Yankees, Mariners Swap One Rare Talent for Another

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog). Did Brian Cashman make a wise decision when he sent 22-year old offensive wunderkind Jesus Montero to Seattle in exchange for 23-year old phenom Michael Pineda? As much as it pains me to answer that question with a cliché, in this case, it applies: only time will tell. However, what we do know is Pineda represents a very rare breed for the Yankees, which is appropriate because they had to sacrifice another to get him. In the 111-year history of the Yankees’ franchise, 122 pitchers have taken the mound for the team before their age-24 Continue reading Yankees, Mariners Swap One Rare Talent for Another

Are the Yankees prohibitive favorites?

Following this weekend’s rotation makeover, Jonah Keri anoints the Yankees 2012’s “best on-paper team.” Keri admits that this is a dubious distinction, pointing out that the ill-fated beer-and-chicken Red Sox held the title a year ago. And, if we look further into the recent past, we see the Phillies team that got Cody Ross-ed in the 2010 NLCS, a Tigers team that rode what was supposed to be one of the best offenses in history to a 74-88 record, and a host of Sports Illustrated covers featuring Cubs pitchers destined forimmortality career-killing shoulder surgeries.

In the last decade, only the 2009 Yankees were able to turn the “on-paper” distinction into three-dimensional hardware. My foremost question is, however, “Has the 2012 version of the team even earned that propitious title?”

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Are the Yankees prohibitive favorites?

Jorge Vazquez is not a big league hitter

With a sudden need for a designated hitter, at least part time, and a desire to get such a player at a bargain, many fans are bringing up one name to answer the question of who the Yankees should add to their active roster to DH opposite Andruw Jones: Jorge Vazquez. It’s not hard to see why some fans have fallen for Vazquez. He did, after all, 32 home runs for the Triple-A Yankees after flashing some light-tower power in the Grapefruit League in 2010, and because of that he remains a tantalizing shiny object; the power hitter stashed away in Triple-A. There’s just on teeny-tiny problem with this plan; Vazquez isn’t actually a very good hitter.

Honestly, once you get past the home runs, there’s just not much there to like about Vazquez’s bat. He hit just .262/.314/.516 in 2011 and struck out 166 times in 500 plate appearances while drawing a mere 30 walks. Those are not good numbers, to say the least. That’s comparable to Russell Branyan circa 2001, except that Branyan was a 25 year old big leaguer while Vazquez is a 29 year old playing against much younger competition in Triple-A. There’s just no reason to think he could be a serviceable hitter at the major league level, and if he does wind up getting a large number of plate appearances as the DH in the Bronx, something has gone horribly, horribly wrong. Continue reading Jorge Vazquez is not a big league hitter

Against a Rotating DH

With Jesus Montero off to the Pacific Northwest, the Yankees have a hole at designated hitter. It’s been popular lately to say that the Yankees should go with a “rotating DH” – using the spot to frequently rest Yankee hitters, primarily Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. This is a very bad idea. A DH rotation essentially means that the team would give 162 games worth of at-bats to a reserve player. If Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are the primary targets of a rotating DH, that means that Eric Chavez and Eduardo Nunez will receive the majority of those at Continue reading Against a Rotating DH

Yankees avoid arbitration with Hughes

Via his agent, Phil Hughes has agreed to a one year contract and avoided arbitration with the Yankees. The deal will pay him $3.2 million plus incentives.

Right now, Hughes is at a fork in his career. Once one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, Hughes has had a rough go of things since Joe Girardi named him to the All-Star team in 2010 after a good first half as a starter and a tremendous performance out of the bullpen in the Yankees 2009 championship season. By all accounts, the Yankees still view him as a starter and hope that re-committing himself to his offseason training will help him recover some lost velocity and effectiveness on his fastball, but a lack of a good secondary pitch and a sudden logjam of starting pitchers on the roster may well mean that 2012 becomes the year Hughes heads to a relief role for good. He’ll certainly have a lot riding on his performance in Spring Training which, I might add, is suddenly right around the corner. Continue reading Yankees avoid arbitration with Hughes

The Yankees have a budget again

So we’re back to this, are we?

#yankees are telling people they only have $1-2M for dh spot. So no pena. And damon doesn’t seem likely at that price, either

Excuse me while I stifle a chuckle.

Seriously though, this news probably isn’t too noteworthy. Yesterday, I outlined a handful of candidates the Yankees could look into if they’re seeking a platoon partner for Andruw Jones, and at least a few of them can probably be had within this price range. That would work well enough for the cost while requiring basically no financial risk. If the Yankees signed, say, Russell Branyan and he didn’t bounce back from his poor 2011 season, they could just DFA him and move on.

On the other hand, aren’t the Yankees pretty much pot committed now? They’ve already traded their best prospect and expanded their budget to bring in a $10 million starting pitcher, if Carlos Pena informed Hal Steinbrenner that he would sign a contract with the Yankees to play a primarily platoon role for, say, $8 million, are you really going to say no at that point?

Of course, once upon a time the Yankees didn’t have the money to sign Kuroda either, and then they did. Whether that was the plan all along or the brass got antsy and changed their mind on the payroll number I don’t know, and I still think Pena is just using the Yankees to get a deal done with someone else, but I won’t be surprised if the Yankees wind up “expanding” their budget one more time this winter. Continue reading The Yankees have a budget again

About that other new Yankee …

It may have cost the team Jesus Montero, the best hitting Yankee prospect since Derek Jeter, but Friday night Brian Cashman finally got the team’s hands on the kind of young starter with Ace potential that the Yankees have desperately needed since Andy Pettitte or possibly even Ron Guidry. With all the noise surrounding the Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda deal (I know other players changed hands, but I’m focusing on the core of the deal) it makes sense that the other move the Yankees made on Friday gets overlooked. However, Hiroki Kuroda is not chopped liver. Kuroda’s also-ran status Continue reading About that other new Yankee …

The more things change…

…the more they (should) stay the same. The Yankees drastically improved their rotation over the weekend. The acquisition of Michael Pineda was obviously one focused on the long term; he isn’t a free agent until 2017. Ignoring everyone else for a second, and assuming improvement and development from the third member of the following group, CC Sabathia, Pineda, and Ivan Nova form a talented trio that could carry the team for the next five years. Hiroki Kuroda, on the other hand, gives the Yankees a (relatively) cheap starter who can provide a nice balance of quality and quantity. But since Continue reading The more things change…

Jose Campos Scouting Report

Yesterday here at TYA, Domenic posted some information about the other pitcher the Yankees received for Jesus Montero, Jose Campos. After seeing that, George from Prospect Instinct shot me an email with a link to a more detailed scouting report of Campos. There’s information there about his background, his pitches, and a video complemented by a break down of Jose’s mechanics. Click here for the whole thing, but here’s a nice tease: Get him on your radar now….the rest of the world will be taking notice really soon.