The Trade Brian Cashman Would Like To Take Back

Ian Kennedy is a serviceable #4-#5 starter.

Kennedy is a back-end starter, who thus far has had a good bit of luck in 2010, and has looked like a #3 or better. His 3.58 ERA masks a 4.73 FIP, not least of all due to a low BABIP of .261. That basically means he’s had more balls hit at defenders than the average pitcher, and indicates a non-sustainable ERA. ZiPS, for example (one of the better projection systems) thinks that he’ll put up an ERA of over 5 for the rest of the season. I’m not that bearish on Kennedy—after all, he averaged almost 10 strikeouts per 9 innings through the minor leagues—but he’s due for a dip.

Austin Jackson is not ready for the major leagues yet.

I know, that’s crazy talk, right? This guy has a .374 wOBA, is batting over .330, heck, he’s even stealing bases at a reasonable clip (6 for 7 so far this season). Unfortunately, his batting average on balls in play is an outrageous .459. Regress that to league average (which is what happens when you add enough at bats to his resume), and here’s what happens to his numbers. His batting average falls from .331 to .216, and his OBP falls from .382 to .267. [For the skeptics—this is done by multiplying AVG by (League Avg. BABIP/Jackson’s BABIP) to get his luck adjusted average. You then subtract the difference between his average and luck adjusted average from his OBP (since BABIP doesn’t affect his walks)]. Slugging requires a few more assumptions, most importantly that his ratio of extra bases remains constant—but we can project his slugging falling from .446 to .292. So, his luck adjusted line is a miniscule .216/.267/.292, which would make him just about the worst player in the major leagues. This is a guy that is striking out nearly four times as often as he walks, and who isn’t hitting for any real power. On the bright side, it also means Dayton Moore might be very interested in acquiring him.

Now, part of the reason his BABIP is so high is that he’s hitting line drives. In fact, he’s hitting a lot of them (his mark of 33.9% basically laps the field—the next highest line drive rate is Cody Ross at 26%.) Line drives tend to turn into hits at much higher rates than fly balls or ground balls. But no one in my memory has ever put in a full season at such a high line drive rate, and even when they have been fairly high, BABIP doesn’t go up in lockstep. For instance, the highest LD% rate in 2009 was (get ready to be surprised) Jason Bartlett, at 26%. His BABIP was only .364 (and if you want an example of the unsustainability of such a number, this year he’s at .284).

Of course, you can make the argument that all Jackson needs to do to be worth more than Granderson right now is step onto the field. If he put up the earlier mentioned numbers (.216/.267/.292) you’d be wrong (he’d be worth significant negative value to the club), but I get the argument nonetheless.

Now, before you all think I’m a blatant Yankee homer, who is just bashing poor Ian Kennedy and Austin Jackson because they’ve been traded away, let me turn the camera to the prospect who really did get away.

Tyler Clippard looks pretty decent.

Don’t remember Tyler Clippard? He was the bundle of arms and legs that came up to start a game against the Mets on national television in 2007. That day, Clippard struck out his first batter on three pitches (Jose Reyes!) and went on to earn the win, giving up one run on three hits over six innings. Hell of a major league debut. He also threw the first no-hitter in Trenton Thunder history, and was a strikeout machine (10k/9 innings through the minors). For those of us trolling the Yankee fan forums and firing prospect questions off to the Keith Laws and Baseball Americas of the world, it was the dream duo, Phil Hughes and Tyler Clippard, who were together the jewels of the Yankees farm system. Of course, while the scouts adored Phil Hughes (ranked #1 pitching prospect in all of baseball at one point), they dismissed Tyler Clippard as mostly smoke and mirrors. His fastball wasn’t fast enough, his breaking pitches not major league ready. His main weapon was a solid average to slightly above average changeup, and a lot of deception in his pitching motion. He was expected to be a back end starter, nothing more.

He was traded in 2007, for the renowned Jonathon Albaladejo—at the time, the Yankees needed relief pitchers, and Clippard was stuck behind Joba, Kennedy and Hughes (not the mention Mussina, Wang, etc.) Unable to break into one of the worst rotations in the major leagues, things were looking down for Tyler, until the Nationals front office made the decision to try him out as a reliever.

85 innings later, with 97 strikeouts under his belt (to go along with almost as many walks as hits—44 to 52) he has come into his own. Thus far this season, Clippard has ticked down his walk rate (4.32/9, which is still too high), while adding to the strikeouts (10.80/9!) and has had a bit of good luck keeping the ball inside the park (0.36 HR/9), which has led to a 2.90 FIP, and a 4.05 xFIP (adjusting for the HR rate). Don’t get me wrong, that’s no Mariano Rivera—but it’s a heck of a lot better than Jonathan Albaladejo. If Clippard can ever get his walks down to a reasonable level (even 3.5 would be great), he could be a very good reliever. He’s also tied for the league lead in wins, with seven so far in 2010 (not that that’s a useful statistic…it’s just a fairly shocking total). And for those of you scoffing at a 4.05 xFIP in the NL–newsflash, thus far in 2010, the AL has a lower ERA (4.16) than the NL (4.19). I know, I had to read that a few times to get it to sink in as well.

In the end, knowing what I know now, would I take back the Granderson trade? Nope. Ian Kennedy really didn’t have a place on this team, and still doesn’t—even if Vazquez is truly only a #5 pitcher going forward (which I don’t believe, at all), he’s still ahead of Kennedy. Austin Jackson is going to make Craig Monroe look good by the end of the season—if the Tigers are lucky, he’ll show them he belongs in AAA quick enough to keep from earning super-2 status (which would end up costing the Tigers down the road).

But Tyler Clippard for Albaladejo? That’s one I bet Cashman would love to take back.

37 thoughts on “The Trade Brian Cashman Would Like To Take Back

  1. jon

    Agree – after all, isn't Ian enjoying this resurgence in the National League?  C'mon – even Javy looks good over there.  OTOH, I think we should have kept Austin, even tho the Yankees did a decent job of shutting him down in the last series.  Cashman blathers on about youth, and then trades for Granderson – a guy that Detroit couldn't get rid of fast enough.  Almost like they know something we don't.

     

    Tyler – only because Albaladejo has been a total bust.  But he would have been traded for someone.  Shoot – the only reason he has 7 wins is because he's pitched out of saves, into losses, and then had the offense score him back into a win.  I'm betting Cashman would NOT want him back.

  2. Jon,

    Didn't I address all of your points in the post above? The National League, to this point, has a higher ERA than the American League. I don't expect that to continue–the DH is too significant a structural change to overcome–but I'd suggest that this far into the season, it points to a rapidly closing divide between the two league's statistics.

    On the Austin Jackson front–again…strip out the luck and none of his tri-slash statistics break .300. That's horrifically bad.

    And I'm not worried about Clippard's wins…I'm looking at his 11 strikeouts per 9 innings so far this season. That 2.90 FIP is lovely.

  3. While FIP isn't so high on Ian Kennedy, other ERA retrodictors like xFIP and SIERA are.

    FIP uses home runs in its equation, but between the time FIP was created and now, we have learned that pitchers can't control how many home runs they allow other than by controlling the amount of fly balls they induce. In other words, most pitchers should have similar HR/FB rates.

    xFIP builds on FIP by replacing home runs with fly balls. But we have also learned that a pitcher can control the rates of both ground balls and fly balls (including infield flies). That's where SIERA comes in.

    FIP: 4.72

    xFIP: 4.11

    SIERA: 3.87

    I've been promoting Kennedy as an under-the-radar option in fantasy baseball leagues in my Friday columns at Baseball Prospectus. Above-average strikeout stuff, good control. You're correct that his .261 BABIP is unsustainable and I do think he allows too many fly balls (which means more home runs), but I don't think he is going to regress too heavily. He's a high-3's kind of pitcher, which certainly has significant value in baseball today.

  4. Faiaz

    Thanx for getting me depressed :(

  5. jon

    No, I caught it, Will.  (the era thing)  But I'll attribute it to small sample size – another one of those anomalies that even out in the end.  I reread it a couple times, and it is just too hard to believe that the NL won't turn out to be the softer league before the season's over.

     

    After all – you want me to assume that Javy will return to form.  I am betting the same way on National League hitting.

  6. You learn something new every day. I now know what a retrodictor is.

    Thank you, Bill!

    Will

  7. Larry@IIATMS

    Bret, what the …?

    Cashman deserves credit for the three big free agent signings.  All three worked out.  Look around the league at the free agent signings that have not worked out: Russ Ortiz, Andruw Jones in LA, Pat Burrell.  It's easy to go wrong with free agents.

    Cashman deserves credit for the Nick Swisher trade, as you admitted.  Swisher isn't exactly expensive, by Yankees standards.

    You'll have to explain why you think the Granderson deal is a disaster.  What probably WOULD have been a disaster is Melky Cabrera in CF in 2010.  Have you seen his numbers in Atlanta?  Ditto for Matsui at DH in 2010 — again, have you seen his numbers in LA (-0.1 WAR, in case you're curious).  Give Cashman credit for having the guts to replace two of the most popular Yankees in search of more production.   Even at worst, Granderson is an upgrade over Cabrera.  I'm not a big Nick Johnson fan, but before his injury he was no worse than Matsui. 

    As for Nady and Marte … I don't think anyone could have predicted that Nady would have lost a whole year to injury.  That was bad luck.  (I'm not a big Nady fan either, but let's be fair.)  Marte?  He had a great 2009 post-season, that's about all we can say at this point.  Somehow, it seems to be difficult to acquire quality relief pitching.  You're right about Tabata, though he may be closer to 25 than to 21 (see http://bit.ly/9yUma4).

    I think you're selling Cashman short.  About the most difficult thing a GM can do is to take a good team and make them great.  The marginal cost of adding 10 wins to a 90 win team is very high. 

  8. Bret

    He is still the Pirates #2 prospect at the moment and even if he comes up this year at age 27 he will have at least a few years to contribute which is more than Nady did.  Marte has been a net negative for the Yanks even if he was traded for a box of donuts and the other two pitchers in that deal are relatively young though neither has done much yet.  The Yankees clearly lost the trade, the question is simply by how big a margin.  Likewise, Vazquez has been a net negative so far, he is costing them 11 million and they gave up their number 3 prospect who has a great K rate at A ball this year.

    Eventually, the Yankees are going to need some prospects.  You can't fill in every position with free agents forever.  Montero is having extreme regression at AAA and most of their other guys are serviceable prospects but not expected to be big stars (Austin Romine etc.).  Cashman has raided the farm system and to his credit he got a title but next year Jeter will want a raise, Carl Crawford will be expensive and they will be an even older team than they are now.  The Bernie Madoff style of being a GM can only go on so long, no matter the payroll.

  9. Bret

    Larry,

    If you want to give Cashman credit for signing Sabathia, Tex, Burnett and Arod that is fine.  I think comparing any of the 4 of them to Russ Ortiz is a little ridiculous and I think my 3 year old daughter could figure out they were good players but let me point out a few things.

    The book on Arod's signing isn't yet closed, he is making 30 mill through age 42 and is off roids and is already showing production declines.  Most Yankee fans would probably admit he is overpaid,

    Burnett is 33 and still has 4 years remaining.

    Tex is making money until age 37 or so.

    Sabathia has a lot of mileage on his arm and is making money until his late 30's.  A lot could still go wrong.

    But even if it doesn't Cashman has lost most every trade, other than Swisher I can't think of a deal I would say he won on.  He has also made some incredibly horrible free agent signings that the Yankees covered up by spending even more money.  The Vazquez trade was so Atlanta could dump money (achieved) and get one great prospect (achieved).  What Cabrera does is really not that relevant to them winning the trade.  Ditto Tigers, they dumped payroll, took a flyer on a young pitcher that isn't working out and got a cheap young center fielder with potential that is working out.  The Yankees got more expensive, older and less effective with each of these deals, that is currently not up for debate.

  10. Oh look, it's my favorite punching bag, Bret!

    (just kidding, I'm glad you keep coming back and commenting, even if we disagree on most everything)

    Look, your comment was lengthy, and with any number of things I'd like to rebutt, but for sake of my job, that'll wait until later this evening.

    For now, I'll suggest that your view on the Yankees farm system is entirely uninformed. Montero is regressing? He's had one dud month, after being touted as the best hitter in the entire minor leagues by many of the top prospect rags.

    It turns out the Yankees have a lot of prospects who are on their team now: See Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Francisco Cervelli, Ramiro Pena, Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Mariano Rivera, all of whom came up through the Yankees' system.

    Some of your points have merit, Bret, but they often get lost in the shuffle, as you try to over reach. For instance, Jeter will want a raise? Jeter's a savvy guy…he knows fullwell that there's no one in the major leagues thatw ill pay him $20 million a season in his late 30s. To even suggest something like this is fairly silly.

    Anyhow, I'll nickel and dime your comment for real later this evening.

    Will

  11. Bret

    Will,

     I look forward to it – let me just point out that I'm not saying that the Yankees haven't developed players, but once your own players become FA eligible and you give them more than they would get on the open market (Jeter, Posada, Petitte, Rivera) the benefit of development is lost.  Joba and Hughes aren't there yet but they soon will be, Robertson is a ? Pena is doing nothing and Cervelli and Gardner are getting a good run of cards at the moment but hardly project as great players.  They need prospects because it helps offset the expense of having nothing but free agents, the fact that the free agents are homegrown or not really isn't relevant.

  12. Bret,

    Tabata being the Pirates #2 prospect doesn't change his actual abilities. It's odd to me that you would suggest Montero is regressing in the minors based on a month, but Tabata in the same time period losing .200 on his slugging (and being outed as 4 years older than he claimed) isn't affected.

    And if you want an absolutely tremendous free agent signing by Brian Cashman, look no further than Mike Mussina, who was absolutely tremendous for the Yankees for nearly a decade, and is now on the cusp of being elected to the hall of fame.

  13. And furthermore–your daughter could tell that AJ Burnett, Tex, CC, and ARod would be fine, so Cashman gets no credit for those–but he gets panned for signing Giambi, or Pavano? Recall that Pavano was the belle of the ball as a free agent (and was actually offered more by Boston, than by the Yankees). Jason Giambi was coming off OPS+s of 187, and 198 the two prior years. What would your daughter have suggested there?

  14. Bret

    His actual abilities are still pretty good even if he is 27.  All I'm saying with that trade is the Yankees got basically no benefit (Nady hurt, Marte sucked), added on payroll and could see they guys they traded away have some production but even if there is no production the Pirates would make the trade again in a heartbeat.

    I'm not down on Montero but his hype as the next Johnny Bench may have been a bit premature and overdone, just like the hype for Wieters was premature and overdone.  I'm sure he will contribute but beyond him the Yankees don't have any huge can't miss prospects and they have a pressing need for them coming up.

    I'm an O's fan so obviously the Mussina signing was bittersweet to me, though I always rooted for him and hope he will go into the HOF as an Oriole.  He has made some great free agent signings, he has made some poor ones but his trades have been almost comically one-sided other than Swisher.

  15. Bret

    Will,

    It doesn't take much mental aptitude to give an MVP 30 million a year.  There is a difference between that and making clever moves that help a team get better.  Cashman has served the Yankees purpose but he has absolutely no business being on a list of top 5 GMs in the game as I saw him on earlier in the year.

    And it will be interesting how high you are on Arod when he is 42 making 30 mill and Tex at 36 making 23 mill.  Those signings cannot go in the books as winners yet.

  16. Bret,

    You come across as uninformed in this conversation.

    A-Rod being signed to that deal was *explicitly* not Cashman's decision. Much has been made about him going to ownership and telling them to let him walk. The reason he was signed is pretty simple, at the end of the day. He's worth more to the franchise than just as a baseball player. There are a lot of A-Rod jersey's out there, a lot of autographed balls that fly through the Yankee store's checkout line, etc. More people tune into the Yes network, and generate advertising dollars because the Yankees have A-Rod on the team. And sure, that won't be the case when he's 38–but the Yankees will already have recouped much more from the deal than they have paid him.

    I'll dig into Tex at home tonight.

    I'm not going to say that I know enough to definitively put Cashman on a top 5 list of GMs in the game. I wil say that you definitively *don't* know enough to keep him off.

    I'm looking through a database of every trade made while Cashman has been GM of the Yankees. I see no stinkers. The two you can argue for are Granderson and Vazquez, and you can't really pass judgement on either of those yet.

    On the other hand, he picked up Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle in 2006 for roughly nothing, he picked up Jose Moline for Jeff Kenard, he picked up A-Rod for Soriano and Joaquin Arias, he picked up David Justice for Ricky Ledee, Westbrook and Zach Day (having traded Irabu for Westbrook and Ted Lilly previously), he traded Geraldo Padua for Jim Leyritz, and he traded David Wells for Roger Clemens. Oh yes, and Swisher for Betemit.

    So please, show me the list of comically bad trades that Cashman has made.

    Will

  17. Larry@IIATMS

    Will, terrific post.  I agree with your conclusions, but I’d like your response to a couple of small points about BABIP.

    Of course Jackson’s BABIP numbers are not sustainable — his .459 BABIP is .052 higher than anyone else in baseball.  If Ichiro represents the ceiling for sustainable BABIP, then you figure that Jackson’s BABIP numbers should at least decline to the neighborhood of .370.

    I don’t see why Jackson’s BABIP numbers have to regress to league average.  I defer to your better knowledge of these statistics, but some of the best hitters in the game have the ability to maintain a relatively high BABIP over a long period.  Look at the top BABIP over the three year stretch of 2007-09: Ichiro is at the top of the list at .368, and other guys with BABIP over .340 during this stretch include guys we recognize as great hitters: Jeter, Mauer, Chone Figgins, David Wright, Hanley Ramirez, Manny Ramirez. 

    It may be that Jackson is another one of these guys with the ability to maintain a significantly higher than average BABIP.  Jackson DID have high BABIP numbers throughout his minor league career.   On the other hand, Jackson strikes out a lot and doesn’t hit for power, and this would be an unusual combination for a high BABIP guy, don’t you think?

    I haven’t done much research, but there is another high BABIP, high strikeout and low power guy in baseball: B.J. Upton.  This is a purely subjective opinion on my part, but I don’t see Austin Jackson as having as high a ceiling as B.J. Upton.   So I DO reach the same conclusion you’ve reached: Austin Jackson is not nearly as good as he looks, at least not at the moment. 

    I have to admit, BABIP is a fascinating statistic. 

  18. Bret

    Cashman is the GM, the moves they make are his responsibility.  And Arod isn't a direction separate from what he did the next offseason, you can also give somebody else credit for Sabathia, Tex and Burnett.  And I found some you are either ignoring or missing.

    1.  Enrique Wilson for Marte (when he was good)

    2. Ted Lilly for Jeff Weaver

    3. Mike Lowell

    4.  Javier Vazquez part I for Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera

     Plus the 3 I mentioned (Tigers, Vazquez part II and Marte part II).

    He also let Carlos Pena go right before he hit 46 homers, signed Pavano, signed Igawa,  signed Nick Johnson, signed Giambi, gave huge money for Kevin Brown past his prime etc.  Some of the deals you mentioned weren't clear winners either.  Soriano hit 158 homers between 04-07, it isn't to Cashman's benefit that the Cubs were dumb enough to give him that contract.  He was much cheaper than Arod during that time period also.  Abreu was a salary dump by the Phils and Jose Molina isn't worth mentioning. 

    I'm not saying he is a horrible GM, he does what is needed for a team that relies on free agents and immediate gratification but he has made a lot of bad moves during his tenure and a 200 mill + payroll should not excuse him of those.

  19. Bret

    Sorry, one mistake I made – Soriano hit 143 homers from 04-07, he hit 158 doubles. 

  20. Bret

    Last post of the day I promise but Contreras for Loaiza wasn't a good move either.  Winning a world series makes people forget a lot of things.

  21. Bret

    Will,

    Nice post but I’m not sure if it was winning last year or spin or what but Cashman has made very few smart moves as a GM.  The team won last year because of – huge money free agent at 1st, hometown huge money FA at short, huge money FA at 3rd who is way overpaid, huge FA #1 starter, huge FA #2 starter, huge hometown FA catcher.

    I will give him credit for not trading Cano although Cano is no longer cheap and for not trading and developing Hughes and Swisher for Betemit was a great deal even though Swisher isn’t cheap.

    But the Granderson trade is a disaster, the Pirates deal (Nady, Marte) could be a disaster depending on Tabata (.796 OPS in AAA this year at age 21), Nick Johnson for Matsui = Hindenburg (as I told you it would), Javier Vazquez not good especially for a huge salary and the fact they gave up their #3 prospect according to baseball america, and I won’t even get into some of the horrible free agent signings (Igawa, Pavano, Giambi etc).  This idea of Cashman as some shrewd GM is ridiculous, he has missed on a lot more than he has hit and you only get so much credit for recognizing that Tex, Sabathia, Arod, and Burnett are good at baseball and having the resources to give them 1.5* as much as anyone else could or would.  I would rather have Austin Jackson at the ML minimum for the next 3 years rather than Granderson at 6.5 million even if Granderson somewhat returns to form which is no a big if.

  22. Dan

    Bret,
    Tabata may not be anywhere near 21, as this link suggests:
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/341457-jose-tabata-might-have-lied-about-his-age
    If this is true, it completely changes the complexion of the Nady/Marte deal.

  23. RollingWave

    Soriano can hit for power , but your overlooking the fact that he cough a lot of his value back  because A. he whiffs a ton and doesn't walk much, giving him a pretty poor OBP, and 2. he's a pretty terrible defensive player, especially for a fast guy.

    In terms of WAR, he was basically a below average player at best for Texas, posting a combined 2.5 WAR during his 2 year there (in comaprason, the worse A-rod year on his old deal was the 4.2 WAR season in 06, and to give you an idea how bad 1.25 WAR a year is, Robinson Cano in 08 was worth 1.2 WAR), he did have that good year in Washington where he posted a 5+ WAR,  after that's it's a downward trend, if anything, Cashman selling Soriano right at his peak value should be seen as a major success, if we're going to base only on  hind sight here (such as you suggesting that the Jeff Weaver and Javier Vazquez trade were bust, since there's no way you can make that argument based on what happened prior to those trades)

     

    GMs can not predict the future, if he trade for a guy today and he gets hit by a bus tomorrow, that blame can't possibly fall on the GM. he can make reasonable analysis and work on that.  Cashman's obviously always going to be precieved by the fact that he's working with. Though I generally find that his thought process seems more than reasonable at the time of those trades actually happening.

    As for Tabata, your forgetting one thing Bret, AAA is NOT major league, there is a VERY good reason why we call a 20 year old in AAA hitting .770 a good prospect but a 29 year old hiting .800 in AAA a AAAA guy.

    If Tabata is really in the later half of his 20s, that means the chances are what you see is what you get, and he's a high .700 OPS guy in AAA, which roughly translate to a replacement level player in the big leagues 5 outta 10 times, with the other 4 time being a player who's not even that, and once in a blue moon a real player comes out of it.  if he is in his early 20s, then 5 outta 10 times he'll probably be a solid to great player somewhere down the road.  maybe 3 times he'll be servicable, and maybe twice he'll bust for no apparent reason.

  24. Bret

    Rolling Wave,

    I don't really disagree strongly with anything you said.  Will said the Arod trade was a clear win for the Yankees when it was basically a salary dump for Texas – Texas probably knew he was good since he won an MVP for them and that he would be good for the Yankees.  That isn't a win trade.  Same with Abreu, I'm guessing the Phillies knew he was good but didn't think he was worth 16 million a year which the Yankees didn't either a couple years later when they didn't re-sign him.

    As far as the Pirates trade I've already pointed out, the Pirates can get nothing out of Tabata, Ohlendorf, McCutchen and they still won the trade because Marte has been terrible, Nady didn't do much and the Pirates saved a ton of money.  Anything they get out of the other three are gravy to a trade they already won.

    Clever, clear win trades are things like the Tex to Atlanta deal for Texas or the Bedard to SEA trade for Baltimore or the Glenn Davis trade for the Astros.  It isn't giving a great player 25 million because no one else the resources to do so or thinks he is worth quite that much money.  At best you can say Cashman's moves have been a mixed bag, at worst you can say he has been a poor GM but I'm not going to sing his praises because he was able to figure out that CC Sabathia was a good pitcher or that Arod had a lot of power.  He is no way a top 5 GM, that isn't arguable.

  25. Sorry about not getting to post last night–life's busy.

    Bret,

    Again, your bias is sort of showing here. Let's review the A-Rod for Soriano trade, that you just claimed was not a win for the Yankees.

    First off, the idea that it was purely a salary dump. Sure, Texas wanted to dump salary–however, that didn't mean they had to send that salary to the Yankees. You might, possibly, recall that the Red Sox had done pretty much everything in their power to complete a trade for A-Rod, and had failed. Moreover, when the Yankees got Alex, it was with Texas paying more than a third of the remaining contract. His average annual cost was going to be $16 million to the Yankees–significantly less than just about any of the then superstars cost, on any team. That kind of production was simply not available at that cost on the market.

    Over the two years Soriano was with Texas, he was worth 4.1 wins, total. Over those two years with the Yankees, A-Rod was worth an astounding 16 wins. SIXTEEN wins, from one player alone, over two years.

    When I see you write things like "A-Rod for Soriano wasn't a win for Cashman," I sort of give up on trying to argue things with you. That's just not grounded in reality.

    Will

  26. Bret

    Will,

    Do you think anything Arod did with the Yankees surprised the Rangers?  Do you think the Rangers expected Soriano to be as good as Arod?  Arod was the best player in the game at the time but the Rangers had overpaid him and he was taking up too much of their payroll.  I will give you that Arod at 16 mill in his prime on roids was good for the Yankees even with Soriano playing well during the same time frame but it wasn't an inventive or clever or gotcha type trade..  It was done because the Yankees could absorb the payroll.

    And any points you give Cashman on that have to be taken away and then some given they now have a 34 year old off roids making 30 mill until he is collecting social security.  Even you would say that it is unlikely that Arod will be anything close to being worth that much money in 2017 right?

  27. Bret,

    You are incorrect. In fact, at the time, the Arod was heralded as a VERY creative trade, because Alex was a shortstop with the Rangers, and the Yankees already had a very good shortstop in Derek Jeter. The trade was basically out of the blue. No, it wasn't a *gotcha* trade, but the VAST amount of value Cashman extracted from Texas, for relatively little (Soriano was traded for, of all people, Corey Patterson two years later), was an absolute win for the Yankees.

    Why would you try to make the point that Soriano was "playing well" during the same time frame? 4.1 WAR to 16 WAR. It wasn't even close.

    Look, you don't want to give Cashman any credit, I get it. And I'm actually done arguing with you, entirely. It's no longer worth my time, when you are pushing (for instance) A-Rod's current contract as evidence of Cashman being a bad GM (openly declaring that it doesn't matter if ownership made the decision over his head), or trying suggest that Soriano played well after getting traded to Texas (I could care less about HRs or 2Bs, if his overall contribution was that of an average major leaguer).

    Firing off lines about A-Rod on steroids, or how your daughter could have guessed CC would pitch well make me chuckle. You know who everyone *knew* would pitch well? Jon Lackey. Daisuke Matsuzaka, Randy Johnson, Erik Bedard, Javier Vazquez (the first time around), Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano. And no, *I* didn't believe some of these guys would pitch well coming in (and maybe you didn't either)–but that was consensus. The number of high priced explosions that occur all around baseball is astounding–many on guys who are "sure things". Let's go full circle: Alfonso Soriano was a *replacement level player* (0.0 WAR) in 2009.

    The thing that makes you boring to argue with, is that when Cashman has hit these (and no doubt, he has a few times), you think he should have seen them coming. When he gets players who do well, though, well everyone knew they were great. Right now, you're giving him no credit for AJ Burnett, for instance–or Mark Teixeira. But if they were bad, you'd be all over him. As if there weren't other teams bidding these players, and as if the Yankees haven't been outbid on names they wanted in the past.

    And with that, I'm done arguing with you for a while.

    Will

  28. Bret

    The biggest problem with this blog is it is viewed through the prism of all things Yankees instead of objectively.

    If another GM traded the organization's 2nd best prospect, a 4th starter with a 3.58 ERA and a lefty specialist with a 3.44 ERA (all under team control I might add) for a guy who is making 24 million over the next 3 years with a .686 OPS, declining numbers the past three years and immediately injured upon coming over that wouldn't be thought of as a bad trade.  The GM would be fired and it would destroy the organization.  Same thing if you traded the organization's 3rd best prospect under team control for a guy with an 8 ERA and had to pay that guy 11 million dollars.  That isn't a poor trade, that is a suicide bombing to any other organizations.

    You guys brush that off (and the Pirates trade) and say Cashman is great because the Yankees win which is the same thing as saying O.J. is a great human being because he wasn't convicted of murder in criminal court.

    Start looking at some of his moves with no bias, I think you will be enlightened.

  29. Bret,

    I have torn Cashman moves apart in this blog (as have several of the other regular posters here).

    These things I write? They are objectively informed, via numbers. Not necessarily the numbers you look at, by the way. In this specific blog post, I made the point that Ian Kennedy is a reasonable pitcher, and that Tyler Clippard is a loss as well for the Yankees. Me disagreeing with you does not make me non-objective.

    This Yankees team was ridiculed for years as George Steinbrenner made uninformed snap judgements based on small samples, such as the ones you are trying to hold up as both "objective", and "enlightened".

    Luckily, the team no longer does things in such a way. Moreover, no GM is going to get fired because they trade for a player and the player gets injured–unless, of course, the player was injured before the trade, and the GM hadn't done his due diligence. Do you realize how many bad trades have been made in the last few years, and bad signings? (And I don't mean kinda/sorta bad…I mean the truly awful). Not that many GMs have been kicked to the curb as a result. I won't name names.

    Also luckily, we've got plenty of games left in the season, during which we'll get to watch Granderson come back and be fine (if not better), Jackson fall off the face of the earth (and likely get sent to the minor leagues to finish developing), and Javy Vazquez return to form. During that time, we'll also see Brett Gardner fall to earth (but remain productive), Francisco Cervelli fall back to earth (and hopefully remain productive), Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez pick up the pace significantly, and the Yankees win between 96 and 100 games. And if that doesn't happen, feel free to come back here and enjoy the schadenfreude.

    If you want to destroy a franchise, the quickest way to do it is to judge trades on a 45 day period, and start firing the heads of your front office based on such samples.

    If you think you can do better, I suggest you fire your resume around to some teams and get started. Or, get your own blog. Or, heck, go read a blog about your own team?

    Best,

    Will

  30. Jason@IIATMS

    Bret,

    I've enjoyed the battles with Will and I've kept out of them because, well, debates are good and healthy.

    However, I jump in only when I think you've made a generalization that is not correct.  And, stating that all of us here are incapable of being objective (no matter the subject) is patently false.  The thing we all do our best to prove daily is that we provide Yankee converage without being the "fanboys" that are elsewhere online.  We are critical of decisions.  We debate salary caps.  We question the strategy.  We do not blindly accept anything merely because we're fans.

    I've been critical of Cashman in more than a few instances.  Since it's my site and I've obviously been writing here longer than everyone else combined, I'll state that I am a Cashman supporter but I am not above calling him out when I think it's needed.  Will and others may or may not have been critical of Cashman or anyone else on their other sites.

    We praise other teams, RedSox included, when appropriate.  And I think we hold our favorite team to the highest thresholds.

    Should you feel otherwise, please let me know and I'll do my best to address it.

  31. Bret

    Don't really disagree with much you said other than the Yankees winning 96 games – they are off to a good start but are getting far too much production from far too many players in comparison to expected to keep this up (Cervelli, Thames, Gardner, Cano, Posada, Swisher), Javy will probably be better and Jeter can't be much worse but Arod is starting to show age declines and it wouldn't shock me if he ends the year with around the same OPS he has now.

    My point was on most teams the combination of paying a big free agent bust, losing the money on that transaction and losing the the prospect would kill the team.  On the Yankees the money part doesn't matter, Granderson makes big money for a mid-market team but is a rounding error on the Yankees so the trade isn't scrutinized like it should be.  Let me also point out he wasn't hitting before the injury and we are now 1/4th through the season and AJax is still having a good year and Granderson isn't close to returning.  Could AJax implode?  Yes.  Could Javy win the Cy Young?  Yes.  But both are unlikely and both GMs would gladly love to make that trade again with the Yankees today in a heartbeat as would the Pirates GM.

    Finally, GMs do get fired on trades like this.  The Seattle/O's trade was nearly identical to both Yankee trades.  Sea gives up two top 5 prospects and a reliever who goes to the All Star game for a guy that is hurt and ineffective.  Seattle's GM is gone.  Had the Yankees made that trade it would have been no big deal because Bedard doesn't make much money and prospects are expendable.

  32. Bret,

    Look, if you're assuming Austin Jackson is Adam Jones, you're way off track, right away. Adam Jones' wOBA in AAA the year before he was traded was above .400. Austin Jackson's was .348. That's a dramatic difference. I won't restate my argument on Jackson–it's visible above mathematically, in the article proper. And it's pretty intuitive, if you ask me. If you want to believe he has the ability to control his BABIP (what is he, a Jedi?) then fine, there's no reason for me to try and convince you any further. Chris Tillman is a much better pitching prospect than Ian Kennedy ever was. George Sherrill is better than Phil Coke, but we'll just call that portion a wash.

    Adam Jones was *by far* the best prospect in either trade. Anyhow…this will all be moot if Austin Jackson becomes pedestrian by the end of this year–and unless he cuts down on the strikeouts bigtime, or learns to walk, or hit for power (neither of which were ever considered particularly likely), my prediction above will come true.

  33. Bret

    Will,

    I enjoy the stat stuff but once it gets too detailed I kind of lose interest.  My point wasn't that this person was better than that person, it was just that two top 5 prospects were involved, a big money contract was involved, the big money player didn't perform in both cases, at least so far.  Vizcaino and Jackson were unquestionably top 5 prospects in the Yankee system as were Tillman and Jones.

    And being an O's fan I wish Jones were hitting anywhere near what AJax is this year and won't mind if the trend reverses.  As time goes on the trade is looking better and better for Seattle but the GM can't make that case since he was long since canned.

    Don't take what I write too personally, I wasn't trying to start WWIII with you and do enjoy the site and your writing and Jason's writing especially very much.

  34. Bret, any time you want to trade Adam Jones, please give us a call!

  35. Bret

    Will,

    You have a very hard time listening. 

    I said he has been a mixed bag which doesnt mean he has done everything wrong.

    Here is what I said about Burnett, Sabathia and Tex and Arod for that matter.

    1.  It isn’t Cashman’s fault that ARod is on steroids – however his production is likely to now decline precipitously as he hits his late 30′s as all players did before PEDs.

    2.  Burnett, Tex and Sabathia have been good signings for the Yankees but in all cases the Yankees are paying them much more than any team could justify except maybe the Red Sox.  By the way, I’m not a Red Sox fan, you keep comparing every move the Yankees have made to the Red Sox for some reason to justify them.

    3.  In addition to that, the book on those contracts is not finished.  Come find me in 4 years when all three plus Arod are making the same amount of money and let me know if the production warrants the contract.

    I’ve made very clear (with proof and evidence) what I find objectionable about Cashman, he has missed on more than his share of free agents and missed on most trades.  Comparing him to other GMs and saying he is better is no different than saying Nelson Rockefeller’s son has more money than your son who is a doctor therefore he is smarter, more clever, and a better person.

    Put Cashman on a team with an 80 million dollar payroll and he would be fired within a few weeks.

  36. Jim

    Statistics –smistics.  At least jackson is playing and driving in runs.  Ot getting on base to be driven in.  Where is Granderson?  And that's not a DL rhetorical question.  Take away the home run he had opening night against Boston and he is hitting in the low 200's.  He still can't hit left handers and never will be able to.  He's 30 and has already reached his performance potential.  As well as only has a few good years left.  Jackson, on the flip side, is younger, has still to reach his major league potential, and will only get better.  He could be a cornerstone for the next decade, and he can hit lefties.  Remember what they said about Jeter when they first called him up.  To paraphrase, they said he commits to many errors, will never be a defenseive SS.  Chases pitches out of the strikezone.  Aren't you glad they didn't trade him away for some lame veteran?  Same goes for Rivera, Petite, and Posada.  Bernie also.  They need to get back to trusting their youth again, instead of trading every good prospect they have for overvalued veterans. 

  37. Jim

    One last comment.  There are statistic players, and then there are money players.  Give me money players anyday.  by that I mean players who not only rack up the stats, but also perform at the right time.  When the game is on the line they come through.  Granderson is not a money player.  All an opposing manager has to do is put a leftie in if the game is on the line, and Granderson will fail 99.99% of the time.   Put that in all your fancy stats and ratings.  Build around youth, and add key free agents.  Don't trade everything away because you overvalue a vet. 

Comments are closed.