Lowe for AJ? DeJesus over Jesus? It’s that time of the year…

Yes, a less fly-ball prone pitcher in Yankee Stadium is a good thing, generally speaking. Yes, a guy who is a near lock to make 34 starts a season is good to have, but 34 CRAPPY starts is not so good. And you know what, AJ Burnett hasn’t hit the DL during his Yankees tenure either, so despite all initial fears of him being an injury-risk, he’s taken the ball every time (with mixed results, like 70/30 bad/good, using the eyeball test only. Am I being too generous?).

Let’s peek at Lowe’s 2011 season, because really, it’s pretty awful:

Split G R H HR BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS
2011 Totals 34 110 212 14 70 137 1.96 .285 .347 .406 .754
I Split W L W-L% ERA G GS CG IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP SO/9 SO/BB
2011 Totals 9 17 .346 5.05 34 34 0 187.0 212 110 105 14 70 137 1.508 6.6 1.96
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table; Generated 10/12/2011.

Is there anything on the tables above that make you excited, in a good way? League-leading loss totals don’t come purely via bad luck and neither do ERA’s over 5 in the NL. Of course, looking at AJ’s 2011 season and their equally craptastic:

Split G R H HR BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS
2011 Totals 33 115 190 31 83 173 2.08 .260 .339 .464 .802
Split W L W-L% ERA G GS CG IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP SO/9 SO/BB
2011 Totals 11 11 .500 5.15 33 32 0 190.1 190 115 109 31 83 173 1.434 8.2 2.08
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table; Generated 10/12/2011.

The point of Davidoff’s trade idea is to essentially prepay Burnett’s last year (in the $15M Yanks would send to Atlanta; see below) and swap headaches. If you look at the numbers above, they are strikingly similar in ugliness. Sure, the HR allowed jumps out (14:31) as a huge difference, but I will always lean towards the guy who can at least strike out some guys to get himself out of trouble versus the guy who needs his infield defense to save him from the balls put in play. Let’s face it, each of these guys made the batters they faced look statistically speaking like Jimmy Rollins.

Onto Davidoff’s rationale:

Why would the Braves do it? Because they’ve been looking to unload Lowe since shortly after they signed him to a four-year, $60-million contract. Because they liked Burnett enough three years ago to offer him a significant contract, only to finish second to the Yankees. Because, assuming the Yankees throw in enough money – let’s say $5 next year to provide some relief from their current commitment of $15 million to Lowe and then another $10 million for 2013, in return for the Braves throwing in a second-tier prospect – the Braves would assume minimal risk in return for a pitcher who, whatever else you want to say about him, has become a workhorse.

So why would the Yanks want to trade a frustrating workhorse for an equally frustrating workhorse, and pay another team for this right? I dunno other than to get out of the deal one year early.

Why would the Braves do this deal? To add on another year of contractual obligation, even if it’s been essentially paid for, at least over two seasons? No. Because they want to give up any prospect at all? No. Frankly, I have no idea why the Braves would do this, unless they truly believe that AJ Burnett would recapture his 2008 magic back in the NL.

Cue @JoePawl:

If Cashman asked for Lowe and a 2nd-tier prospect for Burnett and $15 mil, I’m pretty sure Wren would hang up on him.

I just don’t see this idea floating too long.

Amazingly enough, I don’t think this was the worst idea on the page.

This is (emphasis mine):

DH . We sort of went over this: DeJesus, Montero, A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira.

Put all of this together, and let’s call this your starting lineup against righties: Gardner LF, Jeter SS, Cano 2B, Granderson CF, Rodriguez 3B, Teixeira 1B, Swisher RF, Martin C, DeJesus DH. With a bench of Montero, Nunez, Laird (or a replacement) and a player to be determined.

Then you plug in Montero against lefties, get Nunez and Laird (or a replacement) enough starts and you’re good to go. If you plan for injuries to A-Rod and Jeter, you realize that you’ll find plenty of playing time for Nunez and Laird, and Montero should get starts against righties, too.

Whooooa boy. You want to sign David DeJesus to effectively be the RHP platoon DH, using Jesus Montero only to face LHP as the DH, other than serving as backup catcher? Oh wait, you then say that Montero should “get starts against righties, too.”? Wait, which is it?  Because earlier in the article, Ken notes:

But Montero clearly needs to get in the lineup regularly, either at catcher or at DH. He’s the best internal option for an offensive upgrade.

Montero MUST play significant amounts of time next year. If he’s going to platoon or be Joba’d around, just trade the guy already. Give the kid a chance to fulfill his potential. Yes, DeJesus would be a nice Andruw Jones replacement, but not to receive anything CLOSE to the majority of AB’s as a DH. We need those AB’s to help spell ARod and Jeter, and even Teixeira every now and then. Jesus, not DeJesus. Thank you.

Scanning back up Davidoff’s page, he weighs in on why DeJesus might be amenable to coming to NY:

I think DeJesus might be amenable to such a setup because of his New York/New Jersey roots and because he has spent virtually his entire major-league career playing for terrible teams. If he’s sold on the notion of a one-year “pillow” contract , as Scott Boras termed it when Adrian Beltre signed a one-year deal with Boston, then the arrangement could boost his brand in the Bronx.

Except that’s a glorious logicfail (lolgic?). Beltre signed to be the starting 3B, not a platoon DH, sometimes OF. DeJesus will do nothing for his “brand in the Bronx” other than to cement himself as either a “good player/starter on bad teams” or “a nice role/bench player on good teams”. Either way, that’s not going to boost his earnings potential. Might extend his career and earn him some playoff cash and if all goes well, a ring, but that’s about it.

As for Ken’s idea about trading for John Danks… provided the cost isn’t one of the top prospects, I’m good with that.

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

10 thoughts on “Lowe for AJ? DeJesus over Jesus? It’s that time of the year…

  1. BrienJackson

    #yourtradeproposalsux

  2. jay_robertson

    I agreed with your one liner on either level – "Jesus, not DeJesus. " FIrst time thru, I did NOT read it Heysus, but still agreed 100%.

    Davidoff is (seemingly) so out of touch, I try to point out the occasions when he agrees with Brien. Or vice versa. Safe to use those instances as proof that even Brien has bad days.

  3. Michael

    DeJesus over Jesus I say now way Jose. Montero is the future of the organization, and needs consistant at bats. He should be given the DH job only with a chance to lose it if he looks ridiculously God awful in spring training. I understand he wants a backup OF, but really the Yankees don't need a real number 4 OF. No one needs to be platooned despite what Girardi might have you believe. No one needs to be replaced for defense. With that said the Yankees can realistically go with internal options in a Chris Dickerson, Greg Golson, Justin Maxwell, Jordan Parraz, or even Melky Mesa. None of them are projected to be stars so lack of consistent playing time won't really hurt them, and they can be used in a pinch running situation late in games.

    I am a big John Danks fan. I would really like to know what it would take to acquire him. But the AJ for Lowe trade I think you summed it up great with the lines of "I dunno in order to get out of the deal one year early," and that the Braves wouldn't never do that deal because Frank Wren is pretty damn smart. I don't think the Braves would do this deal, especially given their pitching depth. But while we are daydreaming would I? Yes. Money doesn't hurt the Yankees the way it hurts other team. Our strength isn't our ability to hand out contracts, its our ability to not be hurt be the money given out in bad contracts. AJ hurts the Yankees because of his poor pitching, and because he takes up a roster spot for 2 years. And 2012 is going to be a good year for free agent starters. I would rather endure one crap year from Lowe, be done with him and have that spot open over 2 crap years of Burnett with the potential to lose out on signing a free agent starter in 2012 that we will need because of AJ.

  4. dan l

    I completely dislike all his ideas.

    CC can go if he opts out.

    Sign both Darvish and Wilson

    Trade for Luebke an it will be expensive but worth it.

    Put Robertson into the rotation.

    Trade for James Loney.

    Montero to right field.

    • Manny

      James Loney? JAMES LONEY? What the hell for? We need a backup 1B that has next-to-no extra base power? I's one thing if you hit .330 with no power, quite another to hit .280 (at best)…

      Why put our best non-Mariano reliever in the rotation? First of all, he's a 2-pitch pitcher– which is not conducive to being a starter… Second of all, you wanna give up the advantage we have over other teams (our dominant 'pen)…

      Yu Darvish? Really? For how big a contract? How is he any better of an option than Phil Hughes? At least Hughes has a track record of success in the majors… If Darvish is the #5, and paid as such, that's one thing– but I expect he's gonna expect a big payday…

      • dan l

        Dude are you serious? Do you read from the same dumb book as Girardi?

        Loney can play 1b, dh, and rf. He also as a left handed batter actually hits right handed pitching for average.

        The Yankees need starters so why not try Robertson? He is a 4 pitch pitcher now. The pen will not miss Robertson.

        Hughes is terrible. I would rather have Darvish who is much more likely to succeed imo. Hughes is a pen arm or trade asset.

    • Manny

      Oh– and Montero to RF? Why? To give the DH spot to who? Loney? Rather than doing something that radical– why not make Montero & Russell Martin roommates? Give Martin the responsibility to teach Jesus– like Girardi did with Posada 15 years ago… Montero can be the everyday DH, and spot-start at catcher… Keep Romine on the roster, as well & see if he can develop, as well…

      • dan l

        Why not put Montero in RF? I want him playing as much as possible next year and he can't do that when catching. I do not want Montero to be a full time DH. I want Alex to DH at least 80 games and he can not do that if Montero is the DH.

  5. Dan

    I think Burnett needs to go. I'm not saying swapping him for Lowe straight up is the right move. But I've already lost too much hair to have to deal with him for another 2 years. If I'm the Yankees I would eat most of the contract to try to get a decent prospect or two out of him and a solid lefty option from the pen.

    Montero needs 600 ABs next year. I think he's the next Manny or Miggy. I would have him work a bit at catcher this offseason, but have him work at outfield, 1B and 3B also. His bat needs to be in the lineup any way possible, and he has more long term value if he can play a position in the field. This also would make it so Girardi could feel better about giving guys like ARod a day off at DH and keep Montero's bat in the lineup. Who knows, maybe one of the positions sticks.

    I wouldn't trade any of the Yanks top 3 or 4 prospects for anyone except a bona fide number 1 starter. If you can get Felix, trade them, if you can't, then keep them. I think Matt Cain fits this bill if you can work out a long term contract.

    I'm in favor of getting a young guy coming off a bad year like Danks if the price is right.

    • dan l

      I agree about getting rid of Burnett too the tune of paying upwards of 20 million of what is left on his contract.

      The pitcher I want to trade for is Corey Luebke not King Felix. Cain would suck in NY so pass. I do not want anymore right handed fly ball pitchers.

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