Saturday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 12/20/14

Everybody’s still buzzing from yesterday’s big Phelps-Prado-Eovaldi-Jones trade, which obviously was a much bigger deal than the weekly links post.  I think EJ and Scott’s posts on the deal were outstanding and I encourage everyone to read those below and comment if you haven’t already.  It’s hands down the best analysis of this deal you’re going to read anywhere.  Now onto the links!

– On Monday, Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily published the list of guys who missed the cut for his annual top 50 prospects list.  Guess it’s time to start thinking about when we do the IIATMS Top 30.

– On Tuesday, el duque of It Is High… expressed his disappointment with getting Chase Headley instead of other younger options.

– On Wednesday, Chris Mitchell of Pinstripe Pundits dug into some troubling swing trends from Didi Greogrius in 2014 and what they mean for his development and offensive ceiling going forward.

– Mike Axisa of RAB profiled lefty relief prospect Tyler Webb.

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Best Offseason Move So Far: Eovaldi a Huge Add; Phelps Won’t be Missed; Prado Blocked the Kids; Jones a Useful Spare Tire

I clumsily tried to sum up all my thoughts in the title, but here, one by one for the 4 main players traded — David Phelps, Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Prado, and Garrett Jones — is why I love this deal.

1. Phelps won’t be missed. If you look up “replacement-level starter” in a dictionary, Phelps might be the photo you see: WAR of -0.1 in 2013, 0.0 in 2014; career (2012-14) ERA of 4.34 as a starter (average A.L. ERA in ’14: 3.82). If you did the surgery from “Face-Off” and put Phelps’ mug on Bryan Mitchell or Chase Whitley, their own wives couldn’t tell — which basically is the definition of replacement-level: you can lose the guy, and sub in an above-par AAA’er, with little to no difference.

2. Eovaldi, not Phelps, is the rarely available commodity. He’s a SP who (a) is 24 (25 by opening day), (b) throws hard (avg FB of 95.7, 4th in MLB), (c) has control (2014, 1.9 BB/9), and (d) has improved his control a lot (3+ BB/9 to 1.9 in 2014), K rate somewhat (1.5 yrs at 5.9-6.0, then 6.6 and 6.4, and overall performance a ton – his yearly FIPs form a straight downward slope: 4.35, 4.13, 3.59, 3.37.

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Nathan Eovaldi, Domingo German and the Rebuildingish Yankees

The Yankees made a trade today:

Pitching prospect Domingo German was also included.

My initial reaction–which I think is representative of a lot of Yankee fans–was disgust. Martin Prado was in a lot of ways the perfect player for the 2015 Yankee thanks to his ability to play lots of positions and Eovaldi posted a below-average ERA in 199 innings in 2014. But the more I think about the trade, the more I like it. Why? Because the Yankees are finally starting to rebuild their roster.

Eovaldi had for years shown a ton of promise, but took a huge step forward in 2014. He’s always had one of the best fastballs in the league, but finally improved his control enough to post a 3.37 FIP and 3.0 fWAR. He’s only 24 years old, so there is definitely room for improvement.…

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Quick hit: Yanks acquire Gonzalez Germen from the Mets for cash

And in other news, the Yankees have acquired right hander Gonzalez Germen from the Mets for cash. In order to make room for Germen, Preston Claiborne was designated for assignment.

Yes, the Yankees made a couple of moves today and they now have a German and Germen in their system. Maybe they’ll complete that theme and get Max Scherzer next…

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Report: Yanks working on make a trade with the Marlins

So Twitter just exploded with the news of the Yankees and Marlins working on a trade. The Yankees will send Martin Prado and David Phelps to the Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones.

Eovaldi is a righty pitcher who throws hard but has issues giving up walks and fly balls. One positive is that he is relatively young (not yet 25) and it’s possible the Yankees think that Larry Rothschild can work with him.

Jones could platoon with Tex at 1B/DH.

Some of my fellow IIATMS writers are not in love with this trade but I think the Yankees aren’t done and that Brian Cashman has something else up his sleeves. [Editor’s note: We’re coming around on it. Slowly.]

UPDATE 1:30p: Joel Sherman is reporting that the Yankees are also getting Class A pitcher Domingo German. German was 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA. He threw 123 1/2 innings with 113 strikeouts and 25 walks last year.…

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Friday Morning News And Notes: 12/19/14

Last day of work for me before Christmas and if we’re being honest with each other, I’m already on cruise control.  Here’s a quick recap of what’s cooking on the Yankee hot stove:

– The team continues to insist it’s not in on Max Scherzer.  Yesterday it was Randy Levine speaking the company line on behalf of the team, telling Newsday that “the chances of us bringing in another guy who makes $25 million or over are, in my opinion, virtually none.”  Usually it’s bad news when Levine is the team mouthpiece, but he stuck to the script yesterday and managed not to say anything stupid.  That’s a plus.

– In the world of cheaper FA alternatives, another one came off the board yesterday when the Royals signed Kris Medlen to a 2-year/$8.5 million deal.  I know he doesn’t have the upside, but seeing 2 big time arm injury guys like Medlen and Brett Anderson getting close to $10 mil makes me feel better about giving Capuano 5.…

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Don’t Discount The Defensive Upgrade In The Infield

2013 Projected Opening Day Infield: Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Kevin Youkilis
2013 Actual Opening Day Infield: Kevin Youkilis, Robinson Cano, Eduardo Nunez, Jayson Nix

2014 Projected & Actual Opening Day Infield: Mark Teixeira, Brian Roberts, Derek Jeter, Kelly Johnson

2015 Project Opening Day Infield: Mark Teixeira, Martin Prado, Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley

I didn’t crunch any numbers to show it, but nobody needs to see them to know that the Yankee infield has been a disaster area for the last 2 seasons.  The names above tell the whole story.  A combination of aging core players, major injuries, lack of organizational depth, flawed budget plans, and head-scratching free agent strategies took what had been the greatest strength of the roster for a while and turned it into a glaring, gaping, broken beyond repair weakness.

After slogging through another season of below-average offensive and defensive output from the starting infield 2014, the Yankees had to do something to upgrade the unit this offseason and they appear to have done that, from a defensive standpoint if nothing else.  …

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Offseason Roster Update: 12/18/14 (And Where To Go From Here)

Another week has gone by since we last looked at where the projected Opening Day roster stood, and another few pieces have been put into place.  While we’ll never be able to definitively say the Yankees aren’t pursuing Scherzer or Shields until they sign with another team, it’s looking more and more like the plan this offseason is to add small pieces, hope for bounce backs from a few players, and ride out some of these contracts without adding more big ones.  Here’s how the updated roster looks with the 2 new additions:

C- Brian McCann
1B- Mark Teixeira
2B- Martin Prado
SS- Didi Gregorius
3B- Chase Headley
LF- Brett Gardner
CF- Jacoby Ellsbury
RF- Carlos Beltran
DH- Alex Rodriguez

SP- Masahiro Tanaka
SP- Michael Pineda
SP- CC Sabathia
SP- David Phelps
SP- Chris Capuano

Bullpen- Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, Adam WarrenShawn Kelley, Justin Wilson, Esmil Rogers, Preston Claiborne

Bench-  Brendan Ryan, Jose PirelaChris Young, John Ryan Murphy

The trickle-down effect of new players being plugged into key spots is starting to happen.  …

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Career Value v. Peak Value for Hall of Fame: The Mike Mussina Case

mussina

Mike Mussina’s main Hall of Fame argument is his career value: he’s one of the top 20-30 starters of all time, whether by old-school numbers like wins (his 270 is 33rd, but 25th if you exclude folks from the 1800s), or newer stats like WAR (83.0, 23rd among SP). The argument against Mussina is his weaker peak value. He had two excellent, Cy-caliber seasons, 1992 (18-5, 2.54, 8.2 WAR) and 2001 (17-11, 3.15, 7.1 WAR). But those were far apart, and he never had a several-year span of dominance. He amassed career value mainly with (a) ten very-good-not-stellar seasons (4.4-6.6 WAR) plus (b) several average-to-pretty-good seasons (2-3ish WAR) that made him about what we remember: a #1-2 starter at his best; a #2-3 starter many years; almost never one of the league’s top few; and never a guy capable of 9-10 WAR seasons-for-the-ages like his contemporaries Pedro, Roger, Randy, and arguably Curt, who was similar but with a higher peak.

I respect peak value over career value because I don’t see compilers as all-time greats.…

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