Seven best Yankee off season trades since 1975

Blockbuster trades do not happen that often for the New York Yankees. Most of the off season news concerns free agents and waiver pickups. What few trades made over the Steinbrenner years seem inconsequential and the players involved quickly sink into oblivion. The last big off season trade involved sending Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Mariners for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. The debates about that trade have been fun. The official tally so far is Pineda with 2.7 rWAR to Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi both at -0.4 since the trade occurred. We will have to give that one a little more time before the Yankees can be declared the winner. But what were the best trades?

I am just talking off season here or that period between the end of the season and the start of the next one. Obviously, the list will not include the most recent seasons because, again, time needs to occur before you can look at a long history of what happened after a trade.…

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Get Ready for the 2015 Postseason: A-Rod in the “Best Shape of His Life”! But Let’s Look at Past “Best Shape” Claims…

The Hypothesis: The news that “multiple reports say [A-Rod] is in the best shape of his life” (10/13/14) is useless for predicting his performance. Or am I just a snarky, condescending jerk for mocking the concept that diet and exercise can help a near-fortysomething who, to play well for a team I like, reportedly is working harder than the many who let their bodies go by their early/mid-30s – like those Girardi “ripped … for being overweight, not being ‘hungry'” in an impressive bit of managerial wordplay?

The Slipshod Methodology: I Googled “best shape of his life” yankees and “best shape of my life” yankees to find others with off-season “best shape” reports; the first five pages of results from each search yielded 10 “best shape” claims. (I included a few that didn’t quite say “best” but did claim dramatically better physical condition.) I then looked at their performance the seasons before and after the offseason “best shape” claim.…

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The One Where I Rant About Mark Teixeira’s Perceived Lack Of Desire

Teix Foul Territory

Mark Teixeira was a guest host on “Mike And Mike” this morning and a quick sample of tweets I saw makes it sound like he was pretty entertaining.  If you’re a Mark Teixeira fan, you probably already knew this and probably checked it out.  What you might have missed was this post by Wally Matthews last Friday that took some jabs at Teix’s desire and quoted an anonymous “baseball insider” who suggested that Teix’s off-field interests are part of the reason he has declined on the field over the past few seasons:

“A baseball insider I spoke with this week said Teixeira’s ‘outside interests’ — he is financially involved in real estate holdings, a chain of juice bars, and is working to create what he called a “marriage of baseball and social media” — had become a point of concern, with some wondering how badly he still wanted to be a baseball player.”

I’m not even going to get into whether or not it’s fair or right for writers to be taking shots at Teix’s perceived level of desire and effort when the guy has already said he’s going to work out all offseason to make up for how poorly his body held up this year.  …

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To Re-Sign Or Not To Re-Sign: Stephen Drew

Drew vs TOR

Hey look! It’s Stephen Drew actually getting a hit! Courtesy of Getty Images

For all the good moves Cash made at the deadline this year, the one that didn’t pan out was the swap of Kelly Johnson for Stephen Drew.  Drew, who was strongly-pursued by the Yankees last offseason, held out and didn’t sign with a team after declining his qualifying offer from the Red Sox.  When the season started and he remained jobless, he came crawling back to Boston and began what ended up being the worst season of his career.  He finished that season playing second base in New York and moonlighting as Derek Jeter‘s potential replacement at shortstop.  Now he’s looking at entering free agency again with his value at an all-time low and an obvious match with the Yankees as that replacement.  Should they give it another go with Drew?

Case For:

  • Position of Need- The Yankees had the same starting shortstop for the last 19 years and for the last couple of them they didn’t have a very good starting shortstop.  
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Sizing Up the Market: Right Field & DH

Over the last several years, the Yankees have garnered a reputation for not using a true designated hitter. Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman, and others have stated on more than one occasion that they view the position as a means to give a player a half-day, so as to rest his legs without removing his bat from the lineup. And, as is the nature of the beast, the team has taken flack for not going out and signing a traditional thumper to be the full-time (or a full-time-ish) DH. However … that is not necessarily true. Or, it is not true over the last couple of seasons.

Prior to the 2013 season, the Yankees signed Travis Hafner and Ben Francisco to platoon at designated hitter, and supplemented that platoon by acquiring Vernon Wells. It was ineffectiveness and injury that doomed the platoon, as the trifecta of Hafner, Francisco, and Wells started 89 of the team’s first 95 games at DH – and 67 of those were started by Hafner.…

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IIATMS Episode 31: World Series, Yankee Coaching and Front Office, 2015 Infield

Guess who’s back? (After some technical difficulties)

That’s right, Domenic, EJ, and yours truly actually recorded a podcast last night! We discussed the improbable World Series matchup and revealed who we were rooting for to win said matchup. (And we’ll never be… you know the rest) We also talked about the changes that have happened this past week or so within the Yankees organization, whether those changes were warranted or not and EJ and Domenic talked about what the Yankees infield could look like in 2015 and beyond while I listened intently.

Here’s a direct download link to the entire podcast.

And here is a diagram we mention during the World Series discussion. Don’t click on it until we get to it in the podcast. We want your mind to be blown like ours were while we were recording. Think of it as listener participation.

As usual, you can tweet all three of us (@domeniclanza, @ejfagan, @stacegots) with questions and/or suggestions or leave them in the comments below.…

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To Re-Sign Or Not To Re-Sign: Brandon McCarthy

McCarthy vs DET

Courtesy of Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

Another day, another free agent case to consider.  Yesterday it was Chase Headley, the crown jewel of Cash’s position player haul from the 2014 trade deadline.  Today it’s Brandon McCarthy, the equally shiny jewel of the pitching acquisitions.  McCarthy was outstanding in 14 starts for the Yankees this season, at times pitching like an ace.  That performance was surely enough to earn him a new deal somewhere next year.  Was it enough to convince the Yankees that they should be the ones to give him that new deal?

Case For:

  • Sneaky Goodness- Pitched to a 2.89/3.22/2.85 slash line in 90.1 IP as a Yankee in 2014; has 4 straight seasons of 3.76 FIP values or lower; has averaged 2.775 fWAR per season since the start of 2011; career 5.9% BB rate.  He ain’t Lester or Scherzer, but he ain’t some bum either.
  • Mid-Rotation Uncertainty- Nova won’t be ready for the start of 2015, Sabathia might not be.  
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Just a quick note about last night’s podcast

We recorded a podcast last night and it was just over an hour long but for some reason, our podcast provider’s links only play two minutes and 15 seconds of the recording.

So, until we figure out what the heck happened, we’ll be removing the podcast post from the blog and will reschedule it when everything is straightened out.

Sorry for the inconvenience!


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Quick Hit: MLBTR’s Arbitration Projections Are Out

MLB Trade Rumors posted their “Offseason Outlook” post for the Yankees yesterday.  If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it.  It’s basically everything that every Yankee blog is going to talk about for the entirety of the offseason condensed into 1 long post.  As part of the outlook, they included the list of arbitration-eligible players and their projected salaries.  Let’s take a look.

- Shawn Kelley- $2.5 million
Francisco Cervelli- $1.1 million
Esmil Rogers- $1.9 million
Ivan Nova- $3.3 million
Michael Pineda- $2.1 million
David Huff- $700k
David Phelps- $1.3 million

Kelley is slated for a nice pay boost in his final year of eligibility.  Once again he pitched better than his ERA indicates in 2014, and as a high strikeout guy with late-inning experience he’s a good deal at $2.5 mil.  Nova and Pineda’s injuries are almost blessings in disguise for the Yankees when it comes to money.  …

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