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.

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Mike’s thoughts following the latest losing streak

Future Yankee Ty Wigginton. (Jeff Curry/Getty)
Future Yankee Ty Wigginton. (Jeff Curry/Getty)

The Yankees lost their third straight game last night, scoring exactly one run in each loss. They’ve scored more than three runs against a non-Twins team just once in their last nine games and seven times in their last 22 games. Thank goodness Minnesota is coming town for another three games this weekend, eh? Here are some miscellaneous thoughts:

1. I had no problem whatsoever with letting Raul Ibanez walk this past winter because he was mostly terrible before he started hitting those monumentally clutch homers late in last year, but he went into last night’s game hitting .260/.306/.563 (140 wRC+) with 22 (!) homers for the Mariners. The AVG and OBP aren’t anything special, but holy crap could the Yankees use that kind of power bat in their lineup. He can even fake an outfield spot if need be. The so-called Bombers are on pace for 153 homers this season — they had 145 through the same number of games last year — which would be their lowest total in a non-strike season since 1991. Travis Hafner stopped hitting when the calendar flipped to May, making the decision to let Ibanez walk look even more egregious. I was totally cool with it like I said, but this is one I and probably team wishes they could redo.

2. Ty Wigginton is going to be a Yankee, isn’t he? It’s inevitable. The Cardinals cut him loose yesterday, just 87 games into his two-year, $5M contact. That’s what happens when you hit .158/.238/.193 (19 wRC+) in 63 plate appearances with awful defense. Wigginton, a right-handed bat, hit .234/.360/.411 (111 wRC+) against southpaws just last year, which is the kind of performance the Yankees will try to unlock when they inevitably sign him. The freely available Russ Canzler is almost certainly the better part-time first base/third base/left field/DH righty platoon bat at this point, but New York always seems to go for the proven veteran over the inexperienced guy. As soon as Wigginton clears waivers and is available to sign for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum, he’ll be fitted for pinstripes. The Cardinals are extremely well-run team though; if they cut bait, he probably doesn’t have anything left in the tank.

3. Wanna see a cool graph? Here:

Robinson Cano walks

That is Robinson Cano‘s walk rate on a day-by-day basis, and it’s going nowhere but up of late. In fact, Cano has drawn eight walks compared to just one strikeout this month. Since June 1st it’s 26 walks and 13 strikeouts (!). There are eight intentional walks mixed in there, but that is to be expected given the state of the offense. Robbie had about a 30-game stretch a few weeks ago where he wasn’t being all that productive, in part because he was chasing stuff out of the zone and not making quality contact. Nowadays he’s willing to take the walk and pass the baton. That maturation as a hitter is great, but at some point someone hitting behind him has to make the other team pay. Lineup protection doesn’t really exist in the sense that putting a good hitter behind Cano will get him better pitchers to hit — no one is going to pitch to him no matter who hits behind him — but it does exist in that someone can make the other team pay for their willingness to pitch around Robbie. The Yankees don’t have that guy right now, not at all.

4. Ivan Nova will make his first start since officially rejoining the rotation tonight — the last two were spot starts, the first due to a rain out and the second because of Hiroki Kuroda‘s sore hip — but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was sent back to Triple-A after the game, especially if the Yankees are planning to activate Derek Jeter tomorrow. Based on Joe Girardi‘s comments to Brian Heyman prior to yesterday’s game, it sure seems like the Cap’n’s return is imminent as long as the ankle stays in one piece. Since Nova isn’t scheduled to start again before the All-Star break, they could send him down for the minimum ten days without him missing a start. That gives them the roster spot for Jeter and would allow Nova to stay sharp and on schedule with a Triple-A spot start. The Yankees haven’t manipulated their roster around the All-Star break at all in recent years, but this actually seems feasible if Jeter is ready to be activated. No sense in carrying a starter who won’t be available when you can add an extra position player for a few days without throwing the rotation out of whack.

Raul be seeing you: Ibanez heading back to Seattle

The Yankees will have a new DH next season. Raul Ibanez is headed back to Seattle, having agreed to a one-year deal with the Mariners according to multiple reports. He’ll earn a guaranteed $2.75M with another $1.25M in incentives. Just a few days ago we learned the Yankees were still talking to Ibanez about a return next season, but you can’t blame him for taking that deal. Great job by his agent. It’ll be Raul’s third stint in Seattle.

Ibanez, 40, earned True Yankee™ status with all of those ridiculously clutch homers late in the season and in the playoffs, but I was all for turning the page. I dig the idea of acquiring Jason Kubel to DH, but the free agent market has plenty of alternatives as well — Jim Thome, Travis Hafner, Jason Giambi, and Luke Scott just to name a few. I expect the club to seek a DH capable of actually playing the field in an emergency, so that probably rules out the Thomes and Hafners of the world.

King: Yankees continue to talk to Raul Ibanez

Via George King: Brian Cashman confirmed that the team is still speaking to Raul Ibanez and his agent about a possible return next season. “We are talking to Raul Ibanez and his agent.,” said the GM, in case you didn’t believe me.

Last month we heard the Yankees had “significant interest” in bringing Ibanez back as the left-handed half of a DH platoon only. Of course, they said the same exact thing last offseason, but plans have a way of changing. Given the offensive hit they’re expected to take in right field and behind the plate, I really want the team to pursue a bigger bat for the DH spot. Raul’s a great guy and he hit some amazingly clutch homers, but that 102 wRC+ just isn’t doing it for me.

Davidoff: Yankees have “significant interest” in re-signing Ibanez

Via Ken Davidoff: The Yankees have “significant interest” in re-signing Raul Ibanez, but have asked him to hold tight while they take care of more pressing matters first. Those matters involve re-signing Mariano Rivera, Hiroki Kuroda, and potentially Andy Pettitte.

Ibanez, 40, hit .240/.308/.353 (102 wRC+) with a number of huge late-season homers this year, and I think it’s fair to say the team wouldn’t be interested in bringing him back without those homers. He didn’t exactly kill the ball from June through mid-September. The two sides have already had preliminary discussions and Ibanez told Davidoff that his first choice was to return to the Yankees next year, plus the free agent DH market stinks. The Yankees are going to need a DH capable of playing the field a bit, and despite how poor he is defensively, Raul can at least fake the corner outfield if needed.