Link Dump: Trades, Headley, Gardner, Castillo

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

I have a whole bunch of stray links lying around in the wake of the trade deadline and I’m not quite sure what do with them, so I might as well dump them all in one post. Here are some miscellaneous links and notes as the Yankees and Tigers wrap up their series in the Bronx (game thread).

Yankees add most projected production at trade deadline

Although they didn’t land a big fish like Jon Lester or David Price, the Yankees were one of the most active teams prior to the trade deadline, making four deals that qualified as what Brian Cashman called “incremental upgrades.” Friend of RAB Eno Sarris put together a real quick and dirty analysis looking at which teams added the most production at the trade using projected WAR. It’s a simple WAR coming in minus WAR going out calculation. The Yankees added 2.0 WAR (projected!) at the deadline, by far the most in baseball. The Mariners were second at 1.3 WAR. Those incremental upgrades, man. They add up in a hurry.

Headley loves New York, surprising

Chase Headley has only been a Yankee for a bit more than two weeks now, but that has been long enough for New York to grow on him. He told Ken Davidoff he never expected to enjoy playing in Bronx as much as he has. “If you had told me a couple of weeks ago that I would enjoy playing in New York, I would’ve told you you’re crazy … You don’t know what to expect when you come to a clubhouse with this many All-Stars and established guys and great players. You don’t know how you’re going to be accepted in a clubhouse and be treated. And it’s been phenomenal. Top-notch organization, and then I’ve loved every second I’ve been here and I anticipate that I will as long as I’m here,” said Headley. He has also told people with the team how much he’s enjoyed it as well, says Jon Heyman. Headley will be a free agent after the season and re-signing him is something to consider once the final 50 games play out, but for now he’s fit in wonderfully and given the Yankees a big lift.

Red Sox, Rays blacklisted Yankees at deadline

According to David Lennon, the Red Sox and Rays were both told by ownership they could not deal Lester and Price to the Yankees at the trade deadline. Each team was free to trade their lefty ace anywhere but the Bronx. Nick Cafardo says the Yankees did try to engage the BoSox on both Lester and John Lackey, but no dice. The Bombers also called Tampa about Price, says Bob Nightengale, but again, it wasn’t happening. Oh well, what are you going to do. I’m not sure if the Yankees could have put together competitive offers for the two southpaws anyway.

Gardner’s ever-changing approach

This has been a career year for Brett Gardner, as he continues to hit for a surprising amount of power while maintaining his pesky leadoff hitter on-base ability. It’s been a blast to watch. Jeff Sullivan looked at Gardner’s sudden power production and, long story short, found that he’s adjusted to the way pitchers were pitching him. They were treating him like a slap hitter with fastballs in the zone. Like a hitter who couldn’t hurt them. Gardner has become more aggressive and learned how to better pull the ball in the air, a trademark of hitting coach Kevin Long. The league basically dared him to adjust to the way they pitched him, and he’s done exactly that.

Rusney Castillo’s workout scheduled for tomorrow

Free agent Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo is scheduled to have a private workout with the Yankees at their Tampa complex tomorrow, according to George King. He has already had private workouts for the Phillies, Red Sox, Cubs, and Mariners. Ben Badler recently dropped a Rajai Davis comp on Castillo, in case you’re wondering what type of player he is. King says the outfielder may fetch upwards of $45M.

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Topkin: Yankees had extra scouts watch David Price recently

12:16pm: Buster Olney (subs. req’d) says the Rays are prepared to trade Price “right now,” though no deal is imminent. He is very much on the market.

12:00pm: Via Marc Topkin: The Yankees were among several teams to have high level/additional scouts watch David Price’s start last week. The southpaw struck out 12 while allowing two runs in eight innings against the Astros. He has double-digit strikeouts in four straight starts. Tampa has the worst record in all of baseball and figures to sell off some pieces before the trade deadline next month.

Price, 28, has pitched to a 3.81 ERA (3.02 FIP) with an absurd 133/23 K/BB in 16 starts in 115.2 innings this season. He’ll earn $14M this year and remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player next year. The Yankees need another starter and the fit is obvious, right? Price isn’t just an ace-caliber performer, but he’s also AL East tested and a proven workhorse. Would the Rays trade him within the division? I’m guessing yes if the price is right (pun unintended). Do the Yankees have the pieces to meet that price (pun intended)?

Update: Future Yankee David Price takes back comments

Thursday: Unsurprisingly, Price backtracked today. “It probably wasn’t the best thing to say, but I didn’t mean anything by it … I wasn’t looking to offend the Yankees. It’s probably the best organization in all of sports. Not just baseball, but all of sports. I didn’t mean anything (against) the New York Yankees. I’ve had friends on that team for multiple years,” said the left-hander. Sounds like his agent told him it wasn’t a good idea to say he wouldn’t sign with one of the game’s wealthiest teams, eh?

Wednesday: Via Jon Morosi: David Price said he would not sign a long-term contract with the Yankees because of their facial hair policy. “I wouldn’t stay there very long (if traded to New York),” said the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. “I wouldn’t sign a long-term deal there. Those rules, that’s old-school baseball. I was born in ’85. That’s not for me. That’s not something I want to be a part of.”

Price, who was in fact born in ’85, won’t become a free agent until after the 2015 season. He is slated to earn a little more than $10M this year, making him the highest paid player in franchise history. It’s also his second of four trips through arbitration as a Super Two, and as Morosi’s column states, it appears to be only a matter of time before Price gets too expensive for the Rays and they trade him for what might be an unprecedented prospect package. It could happen as soon as the trade deadline but I’m thinking next winter. Either way, I’m guessing David would be singing a different tune in a few years if he hits the open market and the Yankees make the largest offer. It is his destiny.

Mailbag: Price, Bonifacio, Plouffe, Gumbs

Got four post-Winter Meetings questions for you today. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything throughout the week.

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Daniel asks: I know you guys always refer to David Price as “Future Yankee David Price.” But I’m not exactly sure why. When is his contract up and what are the chances we could actually pull off a deal?

The Future Yankee David Price thing is mostly a joke built around the idea that he’s an ace-caliber left-handed pitcher on a small market team who they won’t be able to sign long-term. The kind of guy we tend to expect the Yankees to swoop in and sign when he’s a free agent. Plus I like to poke some fun at some Rays fans friends of mine.

Price, who just turned 27 in August, is going to make massive money through arbitration with his credentials. Even before he was named the Cy Young Award winner, MLBTR projected him to earn $9.5M through arbitration this winter, which would be a new record for a second time eligible pitcher. He’s also a Super Two, meaning he still has two more years of arbitration left ahead of him. He could (and should as long as he doesn’t get hurt) be earning upwards of $20M+ by 2015, before he even hits free agency. The Rays figure to trade him at some point, but I highly doubt they would trade him within the division. The Yankees will have to wait three more years until he’s a free agent.

Richard asks: If the Yankees were able to initially smoke-and-mirror their way to something approaching contention with cheap pickups and players from the minors, which teams would be out of the running in mid-season (assuming the Yankees aren’t) and which players better suited to the Yankees’ needs might become available?

This isn’t the easiest question to answer because there is so much offseason left, but I think the most obvious candidates are the Cubs, Twins, Astros, Marlins, and Rockies. The Indians, Pirates, Mariners, and Padres are the next tier since you can kinda see sneaking into contention if things breaks right. The Twins have Josh Willingham and Jamey Carroll to offer while the Cubs have David DeJesus and the pricey Alfonso Soriano, but that’s really it. Maybe Ramon Hernandez of the Rockies stays healthy and becomes available. The Astros have nothing and the Yankees don’t really have the pieces to land a Dexter Fowler type. Maybe they will at midseason.

(Ronald Martinez/Getty)

Zac asks: Would Trevor Plouffe make sense as a 3B option for the Yankees, and would the Twins consider trading him? Also, seeing that Emilio Bonifacio is potentially available, would he be an option?

I’ll say yes and no for Bonifacio. Yes he would be an option given his ability to play all over the infield and dabble in the outfield, but no I don’t think he’s an option because the Blue Jays hate trading within the division. GM Alex Anthopoulos has said so publicly many times.

As for Plouffe, I assume the Twins are open to dealing anyone following the Denard Span and Ben Revere trades. The 26-year-old hit .235/.301/.455 (106 wRC+) with 24 homers in 465 plate appearances for Minnesota this year while spending most of his time at third base. He also dabbled at second base and in right field. Plouffe is a right-handed hitter who does almost all of his damage, especially in the power department, against lefties. He wasn’t a big prospect and he really doesn’t offer much except power, though he is under team control for five more years (and will be a Super Two). Does Ivan Nova in a one-for-one trade work? I feel like that’s too much given the fact that a starting pitcher is far more valuable than a platoon bat.

Frank asks: When Angelo Gumbs came out of prep school he was touted as a CF/SS prospect with decent tools. Since the Yanks really don’t have a SS prospect that’s highly rated, wouldn’t it benefit the Yanks to try him at short again?

Before we start, here’s what Baseball America (subs. req’d) wrote about Gumbs’ defense in their recent top ten Yankees prospects list…

Gumbs has made significant growth defensively and is beginning to take advantage of his plus arm and range. He still has some stiffness and hardness to his hands, but as his footwork improves with repetition, he should be a solid defender at second base.

If Gumbs, 20, truly has “plus arm and range” at second base, I think it’s worth a shot to try him back at shortstop since the whole Cito Culver thing just isn’t happening. That’s very easy to say from here, especially since my knowledge of Gumbs’ defense doesn’t extend far beyond those two sentences above, but the Yankees should look to maximize his value and shortstop is more valuable than second base. The team has some solid second base prospects in David Adams and to a lesser extent Corban Joseph, but that shouldn’t really be a factor in moving him. If Gumbs can play the more premium position, they should try it.