Baker is making $1.375M this season. That’s roughly $525k the rest of the way. He also has a minor league option remaining, though at his service time level he can refuse the assignment so it doesn’t really matter.
- Baker’s a strict platoon guy. He has nice numbers against righties this year, but since the start of 2010 it’s just a 23 wRC+ with a 34.2% strikeout rate. The breaking ball away gives him fits.
- Despite all that versatility, Baker is a considered a below average defender at every position he plays by the various defensive metrics. Much like Wigginton, he’s a first baseman who plays other positions because his manager tells him to.
- Baker hasn’t been the most durable player in the world — he visited the DL twice with groin strains last year and missed more than two months with a hand issue in 2009. He’s been healthy this year though.
The Yankees aren’t necessarily looking at an upgrade over Eric Chavez or Jayson Nix, at this point they’re seeking an upgrade over Ramiro Pena as the extra infielder. That might be Brandon Laird or Eduardo Nunez, but Baker also makes some sense as a lefty masher who can fake multiple positions. Adding marginal wins means very little to New York at this point given their nine-game lead in the division, but the goal really isn’t to improve the team’s chances of winning. It’s to keep Chavez healthy and limit his exposure — so he can be a pinch-hitting weapon in the postseason — while still having a competent player at the hot corner.
Scutaro was traded just last night for an okay infield prospect, and that gives us some kind of reference point for a trade package. The Cubs insist on pitching in any move though, so perhaps a second or third tier arm like Mikey O’Brien or Shane Greene gets it done. If it doesn’t, then acquiring Baker probably isn’t worth the effort. He’s a nice role player for platoon situations but nothing more.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but the Yankees are not pursuing Cliff Lee according to Joel Sherman. There’s been some thought that Philadelphia would look to move the veteran left-hander in an effort to save money after signing Cole Hamels long-term. The Yankees are one of nine teams on Lee’s no-trade list, plus Jon Heyman says the Phillies plan to keep him at least through the deadline anyway.
Lee, 33, is having his worst season in five years (3.95 ERA and 3.40 FIP) but is still pretty darn good. He’s been much more homer prone (1.14 HR/9) than at any other point since turning into the Cy Young Award winning version of himself. The Yankees probably don’t have the prospects to land a pitcher of Lee’s caliber anyway, especially if they want the other team to foot some of the bill. Their non-interest in Lee isn’t terribly surprising, but you know, just in case you were wondering.
The Brewers designated backup catcher Gorge Kottaras today, clearing room on the roster for starter Jonathan Lucroy as he comes off the DL. Martin Maldonado played well enough in Lucroy’s absence to assume the backup job long-term.
The 29-year-old Kottaras posted a 122 wRC+ in 116 plate appearances for Milwaukee this year thanks to his gaudy 20.7% walk rate (!). I wrote more about him in a Scouting The Market piece earlier this month, so check that out for a full breakdown. The Yankees have the best record in baseball and therefore the lowest waiver priority, so they’re unlikely to get a chance to claim him. If they want Kottaras — and they should since he’s an upgrade over Chris Stewart and a left-handed hitter they could platoon with Russell Martin — they’ll have to swing a trade.
The third base situation figures to get a lot of attention in the days leading up to the trade deadline thanks to Alex Rodriguez‘s broken hand, but the Yankees still have a need for a non-matchup reliever in their bullpen. Joba Chamberlain‘s return from elbow and ankle surgery is so close that he’s actually going to be with the team in New York this weekend to show the brain trust what he can do in a bullpen session. His activation off the DL may or may not immediately follow.
Non-contenders are always the first place to look for help at the trade deadline and no one is non-contending like the Astros. They’ve won just two (!) of their last 22 games and 12 of their last 54 games since “peaking” at 22-23 in late-May. Carlos Lee is gone, Brett Myers is gone, and Wandy Rodriguez is gone. Could setup man Wilton Lopez be next? It’s certainly possible. Let’s see if he’s a fit for the Yankees.
- The Yankees are familiar with Lopez because he actually spent some time (2002-2007) in their farm system. He only made it into nine games during that time in part due to injuries, but also because he had a lengthy stint (2005-2007) on the voluntarily retired list. Lopez un-retired and spent two seasons in the Padres’ system before being claimed off waivers by Houston in 2009, where he’s been ever since.
- The 29-year-old Lopez succeeds by limiting walks (career 1.66 BB/9 and 4.5 BB%) and getting ground balls (career 58.6%). His performance this season has been even better — 1.18 BB/9 (3.3 BB) and 59.6%.
- A fastball-sinker-splitter pitcher, Lopez sits in the low-90s with the two fastballs and in the mid-80s with the split. A low-80s slider is a very rarely used fourth offering. The splitter helps prevent him from having a significant platoon split — he’s holding lefties to a .222 wOBA (.323 career) and righties to a .301 wOBA (career .291) this year.
- Lopez is in his final pre-arbitration year and is making just $516k this season. He can’t become a free agent until after 2015 and he has at least one minor league option remaining. It might be two, I’m not 100% sure, but it’s definitely at least one.
- Lopez is not much of a strikeout pitcher. His 7.11 K/9 (20.0 K%) this year is actually a career-high but still below the league average for relievers. He gets plenty of swings and misses (9.9% this year, 9.3% career), but he’s around the plate so much that the ball gets put in play.
- The health track record isn’t pretty. Lopez missed almost all of June with an elbow strain, most of Spring Training with forearm soreness, and about two weeks with nerve inflammation in the elbow last year. That doesn’t include all the stuff that happened years ago.
There’s no indication that the Astros are actually open to trade Lopez, I’m just working under the assumption that everyone on their roster is available. Seems reasonable given their record and recent moves. The recently acquired Francisco Cordero is already 2-for-2 in blown save opportunities though, so I suppose there’s a chance they’d prefer to install Lopez as closer for the rest of the season in hopes of boosting his trade value for the winter. Teams are always willing to pay for saves.
Middle relievers get traded all the time, for anything from cash considerations on the low end to a pair of strong prospects on the high end (think Mike Adams). Lopez is in the middle and probably a little closer to the high-end than the average. Giving up a real prospect for a reliever bites, but at least in this instance you’re getting a guy under control for three more years with a minor league option. That’s a lot of flexibility and potential future value. If the Yankees want to add a bullpen arm in addition to a possible return from Joba, bring Lopez back for a second tour of duty with the organization would be a fine target.
When word got out that Alex Rodriguez suffered a broken bone in his left hand when Felix Hernandez hit him with that 3-1 changeup on Tuesday night, you couldn’t help but immediately dream up elaborate trade scenarios to plug the third base hole. Hanley Ramirez was dealt to the Dodgers a few hours later, taking that option off the table. Stopgaps like Marco Scutaro and Stephen Drew make sense but do not satiate our trade deadline appetite.
Aside from Hanley, the other big name on the market is Chase Headley of the Padres. San Diego has made it know that they’re willing to move their best player as long as they get a nice bounty of young kids in return, and a whole lotta teams have expressed interest. Yesterday we heard that the Yankees will at least entertain the idea of making a run at him, a guy who would more than capably replace A-Rod at the hot corner for the time being. Quite frankly he would be an upgrade.
Headley, 28, owns a 125 wRC+ this year and has you’d expect, he’s been substantially better away from Petco Park. The switch-hitter has a 103 wRC+ at home this season (91 career) compared to 147 on the road (129 career). He hasn’t hit for much power even away from Petco — career .148 ISO on the road — but he’s already hit a career-best 12 homers this year. Headley draws lots of walks (12.2%) and puts together lengthy at-bats (4.08 pitches were plate appearances), leading to strong OBPs. Move him out of San Diego and who knows, his offense may really take off just because his mind is clear of cavernous Petco. Plus entering his prime years won’t hurt.
Much of Headley’s value comes from his defense at the hot corner, which basically every metric agrees is above-average if not better. He played 196 games and nearly 1,700 innings in left field from 2008-2009 in deference to Kevin Kouzmanoff, but he’s not an outfielder. Not an everyday outfielder, I should say. Headley is making $3.475M this season and will be arbitration-eligible as a Super Two both next year and the year after. He’ll be a free agent after 2014. That’s nice and affordable, pretty much as good as it gets.
Acquiring Headley to replace A-Rod this year before shifting him to a corner outfield spot and using him to replace Nick Swisher is a bit of a stretch given his limited exposure to the outfield. It’s possible but hardly a slam dunk. There’s a chance that the position change — or worse, bouncing him between third, the outfield, DH, etc. — will negatively impact his production at the plate and overall value. These guys aren’t robots, changing positions on the fly at the big league for a contending team is very hard to do. The Yankees love to rotate their DHs, so sticking A-Rod there full-time next year and going forward seems unlikely.
If you want to play some fun fantasy GM games, the Yankees could acquire Headley to replace A-Rod this summer then flip him to the Diamondbacks as part of a Justin Upton package during he offseason. Arizona wants a third baseman but is very unlikely to deal with the Padres– not only are they division rivals, but there is still some bad ownership blood following the defection of Jeff Moorad. The Yankees would get their temporary third base fill-in and then a long-term corner outfielder. It’s perfect! … on paper.
Back in reality, the Yankees simply may not have enough to acquire Headley. The asking price is high as it should be — the third best market is barren and the Padres have the best available player to offer. Headley’s young, cheap, productive, and under control for a few more years. That guy will require a haul, likely three or four prospects with at least one stud and two or three other solid pieces. That’s just me spit-balling though, I have no idea what exactly the Padres are seeking.
I irrationally like Headley — I think he has star potential outside of Petco during his peak years — but the Yankees seem more likely to add a short-term stopgap at the hot corner. He’s a square peg they would have to force into a round hole once A-Rod returns, not to mention give up a healthy amount of prospects to acquire. Logistically it just doesn’t work not matter how much I would like it too.