Joe Torre is going to write a book about his 12 years managing the Yankees. Not included in this tell-all memoir will be chapters concerning Jeff Weaver and the 2003 World Series, Kenny Lofton’s role keeping the bench warm during the last four games of the 2004 ALCS, the decision to not bunt against Curt Schilling or an epilogue by Brian Cashman on why, when you stop to think about it, Torre’s time in the Bronx should have been up three years ago.
It’s a rumor that Buster Olney reports on his blog today:
In other words, a lot of conversations that go along these lines: This is how I see a deal working for me, and this is how I see it working for you. It is within this vein that the Padres and Yankees talked briefly about a possible deal that almost certainly won’t happen (Jake Peavy for Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera), and it’s within this vein that teams are now openly shopping their best and youngest pitchers.
My Hughesian bias says no to this one, but it’s tough to sneeze at the likely NL Cy Young winner. However, Mike has a different take:
“You know, Peavy is a great pitcher – young, Ks a ton of guys, durable – but he’s NEVER won a big game…I think he’d shit his pants in NY.”
Point well taken. Mike also brought up the long-term value. While Peavy can be had for reasonable salaries for the next two years, he’s probably looking at $18 million per year as a free agent after that, while Hughes will just be entering his arbitration years. So even if Hughes isn’t quite as good as Peavy — and if he reaches his ceiling he can be as good and even better — his value relative to his salary could easily even out.
Glad to see my Hughesian bias justified by other means.
Following up on yesterday’s discussion about a potential trade for Miguel Cabrera, our focus in third base should shift away from the young Marlins stud and on to some other, slightly less appealing options. The Yankees, you see, have announced that Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy are all but untouchable. In a year in which the Yanks will have to fill that third base hole via a trade, this announcement still leaves the Yanks with a few appealing options.
For one of those options, we turn our attention south down I-95. Two hundred and two miles southwest of Yankee Stadium sits Camden Yards where the 31-year-old Miguel Tejada has manned short stop for the last three years. Now, the Orioles, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun, are ready to deal Tejada, and the price tag is not too steep.
According to the Sun, the Orioles are primarily looking for young, nearly Major League-ready position players. While the Yanks are short on that in their farm, the Orioles would not say no to a package with a few young arms either. As club President Andy MacPhail said of the beleaguered franchise, “Let’s get the young talent first, and then we’ll sort it out.”
And then along came Tyler Kepner with possibly the best news of the Yankee off-season: There’s a team out there actually interested in Krazy Kyle Farnsworth. That team just so happens to be the Baltimore Orioles. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Could the Yanks really spin Farnsworth plus some lesser prospects to the Orioles for Miguel Tejada and the $26 million Tejada is owed over the next two season? I don’t see why not.
There is of course a rub. There always is. Miguel Tejada has played 1531 games at short stop during his career and zero at third base. The Yanks would have to convince Tejada – or, dare I suggest it, Derek Jeter – to switch to third base. I’m sure it won’t take much convincing if the Yanks can sell Tejada on playing for a winner.
At 31, Tejada’s on the down swing of a great career that has always seemed one step away from a major PED scandal. His power has declined a bit over the last few seasons, but he still seems good for about a .300/.360/.450 line. He stays healthy; he plays with intensity; and as Buster came oh-so-close to writing today, Tejada is a pretty good fit for the Yankees, all things considered.
I would almost say, with Farnsworth involved, that Tejada is the best option. They can ride it with Tejada for two years and then look at other options after 2009 when Miguel Cabrera hits the open market. Maybe I’m dreaming. Maybe the Orioles won’t give up a star player without much, much more in compensation. But I like this option quite a bit.
The non-A-Rod news comes to us from the other overpaid former Yankee. Roger Clemens announced his intentions to begin his personal services contract with the Astros. Clemens and his hometown team have a ten-year deal in place, and while Roger could return to the mound as a player in 2008, his body seems to be telling him it is time to retire.
I go back and forth on Clemens’ 2007 season. On the one hand, at $1.11 million per start, he was way overpaid and didn’t really deliver. On the other hand, the other pitchers the Yanks kept trotting out there were just terrible. No matter; Clemens hardly ended his Hall of Fame career on a high note.
So it’s been
a long time a few hours since we lasted talked about A-Rod, and as Mike R. just asked, what exactly would we be talking about had A-Rod simply signed that extension?
Anyway, there’s been a lot of talk in around Yankeeland about what the Bombers could have done differently to retain the services of Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez. While Scott Boras claimed $350 million would have done the trick, I’m a bit skeptical. Let me instead offer you two A-Rod conspiracy theories.
1. Alex Rodriguez was never going to stay in New York
As much as Yankees fans would hate to admit it, it’s very possible that A-Rod simply wanted out of New York, and no amount of money or promises from Tampa could have changed a thing. A-Rod, not the most thick-skinned guy around, was, by many accounts, simply tired of New York City. Hew as tired of the tabloids tracking his every move; he was tired of the fans putting him under a microscope and expecting perfection. He was tired of shouldering the blame for postseason failures.
The Yankees plan to offer A-Rod salary arbitration so they can pick up two draft picks when he signs with some other team. More on A-Rod later (for a change), but this is definitely a good move by Cashman. Even in the unlikely event that A-Rod accepts, the Yanks would simply be retaining one of the best all-around players.
We can apparently debate the Yankees’ third base hole for 118 comments worth of thoughts. Ample pixels were burned on Monday discussing Miguel Cabrera. So let’s get started on him.
Baseball Prospectus’ Will Carroll reports that Cabrera is on the open market. Here’s what Will writes:
One of the team’s big two is gone and everyone’s expecting it to be Miguel Cabrera. “He’s at the end of his time at 3B,” the baseball source told me, “but he’s still good enough to play 1B. They won’t get quite as much as [Jon Daniels] did for Mark Teixeira, but they’re looking for a different payoff.” The rumored asking price is three players – one pitcher and position player that are under three years of service time and “solid ink-’em-in guys.” The other would be a “plus prospect, not the best guy on the team, but useful. The Marlins will probably look for a slugger.”
At the same time, Tyler Kepner of The Times reports, well, a few things. First, we hear that Yankees Manager Joe Girardi is a big fan of Cabrera’s. Says Joe of the 24-year-old slugger, ““He’s a great player, a smart player. He really understands the game of baseball. I was impressed in how mature he was as a hitter at a young age, his approach on a daily basis. I did not have any problems with him. He worked hard for me.”
Next up, we hear a similar asking price. According to Kepner’s sources, the Marlins want a center fielder and one or two top-tier pitchers. In other words, the Marlins want to turn Cabrera into the same package they got from the Red Sox from Josh Beckett. Instead of Hanley Ramirez as the centerpiece and Anibal Sanchez as the very good other piece, the Yanks would be trading a stellar pitcher and a very good other piece.
So now we know that if the Yanks pick up Cabrera, it would be, in all likelihood, as a first baseman. I can live with that. The Yanks got meager production from first base last year. Combined, their first basemen hit .284/.350/.419 with 16 home runs. Miguel Cabrera wails on those numbers. I’d take him at first base for the next ten years.
And with that in mind, we can now debate the package. While Brian Cashman says he would rather not trade Phil, Joba or IPK, it would take one of these guys to land Cabrera. The package would probably focus around one of the Yanks’ pitchers, Melky Cabrera, and a lesser pitching prospect, of which the Yanks have plenty right now.
I have, in the past, repeatedly spoken about my thoughts on Melky. I think, defense aside, he is very expendable, especially if the Yanks can get a bat of Miguel Cabrera’s caliber in return. Melky’s a fine defensive center fielder who often looks lost at the plate. The Yanks have a few good outfielder prospects who are simply better than Melky and have much higher ceilings. With two solid-but-not-spectacular seasons of MLB experience under his belt, Melky is the very definition of trade bait and would fill a hole the Marlins have tried to fill for a few seasons now.
Would you pull the trigger on this deal? As unpopular as trading Melky and IPK (along with a lesser prospect) could make me, I probably would. Let the debate begin.