Somehow, it’s already the middle of July. It seems like just yesterday we were all collectively bitching about the complete lack of baseball and the need for Spring Training to start. Anyway, the trade deadline is approaching and everyone is wondering what the Yankees will do. Brian Cashman has said that he doesn’t like the prices he sees out there right now (obviously, this means we’re minutes away from some big trade news breaking). That doesn’t mean something won’t get done, and I’m sure something will, but we’re just not sure what. Two of the oft-discussed names have been Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs. The former is a veteran pitcher with an expiring contract and the the latter is a relatively young and talented hard-thrower who’s got a fourth year of arbitration next year. Quite frankly, I don’t want the Yankees to trade for either one, and I’m fairly certain that puts me in the minority, especially with regards to Garza.
Alex wrote a piece back in June about trading for Garza and I agree with his premise: trading for Garza may not be as wonderful as everyone thinks it will be. The cost will certainly be high and is there really an upgrade there? Garza has improved his control over the last few years and he’s gotten more grounders recently, but his HR/9 is still troubling (1.34 this year, over 1.1 three of the last four years). In fairness, his HR/FB% has never been out of control (save for a bad mark this year) but moving to Yankee Stadium and a more-potent-than-ever AL East may not bode well for Garza in terms of keeping the ball in the park. For a more detailed look at Garza, check out this post by Mike E. I definitely wouldn’t hate it if the Yankees were to trade for Garza, but it obviously depends on the cost. It’s likely to cost the Yankees a handful of top-prospects for just one and a half guaranteed years of Garza and while he’s good, I don’t think he’s slam-dunk-good enough to be worth that price.
As for Ryan Dempster, I’m just not sure if the performance is there. He’s never been too awful (last year’s 4.80 ERA was definitely an exception), but what’s so special? The strikeout numbers are nice and he’s got decent control, but his groundball rates have been dropping the last few years and I do wonder if a fastball that’s just about cracking 90 this year and both a sinker and slider with declining groundball rates (via Brooks), I do have to wonder if his stuff will play in the American League. I hate to pull that card, but again, despite being pretty good, I’m not sure if Dempster is THAT good that he’s worth giving anything up. Also like Garza, though, I wouldn’t be devastated if the Yankees got him. The price, though, would have to be supremely low. Dempster’s going to be a straight salary dump move (cutting his contract in half, he’s got $7M coming to him in the second half) to whom tendering a “qualifying offer” would be way too risky. If the Yanks can get him for a PTBNL or a very minor prospect while footing the bill, fine. If not? Pas.