About @Jason_IIATMS

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

59 thoughts on “Montero and Nunez for Greinke: Would you have done it?

  1. Is this a trick question? :)

    Honestly, if they really said no to that offer because of a ridiculously ignorant belief about clinical anxiety disorders, I'm going to be extremely angry. That's just absurd.

    • I'm baiting you, Brien.

      Truth is, we don't know everything about Greinke and his wishes, issues, preferences. The Yanks (and others) were on his No Trade list and there's a reason for that. Is it a crime for the Yanks to decide that this was not a player who wanted to pitch in NY?

      • Well yeah, kind of. I mean, there have been multiple reports that he said he didn't have any problems going to the Yankees and that, above all, he just wanted to get out of KC so he could win. So if Greinke said he didn't have a problem with NY, and would waive his no trade clause to come here, who are the Yankees to decide that they know better than he does what he wants?

        And honestly, I think people are missing the forest for the trees on the no trade clause. If I were a player in my control period and was offered a limited no trade clause, I'd make sure I put the Yankees on that list. Because I don't want to play for them? No, so I could potentially have some leverage if they decided they wanted to acquire me and maybe pull some extra money out of the deal. I'd be surprised if just about every limited NTC didn't have the Yankees on the list of teams.

  2. All we had to give up was Montero and Nunez? And we didn't????? I sure hope Cash has one helluva Plan D, because so far A, B (Crawford), and C (Greinke) have gone down the tubes.

    Can hardly wait for a return to the days of the .500 Yankees. Shoot – we even got aced out, and missed out on Wang. Guess we're down to a reunion with Pavano, Clemens, and R. Johnson.

    I'll still be watching, but unless the brain trust pulls one big azzed rabbit out of their hat, I sure won't be booking my Series (or even playoff) tickets just yet.

    • Awfully panic-stricken, Jay. We're essentially returning the same cast of players who won 95 games, without Javy Vaz. Sure, we didn't get our way this off-season but longer term, we might be better off.

      • Getting that way. ;) Same team – one year older. No Wood to save us. Maybe no Petite – hate to say, but yes, the rotation looks scarier (to the Yanks – not the rest of the league) every day.

        But really – we didn't have to give up Cano or Gardner – not a single proven ML player. ( I like Nunez, but usually, I'm in the minority with that opinion) I'm a lot less worried about his fabled anxiety disorder than I am by AJ.

  3. No. I'm not trading Montero. I have concerns about Greinke in a larger market, but I would have absolutely traded for him if the deal was right.

  4. I would not have. There are enough concerns about Greinke's anxiety disorder and focus to make this a no go. Montero should be held onto either to have a legitimate shot at filling the void at catcher or traded for a "can't miss" guy a Nunez was quite versatile covering for our aging infielders, not to mention the team really sees something in him. I'd trade them for a Cliff Lee or a King Felix, but not Greinke (all the best to him).

    Stepping back for a minute regarding the no trade clause, I think that was just good business on his agent's part. Why not say no to the Yankees and seek a million or two to waive it? You know they'll pay it if they are interested. I don't think that can always be interpreted as a lack of desire to play for them.

  5. I posted this elsewhere, but I still think the only way to get a potential front-line starter to the Yankees is Montero-for-Garza.

        • What difference does that make? Just because they need a starter doesn't mean you trade your best trade chip for the best available pitcher no matter what.

  6. I find it hard to believe that KC would have done that deal. Apparently they have not been very interested in Montero due to the strength of their own catching prospects. They probably would have added 1/3 of the Bs + another picting prospect

  7. There are sure a TON of people on the interwebs this morning talking about anxiety orders and Greinke…
    Who is to say that it wasn't a one time thing from an unbalanced diet combined with people comparing him to "Greg Maddux with a better fastball"? Not to mention he has been the only brightspot on that team for so long, and he could have literally stayed in the shadow of CC while he was here.

    If you don't have a PHD let's stop talking about the anxiety and talk about how good he would have looked in pinstripes! I just hope my man Montero becomes the star we all are longing for.

  8. I would have done it knowing only what I know about Grienke. There may be more to his problems than what SAD, and he said his family didn't want to go to NY. Given that most teams would be able to match or beat the Montero-Nunez package, I really question whether this is true.

  9. Maybe it's a gamble by Cashman? If the Brewers aren't contenders at the deadline, they might be able to get Greinke off them for less than what they would've had to give the Royals.

  10. Jason, the question you posed is a close call. Would I have pulled the trigger on that deal? Probably not. But if the Yankees HAD made that trade, I would not have criticized it. Ultimately, I hope that Cashman & Co. made their decision based on more and better information than I have.

    I start with the question of whether you ever trade hitting for pitching. Baseball is an unpredictable game, but as a general rule hitters are a bit more predictable than pitchers. Granted, the future performance of a major-league tested pitcher like Greinke may be more predictable than the hitting of a top prospect like Montero. Again, this is a close call to me.

    I am concerned that KC seemed so eager to trade Greinke. What was the hurry? There seemed to be a concern that Greinke was going to have a poor start to the 2011 season and that his trade value would drop. However, his trade value seemed to have dropped a great deal over the past month. At the start of this process, KC was reportedly seeking the sun and the moon for Greinke. But from the little I've read, it looks like Greinke was traded for marginal prospects and replacement-level players. The package that KC ultimately accepted strikes me as a lot worse (from KC's perspective) than Montero and Nunez.

    I think there's something odd going on here that hasn't been reported. Yes, the Yankees seemed uninterested in Greinke at nearly any price. But there are 28 teams other than the Yankees and the Brewers who should have been interested in a talented ex-Cy Young winner, who should have been able to offer a better package than the one put forward by the Brewers.

    Ultimately, I think we should take a couple of steps back. The Yankees have been decidedly un-Yankee like during this post-season. They did not pursue Crawford or Werth or Greinke. We haven't discussed this yet, but their pursuit of Cliff Lee was not nearly as aggressive as I had expected. The feeling I have is that the Yankees' brass is satisfied with the core of the current roster, with or without Pettitte.

    I had wondered, given that we're entering into the negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement, whether the Yankees might keep a low profile this post-season. There's been talk of increasing the luxury tax to a level that would discourage the Yankees from exceeding the tax threshold, and I thought that the Yankees might want to defuse this issue by keeping next season's payroll to a minimum. (I even started to write a post on this … but two weeks ago the talk was that the Yanks might sign Lee AND Crawford, and it then seemed silly to me to write about belt-tightening in the Bronx. It doesn't seem so silly now.)

    Greinke might have been demanding a pay increase as the cost of waiving his no-trade clause, and the Yankees might have decided that he wasn't worth the extra pay he was demanding.

    There's too much I don't know to evaluate the Yankees' decision. But I still think it's interesting, how QUIET this post-season has been for the Yankees.

    • Agree Larry. There definitely hasn't been that Yankee panic we've seen or desperation (7 years for CC with op out was a desperate move, even if it panned out so far). The only panic seems to be coming from the fans and the media. I'm willing to wait until the Yanks have actually played some games next season before vilifying Cashman and the rest of the Yankee brass. I think they know what they're doing.

    • You've been mentioning the upcoming CBA for a while (I do read what you post) – perhaps that is the best way to explain this post season. But this non-deal is still odd – we were more than happy to get rid of Montero, just for a rental of Lee; yet now we won't trade him and a utility infielder for a Cy Young winner?

      As you've said, some folks must know a lot more than we do.

      • Jay, great point. I was trying to puzzle out the comparison of the failed Lee trade versus the Greinke trade that didn't happen. Yeah, if you figure that the Yankees were willing to trade Montero (but not with Nunez) for three months of Cliff Lee, you'd figure that the team would have jumped at Greinke on nearly the same terms. The only way to figure it is that the team's thinking has changed since July. Montero had a terrific second half of his 2010 season, so maybe the team values him more highly now. It's also hard to escape the conclusion that the Yankees place a relatively high value on Nunez, for reasons that are not apparent to me (not yet anyway).

        The other thing that is inescapable: the Yanks just weren't high on Greinke.

    • Larry I would like to know how Mark Smith feels about this. He wanted the yanks to trade for Grienke.

  11. Greinke is coming off a losing season with a >4 ERA. Why trade arguably the best offensive prospect in baseball for that kind of production? A guy with Montero's offensive potential is pretty rare in the post-PEDs era, even if he does end up a DH.

  12. Everyone knows the Yanks are somewhat in red alert mode post the Cliff Lee debacle. That's why KC over-asked here. Brewer fans are happy because they know they're plan is "2011 or not in another 20 years".

    Just because Greinke was the prettiest left at the dance doesn't mean he can macarena in NYC. Very glad that Cashman didn't go for this one. John is spot on about the CC deal and I'm elated that we didn't give Lee the same. There isn't a wealth of talent to be acquired this off season. Not the kind the Yankees need. As much as it pains me to say so — we can't pull off the haymaker acquisition annually. This would be a good season to replenish the prospect ranks and not panic so that we might have another run like we did 96-2009 (with some homegrown contributors).

    • Mike, great post. The Yankees are in it to win it, not for 2011, but for every year. That places limits on the team's ability to adopt short-term solutions with long-term costs. 2011 may simply be a "bridge year" to 2012, when some of the team's pitching prospects are MLB ready.

      Or if you believe Cashman, these prospects may need be ready this Spring. http://es.pn/f7GGHV.

  13. I would have pulled the trigger and take a chance. He is a young pitcher, get him via trade for 2 prospects not 4, and didn't spend money for him. We took a chance and traded Melky for Javier who was a total bust and looked like a bust before the trade. At least we know Grienke is capable of pitching in the American League.

  14. If you read all the post even people who would have accepted the trade you will notice something "i would take a chance"

    You do not trade your #1 asset who is set to debut this coming year and fill a future hole in your team for a chance. Listen every trade has a risk if we trade for Upton there is a risk he doesn't pan out in NY, If trade for Felix his numbers will get worse(except his wins) or he could completely flop in NY, even when we tried to get Cliff multiple times someone who is a lot older and has back problems there are potential downfalls

    All 3 trades there are risks but never will you hear "i will take a chance." You know what you are trading for and you know what you will get. Grienke is a major league player a ex-Cy young winner, yet he seems to carry more risks than any other ace.

    I have said times before i would rather have Grienke than pay Lee for 7 years, that still holds true but the Yanks and Royals farm system just does not mesh. Kansas needs position players/middle of the line up type guys, they have a surplus in talented pitching. The idea of giving up a package of Montero and Nunez just seems to costly, we are fixing one hole by using pieces that will create another.

  15. Zuh, I meant to say 2008, which certainly wasn't Cy Young stuff. Finals hangover, I assure you (I get a C to your C-), but that 4.17 ERA was uncharacteristic of how well he pitched, and the wins… well, let's just not talk about wins.

    • well here is a question for you Adam.
      Who would you rather?
      A Yankee pitcher that has bad stats but always gets the victory or a Yankee pitcher that has amazing stats but always seems to lose.

      • Based on your logic, colins, why don't we start tagging position players with wins and losses too? If, say, Cano goes 2-for-4 with two home runs but the Yankees lose, he should also take the loss!

          • 'always gets the victory' is a myth. if you mean gets lots of run support while pitching mediocrely, then yes the yankees can sign lots of pitchers who will 'get the victory' for them. the 2010 al cy young had 13 wins, and this doesn't even have to do with FIP because Felix did not lead in FIP. evaluating pitchers by wins is long gone.

          • Michael you are getting stuck in semantics. Let me rephrase then "always seems to get the victory"
            I am not even talking about run support or FIP or ERA or OOPS

          • "always seems to get the victory"

            What are you trying to say? Phil Hughes won 18 games last season, yet looking at his start-by-start performance on B-R, it is clear that he was a mediocre pitcher from June onward.

          • Then you've created a complete. The only way a pitcher with "bad stats" can get a win is if his defense plays disproportionately well behind him and/or he gets a lot of run support. If his defense doesn't play well for him or his offense doesn't score runs when he pitches, the only way he could "always seem to win" would be by not giving up many runs in his starts, i.e. having good stats.

      • colins, your question for Adam gets into the old preference for being lucky instead of being good. Yes, if you can point out the pitcher that for the next 10 years will consistently get lucky and win, that's the guy I want to sign. But we don't know in advance who is going to get lucky.

        • Finally an answer. When you say its being lucky now you are going down a slippery slope. Where do you stop?
          When a pitcher throws most of his first pitches for strike is he just lucky?
          2 outs bottom of the ninth you hit a home run were you just lucky?
          2 outs bottom of the first you strike out the hitter were you just lucky?

          When you are consistently getting the victory even with bad/average stats i think we move away from calling someone lucky look at other factors.

          Maybe its the demeanor that he walks with even when his team is down, urging his team to win. Maybe its because he is pitching in the AL East against Yanks/Redsox/Rays, if he was in the NL West his stats would not look so bad. Maybe he pitched great throughout except in some games when he already had 7 run leads, i can tell you from personal experience its not the same when you are pitching and have a big lead especially if you don't care about your stats just that your team wins.

          Let me ask you this if Felix played for the Yanks this past season will his stats other wins/loss be better or worse?
          I can honestly say it would be worse.

          There is a saying when choosing which car is best for you to drive "You don't drive spec sheets." Case and point T.O and Randy Moss in football statistically they are one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play football yet throughout their entire not every team was clamoring for their services because of the baggage they carried has cancer in the locker room etc.

          This is definitely a long way of making my point. The point i was trying to make to Adam regarding his comments is that stats is not everything and never will be and you cant just throw wins out the window because if for no other reason than thats how you decide if you make the playoffs and then win championships.

          Stats are just part of a complex formula when it comes to evaluating a player.

          • colins, every advanced statistic for measuring player performance is (or is supposed to be) tied to run production and run prevention. The batter who helps his team produce the most runs should have the highest OPS (or whatever advanced hitting statistic you prefer). The pitcher who helps his team prevent the most runs should have the lowest FIP (or whatever advanced pitching statistic you prefer). The batter who helps produce the most runs should also help produce the most wins, and the same goes for the pitcher who helps prevent the most runs.

          • "When you are consistently getting the victory even with bad/average stats i think we move away from calling someone lucky look at other factors. "

            Right, but the point you insist on missing is that those "other factors" are things that are out of the pitchers control, like defense and run support. You seem to want to imagine a pitcher who doesn't strike anyone out/walks a lot of batters/gives up a lot of runs yet piles up a lot of pitcher wins anyway but does so because of himself and not because of the rest of his team. That guy simply doesn't exist.

          • Do you know any of these 'stats' that are part of your complex formula of evaluating a pitcher's performance or skills? You clearly don't understand the underlying factors of how baseball outcomes need large samples sizes to determine skill. By your little anecdotal retorts, you can isolate any one plate appearance and make sweeping (and wildly false) judgements, like Edgar Renteria is a great home run hero because he hit a home run in game 7 of the world series this year, or that Mariano Rivera is a choke artists because of game 7 of the 2001 world series. Or that arod *couldn't* perform in the postseason, and then all of the sudden he can. Basing judgement off such small number of events is terribly short-sighted.

            The same goes for a pitcher's ERA. 'Luck' is a less precise way of describing the variance involved in where a baseball goes after a batter hits it. In case you didn't know this, the batting average of all balls (babip) put into play are .300.

            You might say 'oh, well some pitchers are able to induce 'weak contact' and that is their skill. This can be true, but not sustainable. babip is also broken down according to ball in play (fly ball, line drive, grounder). As you may guess, line drives have very high babip, fly balls and ground balls have low babips. However, there isn't much range in LD% of a pitcher so their babip isn't going to fluctuate that wildly simply because they never or always give up line drives. In fact…

            For every pitcher thats played the game in the past 50 years, their career babip is very close to .300. The only pitchers that have lower batting averages against for this, are Mariano Rivera (.276), Nolan Ryan, and knuckleballers (also in the .270's) For just about every pitcher, over a long enough sample, they are subject to a somewhat random distribution of where the ball is put in play.

            However from season to season babip for a pitcher can fluctuate wildly, even looking at 200 inning samples. Based on this variance, which has little to do with pitcher skill.

            So when people talk about 'luck' they mean the usual variance of where a baseball lands in a vast field with only 9 people in it. If you or I pitched 100 batting practice fastballs to Albert Pujols, would he bat 1.00 against us? Some of his balls would turn into outs. In fact, of the few balls that weren't crushed into the upperdeck, plenty would turn into fieldable ground balls and plenty would turn into pop-flys. If you cherry-pick all the plays where he made outs you'd think wow some guy named Albert Pujols is really bad. Which is essentially what anyone does when they look at any small sample size.

            Then again if Tony Womack can hit a bloop single over Soriano's head in the bottom of the 9th of game 7 world series against the best closer ever, that has to be a skill, right? I heard the Yankees could sign a guy who knows how to win like that…

          • I'd like to nominate this comment for itsaboutthemoney/bestof if it ever gets made, it really made me smile.

        • Collins,
          If Gramma throws you out of the basement you can come live with HIM and family…clear thinking isn't seen often…

      • Amazing stats, 100% of the time, because "always gets the victory" is completely arbitrary garbage. Run prevention is the name of the game, so if a pitcher gives up 6 runs a game and wins 32 games, I don't want him on the Yankees.

  16. I swear I just read on Twitter somewhere that the Royals wanted Montero, Nunez, and two pitchers.

    Is it a crime that I am starting to believe in the Montero hype? I really think the kid is our catcher of the future, and for some reason it would kill me to see him be great somewhere else.

    But I guess it's still a thing of probability. And Grienke is already really good, while Montero still has a lot to prove. I still don't think I'd pull the trigger.

  17. KC wouldn't have accepted that trade. But I still wouldn't have offered it even if they would have. Trading the best hitting prospect in the Minors for a pitcher with a no trade to NY BECAUSE of an emotional disorder (Sorry Brien, the no trade was not for leverage–There was slim to no chance of Greinke ever ending up in New York or Boston. Too much pressure).

    Montero is a stud. Give him a chance, unless King Felix can be had.

      • Will, thanks for the link, interesting piece. This leads me to believe that the Royals asking price was just too high, plain and simple (Montero + Nunez + Banuelos or Betonces + 1 of Nova/Phelps/Warren/Noesi).

  18. Here are some observations and analyses. Would appreciate it if someone would provide greater clarity:

    1) The Yankees don't trade Montero, their best hitting prospect, (and a couple of other guys who may or may not make a MLB impact) for Cliff Lee. But they wanted to, and very nearly did.

    2) The Yankees sign Russ Martin for $4mm. He is under control for another year (via arbitration). This gives them even more flexibility at the catcher position than they already had considering they already had Posada (DH + maybe 1-2 days catching a week to rest other regulars), Cervelli (ugh … but is still young and very cheap), and Montero (who they presumably were going to ease into starting catching duties the way they let Posado do just over 10 years ago).

    • ctd:

      3) Doesn't the Martin signing make Montero more expendable? They already have 3 other catching prospects behind him, and assuming Martin "bounces back" this year, as the Yanks must have expected by signing him in the first place, he would give them the 2 years they need before the next catching prospect is ready?

      4) Shouldn't we have expected that the Yanks will trade Montero for a high end starter? Doesn't have to be Greinke, but I think Montero has become an expendable chip for a goood purpose.

      • I think people are reading way too much into the Martin signing. Basically the guy is a fairly cheap option who, at the least, gives the Yankees a catcher who is very good at throwing out runners (which they lacked last season) and provides an upgrade over Cervelli as a back up catcher, and gives them a little bit of insurance if Montero needs some more work at AAA. But the guy isn't going to block Montero, and the Yankees aren't going to rush to trade Jesus simply because they were able to sign Russell Martin.

  19. I don't understand why everyone is assuming the Yankees didn't pull the trigger because of his anxiety issue. That would be dumb, but it's not the only explanation. I think the Yankees may just feel that Montero can catch and if he can do that reasonably well he is probably more valuable than 2 years and 27 million dollars to Greinke. There is also Nunez who I believe the team thinks can start.

    Hope Pettitte comes back this year. Make a big run at Darvish next year and hope some of the pitchers develop.

  20. Monetero & Nunez…sign me up!

    According to reports elsewhere that wouldn't have gotten it done. It's being reported that it would have taken Banuelos or Betances and a AAA pitcher like Warren or Noesi. That seems like way to much and I'm glad that it didn't happen at that price.

  21. Sherman reported this morning that, in addition to Montero and Nunez, the Royals wanted either Banuelos or Betances, and one of Nova/Phelps/Warren/Noesi. If true, that would have been way too much to give up, in my opinion.

  22. I didn't believe the tweet, but even if it were true I'm not comfortable trading for Greinke because I don't think he's ever going to produce like he did in '09. The 2.16 era was amazing, but he's never produced anything close to that before and didn't again last year. I don't know if the metrics can explain it or not, but trading 2.16 era price for a guy who's career number is closer to 3.82 would worry me. It's like giving up the farm for Jose Bautista and expecting him to lead the world in home runs again.