Olney: Angels open to trading Bourjos and Trumbo for pitching

Via Buster Olney: The Angels have expressed a willingness to trade Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo for pitching help as they look to revamp their staff. Right now their rotation is Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards, Jerome Williams, and Joe Blanton. Obviously they want to upgrade at least the last two and maybe the last three spots.

Bourjos, 26, has missed a bunch of time due to wrist problems these last two years. The defensive whiz is a career .251/.306/.398 (103 wRC+) hitter in a little more than 1,100 plate appearances over the last four years. He is fast enough to theoretically steal bases even though he hasn’t done much of it in the big leagues (41-for-54, 76%). The 27-year-old Trumbo is a career .250/.299/.469 (111 wRC+) hitter who has whacked at least 29 homers in each of his three full seasons. He’s developed a reputation for being a notorious first half player (career 130 wRC+) who disappears after the break (86 wRC+).

The Yankees have enough speedy, no power, defense first outfielders on their roster, so Bourjos makes little sense. Trumbo is a much better fit as long as the club thinks he can adequately play the outfield. I don’t think breaking the bank for another first base/DH type is a wise move. Trumbo has almost a thousand career innings in the outfield and New York could try to hide him in tiny right field. His kind of righty power is hard to fine, even though it comes with a miniscule OBP. The problem is that unless the Angels really like David Phelps or Adam Warren, the Yankees don’t have any pitching to trade them. Not a good trade match here.

2013 Potential Trade Targets — Part IV

Behold!  The fourth and final installment of the 2013 Potential Trade Targets series has arrived.  We’ve had a lot of names to parse through so far, but we’ve done it.  Feel free to go back and check out Part I, Part II, and Part III at your convenience if you’ve missed any of them (or you’re simply in need of a second glance).  Alright, let’s dive in.

Colvin. (Justin Edmonds/Getty)
Colvin. (Justin Edmonds/Getty)

Tyler Colvin
Colvin is kind of interesting.  He came up through the Cubs system and got his first taste of the big leagues in 2009.  In 2010, he had his first real opportunity to showcase his abilities, and produced a 1.8 fWAR in limited exposure (395 plate appearances).  After a disappointing 2011 campaign, the former 2006 first round pick was shipped out west to Colorado where he’s remained since (he was part of the trade that sent Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers to Chicago).

Last season he hit 18 home runs while batting .290/.327/.531 (.365 wOBA, 117 wRC+) in 452 plate appearances (2.3 fWAR).  Unfortunately for Colvin, 2013 has been tough.  The Rockies elected to keep him in AAA to begin the season after he struggled in Spring Training, preferring the services of Eric Young Jr. as the fourth outfielder and Reid Brignac as the extra roster spot.  Colvin’s struggled since being recalled (.160/.192/.280, .202 wOBA, 7 wRC+), and it’s not really a lefty/righty thing either.  He’s been bad against everyone; granted, it’s been 78 plate appearances so those numbers could still change pretty quickly.  Unfortunately, there’s also been some discussion that Colvin struggles with breaking balls and off-speed pitches.  While the home runs are appealing, there’s a good chance he may never become more than a depth guy too though I think the verdict is still out on that one given his inconsistent opportunities.

What you’re getting with a guy like Colvin is a player who doesn’t show a ton of plate discipline (he’s swung at 37.9% of pitches outside of the strike zone in his career) which subsequently limits his walks (career 6.0 BB%). He strikes out a fair amount (26.6 K%) but has some power (.214 ISO).  To his credit, he can play first base as well as the outfield, which certainly is convenient for the Yankees roster this season.  He’s also pretty cheap.  The Rockies and Colvin settled on a $2.275M salary heading into this season, but he still has three more years of arbitration-eligibility before he’s slated for free agency.

It seems a bit unclear how the Rockies value Colvin given their preference to not guarantee him regular playing time, and who knows whether they have any interest in moving him anyway.  Maybe a mid-level prospect gets it done if they don’t feel he’s an important cog to their future success.  After all, it’s not like the package the Rockies gave up to get Colvin initially (along with D.J. LeMahieu, who was the other piece of the deal) was particularly overwhelming.  Then again, you also have to consider the fact that the Rockies are a team still on the fringes of contention, so they may not be sellers anyway.  In any event, while Colvin has some attributes that are appealing (namely the potential for home runs), he’s not without risk.

Peter Bourjos
Can we just have Mike Trout instead and call it a day?  No … okay, let’s talk about Pete then.  Since reaching the show in 2010, the results have been pretty mixed. The 2011 season was, by far, his best season (he was valued at 4.1 fWAR and batted .271/.327/.438 with a .335 wOBA and 113 wRC+).  The next year was pretty disappointing for Bourjos though, as he saw his playing time dwindle after the emergence of Mike Trout (along with Mark Trumbo’s first half success).  So far, in 2013, he’s done well over 147 plate appearances (.333/.392/.457, .373 wOBA, 140 wRC+).  He rarely walks (5.5 BB%) though and strikes out regularly (21.7 K%).  He also hits for basically no power whatsoever.

Positionally, he’s a center fielder by trade, which really doesn’t do the Yankees a whole lot of good as they have a superior version of Bourjos already in Gardner.  On the plus side, Bourjos is basically earning league minimum and remains under team control for a few more seasons.  I have nothing against Bourjos personally, but I just don’t think his skill set is a realistic fit for the Yankees at this juncture.  Pass.

Kendrys Morales
Now here’s an Angel (albeit a former one), that I could potentially get behind.  Morales, a first baseman/DH, makes sense for the Yankees in a lot of ways.  He’s historically been an above-average batter (career .281/.333/.486, .351 wOBA, 119 wRC+), plus he’s a switch hitter — which is a skill the Yankees sorely need at this point.  He’s also spent a lot of time in the American League and has been a certified Yankee-Killer over the years, so there’s that.  On the down side, he’s the guy who fractured his ankle celebrating after a walk off grand slam off Brandon League in 2010 which kept him sidelined through all of 2011.

Morrison. (Brian Kersey/Getty)
Morrison. (Brian Kersey/Getty)

Morales has shown noticeable splits at times, though they aren’t really severe at this juncture.  In 2012, he struggled against lefties as a righty, batting .229 against them, which interestingly was still considered better than average (110 wRC+ from that side).  This year he’s hit lefties surprisingly well though (149 wRC+), but has been only slightly above average against righties (.257/.312/.479, .329 wOBA, 113 wRC+) which is surprising given that he usually excels from that side of the plate.

Kendrys does have some decent power (.181 ISO this season), and we all know this team could certainly use some of that.  He won’t take many walks (6.9 BB%) but won’t strike out that often either (17.4 K%). The best part of this scenario though is that he’s owed only $5.25M this season (which would leave the Yankees on the hook for about $2.5M for the remainder of the year) and is a free agent come season’s end.  The Mariners stink and should theoretically be sellers.  I’m guessing a decent prospect and some salary gets it done.  Yeah, I’d probably be on board with this.

Raul Ibanez
Apparently there’s a decent number of Yankee fans out there who are itching to bring Raaaauuuul back in his age 41 season.  Those epic home runs towards the end of last season (and in the postseason) still resonate, I suppose.  If we’re being honest though, over the past couple seasons, Raul’s been a very mediocre player offensively, if not sub par (91 wRC+ in 2011 and 102 wRC+ in 2012).  Historically speaking, he’ll take a few walks (career 8.4 BB%) while not striking out a ton either (16.1 K%).  Of course, his interpretation of base-running and defense leaves much to be desired.

This season, his bat has been fairly solid despite playing in the pitcher friend confines of Safeco Park.  He’s hit for a lot of power (.295 ISO!), generating 22 home runs in the process (14 of which have happened in Seattle mind you, after hitting 19 total over the course of a full season last year).   Unfortunately, outside of the home runs, he hasn’t done a whole lot else (.301 OBP).  He’s also taking a few less walks this season, and his strike out rate has jumped up several percentage points (24.4 K%).    Interestingly, Raul’s done a good job handling both lefty and righty pitchers this year.  Given the Yankees current offensive woes, that 135 wRC+ sure is enticing for a half-year rental — even if he is really exclusively a DH at this point.

In terms of cost, the Mariners signed Ibanez for a single season at a modest $2.75M.  In terms of dollars he certainly wouldn’t break the Yankees bank as a midseason acquisition.  Assuming the trade price for Ibanez isn’t too high, I could see the team making a move such as this as a security blanket down the stretch, though I’d be surprised if Ibanez ultimately resurfaces in New York — it’s not like the team didn’t have plenty of opportunity in the offseason this last go around to bring him back.  I’m also sort of leery of having Wells, Ichiro, and Ibanez in the same lineup day in and day out for a number of reasons.

If I were ruining running the Yankees, I absolutely would not surrender anything beyond a B-level prospect, and I’d probably plan on not re-signing him after the season regardless of how he performed through the second half.  Even if he does well for the rest of the season, my money is on him returning to 2011-2012 form moving forward.  As it stands now, he’s only been worth 0.8 fWAR this season so far.  Raul had some big moments in NY for which I’m thankful, but I think that relationship has probably run its course.

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)
Morrison. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)

Logan Morrison
The Marlins are awful.  You can bank on them listening to a trade for pretty much any player not named Giancarlo Stanton (who knows, maybe they’re secretly listening to offers on him too — eventually he’ll be shipped out!).  Morrison has looked pretty good this season in limited playing time.  Over 89 plate appearances, he’s batted .304/.382/.557 (.399 wOBA, 157 wRC+).  He’s struggled against lefties this season (granted, in a very limited sample), but if last year was any indication, that could be an ongoing issue.  Traditionally, LoMo will show some discipline behind the plate (10.9 career BB%), and doesn’t strike out too frequently (17.7 K%).  He’ll also hit for some power.

On the plus side, Morrison can handle both first base and the left Field.  He’s also only 25 years old.  Contractually, he’s making basically nothing (at least relative to most baseball players) and is currently in his final pre-arbitration year.  He’ll be eligible for arbitration in each of the next three seasons, meaning he’ll be relatively affordable.  On the downside, he’s been fairly injury prone during his brief Major League career (most recently coming off knee surgery).

Assuming Logan can stay on the field, he’d definitely represent an upgrade for the Yankees at either position.  I’d probably sign up for this one too, though who knows what the Marlins asking price is.  Given his team friendly salary, I’d have to assume he’d cost a decent prospect, especially since he’s been swinging a hot bat since his return.  He’s another guy not without some obvious risk though.  He’s had only one big league season where he’s amassed more than 500 plate appearances.  Durability is a major concern.

Mailbag: Martin, Shoppach, Bourjos, Choo

Just four questions this week, and they’re all geared towards potential roster moves. Use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar whenever you want to send us something.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Matt asks: Given his current performance, do you think the Yankees are going to re-sign Russell Martin (and, should they)? If so, what kind of contract do you think he’s going to get?

I wrote about the catching situation yesterday and how the Yankees should look for an upgrade behind the plate, but that’s obviously easier said than done. I don’t think Martin’s true talent is a .178/.297/.347 batting line, he’s probably closer to a .225/.320/.380 guy. That’s not great but it’s at least tolerable, you can live with it behind the plate as long as he’s solid defensively and hitting eighth or ninth. I think that Martin’s back may still be bothering him, which would at least help explain the recent dreadful production.

Anyway, looking for an upgrade and potentially re-signing Martin after the season are two different thing. I’m sure Russ is kicking himself to turning down that three-year extension before the season but then again the catching market is weak. After Mike Napoli, Martin will be the best free agent catcher this offseason. Someone may and probably will overpay. If the Yankees could bring him back on one of those one-year, “re-establish your value” contracts, wouldn’t that be a pretty decent stopgap option until that 2014 payroll plan takes effect? Pair him with Austin Romine as a veteran caddy, they could do worse as long as they actually split time behind the plate.

Gabriel asks: What about trading for Kelly Shoppach as a back-up? I just read on MLBTR that the Red Sox were thinking of dealing him. Red Sox-Yanks deals are always tough, but what do you think?

Shoppach can hit a little, though he’s not really a .267/.359/.522 hitter like he has been this year. His primary value comes against left-handed pitchers, who he’s tagged for a .249/.348/.465 line over the last three seasons. That’s a useful platoon guy and would be a clear upgrade for the Yankees. The problem, as you know, is the whole Red Sox-Yankees thing. I can’t see those two teams getting together for a trade unless Boston just completely falls apart and decides to sell before the deadline (or even during the waiver trade period in August). I think they would have to get a real prospect in return as part of the trade, otherwise the negative PR from “helping the Yankees” probably isn’t worth it. He’d be a fit, he knows the division from his time with the both the Sox and Rays, but I just don’t think he’s actually obtainable.

Alex asks: According to Jayson Stark, the Angels are willing to give up Peter Bourjos in a deal for the right bullpen piece. Given that David Aardsma and Joba Chamberlain will be back this summer, would it be worth dealing Rafael Soriano to pick up an outfielder for the next few years?

(Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

No, I don’t think so and for a few reasons. For one, the goal is still to win this year and trading Soriano for Bourjos decreases the team’s chances of doing so. Aardsma just had his setback and despite all his progress, we have no idea what the Yankees will get out of Joba until he’s actually on a mound for them. They can’t start counting their chickens before they hatch.

Secondly, I’m just not a big Bourjos fan. I know he’s young and cheap and under control for the next half-decade and all that, but I’m just not a fan of defense-first players. We’ve — well not me specifically, but the baseball analysis community in general — come a long way with advanced defensive metrics but I still don’t have a ton of faith in them. That doesn’t mean I think Bourjos or Brett Gardner are bad players, just that I don’t think WAR accurately grades out their value. Plus could you imagine those two in the outfield at the same time? Even with Curtis Granderson the Yankees would still be lucky to get 45 homers out of their outfield.

The Bombers do need to add some kind of young outfielder for the long-term, but not enough to trade Soriano for him unless you’re getting a Mike Trout or something. Soriano may opt-out after the season and sign elsewhere and leave the Yankees with nothing to show for his tenure, who knows, but the best chance for the Yankees to win this season — before Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia, etc. get a year older — is with him in the bullpen closing games.

Joe asks: What is Shin-Soo Choo’s contract status and do you think he would be a viable candidate to play right field and therefore let Nick Swisher walk?

Choo is making $4.9M this season and will be under team control one more time as an arbitration-eligible player next year. He’ll be a free agent after 2013. The Yankees would have to trade for him and any kind of extension would probably be in the range of whatever Swisher gets this winter. Choo’s a year or two younger, better defensively, and more of a on-base/gap power/stolen base guy that someone who hits the ball over the fence. Similar players and the difference between the two really isn’t worth arguing.

I think rentals are generally undervalued; there’s nothing wrong with giving up prospects for one year or even half-a-year of a player if he improves your chances of winning that year enough. Choo falls into that category but I’m not sure if the Indians would actually make him available, and if they did the price would be pretty high since he’s their like, franchise cornerstone guy. Him and Carlos Santana. He’d be a perfect fit for the Yankees but as always, it comes down to the price.