Monday Morning Food For Thought: A Trade Opportunity Across Town

All in all, I’d say it’s been a pretty smooth start to the 2015 season for the Yankees.  All the important players are healthy, A-Rod has been a positive in every way, and the farm system has showed why it’s considered on the upswing.  The Chris Capuano injury is unfortunate, but not a mortal blow.

Things haven’t been going quite so well in Mets camp.  Their ownership continues to embarrass the organization at every turn, they still don’t have a shortstop, they have early injuries barking in their rotation, most notably Zack Wheeler’s elbow problem, and they’ve had even bigger injury problems in their bullpen.  The most recent one there is to lefty reliever Josh Edgin, who will have season-ending elbow surgery this week.  The Mets, who were already real thin at lefty before Edgin’s injury, are now dangerously thin there with 3 weeks to go until Opening Day.

You know who’s not thin in the left-handed relief department?  The Yankees.  …

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Thursday Morning Food For Thought: Would You Trade Brett Gardner To The Cubs?

Let me preface this by saying that there’s nothing out there even hinting that this is a possibility.  The Cubs aren’t trying to acquire Brett Gardner and the Yankees aren’t shopping him.  Rosenthal’s tweet last night reminded me of an email conversation we had on Monday night about this topic though, and I’d like to expand on it in a little hypothetical trade musing if you’d indulge me.

Say the Cubs were interested in Gardner.  That’s a pretty well stocked trade partner in terms of return pieces.  And Gardner’s 4-year/$52 million extensions kicks in this year, so the Cubs would be getting him for the next handful of years at a good price.  That would be worth something pretty significant.  For the sake of this hypothetical, let’s say it’s Addison Russell.  …

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We Don’t Really Need To Talk About Ryan Howard, Do We?

There was a rumbling of trade musings last week after this Jerry Crasnick tweet in which he listed the teams who were not on Ryan Howard‘s no-trade list.  The Yankees were included in that list of teams, so naturally that sparked a run of “what if the Yankees traded for Ryan Howard?” posts around the Yankosphere.  To be honest, I don’t understand why even one post of that nature needed to be written.  Ryan Howard is not coming to the Yankees.  Period.

Mark Teixeira may have been bad last year, but he was still better than Howard.  He had a .711 OPS to Howard’s .690, he hit 1 fewer HR than Howard in 30 fewer games, and he significantly bested Howard in bWAR and fWAR thanks to the fact that he can still actually play first base.  He’s younger than Howard by 4-5 months, he’s owed less money over the same period of time ($46.25 mil for the next 2 years compared to $60), and he’s a better 2-way player than Howard with a better chance to improve his production in 2015 if his wrist is stronger.…

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Quick Hit: Have The Yanks Called Tampa About Ben Zobrist Yet?

Zobrist vs CHW

Courtesy of Getty Images

Because if they haven’t they’re missing a golden opportunity.  Zobrist was made expendable earlier today when the Rays agreed to a 1-year deal with Asdrubal Cabrera, and Tampa is reportedly willing to move him.  At age 33, Zobrist is a switch-hitting, multiple position-playing super everyday utility man.  He’s what Martin Prado would be if Martin Prado was better at baseball in every way and he’s available on a steal of a 1-year/$7.5 million deal for 2015.

Simply put, Zobrist does everything well.  He’s a .264/.354/.429 career hitter, although he’s posted averages of .270 or better in each of the last 3 seasons, with few strikeouts (15.7% career K rate) and a ton of walks (12.7% career BB rate).  He’s an above-average defensive player at second base and in the outfield corners, and he can fake it at third, shortstop, and in center in a pinch.  He doesn’t steal a ton of bases, but he’s had 10 or more for 6 years in a row and he rates as an above-average baserunner.…

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Didi Gregorius Trade Thoughts And Afterthoughts

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Courtesy of Getty Images

For a guy who the Yankees had been trying to acquire for over a year, Didi Gregorius sure seemed to come as a surprise when he was announced as the center piece of the 3-team trade involving the Tigers and Diamondbacks last Friday.  Leading up to then, the bulk of the trade talk centered around Troy Tulowitzki and Alexei Ramirez.  The primary FA focus was on the trio of Jed Lowrie, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Stephen Drew.  There was no thought given to Gregorius, which is probably exactly what the Yankees wanted.

The reaction to the trade around the Yankosphere over the past 2.5 days has been mostly positive, with a noticeable contingent of fans expressing concern over Gregorius’ underwhelming performance with the bat to date.  He’s no stud 2-way shortstop, that much is certain.  But that’s a much rarer commodity in baseball these days than it was during Derek Jeter‘s golden years.  …

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What they’re saying about the Gregorius trade

Gregorius vs COL

Courtesy of Getty Images

As expected, there’s a lot of discussion out there regarding the Yanks – Tigers – Diamondbacks second three-way (trade, you people) in the last few years. You know, the one that lands us a new shortstop. While this puts the team back in the market for pitching (a very deep end of the pool), it takes us out of “Stephen Drew (that wasn’t fun, was it?)/Asdrubal Cabrera (no, just no)/Brendan Ryan (living on an outdated reputation only, along with 1/4 the Yanks 40-man)/some other guy” trade market. I still think Everth Cabrera (PED, DUI, other unsavory things) was worth a cheap dip in the unpatrolled, non-tendered kiddie pool, but alas, the Yanks decided to go get one of the guys they apparently wanted for quite some time: Didi Gregorius.

While I, and others, will miss Shane Greene, I’m not heartbroken. We needed a legitimate shortstop more and there’s LOTS of pitching to go after, either high-priced or bargain-bin.…

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Report: Trade Talks On Andrus And Ramirez Not Going Anywhere

Everybody and their mother knows that the Yankees are putting max effort into finding a new shortstop this offseason.  The 2 most talked about trade targets for the position have been Elvis Andrus and Alexei Ramirez, and the Yankees have been linked to both players in recent weeks.  Per the latest information from George King, those links don’t appear to be leading anywhere:

“Yet, according to a person with knowledge of the White Sox’s plans, they don’t believe a deal with the Yankees for the 33-year-old Ramirez is any further along than it was at July’s trading deadline, when the Yankees acquired Stephen Drew from the Red Sox…

As for the 26-year-old Andrus, who starts the first season of an eight-year deal worth $118 million this coming April, the Rangers will listen but aren’t in a rush to deal him…

And because they need pitching and catching — perhaps outfield help if they can move Shin-Soo Choo– there is a problem matching with the Yankees.”

Now THIS is a good rumor.  …

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Group Chat: Would You Sell Half the Farm for Tulo?

Scott: Matt’s Yankees Shortstop Options post was depressing, and rumors are flying about possible trades for Elvis Andrus or Troy Tulowitzki, with one rumor suggesting that the Yankees could have Tulo for something like Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Manny Banuelos. Would you take that deal, or something like it? I absolutely would. (1) Severino is great, with no red flags to date, but has only 25 IP at AA; it’s a long road yet to being a real MLB starter, much less the sort of #1-#2 starter you might regret giving up for a Tulo. (2) Bird has real holes in his game – rough at 1B (1 error every 10 games) and striking in 23% of PA in the low minors (bad but more a yellow than red flag); his 7 HR in 95 AB at AA, and great AFL showing, may signal exciting improvement, but to regret trading him for Tulo, he’d have to show continued progress.…

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Monday Afternoon Food For Thought: Does Howie Kendrick Do Anything For You?

We heard last week about the Yankees putting in a call to Anaheim to check on the availability of second baseman Howie Kendrick, and while there’s been little indication thus far that the Angels are seriously considering moving Kendrick, he’s a player worth pondering.

31-year-old player going on 32; .292/.332/.424 career hitter; .297/.347/.397 in 2014; inconsistent power, but good average and a relatively low K rate; almost universally regarded as an above-average defensive player by all kinds of metrics; noted Yankee killer.  He’s entering the final year of a 4-year deal that will pay him a modest $9.5 million and will become a free agent after the 2015 season.

There’s a lot to like in Kendrick, least notably the “Yankee killer” status.  To even suggest that the team should pursue a player simply because that player has performed well against them is preposterous.  There’s also the team’s current situation with Martin Prado and Rob Refsnyder to consider.  While second base is a position of need this offseason, the Yankees have multiple internal options to address it.…

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