Manipulating the DH situation

Pardon me if you’re exhausted from it, but the Yankees’ DH situation is about the only thing left to talk about as the Hot Stove (thankfully) enters its final stretch drive and we (finally) approach Spring Training. Off the top of my head, I’d venture a guess that each author here has at least touched on it, and I did for sure yesterday, as did MJR.

With Carlos Pena unfortunately off the market, the DH options aren’t all that plentiful. There are guys like Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, but they’re on the wrong side of hill at this point (hell, so is Raul Ibanez). We’ve heard little about anyone else and it appears that the talking has all been done by agents, not the Yankees. In fact, it’s been called a low priority for the team.

Because of this, I’ve been trying to think of ways that the Yankees could avoid the “rotating DH” based on their internal options (Eric Chavez isn’t signed, so I’m considering him an out of organization option). There really is no way to do this, and it just goes to show that the Yankees do need a full time DH. One way it could be done is to make Andruw Jones the full time DH. After all, he is a former full time player and a veteran; he won’t fold when he sees a right handed pitcher up there. But even so, CAIRO projects his wOBA vs. RHP to be .315. As a DH, he obviously gives no value on defense, so it’s hard for him to be a big plus against righties. What about Chris Dickerson? He’s shown he can hit RHP in the minors. He hasn’t had much exposure at the Major League level, so take this with a grain of salt, but CAIRO projects his wOBA against right handers to be .312. We must acknowledge, though, that Dickerson has shown himself to be a good outfielder. Because of that, you could slot Nick Swisher in at DH and play Dickerson in right. This could be a more desirable solution if Swisher were a bad fielder, but he’s not. It also gets a subpar bat into the lineup, as does every permutation of the rotation DH.

I’ve never been a fan of the rotating DH for the Yankees and I don’t think I ever will be. Still, to be fair, I’m going to at least try to see the validity and make an argument for it. But at this point, I just can’t. Like most of us have been saying, the rotating DH is just not a good idea for the Yankees.

21 thoughts on “Manipulating the DH situation

  1. James

    Am I the only one who thinks Ibanez would be a bad idea at DH??? he can’t play the field, he does not crush RHP, he is 40, and played in the NL the last few years and last year he sucked.

    • T.O. Chris

      None of the free agent options are any good at this point. They’re all old, former outfielders who can man a position anymore, with declining power, and all of them had career bad seasons last year. With that said I’d rather have Ibanez than Damon or Matsui, though that’s not saying much.

      For what it’s worth Cashman doesn’t seem interested in signing any of them and has stated he will look to make a trade to fill the DH spot first and foremost.

      • James

        word, by him saying that i don’t think he wants to platoon jones and someone else a DH. I think he wants an everyday DH. If he wasn’t looking for that I would say to use the 2m to sign Russell Branyan. He is not too old, can play 1B and 3B, and crushes RHP.

  2. Jay

    Ken Rosenthal reported that the yankees and orioles could be trade partners for AJ Burnette. I am a bit skeptical but if that ends up being true, think they could pry Chris Davis away? Still a young guy was once a VERY highly touted prospect, can play 1B and 3B (though not particularly great at 3B) and has tremendous power and great average in the minors. Strike out issues are there, but if we were willing to give the spot to Pena doesn’t a younger guy with huge upside make more sense? They got him from texas for pretty cheap along with tommy Hunter for Uehara I would have to think they would be willing to listen on him….

    • Chris Davis is terrible.

      • Jay

        I mean he is still just 25, and his minor league numbers are excellent. He hits lefties pretty well, and righties less so which I know is not ideal for our situation, but what the hell else would we get for Burnette? Personally I think Hughes deserves the fifth spot with Garcia as insurance. Wouldn’t getting a young cost controlled upside bat be better than trading contract for contract with Carlos lee or Jason Bay? I feel like having someone to rotate at DH who can play 3B too is critical with Arod being Arod

  3. Third baseman.

    That’s the key. If not now, then soon. Get a 3B that they can move into the future with and then move A-Rod to DH. I know there was a post on here debunking the theory that the DH role would keep A-Rod healthier, but I disagree. There would certainly be some benefit without the wear and tear from fielding.

    I’ve always liked David Wright. I think he would return to his beast ways with a change of scenery. Perhaps a package might be kind of pricey, but the Yanks have a lot of SP who they may be tempted to stick in the ‘pen. Trade a couple to the Mets for Wright. I’m kinda just rambling at this point, but a third baseman is the player I’m waiting for.

    • James

      Chase Headley bro, home road splits are nuts: 2011 Home: .243/.348/.326 Road: .330/.399/.465. He is a great defender as well and in his prime. He switch hits as well.

      • The Padres are asking for a king’s ransom in exchange for Headley. Pretty sure Reynolds will be a cheaper (and obviously less enjoyable) option, assuming that the Orioles signed Betemit in anticipation of trading Reynolds.

    • T.O. Chris

      If I was going after a third baseman for the DH role I’d look to trade Hughes for Pedro Alvarez. To this point both have been dissapointing and both could do with a change of scenary. Both are similar in age and Hughes would do much better in the NL than he ever would in the AL. East, playing half his games in Yankee Stadium. Plus you would assume Alvarez would improve on his power potential with the short porch in right for us.

  4. roadrider

    I guess I must have missed those statements from A-Rod and the Yankee front office where they agreed that A-Rod would become a full-time DH in 2012. Yes, he’s bound to keep having injury problems and will need more rest than a younger player but he looked pretty damn good in the field last season and there’s no reason to think that he’s ready and willing to give up playing 3B or that the Yankees are thinking in those terms for 2012.

    Also, I can’t see the Mets trading Wright to the Yankees. Even if you want to argue that it would make baseball sense they’d get killed in the back pages if Wright turns in around in their own backyard. And they’re surely not going to let him go to the Bronx for a couple of surplus pitchers or prospects with limited upsides.

    • T.O. Chris

      You are right rider, Alex certainly doesn’t seem as if he wants any part of being a full time DH. All the recent statements he’s made on the subject suggest he wants every chance possible to prove he can still play the field regularly. You are also right that he played the field very well last year, being the top run preventing 3B in the majors when he made his first trip DL.

      It would certainly be a mistake on the Yankees part to force Alex into a full time, or close to full time DH role before he has accepted that fate. Being a DH takes a very different mental outlook than a position player, to just throw him into that right now seems unwise. We have to at the very least give him this year to see how his surgery on his knee and shoulder plays out, then we can re-evaluate his status and the DH position again next year.

      • Jay

        Your point with Alverez is a good one, and in terms of the DH keep in mind that Alvarez has played a terrible 3b in the Majors. He would be better as a DH type who got occasional starts at 3b than 3b who gets occasional DH starts. Let Arod keep the 3b role the majority of the time, but having someone who can spell him effectively there/replace him incase of the injury that almost seems inevitable these days just makes way too much sense to ignore. I don’t think we are all resigning ARod to full time DH, but to think that we are only going to need even just 40 games of a replacement at 3b would be in my opinion optimistic. Between his turns DH days off and the probably injury, having a full time capable 3b in the wings/at DH is very important in my opinion.

        • roadrider

          but having someone who can spell him effectively there/replace him incase of the injury that almost seems inevitable these days just makes way too much sense to ignore.

          No one is ignoring this. The problem is that it’s virtually impossible to find a guy to fill that role who doesn’t have some real limitations. If he’s good enough hitter to be a regular DH he’s likely to be deficient, if not an outright liability (like Reynolds, Alvarez and Betemit), in the field. If he’s a slicker glove man he’s likely not be not so good with the bat. If he’s good at both – he’s probably got a starting job somewhere or can get one if he’s a FA.

          This mini-thread started out with a proposal that the Yankees trade for David Wright. Well, David Wright is not going to be happy being a caddy for A-Rod and a DH. He might not be able to block the trade (f the Mets were dumb enough to make it) but he’ll be looking for a way out because he could easily start for any team that needed a 3B.

          The Alvarez idea is intriguing but let’s not forget that he had a terrible season in 2011 and despite his good minor-league numbers has not yet shown that he can handle big-league breaking balls and off-speed stuff:

          http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/pedro-alvarez-pedro-cerrano/

          Now it may be that he was not quite ready for the big leagues and will make the adjustment but that’s not certain at all. And I’m thinking that coming to the Bronx and having to deal with the inevitable comparisons to Montero might not be the best situation for him in trying to work out his issues.

          • T.O. Chris

            Why would he be compared to Montero? The only similarity would be he is young and playing DH, but no one has any sort of attachment to him as they did with Montero. He is also isn’t being projected as the next Miguel Cabrera by everyone and their mother. I think Pineda is going to take the brunt of the Montero backlash. We already have people saying we traded the next Miguel Cabrera for a 5 ERA pitcher, as completely ridiculous as that is.

            I wouldn’t go all out for Alvarez, as you have rightly pointed out he has plenty of flaws as well. But if I could trade Hughes for him, or even Hughes and Warren/Phelps/Mitchell I think it’s worth the risk that Long can help him cut his swing down and cut down on the strikeouts. We’ve seen Long do his magic before plenty of times, and the kid does have legit 30+ HR power. Power that would only be increased by playing half his games in Yankee stadium. Plus we could ease him into the role by having Andruw Jones still slot in at DH against very tough lefties.

            As you mentioned, correctly once again, there is a very limited pool in which to draw from for a DH/3B fit. A guy as young, with the kind of power potential Alvarez has is probably the best high upside, high risk player to acquire. Unless the Yankees are delusional enough to think Hughes is becoming a top of the rotation pitcher, or the Pirates don’t want that kind of return it’s a move I think should be made. It’s just my opinion of course, I certainly understand if you value Hughes more than I do holding off on it.

            Also it’s very bad drink Jobu’s rum!

          • roadrider

            Ha, ha – I prefer Joba’s rum!

            If Alvarez was acquired primarily to DH he would essentially be filling the spot Montero would have – hence the comparisons, which fans and the media will make warranted or not. That’s a lot to lay on a kid trying to adapt to the majors.

            I do value Hughes a bit more than you do but I agree he’s about out of chances, at least as a SP. I wouldn’t make this deal today and I doubt that the Pirates would either. They’ve got a lot invested in Alvarez and I doubt that they’re ready to give up on him. I think they’d probably want a Killer B in return as opposed to Hughes.

  5. roadrider

    But Reynolds is merely a more expensive version of Jorge Vazquez with better plate discipline who can’t really play 3B. Vazquez actually had a higher wOBA and wRC+ than Reynolds last season (albeit at AAA) because he hit for a higer average despite walking at a much lower rate.

    I’m not advocating for Chato – just pointing out that we already have a “Reynolds” if we want to go that route.

    • T.O. Chris

      Mark Reynolds is 28 years old and has hit 158 career HRs at the major league level. Jorge Vazquez is a year older and has hit 0 HRs at the major league level. I’m not an advocate of trading for Reynolds, but I would in no way be willing to say we have a Reynolds in Vazquez. One is beyond proven to be a player who can hit 32-44 HRs every year, the other is someone we don’t even know could even last 3 weeks at the major league level without being exposed so badly he’d have to be sent down to Scranton again. The walk rate differential alone is enough to say that Reynolds is a far better player than Vazquez will ever be.

  6. Look at his Major League numbers. The sample isn’t huge, but it’s clear that ML pitchers have learned how to dominate him.

    • Jay

      He has had very limited MLB experience, very few chances to take a position and run with it. He has always been on a short leash. When he was traded to baltimore last year his average rebounded, even though his power wasn’t there, but with a torn labrum in his shoulder, the lack of power is not surprising. He is just about to enter his prime years, and yes he is a gamble, but he has big upside if he can realize it. Could be a chance to buy low on him, see what he could do with a chance to play every day. Not saying it would be my first choice for a deal, but I doubt we will have people knocking down the door to take AJ off our hands, and if the Orioles are calling I think he could be a good buy low target.

  7. T.O. Chris

    Hopefully Joba lays off the rum haha. We need him getting smaller, not getting the munchies and ballooning up.

    You may be right, I still think media and fans would be putting most of that heat on Pineda though. Anytime the kid struggles I expect a blast from that, and I also expect Pineda to catch heat anytime the offense struggles because “Montero would’ve gotten a hit there”. However I think the kids already faced a ton of pressure coming up being billed as a potential savior of the Pirates organization, and now as the “big bust”. I don’t think he’s escaping pressure anywhere he goes or stays at this point.

    I’d trade Betances and Warren/Phelps/Mitchell for him honestly. I just don’t believe that Betances will be a starter at the end of the day, so even tough Pedro has plenty of problems I’d trade what I believe to be a future reliever for that potential. I wouldn’t trade Banuelos for him however as I think at the very least he could be a 4/5 starter, with potential upside as a 2/3.

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