A look at the newest Yankees: Lance "Big Puma" Berkman and Austin Kearns

Sometime this afternoon the Yankees will officially announce that they have acquired Lance Berkman from the Astros for Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes. In a separate deal, the Yankees traded for the Indians’ Austin Kearns for a player to be named later, who will obviously be of little consequence.

Both of these are solid upgrades to the Yankees’ league-leading offense. The big catch is obviously Berkman — though many of us in Yankeeland were hoping for the Yanks to reel in Yankeeist favorite Adam Dunn in, clearly the cost was far too prohibitive for a player who will be a free agent after the season. Berkman may well have been the next-best bat available — at least as far as cost is concerned — and inserting the switch-hitting Berkman’s .356 wOBA into the lineup will only yield good things, especially when one considers that the Yankees’ lack of a real designated hitter since Nick Johnson went down has resulted in far too many plate appearances for the likes of Francisco Cervelli, Ramiro Pena and Colin Curtis.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks adding firepower with Berkman, Kearns

Fangraphs weighs in:

Berkman is in the middle of a down year right now, mostly due to a career low .279 BABIP. His power is down as well, as his .191 ISO is his first ISO below .200 since his first season in the big leagues, 1999. As such, 2010 has been Berkman’s worst full major league season. Still, he’s been productive. His wRC+ of 123 is solid, even at first base, as evidenced by his 1.9 WAR in 385 PAs. The plate discipline is as good as ever, as Berkman is walking a remarkable 16.8% of the time – 195% of the league average.

It’s not likely that Berkman will ever repeat his 162 wRC+ seasons of 2008 and 2006, given that this is Berkman’s age 34 season. However, there is reason to believe that he will improve. Power numbers can fluctuate wildly over the course of even half a season. ZiPS projects that Berkman will put up a line of .268/.386/.486 for the rest of the season – a roughly 140 wRC+.Click here to read the rest

Yanks acquire Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns

New set of pinstripes for Fat Elvis

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the Yanks have acquired 1B/RF Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros and OF Austin Kearns from the Cleveland Indians. Kearns was traded for a PBTNL, Berkman (aka Big Puma and Fat Elvis) will head to New York in exchange for AAA reliever Mark Melancon and low-A second baseman Jimmy Paredes. The 5 mil remaining on Berkman’s 2010 salary will be picked up by the Astros, along with the 2 mil buyout of his 2011 option.

Berkman’s having a down year, but has maintained relatively good production (123 wRC+) and has been better of late (.925 OPS since July 1st.). Power’s down a bit, his .191 ISO is the lowest mark of any full season in the bigs. But power numbers can fluctuate wildly in small samples, and I hate comparing full seasons to partial for that reason. Sluggers tend to hit them in bunches, as the old line goes.… Click here to read the rest

Wade Davis and Matt Joyce beat Phil Hughes and Nick Swisher 3-2

Man, this was a tough one. Phil Hughes was pitching rather well until he ran into trouble in the sixth. Armed with a scant two-run lead on a Nick Swisher home run, Hughes gave it all back and then some as Matt Joyce pumped a three-run bomb with two outs. Though Hughes ended up tossing a quality start (6 IP, 3 ER), the outing was a bit tarnished. Not to take anything away from Joyce, but a veteran starter probably doesn’t surrender a go-ahead bomb with two outs.

As the Yankees decided to take one of their patented nights off on offense after plating two runs before Wade Davis could record a single out, Joyce’s home run ended up being the deciding factor in the game, as the Rays won 3-2. Credit to Davis for hanging in there and throwing a great game (7 IP, 2 ER, 6 Ks).

Alex Rodriguez went 0-4 and jawed with the umpire a bit on a called strike in the top of the ninth that could’ve gone either way.… Click here to read the rest

Dustin’s Night

Yesterday, I penned (typed?) a post about how I wasn’t expecting much out of Dustin Moseley during last night’s game. Well, during the game against the Indians last night, I was very, very pleasantly surprised.

After a rocky first inning during which he threw 31 pitches, Moseley settled down and ended up throwing six solid innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and two walks while striking out four. He also had a .261 WPA, the highest of the game. Way to go, Dustin. That’s a hell of a spot start. Let’s jump into the Pitch F/X and see how Mr. Moseley got the job done last night at the Jake (yes, I know it’s called Progressive Field but I refuse to call it that; it’s forever Jacobs Field in my mind).

Moseley threw a total of 83 pitches, 55 of them for strikes (66.27%).

His four seamer, he threw 37 (25 strikes), averaged 90.45 MPH and he maxed out at 92.5 MPH.… Click here to read the rest

All Quiet on the Transaction Front?

Yesterday, we learned that the Yankees are considering themselves out on Adam Dunn. The price on Scott Downs is ridiculously high. They offered the Diamondbacks Joba and two others for Dan Haren, but the Diamondbacks didn’t bite (which is surprising, considering the package they did get back from the Angels).

The Yankees have been linked to utility guys Wes Helms and Willie Bloomquist, but those guys aren’t very attractive and I’d assume that the Yankees would sooner try out Eduardo Nunez than ship prospects off and spend bigger money for guys who are vets.

I’ve been saying this all trade-season and it looks like it’s going to be true: the Yankees non-waiver deadline will not produce a big splash. That doesn’t mean they won’t do anything.

What seems interesting is that aside from Scott Downs, the Yankees haven’t been linked to many other relievers for a while. Craig Breslow was mentioned a while ago, but it’s been relatively quiet on the reliever front aside from Downs.… Click here to read the rest