Mailbag: Killer B’s, Garcia, Wood, Bad Contracts

Time for another edition of the RAB mailbag, which I hope will one day be as awesome as KSK’s Sex/Fantasy Football Mailbag. Yes, I like to dream big. These week will discuss the futures of two prominent pitching prospects and one former prominent pitching prospect, whether or not Kerry Wood will be with the Yankees beyond this season, and my personal favorite, ugly contracts.

If you ever have a question you want answered, send it in to us via the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar under The Montero Watch.

Anonymous asks: Who do you like more, Betances or Banuelos on reaching their ceilings?

I like Manny Banuelos‘ chances of reaching his ceiling because he’s got a much better track record when it comes to the health of his arm. Yeah, he missed a big chunk of this season with an appendectomy, but that kinda stuff happens. Other than that, he’s had no arm problems during his time with the Yankees.

Betances, meanwhile, dealt with some nagging elbow issues before finally having reconstructive elbow surgery last year, and he also missed over a month with a sore shoulder back in 2008. He has yet to have a full, healthy season starting in April and finishing in September in his three-plus year career while Banuelos did it just last year. If you can’t stay healthy, you can’t stay on the field and develop into the best player you can be, so that’s why my pick is on ManBan.

Mike asks: Whats the latest on Christian Garcia? Is he back from injury and are the Yankees looking to re-signing him to a minor league deal?

In his interview with NoMaas this week, Mark Newman said they “haven’t had a discussion with (Garcia) or his agents about (rejoining the organization on a minor league deal). He’s got a ton of rehabbing to do.” It doesn’t get more reliable or up-to-date than that.

Anonymous asks: We all know about how poorly (predictably) Cashman’s moves have gone this year, and you’ve already talked about Kearns, but what are the chances of Kerry Wood staying with us? He seems completely revitalized by a playoff hunt and is throwing well. Will his closing experience put him out of our price range? Will we go cheap in the pen to sign Lee/Crawford/Werth etc?

Why is it predictable that his moves failed? So typical.

Anyway, the Yankees have gone cheap on the bullpen for three years now, and I really don’t expect that to change. Taking a one year, $1.2M flier on Chan Ho Park is a lot different than committing multiple years and big bucks to someone like Wood. Cashman has built the bullpen around cheap strikeout pitchers with enough depth that anyone who’s ineffective can be replaced with someone from Triple-A. It really is the best way to build a relief corps, having plenty of cheap and interchangeable options rather than putting all your eggs in one basket.

However, when I first read this question, something popped into my mind. Given his injury history and the current market, there’s zero chance Wood will get another multi-year deal worth $10M+ annually this winter. What if the Yanks could woo him with say, a one year deal worth $3M and incentives that could put another $5M or so in his pocket with the promise that if Mariano Rivera decides to call it a career after 2011, Wood gets the closer’s job as long as he’s healthy?

Obviously that’s a bit of a reach, because a guy with Wood’s pedigree should be able to find a closer’s job on the open market, and saves equals money the next time his contract is up. Maybe the lure of being Mo’s heir apparent is enough to keep him in pinstripes, but I’m sure his number one goal is to secure as much money in his next deal as possible to make sure he, his kids, and his kid’s kids never have to worry about a thing financially.

Kevin asks: If it was decided that every team could clear one contract from their payroll with no penalty, who do you think the Yankees would choose? A-Rod is such a vital part of the team, but they couldn’t blink on getting rid of those last seven years could they?

It has to be Alex Rodriguez. I love the guy, he’s a great player, the best I’ve seen in a Yankee uniform, but that contract is just awful. There’s still $174M and seven years left on that sucker after this season, and that doesn’t include the extra $30M he could earn thanks to the historic homerun milestones. There’s basically no chance of A-Rod retiring before the contract is up and forfeiting whatever is left on it because we’re talking generational wealth here. And you know what? If I was in the same boat as him, I’d do the same thing.

I love the guy, but I’m sorry, I’d shed him and his contract in a cocaine heartbeat if given the opportunity. I think A.J. Burnett‘s would be a close second, or maybe I could preemptively say whatever Derek Jeter gets after the season, which is almost assured of being too much for too long.

Yanks’ Killer Bs movin’ on up

We heard the rumblings late last night, and now it’s official: Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances have been promoted to AA Trenton. The two young phenoms, both subjects of recent glowing scouting reports by Frankie Piliere, join Andrew Brackman, Hector Noesi and Adam Warren in a power-packed rotation just a train ride away from New York City. Here’s to hoping the Yanks’ pitching future is now one step closer.

Learning from Dellin Betances

Four years ago, I urged the Yankees to take a tall, hard-throwing local kid from Brooklyn named Dellin Betances with their first pick of the 2006 draft. Proving again that they’re smarter than me, the Yanks did in fact take Betances, but not until the 8th round. Despite all his promise, Betances hasn’t been able to stay healthy and has yet to make it out of A-ball in three-plus professional seasons.

Moshe at the brand spankin’ new TYU says that we need to learn a lesson from Betances, that these kid pitchers in the minors are just prospects and far from sure things. Arodys Vizcaino has all the potential in the world, but he’s so young and far away that he would have just graduated high school last spring. Moving him as the centerpiece of a package for a pitcher of Javy Vazquez‘s quality shouldn’t be an issue.

Betances to the DL; Horne close to returning

A tip o’ the old hat goes out Eric at Pending Pinstripes on this one: Dellin Betances is headed to the DL with a one of those fosh “upper body injuries.” The injury likely explains his bad outing yesterday, and if it has to do with his elbow it could explain all those walks he’s been issuing (if you’re a fan of K/BB ratios, check that shizz out, wowza). Who knows, maybe the kid’s just got pink eye.

In happier news, Chad Jennings notes that Alan Horne made another rehab appearance in Extended Spring Training today, striking out 7 in 3.2 innings of work. Horne said he felt great, and expects to make his next appearance for one of the affiliated squads. You take the good with the bad, I guess.

Betances hopes to return to SI soon

We’ve got, courtesy of loyal reading Marc Resnick, a Dellin Betances sighting. According to an article a PinstripesPlus.com (subscription required), Betances is set to throw a bullpen session today and hopes to return to Staten Island before the season ends in a few weeks. Hopefully, my unfounded idle speculation surrounding the state of his elbow is just incorrect musings of a wondering mind.

“only some freakish unforeseen injury keeps him from being a major leaguer”

That quote comes from Staten Island Yankees’ manager Mike Gillespie in this article from the Daily News, and he’s talking about none other than Dellin Betances. Great piece on what Dellin was up to this winter, how he spent his 7-figure signing bonus, what scout’s think of him, and how he feels to be a part of the Yankees’ future.