Yankees unlikely to trade for Mike Adams

Via Buster Olney, there’s a “big gap” between what the Padres are asking for Mike Adams and what the Yankees are willing to give up for him. A deal is unlikely to be made between the two clubs. We first heard about the Yankees’ interest in Adams at the end of last month, but San Diego appears to be asking for a top prospect in return for the game’s best setup man. Another reliever would be nice, but Rafael Soriano should be coming back soon enough*. The Yankees have bigger fish to fry.

* Soriano will make another rehab appearance tomorrow, this time with Triple-A Scranton.

“It was a disaster. We failed.”

That quote comes from Brian Cashman and refers to Kei Igawa, the $46M poster boy of Yankees’ pitching busts. Bill Pennington of The New York Times published a lengthy feature on the now 32-year-old southpaw today, which goes into detail about his time with the Yankees. Igawa still lives in Manhattan and commutes daily to Scranton or Trenton or wherever he may be and is considered a “great clubhouse guy” by the organization and his teammates, but he struggled greatly with the transition to MLB and the United States. The Yankees tried to re-work his delivery, but it didn’t take. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Within the piece we learn that the Cashman had twice negotiated deals with Japanese clubs that would have let Igawa return home, but he refused both times despite being told (very explicitly) that he was not coming back to the majors. Cashman was also prepared to trade Igawa to the Padres after they claimed him off waivers in August 2007, but “ownership was not willing to let him go yet.” Give it a read, it gets RAB’s highest level of recommendation.

Game 98: Heat Wave

(Photo Credit: The New York Times)

It’s game number 98, and that also happens to be the temperature today. Actually, that’s probably a little light. That might be the temperature in the shade. I feel bad for the people in the stands today, especially those in the sections without shade. Here’s the lineup…

Brett Gardner, LF
Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, DH
Nick Swisher, RF
Russell Martin, C
Eduardo Nunez, 2B
Brandon Laird, 3B

A.J. Burnett, SP

The game starts at 1:05pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

The trade market that wasn’t

It all keeps coming back to Cliff Lee. A year ago, the Yankees were on the precipice of acquiring Lee from the Mariners, a feat which would have given them one of the best rotations in baseball. They failed, and a short time later were bounced from the playoffs by a team led by Cliff Lee. Soon after, they saw Cliff Lee spurn the them for the Phillies in free agency. By my count, that’s three separate instances of Cliff Lee-induced pain. When Andy Pettitte retired a few months after Lee went to Philadelphia, Cashman pivoted. In a manner reminiscent of the Red Sox in 2009, the Yankees decided to build the rotation on the cheap, allowing Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon and Ivan Nova to battle it out for the two remaining rotation slots (the other three being occupied by Sabathia, Burnett and Hughes). Once Hughes went down with an injury, Colon took his spot and performed admirably. Garcia has been fantastic too. Yet all along it’s seemed as if plan for the Yankees’ rotation was to run with these guys until a better option arose on the trade market. Freddy Garcia’s nice and all, but shouldn’t the Yankees go into battle in October with a serious complement to Sabathia? Yet here we stand a mere week or so away from the trade deadline and there seems to be no complement available? Where are the pitchers? Where are the targets? Where are the potential upgrades?

A few big names have arisen, to be sure. Ubaldo Jimenez was the target last week, but it doesn’t seem that Colorado is serious about trading him. Some have suggested that they were simply recognizing that the market was very weak and seeing if some team (like the Yankees) would be willing to panic and overpay for their lanky and affordable ace. In the absence of that a deal seems unlikely. James Shields has also been rumored to be available, but not to the Yankees. If Tampa decides to move the putative ace it won’t likely be an intra-divisional move. Hiroki Kuroda would be a potential option, one for whom I’ve long advocated, but his no-trade clause puts him in the driver’s seat and means that he’ll determine whether he gets traded and to where he gets traded. John Danks would be a nice upgrade, but there’s no indication that the White Sox are looking to move a starter and the teams don’t even match up particularly well for a trade anyway. Who’s left, Jason Marquis?

A year ago the Yankees came close to having a very good rotation and no Jesus Montero when they offered Seattle Montero for Lee. That deal fell through. A few months later, they came close to having a very good rotation and Jesus Montero when they tried to get Cliff Lee for nothing more than money. That deal fell through. The plus side is that the Yankees still have Montero, of course. Whether they really want him is another question. They don’t seem to have any interest in calling him up any time soon, and Cashman has gone out of his way to make it clear that Montero is available in trades. Yet there is no Cliff Lee on the market this year, no pitcher for whom Montero would be a suitable return. Right now the effort to swap Montero for a pitcher looks a day late and a buck short.

There is serious downside risk in relying on the trade market. Sometimes the targets don’t materialize and other times your assets don’t matchup with the best available targets. This shouldn’t be interpreted as a criticism of Cashman. No one that I’m aware of predicted that the Yankees would whiff on Lee twice, lose Pettitte to retirement, and then find themselves unable to upgrade the rotation via the trade market at all. It sounds like a worst-case scenario dreamt up on a Red Sox message board. Yet, as of July 23rd that’s exactly what’s happened. The best pitcher truly on the market seems to be Kuroda, a pitcher with a no-trade clause and a disinclination to leave Los Angeles.  It’s not the situation the Yankees hoped to be in at this point.

The old saying is that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. You can always hope that better opportunities arise later, but your risk goes up the further away you are from the acquisition target. This entire market could change very quickly, and that’s what makes the trade deadline so exciting. Yet, as of today it looks like the Yankees are dancing alone. The most realistic option at this point seems very unlikely, but I suppose there’s no harm in continuing to beat the drum once more, until the deadline passes. Help us, Hiroki. You’re our only hope!

Bats back shaky Hughes, Yanks win big over A’s

Brandon Laird's Hall of Fame career began on Friday.

Trevor Cahill is a good young starter, but the poor kid just doesn’t seem to stand a chance against the Yankees. New York blew the doors off this one early, knocking Cahill from the game in the third inning. It’s Friday and it’s hot, so let’s quickly recap…

  • Everyone contributed offensively, even the guys off the bench. The Yankees scored five runs in the second with a barrage of singles plus a walk and a sacrifice fly. They didn’t bat around, but they came close. Most of the damage was done in the third inning, which featured both a three-run homer and a grand slam. You don’t see that happen in the same inning very often, not by one team anyway. Six straight batters reached to leadoff the inning, and one batter even had two hits in the frame. Add in some garbage time runs later, and you’ve got a season-high 17 runs and the most they’ve scored in one game since hanging 20 on the Red Sox in August of 2009.
  • Phil Hughes was pretty terrible, allowing seven runs in just 4.1 IP, walking four and striking out three. He also hit a batter. Blame the weather or the long layoffs between innings if you want, but the bottom line is that a starter has to get through at least five innings when staked to a 12 run lead. That’s the bare minimum. Hector Noesi was strong yet again in long relief, striking out three and walking nine in 3.2 scoreless innings. He needed 53 pitches to get 11 outs, Hughes 98 to get 13 outs. Phil has to be better next time out (against the Mariners), just has to be.
  • There’s a lot of offense to cover, so let’s run through it. Brett Gardner struck out three times but also had an infield hit in that second inning. Derek Jeter had two hits and a walk, Curtis Granderson two walks and a hit-by pitch, Mark Teixeira two walks and the grand slam, Robinson Cano two hits, Nick Swisher three hits (including the three-run homer) and a walk, Jorge Posada one hit, Eduardo Nunez two hits, and Frankie Cervelli was a perfect 3-for-3 with two walks. Granderson and Jeter each stole bases as well. Chris Dickerson came off the bench and singled.
  • If the Yankees have any trade interest in Oakland relievers, they sure got a good look at all of them in this game. Six different relievers appeared in the game for the A’s, none worse than Joey Devine. Check out his strike zone plot, and make sure you notice the pitches literally off the chart and in the margins. His first pitch of the night was the first pitch Brandon Laird saw as a big leaguer, a fastball behind his back. Laird drew a walk his first time up (his first since June 25th) then singled the next time, so he’s rocking a 1.000 AVG and 1.000 OBP at the moment. Congrats to him.
  • It’s been more than a dozen years since the Yankees played a home game in this kind of weather; July of 1999 was the last time the temperature exceeded triple digits at first pitch at Yankee Stadium. Yuck. Here’s the box score, here’s the WPA graph, and here’s the standings.

Saturday’s going to be another scorcher, but if you want to brave the heat and head up to the Bronx for the game, RAB Tickets can get you in dirt cheap. Rich Harden will give it a go against A.J. Burnett in the matinee.

Warren begins prep for big league start

Penn League Report has some video and scouting reports for Mason Williams, Cito Culver, and Brandon Pinder. It’s good news all around. Meanwhile, David Phelps will be back from his shoulder tendinitis pretty much any day now.

High-A Tampa (6-5 loss to Bradenton, walk-off style)
Eric Chavez, 3B: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K – played seven innings in the field … made two plays in the field according to the recap, one ground ball and one line drive
Abe Almonte, CF: 2 for 5, 3 R, 1 SB
Emerson Landoni, 2B: 0 for 1
Ronnier Mustelier, 2B-3B: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB – just keeps hitting
Kyle Roller, DH: 1 for 5, 1 R, 2 K
Rob Segedin, RF: 1 for 4
Luke Murton, 1B: 2 for 4, 1 RBI
Neil Medchill, LF: 0 for 3
Mitch Abeita, C: 0 for 2, 2 BB
Kelvin Castro, SS: 0 for 4, 1 K
Mikey O’Brien, RHP: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 2-3 GB/FB – picked a runner off first … had walked eight guys against six strikeouts in his last six starts
Kramer Sneed, LHP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2-1 GB/FB
Francisco Gil, RHP: 1.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 1-1 GB/FB

[Read more…]

Yankees announce 2011 HOPE Week

One of my favorite weeks of the year. The Yankees have announced their plans for the 2011 edition of HOPE Week, which will take place Monday through Friday of next week. All of the details can be found in the press release. Good on the Yankees for keeping this going, but hopefully the weather cools off before then.