Yanks close to signing Adam Miller to minor league deal

Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees are close to signing right-hander Adam Miller to a minor league contract. The 27-year-old was the 31st overall pick in the 2003 draft, but he’s thrown just 138 IP since 2006 (zero in 2009 and 2010) due to career-threatening ligament damage in his right middle finger.

Before the injuries, the 6-foot-4, 200 pounder from Texas regularly sat in the high-90’s with a wipeout high-80’s slider and a changeup. It was a true front-of-the-rotation package, which is why Baseball America ranked him as the Indians number one prospect every year from 2005-2008. Miller has had four surgeries on the finger, which is now held together by replacement ligaments from his wrist and calf. He returned to the mound for 44 relief innings this year, reportedly hitting 96 on the gun while working on his feel for the slider. This Terry Pluto article gives you a great idea of what he’s been through, kid sure sounds resilient.

As far as the Yankees as concerned, they’re doing nothing more than rolling the dice. Miller is still pretty young and showed at least some semblance of his former self this summer, so why not take a chance? If he comes up and helps out of the bullpen at some point, great. If not, no big loss. It’s a zero risk move.

Report: Yankees have been talking to Manny Corpas’ agent

Via George King, the Yankees have been speaking with Tom O’Connell, the agent for free agent right-handed reliever Manny Corpas. I wrote about him as a potential minor league target last month.

Corpas, 29, hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since late 2010 due to Tommy John surgery. He spent the first five years of his career working the late innings for the Rockies, relying on ground balls (49.4%) and limiting walks (2.52 BB/9) rather than strikeouts (6.48 K/9). He’s still pretty young and has been very successful so far in his career, he’s pretty much the ideal minor league contract candidate. The two sides haven’t agreed to a deal yet, but they’re talking.

Yanks passed on final opportunity to get involved in Wilson bidding

Via Bob Klapisch, the Yankees were apparently given a final opportunity to get involved in the C.J. Wilson bidding last night, but chose to pass on the offer. Wilson agreed to sign with the Angels for five years and nearly $80M this morning.

The Yankees didn’t appear to be all that interested in the southpaw this winter despite their pitching questions, and in fact we’ve heard that they view him as more of a number three or four type starter than the frontline guy he was marketed as and will be paid to be. With Wilson and Mark Buehrle now off the market, Edwin Jackson is best true free agent starter left standing. Yu Darvish is going to be posted soon though, and the Yankees reportedly have “cautious interest.”

Scouting the Trade Market: Floyd vs. Danks

The trade of Sergio Santos from the White Sox to the Blue Jays signaled that the White Sox were beginning the process of rebuilding, a word which the GM Kenny Williams used himself. Yankee fans have long hoped for the acquisition of the Chicago lefty John Danks, and this was the clearest indication yet that he would become available by trade. Yet Danks isn’t the only pitcher Chicago is now willing to deal. They also expressed willingness to move righty Gavin Floyd. Given the Angels’ signing of C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols, one has to wonder if the Rangers will be extra aggressive in their bid for Japanese righty Yu Darvish. If so, the best route available to the Yankees for the acquisition of another starting pitcher may in fact be a deal with the White Sox. All things considered, who is a better fit for the Yankees, Gavin Floyd or John Danks?

From a performance perspective, it’s difficult to see a lot of daylight between the two pitchers. Over the past five years, they’ve both averaged a strikeout rate around 7.0 and a walk rate around 3.0. Their career ERAs are only 0.07 apart (3.85 for Danks, 3.92 for Floyd) and their career FIPs differ by only 0.03 (4.06 for Danks, 4.03 for Floyd). For all intents and purposes, they get roughly the same number of ground balls.

From a pitching repertoire approach, Danks is your prototypical lefty. He leans heavily on his fastball, but thanks to the tutelage of pitching coach Don Cooper Danks also throws a mean cutter. This isn’t one of those weird Pitch F(x) classification issues, either. Cooper is famous for teaching his pitchers how to throw the cutter. Danks will also mix in a slider on occasion, but his real go-to offspeed pitch is the changeup. Floyd is a similar pitcher, throwing a straight fastball and, yes, a cutter. Floyd will also mix in a changeup infrequently, but his main offspeed pitch is the curveball. From a velocity standpoint they both sit in the low 90s with their fastballs.

There are a few key differences between the two pitchers though. To start, Danks is a lefty and Floyd is a righty. Further, Danks is a solid two years and three months younger than Floyd, and won’t turn 27 years old until the second week in April. Floyd does have a four-inch height advantage over Danks, though, standing in at 6’6″. The biggest difference is perhaps their contract statuses. This is Danks’ final year under contract with the White Sox, and he’ll become a free agent after this season. Floyd will make $7M this year and has a club option for $9.5M for 2013, so he’s under team control for one more year at a desirable salary. Even if the Yankees were to ink Danks to an extension after acquiring him, they’d surely have to pay him more than $10M per season.

From a performance perspective, the two are virtually equal. Danks has an advantage on Floyd in youth, but Floyd’s contract situation is more desirable than Danks. That said, Danks still seems like the preferred candidate amongst fans. Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s a lefty and hearkens one RAB writer back to Andy Pettitte, or perhaps it’s his age and frame that leads one to believe that the best is yet to come. Regardless, the relative proximity in quality between Danks and Floyd will mean that the team’s rotation will be upgraded no matter who they get. Just as long as they get someone.

Yanks take one, trade for another in Rule 5 Draft

Cabral. (Photo Credit: www.prorumors.com)

The Angels agreed to sign both Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson this morning, but the Yankees managed to steal the spotlight with their moves during the Rule 5 Draft. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit. The Yankees selected 26-year-old right-hander Brad Meyers from the Nationals with their pick, then later acquired 22-year-old left-hander Cesar Cabral from the Royals for cash. He was Kansas City’s pick from the Red Sox organization. The Yankees did not lose any players during the Rule 5 Draft, and Greg Golson has been released to make room on the 40-man roster.

Meyers was Washington’s fifth round pick in 2007, and Baseball America ranked him as their 27th best prospect prior to last season. “Meyers pounds the zone with a polished four-pitch mix,” they wrote in their Prospect Handbook. “His 88-90 mph fastball bumps 92, and it plays up because of the deceptive angles created by his lanky body [Ed. note: 6-foot-6, 195 lbs.] and high front side in his delivery (video). He has excellent command of his fastball and three secondary pitches: an average changeup, average slider and a short curve that he uses as a show pitch.”

Meyers. (Photo Credit: John C. Whitehead/The Patriot News)

The problem with Meyers has been health, specifically foot problems. He missed some time with a heel injury in 2009, then suffered a stress fracture in his left foot while jogging after the season. He had surgery, returned to the mound, then missed more time because some screws in his foot were giving him trouble. Meyers made 24 starts (and one relief appearance) in 2011, pitching to a 3.18 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and a miniscule 1.0 BB/9 in 138.2 IP. The Yankees are almost certainly looking at him in a long relief role. As per the Rule 5 Draft rules, they must carry him on their 25-man active roster all season or put him on waivers and offer him back to the Nationals.

Cabral is in a slightly different situation. He was a Rule 5 Draft selection last year, so if the Yankees don’t keep him on their active roster but he clears waivers, they don’t have to offer him back to Boston. He can elect free agency if that happens though. Cabral was in the Rays organization at this time last year, though he did not crack their top 30 list in the Prospect Handbook. He owns a low-90’s fastball with a changeup that’s better than his breaking ball, so that doesn’t exactly make him a traditional lefty specialist candidate. Sure enough, he had a reverse split this season and has in the past as well. Here’s some video.

The Yankees apparently liked Cabral enough that they tried to trade with Astros, Twins, and Mariners — owners of the top three picks in the Rule 5 Draft — to make sure they got him. The ended up making the deal with the Royals, who picked fifth. Due to waiver claims and such, Cabral has now been part of the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and Blue Jays organizations in the last year or so. Both he and Meyers will audition for jobs in Spring Training, but as is always the case with these guys, they’re unlikely to stick.

So long, Greg Golson

Via Joel Sherman and Bryan Hoch, the Yankees have released Greg Golson to make room on the 40-man roster this morning’s two Rule 5 Draft pickups. They had one open 40-man spot, so only one move was needed.

For all his physical ability, Golson has never been able to put it all together. He has eight hits and one walk in 42 career big league plate appearances, and is a career .261/.318/.380 hitter in 1,383 Triple-A plate appearances. Golson can play some serious defense though, and I’m sure Carl Crawford is still having nightmares after this throw. There’s a non-zero chance that he clears waivers and returns to the Yankees.