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Dec 192010

..I aint got time for the pain, Andy I need you...ooooohh I need you, this time..

Yankee GM Brian Cashman has been preaching patience these days. Since coming in 3rd in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes (despite having the best offer) with no clear fallback position, he frankly has little choice. We can all dream up scenarios and deals to acquire Felix Hernandez or Josh Johnson, but those pitchers simply aren’t available. So it begs the question, what exactly are we being patient for? For those of you who thought it might be Zack Grienke, the Brewers acquired him last night. Joel Sherman looks at this in his morning piece for the NY Post. He writes:

In other words, there is not a lot of attractive options now. So do the Yankees try to plug with what they have plus add an innings-eating free agent such as Kevin Millwood or a reclamation project such as Brad Penny and wait for the trade deadline. Remember that three high-end starters — Lee, Roy Oswalt and Dan Haren — were moved last July. One reason the Yankees feel good about the immediate future is that they are blessed with a strong farm system, specifically in starting pitching at the Double- and Triple-A levels. Can that help them weather an early storm and improve in July?

“They have some internal candidates to look at,” an NL personnel man said. “Whether they see how they perform or use them as currency in season, they are rich in that area. Right now, Brian Cashman’s got a good team, even more money than usual because they didn’t sign Lee, and very good prospects. Next time a big prize becomes available, I expect the Yankees will be front and center.”

Who will that midseason prize be? It is as tough to see now as Lee, Oswalt and Haren becoming available at this time last year. Could Seattle change its mind on Hernandez? Could the Cardinals need to clear out money for free-agent-to-be Albert Pujols and deal Chris Carpenter? Heck, maybe Johan Santana gets healthy and new Mets GM Sandy Alderson decides that the two years at $55 million guaranteed beyond the 2011 campaign need to be removed.

First, let’s dispose of the latter two. The Cardinals are a perennial contender, and with the Reds losing Aaron Harang and the Brew crew acquiring Grienke things figure to be tight in the NL Central again next year. I can’t see the Cards dealing off Carpenter even if they had a stud in the minors waiting to take his place, and they don’t. Lance Lynn had an uninspiring 2010 campaign in AAA and Shelby Miller is 19 years old and played in A-Ball last year. You’d have to give them MLB ready pitching in return, and that’s tough to do for a 37 year old rental. Johan Santana is coming off shoulder surgery, has been losing velocity for years, and the Yanks and Mets will N-E-V-E-R make a trade of that significance, ever.  Seattle could find themselves in the cellar again next season, they appear to be building from within and have done little to improve upon the games worst offense last year. But all indications are they have no intentions whatsoever of dealing King Felix, now or in the future. There’s no question the Yanks will have the payroll flexibility and trade chips to be players for anyone in the game who becomes available, but Joel’s three suggestions all seem highly unlikely to me.

The next thing to do is look at next year free agent list for potential trade targets. But the problem is next year’s class is similar to this year’s version, minus a Cliff Lee. Here’s the list:

Starting pitchers
Mark Buehrle (33)
Chris Carpenter (37) – $15MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Aaron Cook (33) – $11MM mutual option with a $500K buyout
Kyle Davies (28)
Ryan Dempster (35) – $14MM player option
Zach Duke (29) – mutual option
Jon Garland (32) – vesting option
Aaron Harang (34) – mutual option
Rich Harden (30)
Livan Hernandez (37)
Edwin Jackson (28)
Kenshin Kawakami (37)
Scott Kazmir (28) – $13.5MM club option with a $2.5MM buyout
Hiroki Kuroda (37)
Paul Maholm (30) – $9.75MM club option with a $750K buyout
Jason Marquis (33)
Gil Meche (33)
Sergio Mitre (31)
Scott Olsen (28) – $4MM club option
Roy Oswalt (34) – $16MM mutual option with a $2MM buyout
Vicente Padilla (34)
Oliver Perez (30)
Joel Pineiro (33)
Wandy Rodriguez (33)
C.C. Sabathia (31) – may opt out of remaining four years, $92MM
Carlos Silva (33) – $12MM mutual option with a $2MM buyout
Javier Vazquez (35)
Adam Wainwright (30) – $10MM vesting option for ’12, $12MM for ’13
Tim Wakefield (45)
Chien-Ming Wang (32)
C.J. Wilson (31)
.
As you can see, there’s no clear head of the class to target if that team falls out of the pennant race. You could say Roy Oswalt is the best pitcher available, but does anyone actually believe the Phillies are going to be in sell mode next July? As things stand today, it would appear that when Brian Cashman preaches “patience” it applies to players like Hector Noesi, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman. We may be an injury or two away from seeing just how patient Yankee fans are willing to be.

36 Responses to “Patience . . but for who?”

  1. As things stand today, it would appear that when Brian Cashman preaches “patience” it applies to players like Hector Noesi, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman.

    ____________

    Yeah when he said “patience” those pitchers/players are the ones who I thought he was referring to.
    There simply won’t be any elite pitchers available as of now, whether it’s FA or trade. So really the Yankees have no choice but to be “patient” with their young pitching.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  2. Perhaps Cashman wants to see if the trade value of the trio of Banny, Betances, and Brackman could be improved upon and utilized at the 2011 trading deadline. These are three quality pitching prospects in the Yankees system all possessing at least some AA experience. These guys aren’t more than 2 seasons away max from helping a rotation or bullpen (and eventually a rotation). Patience in this respect, to wait for the trio to further improve and dominate minor league hitters, isn’t the wrong approach.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Steve S. Reply:

    You have to leave open the possibility that someone unforeseen will become available, but as things currently stand I just don’t see who it is. Someone with big expectations will fall short and look to sell, it happens every year. Maybe the Giants will finally trade some of that pitching of theirs for some bats.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Reggie C. Reply:

    Totally agree.

    That’s partly why I think Cashman is privately hoping that continued health for the trio won’t be an issue for the first half of 2011. We’ve seen what the trio can do when healthy. Those last couple minor league months of 2010 were a must follow.

    The west-coast teams: Oak, SF, Dodgers, all intrigue me as potential trade partners at the deadline. The White Sox are always in trade-listening mode, so that possibility always remains in play. I’ve advocated an immediate strike of get-Gavin-Floyd-tomorrow, but if the ChiSox are asking for Montero … then Cash should just hold off and hope that Betances and Brackman become PREMIUM pitching prospects next season.

    - note: Banuelos is already a premium pitching prospect, imo.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris Reply:

    I like Gavin Floyd but there is no way I would trade the Bs for him…. the only White Sox pitcher I would include a B in is John Danks and they aren’t going to trade him at all, although I still fail to see what the W Sox gain from trading one if their cheapest pitchers?

    Peavy makes money but is hurt and no one would touch him at this point, Buerhle is the second highest paid (in the double digit a year range) but he’s more of a fit on that team than anywhere else thanks to his age and Edwin Jackson makes 8 million a year and honestly is the only pitcher with trade value I think they’d let go.

    Floyd and Danks both make 4 or less million per year there is just no real incentive to trade those guys especialy when you have commited money to the offense like they have here recently, I believe they could be looking to dump Jackson for salary relief now, if they drop out of contention then they may be willing to part with Mark or Peavy if he’s healthy but I doubt anyone take Peavy or they get what they would want to move Mark.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  3. Cash messed up not finishing the deal for Haren.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    max Reply:

    Agreed.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris Reply:

    I don’t remember what we would have had to send for Haren, do you guys remember the rumored prospects?  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  4. I probably should have worked this into the piece, but here’s the arb eligible guys.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/10/arbitration-eligibles-series.html

    Pick your favorite small market team, click the link and…..you’ll still come up empty. Ricky Nolasco, anyone?  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    I like Nolasco. Prefer Gavin Floyd, but Nolasco works.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Steve S. Reply:

    Me too, either one is worth a shot.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris Reply:

    I read Nolasco is very confident about staying a Marlin and that they will continue to talk contract negotiations and in a different article a writer in Florida said he probably wouldn’t be traded this off-season.

    The only 3 pitchers I could see being available and worth a look as it stands now are Nolasco, Carmona and Jackson and I’m not sure any of the 3 are actually available, so yeah I think patients is just that… a wait and see attitude, as Cash said teams smell blood in the water (we wouldn’t have giotten that Greinke deal) so we just have to try and build with what may come.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    smurfy Reply:

    Carmona could do big things.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris Reply:

    When you look at his numbers the was only the one good season and the rest are average or worse but I have to agre with you, the last time we had a guy with a sinker like that Wang was winning 19 a year and maybe being on a team that is actually going somewhere with expectations of win or leave could fuel him into the star a lot of people had him pegged to be.

    I’m not sure what kind of package I would give up for Carmona though because as much as we all see greatness in his stuff as I said it’s only shown on the field in 1 year really, I think he would probably command some lower tier prospects but I imagine at least 1 higher ranking prospect like Betances or Brackman would be requested and I’m of the mind that we need to keep all 3 Bs because ultimately I think one will go to the pen, one will start and one will bust out and not make it. The other problem is with Santana they have no need for a catcher thus all our depth there can’t help us here, maybe a high upside guy like Heathcott could be included but at this point he has no value to headline a trade.

    The indians are going nowhere fast but they’d still need something of value for their only real starter with potential.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris Reply:

    I probably should have worked this into the piece, but here’s the arb eligible guys.
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/10/arbitration-eligibles-series.htmlPick your favorite small market team, click the link and…..you’ll still come up empty. Ricky Nolasco, anyone?  

    Ricky Nolasco is close to agreeing to a 3 year 27 million dollar extension so it looks like that option is gone.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  5. This exact team won 95 games last year. The red sox are healthy but I don’t see why we should panic. Our defense with Martin will be improved, or our offense with Montero will be improved. Also no Vasquez try-outs so that’s a plus. Patience may mean til next year cause there’s nothing wrong with the team as is  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Reggie C. Reply:

    A largely unhealthy RS team finished solidly in 3rd place last season. The free agent additions aside for a sec, Yankee fans simply cannot bank on the possibility that the RS will get limited production from Pedroia and Youkilis. Those guys will be back at full strength from the get-go.

    The RS didn’t just get better with Crawford and Gonzalez, that team also gets its hitting stars back. I dont think Ortiz is a 35 hr hitter, but he didnt fall off a cliff and i’m not going to bet against Ortiz slugging 30 hrs playing half his games in that ballpark.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Trev Reply:

    Yeah I get that RS will be healthy, and that they will be better and make a serious run at the division. However, Tampa will be a little weaker without Crawford/Soriano, and without Vmart/Beltre I don’t think the RS are really that much better than at the beginning of last year (though poss a better bullpen). I think the Yankees can compete for the division, and we have the Wild Card as the safety net. Once you get to the playoffs its crapshootish… Just no need to make a panic move or to panic in general  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  6. Freddy Garcia…….bet on it.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris Reply:

    I would prefer anyone in triple to Freddy Garcia!! I would much rather let Nova, Noesi or Brackman start because they could probably all put up the 1.2 WAR he had last year, Joba’s 2009 starting campaign was the exact same amount of innngs as Garcia (157) last year and Joba had a 1.8 WAR in a season that got him banished to the pen forever, to bring in Garcia over Joba who is proven to be better and younger would be a travesty.

    I defend Brian Cashman over a lot of things but if Freddy Garcia is our 5th starter over Nova, Noesi, Brackman, Joba or anyone else for that matter I’m going to have to jump of the Cashman wagon, Garcia has no “potential” left and he isn’t a better starter than Joba so to just settle for him and let a starter in the minors or the pen with potential just rot for him would be a move I couldn’t defend.  (Quote)

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  7. Shame on the baseball universe for thinking the Lackey and Beckett signings were not genius. We just didn’t realize it at the time.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris Reply:

    Those contracts were and are bad and I wouldn’t want either on the Yankees longterm to solve a 1 year 4th/5th starter problem.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Kevin Ocala, Fl Reply:

    Chris I agree, Lackey has his moments but is generally over-rated. Beckett has back issues, and he’s still young, just wait…Well Boston is not a juggernaut, and the worst that happens is that Yankees are forced to bring some talent during the season and let the cards fall as may.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Robbie W Reply:

    Well, whatever your opinion of them, two excellent but non-elite outfielders are being paid over $20m+ per and good relievers now cost 5/15. It’s an inflationary market which also happens to be thin on starters, and Epstein signed two very, very good ones at what may be (now) considered below market rates, solidifying his pitching for years.

    My assumption is he signed Lackey for this exact reason.

    Lackey: 5/78 as 31 year old (114 ERA+)
    Beckett: 4/63 as 31 year old (112+)
    Lee: 6/135 as 32 year old (112+)  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris Reply:

    The difference in Lackey/Beckett for the next 3-4 years should be no where close to Lee for the next 3-4 years and when you consider that neither one was ever as dominate in a 3 year stretch like this and neither one has half the control he does the three are in different ballparks.

    At this point Lee is a true ace and number 1 of a team while Beckett has become no more than a number 2 starter even when healthy and Lackey is at best a 3 unless he bounces back huge over the course of this deal.

    I would still not take either one of them for the contracts they signed if we could do it right now and I know quite a few Sox fans (including my roommate) who would rather not have either one of them signed to those deals right now.

    Neither Lackey not Beckett deserve a 20 million a year contract, Lackey was never that level of a pitcher and Beckett’s best days are past him and he has major injury concerns considering he spends some part of every season on the DL.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    leftylarry Reply:

    Lackey was obviously a bad signing but a guy like Beckett can regain unhittable form very easily, or not.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris Reply:

    I don’t see how anyone can say Beckett could command 20 million a year his injury history is to vast, and if you look AJ Burnett for a mold of what Beckett will be in his decline there is nothing to say he will be a consistently dominant pitcher as the velocity fades some and the bite on the curve pulls back.

    Yes Beckett can be dominating and at times he was the best pitcher in baseball but he increasingly has become a mostly fastball guy who mixes in a curve, his absolute reliance on the fastball but without and real pinpoint control is ultimately I think what will make his decline quick and brutal, I don’t see how he just re-invents himself as a control pitcher after never really relying on it that much and he has shown over the past year and a half to two years that he isn’t as consistently dominating even with his good stuff which shows already a start to decline because of age and injury.  (Quote)

    Robbie W Reply:

    Besides the obvious “he did it lately”, you cannot support your statement “The difference in Lackey/Beckett for the next 3-4 years should be no where close to Lee for the next 3-4 years”. It’s always a crapshoot, and with Lee especially, often an expensive one at that.

    Not that you’re catching my drift. I doubt Epstein signed Lackey or Beckett to be as good as Lee was the last couple of years. My point is, if he signed them because they’re both very good starters, knowing starters would be in very short supply for the next few years, he did well in locking them up.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris Reply:

    He also committed a ton of money into aging starters who in Lackey’s case never exhibited the talent level of an ace (he was forced into that role on a team with a bunch of 2s) and Beckett who has an injury history of something or another being wrong every year.

    Yes it’s a crapshoot with health and perfromance but Lee has control that neither Lackey or Beckett exhibit and he has been more consistent over the last 3 years, now I don’t see Cliff’s velocity falling off the table in a 3 year period but I also don’t see either one of those 2 Boston starters control getting any better so even a minimal loss in velocity can prove to be the difference in a good season and Javier Vazquez.

    Everything said is my own opinion but once again they can keep those guys on their “smart contracts” and “the boy genius” can get whatever credit he deserves for his nostrodamus like ability to forsee the coming market change.

    Also if your using Scott Downs 3/15 million dollar contract as proof the market fluxuated so wildy go look at Marte’s 3/12 million 3 years ago, the market wasn’t suddenly OK when the Yankees signed Teixeira, AJ and Sabathia they just happened to be the best available and the best get paid the best… Now Werth getting that contract was just Washington trying to make a statement but Crawford and Lee were always going to cake up, I thought Carl would get 18 but when the Nats went crazy it changed it to 20.

    Lackey and Beckett didn’t get paid like Lee or Crawford because they aren’t on that level as a free agent they no longer possess the talent longterm that can justify the risk, their level of reward has dimished to less than that of Lee or Crawford so I don’t think its fair to compare the price tag, I don’t believe if Beckett were a free agent he would be a 20 million dollar a year pitcher because Lee is and with his history he would get less years than Lee.  (Quote)

    Robbie W Reply:

    I’m curious. Did you read Steve’s original post?

    Hughes, Nova and pray for Pettite. Good luck with that.  (Quote)

  8. Now I understand your a Red Sox fan….

    I have no hate towards you or your team and I also never said a rotation of Lester, Beckett, Buccholz, Lackey and Dice K wasn’t good because it is, very much so in fact but that doesn’t mean I would have given the contracts they received to those guys and just because a pitcher better than Beckett and twice as good as Lackey got 20 million in no way means they are worth 20 million.

    Do you have a great team? Yes, did you overpay for it? Yes, ultimately if you win the World Series do you care? Hell no!

    You have a world series contender for years to come but the day will come IMO when the back 2 of your rotation are a wildy overpaid pair oft injured.

    At the end of the day its like this, if you ask me if I would rather miss the playoffs in 2011 and re-tool in the offseason or sign Beckett right now a clone if his deal I would easily say re-tool next year and hope for the best this time around.

    Good luck with the season, should be fun to watch Gonzo in that park.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Kevin Ocala, Fl Reply:

    Chris, “years to come”? Ortiz & J.D. Drew are a coughing fit away from the DL, or oblivion. Lackey and Beckett, well, as I’ve posted above Lackey is in the world prefaced by “he’s a gamer and wants to win”, polite speak for over the hill. IMHO Beckett has something wrong with him, back for sure, shoulder, maybe. But he hasn’t looked right for 2+ years. Oh, and let’s not forget the $100 million man and Father Time at the back of their rotation. Their catching isn’t proven, yet. And suddenly Gammons seems to have clammed TFU on their once vaunted farm system. Come to think about it they are starting to look like the Yanks of a few years back. Now, where’s all the whining in the national press about the Sox spending “obscene amounts of money” or “trying to buy a championship”? While I’m on the rant, isn’t The Genius “throwing” money to cover his mistakes by hanging on to key players a few years too long? Yes, the Sox on paper look better than the Yanks, but they have a lot of desirable talent in the minors and the vault is still comfortably flush w/ cash…  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Robbie W Reply:

    I am a baseball fan.

    For the last time, I’ve attempted to add to Steve’s original post by addressing Epstein’s signings of Lackey and Beckett, and how his doing so may had been to address the shortage of arms that Steve is bringing to his readers attention.

    Because of those signings, Epstein is looking good right now while Cashman is not. That’s not a fanboy comment, it’s reality.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris Reply:

    Fanboy comment?

    Did you read my post? I never said you were a “fanboy” (I thought that was a comic geek term) I just didn’t realize you were a Red Sox then once I did I realized that’s why you were talking about Lackey and Beckett in a post that has nothing to do with them. I never dimissed your opinion because of that I was just establishing the fact that you are a Red Sox fan because when I read and responded to your first 3 or so posts I thought you were a Yankee fan, the comment had nothing to do with you being less of anything I was establishing what your view point is because I had it wrong in the begining.

    I have had a very reasonable conversation with you and I thought we were having a decent back and forth about baseball, I have responded to every point you have made in order to further out conversation but you keep refusing to acknowldge this and instead I guess you are trying to be hostile and I didn’t realize that but I also don’t want to be involved in it, sorry. Still hope you enjoy the season though.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris Reply:

    To add to my post one last thing….

    I have adressed the re-signing of Beckett and Lackey several times but you keep ignoring this and act as if I refuse to have a reasonable conversation with you, I don’t believe that Cashman would want either Lackey or Beckett at the contract they have so once again as I have said before I think comparing those contracts to Lee are unfair and to say Cashman looks bad because if it is silly. Cashman would have never had a chance to sign Beckett and we didn’t want Lackey and I highly doubt we’d change or minds a year after he has gotten worse.

    Besides if we trade for someone at the break or next offseason and end up with a stronger and younger rotation the Theo won’t look so great signing long term deals to a bunch of over the hill pitchers past their best years, it’s all subjective.

    Cashman just can’t make a deal showup and if something doesn’t come along that fits you don’t try and force something else like a Lackey or Beckett in to the hole, if both had been free agents this year I highly doubt we would have been players.

    I have complimented your team and even agreed with certain view points of yours if you would like to continue a reasonable conversation I will but I don’t want to get into any “good luck with that” or “catch my drift” comments… it’s not productive and honestly not worth me trying to have a real conversation if that’s where everything is going to go.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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