A DH trade that (kind of) makes sense

Dunn, on the other hand, does make a little bit of sense in theory. His 2011 season was awful, but it is just one bad year, so far, and it’s not unreasonable to assume he’ll bounce back from it. He’s only 32 years old, and there’s still something thrilling about the prospect of Dunn playing 81 games a year in Yankee Stadium. And yet, his 2011 season was really awful, (his wRC+ against right-handers was only a 79, and yet it was a whopping 81 points higher than his wRC+ against lefties. Yes, you read that right. How’s that for a platoon split?) and there’s no guarantee it isn’t the beginning of the end for Dunn. Additionally, like Bay and Soriano, his contract is even more problematic than A.J.’s since it runs through the magic year of 2014, guaranteeing Dunn $44 million along the way. I love the Big Donkey as much as anyone, but that’s too much money and too much risk for such a limited role, in my opinion.

All in all, I stick by my guess that Cashman’s statements are mostly about putting pressure on the free agent market. More specifically, I would say the odds are 50-50 that Cashman is after Johnny Damon, and is using the possibility of the Yankees filling the position through other means to put pressure on Damon to bring down his asking price and sign a deal on Cash’s terms. If that’s the case, it would be fine by me. But let’s stick with hypothetical trades, for a moment, if only because I require my readers to indulge my more whimsical fantasies from time to time.

In writing that post on Bay this morning, it occured to me that, in even discussing names like Bay and Soriano, the conversation is getting away from us a little bit. Put bluntly, neither of those names make any sense for the Yankees in the long term or in terms of their short term need, which is basically someone who can get 250-350 plate appearances as a DH against right-handed starters. So our parameters here are actually pretty narrow. The player needs to mash righties, he needs to be cheap (we’re only looking for 75% of a hitter, after all), and in all likelihood, he’s going to be an aging left-handed free agent. Frankly it’s a shame that Jim Thome signed a contract with the Phillies so soon, because he would have been a natural fit. That’s when it hit me. The obvious answer to this question was staring us in our collective faces all along, looking back at us with his big, beautiful, wonderfully mustached visage.

That’s right: bring back The Giambino. Big G is scheduled to make $1 million this year after both he and Colorado exercised their mutual option for 2012 at the end of last season, and he flat out crushed right handed pitching in 2011, getting to them to the tune of a .273/.354/.636 slashline (157 wRC+) with 10 home runs in 113 plate appearances. He was a part time player to be sure, even more so since the N.L. doesn’t have the DH, but that sort of production at that sort of price would be just what the doctor ordered for the Yankees’ roster as it currently stands. Make it happen Cash!

Okay, okay, this probably isn’t going to happen. Trading for Giambi would be difficult, and if the Rockies wanted anything of any real value in return, the Yankees would be much better off picking up a free agent for the monetary cost alone. But Giambi is one of my all time favorite players (don’t judge me), so if the Rockies were willing to give him up for the old PTBNL that later becomes “cash considerations,” it would make my winter.

 

26 thoughts on “A DH trade that (kind of) makes sense

  1. williamjtasker

    Hmm…I kind of like that idea. Any lefty bat with good OBP potential that can mash one once in a while works for me.

  2. jay_robertson

    Would love to see Giambi and his gold lame banana hammock back in pinstripes. ;D

    Kinda ot (kinda on) – what did you think of TYA's analysis today of AJ – on paper, he doesn't look that much worse than Tim Lincecum. (which is also why so many folks don't trust stats.)
    http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/2012/01/for-those-w

    Is AJ really that close to Tim, or is Mr. Eder just manipulating numbers to prove his point?

    • BrienJackson

      I think A.J. is just one of those guys who breaks the formula. It basically depends on whether or not you think his high HR/FB rate is a matter of bad luck or if he's just really homer prone now. I tend towards the latter, because his fastball just doesn't seem very good anymore and I never really got the impression he was getting victimized by wall scrapers and so on.

  3. Sorry to hear that Soriano isn't hitting. He was once the most exciting player on the NYY.

  4. Bill

    Never even thought of Giambi, but it makes even more sense than Damon, as Jason would not be averse to the maximum of 350 ABs he'd get. But he's become so entrenched in the Colorado clubhouse that I doubt he'd be available. I'm not sure if Damon would amenable to the AB limits he'd undoubtedly face.

  5. Adam Dunagan

    I could absolutely see the "Giamb" help the yanks this, although I think it would be more realistic around the trade deadline

  6. MikeB

    NO thanks, his bat is way slow these days. He hits mistakes and not much else.
    I'd MUCH rather give our older guys a day off at DH and see what some of the kid hitters can do.

    • BrienJackson

      Haven't we seen enough of Eduardo Nunez and Ramiro Pena yet?

      • lardin

        Pena yes
        Nunez No

  7. Hugh

    OMG! Forgive me but didn't even realise he was still playing! Wouldn't that be such fun. And at part-time DH, I could see it working. I'm a '98 guy and have residual memories of Strawberry taking a PH walk in the playoffs or crushing one to right centre. Could so see Giambi doing the same.

    Every team needs a faded legend. (I know, I know…)

  8. Kevin

    Hi. IMO, anyone we get to DH needs to be able to play a position on the field (preferably OF). They don't have to be great, just serviceable defensively. Given that ARod, Jeter and Jones are going to get games at DH, whoever we get will not DH for those games and they should at least be available to play the field if needed. There's nothing worse than having a player on the bench that Girardi (or Cashman) absolutley won't use on the field. My sense is Giambi is one of those. So is Matsui. Just my two cents.

    • BrienJackson

      WEll they have two spots open right now, which allows them to get a pure DH type that can actually hit AND get another utility player to fill the other roster spot.

  9. Greg D

    No thanks…I said it before and I'll say it again…Bring back Matsui!

    • I loved Godzilla, but he's completely done. Oakland can be a tough place to hit, but he didn't even hit much on the road last year.

      • Steve, I'm with ya. Would love to see Matsui back but there's little there that would make me fear him, as an opposing pitcher, these days.

  10. tommyf15

    FWIW, I've consistently read over the past six months (both before and after the Cubs hired Epstien) that Chicago would be willing to eat pretty close to all of Soriano's contract just to get rid of him.

    Of course, they wouldn't do that AND take on Burnett's deal.

    • Kevin S.

      You could probably get them to eat 2014, though.

      How does that work for LT purposes, anyway? Does the whole contract count, or just what the team pays? And would the Yankees' share of the salary be pro-rated across all three years, the way the luxury tax looks at AAV instead of actual salary for the given year?

  11. Mike

    Hey guys – I know there's a lot of love for Damon and Matsui out there as potential designated hitters, and mostly scoffs at the prospect of an Ibanez or Guerrero coming to the Bronx. I basically have a pretty open-ended question and if anyone wants to give their 2 cents I'd be thrilled: Couldn't we do worse than having Vlad as our DH?

    I know he's not getting any younger, and could be a replacement for Posada as the most-frustratingly -slow-baserunner, but I think he still has some game left in him. I know he had a down year with Baltimore in 2011, but only by his standards. His .290 batting average would have had him right behind Cano and Jeter for third on the Yankees in 2011(not including Montero). Obviously batting average isn't the sole factor of how well a hitter can contribute, and I know his .318 OBP isn't wowing anyone, but it's pretty comparable to a Damon or Matsui OBP at this point. He has never had a reputation as being an even remotely patient hitter, but for someone who swings as much as he does he sure has an ability to limit his strikeouts. 56 SO's in 2011 would have given him the lowest SO total of the entire 2011 Yankees starting lineup plus Andruw Jones. So while he has a reputation as a free swinger, with a .290 BA and 56 strikeouts in 145 games, I don't necessarily think the free-swinging is hindering his game.

    I know he's not the Vlad of 2004 but in my opinion he's pretty comparable to someone like Matsui, I just think he has more to offer than Hideki at this point.

    • Mike

      Also, feel free to throw some advanced statistics at me to prove your point if you'd like, because I really haven't taken any look at them for Vlad!

    • Vlad was league average with the bat last year facing righties and lefties, and league average is below the average for the position of DH. If the Yanks are to be a championship caliber club, they need above average performances wherever possible. Vlad can't give you that anymore.

      That's before we even get to the fact that he's a righty bat, and the Yanks would ideally prefer a lefty. Vlad doesn't have a pronounced platoon split, but you want to take advantage of YS. 3

  12. This seems like a light hearted, half serious post, but I don't think it makes sense. The reason Giambi had so few PAs is he can't hit a good fastball anymore. Yes, his numbers look great, but they were very carefully selected ABs. The Yanks need someone who can man the DH role more than that unless they want Alex to spend half the season there.

    • Well, I don't think Brien, or anyone, envisioned Giambi playing a full time DH role, just a platoon with Jones.

  13. Aaron T EVans

    Jason would be a great fit, and would help this team immensely in Yankees Stadium.. no doubt. He still has a good eye (OBP) and would be well worth the 2MM they spend on him (if they could pry him from CO).

    Frankly, I would like to see the Yanks install a contact hitter for the final spot. The current lineup scored a ton of runs via the big hit, but came up short when they needed to string some back to back singles against above avg pitching in the playoffs. JMHO.

    Great article!!!

  14. Passing Through

    Any chance they just re-sign Eric Chavez? He's a lefty bat .. good guy … can handle a glove …

  15. Dan

    except for in the post season. yanks have way to many of those players hanging around.

  16. mcmastro

    My preference is Damon still, only because of the chemistry i think he brought to the Yankees during his time with them. I think you have to go with the guy who would LOVE the opportunity to play for your team. They don't need a power hitter who will only hit mistakes for homers, they have plenty of power from Granderson, Swisher, Cano, Tex and A-Rod. They need guys who will bring the team together. 2009 was without a doubt the Yankees best chemistry in years. I think bringing Damon back could restore some of that chemistry and help them greatly in the playoffs.

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