Why Sell Low on Nova?

Nova vs TOR 2015

Courtesy of Getty Images

I had a four year-old Chevy Tahoe with a lot of life left, but a fender-bender left it dinged, scratched, and missing a side window. The needed series of cosmetic repairs would’ve cost maybe $3K over a few months, and by using it over those months, I could’ve verified that nothing structural was wrong. But I was kind of sick of it, so I left it looking like a Sanford & Son junkyard prop, and I sold it for $9K less than bluebook value.

OK, I made that up. I just envy the southern/midwestern trial lawyers who sell their points with homespun anecdotes about good ol’ American cars, horses, and cheese grits. I was really talking about Ivan Nova: I don’t understand the sell-low strategy of trying to trade a potentially useful player exactly when his value is at a low point.

The problem isn’t just trading him after a bad half-year. The bigger problem is that we don’t know whether his 2015 performance (1) was just bad because he’s bad now or (2) was suppressed by injury recovery and rust that he could get past in 2016.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: When Does Baseball Start Again?

With the calendar flipping over from December 2015 to January 2016 and the football regular season wrapping up, I think it’s safe to say we’ve crossed the threshold from “excited about hot stove season” to “suffering from hot stove cabin fever” in the baseball world.  Good thing too, because with 46 days until pitchers and catchers report to Tampa, we’re closer to the start of the 2016 season than we are to the start of the 2015 offseason.  That’s a good thing.  Means it won’t be long now before we can step out of the hot stove haze and into some fresher baseball air.

But in the meantime, can somebody go check on my boy John Harper?  Maybe fluff his pillows a little bit, get him some more juice, and take his temperature?  He’s taking the hot stove fever thing a little too far with his latest trade proposal:

“If only the Mets and Yankees would be willing to take the chance.

Click here to read the rest

Report: Yankees Shopping Ivan Nova

I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.  It was a quiet week in Yankeeland, but there was one small story I wanted to go back and touch on before we pressed on into the heart of the offseason.

Last week Joel Sherman reported that the Yankees had “let teams know Ivan Nova is available” in a trade if they were interested.  This is noteworthy for two reasons.  One, the Yankees are on the record as being in the market for starting pitching this offseason and Nova is a starting pitcher, and two, Nova really wasn’t good this past season and hasn’t been anything special in his MLB career.  The idea of teams lining up to make the Yankees a trade offer after finding out he’s available is borderline laughable.

Sherman’s report went on to explain that the Yankees are looking for starters with more years of team control remaining, something that Nova does not have.  The 2016 season will be his final arbitration year before free agency and the Yankees must be hoping they can move him for somebody who will be around a little longer rather than keep him next year and then lose him for nothing.… Click here to read the rest

Report: Yanks And Mariners Have Had Talks About Brett Gardner

Here’s the other new story I alluded to in the previous recap post.  According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees and Mariners have “discussed” a potential trade involving Brett Gardner.  This comes as the latest example of the “Brian Cashman is open to anything” storyline that’s been gaining strength over the last week or so.

Sherman’s report is quick to state that the discussions are in the early stages and no specifics have been mentioned by either side, but there is a good fit and logical reason for both sides to pursue this.  The Mariners need to be competitive now and Gardner is the perfect type of top-of-the-order table setter they need in front of their big hitters.  Jerry DiPoto is the new GM in Seattle and has always liked Gardner.  From the Yankees’ side, Gardner is arguably their most trade-able main roster piece as an above-average player with a reasonable contract.  With Ellsbury locked in, Beltran coming off the books after next season, prospects waiting in the wings, and some intriguing FA outfield options, Gardner is the best chance for them to move a piece while also helping another area of roster need.… Click here to read the rest

Should the Yankees Reacquire Martin Prado?

The Yankees need a second baseman.

Starters at the position have hit a team-low .193 this season, with a .619 OPS. Stephen Drew continues to draw starts despite his disappointing play, Jose Pirela’s bat hasn’t quite packed the punch the Yankees had hoped, and the team doesn’t appear ready to give Rob Refsnyder a shot yet.

Several teams have noted interest in 2B Ben Zobrist of the Athletics, so his price may be a bit too high for New York’s liking. A cheaper option may be looking to acquire an old friend.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Martin Prado might be an option for the Yankees.

The Yankees traded for the 31 year-old at last year’s trade deadline, before shipping him off to the Marlins last December along with David Phelps for Nate Eovaldi.… Click here to read the rest

Ben Zobrist Is A Bigger Upgrade Than You Think

Zobrist

Courtesy Scot Tucker/ SFBay

Despite having to suffer through Stephen Drew all year at second base, the feeling I get from most Yankees fans is that they think Ben Zobrist wouldn’t be a real difference making acquisition. Maybe it’s because Zobrist isn’t a flashy player and is a little older, but Yankees fans should know how good this guy is from his days in Tampa Bay. Somehow, he is still so underrated.

Zobrist has played 60 games for the Oakland A’s this season after recovering from a torn left meniscus in his knee. He has posted a .258/.347/.421/.768 slash line with a .334 wOBA and a 117 wRC+. That is only slightly below his career line of .264/.354/.428/.782 with a .343 wOBA and a 118 wRC+.

Zobrist also defends whatever position he is playing extremely well. He’s the kind of player the Yankees love because he’s a switch hitter who takes a ton of walks. Incredibly, he has put together four straight seasons with a WAR over 5.0 and three of those seasons it’s been at least 5.6.… Click here to read the rest

Four Reasons Why the Yankees Should Trade for Papelbon, Make Him Closer

The trade deadline is just two weeks away. The Yankees are in a great position to the buyers. That said, I don’t think anyone wants the Yankees to completely sell the farm and mortgage the future yet again. So here’s a trade target they can pick up for little while still improving the team: Jonathan Papelbon.

You know him. The Phillies have him signed to an over-market contract at $13 million with a vesting option that is almost sure to hit for next year. They don’t want him. He doesn’t want to be there. You probably hate him too. I know I did for years. But he’s the perfect low-cost piece for the Yankees to add at the deadline. Here’s why:

He’s still very good

Papelbon has been on a terrible Phillies team for a few years now, so I know I’ve tended to forget how good he is. His headline numbers since signing:

  • 2012: 70 innings, 2.44 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 11.9 K/9, 2.3 BB/9
  • 2013: 61.2 innings, 2.92 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 8.3 K/9, 1.6 BB/9
  • 2014: 66.1 innings, 2.04 ERA, 2.53 FIP, 8.5 K/9, 2.0 BB/9
  • 2015: 33.2 innings, 2.60 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 9.4 K/9, 1.9 BB/9

He’s pretty good!… Click here to read the rest

Report: Yankees Among Several Teams “Looking At” Jeff Samardzija And Clay Buchholz

Interesting tidbit of trade rumoring from Nick Cafardo today.  Buried in a larger article of mostly Red Sox-ian topics, Cafardo included the Yankees in a group of teams who are reportedly “looking at” right-handed starters Jeff Samardzija and Clay Buchholz as we inch closer to next month’s trade deadline.

These are new names as far as the Yankees and their potential deadline targets are concerned.  We’ve been hearing a lot more about Cueto, Leake, and Cole Hamels lately.  But both Samardzija and Buchholz would be upgrades over the guys currently occupying the back end of the Yankee rotation.  Samardzija has seemingly taken a step back this year (4.56 ERA, 123 hits, 19.0% K rate in 108.1 IP), but he’s still a workhorse and his velocity hasn’t dropped so presumably he’s healthy.  Buchholz has actually been one of the best starters in the AL and the only full-time starter in the Boston rotation who’s been any good.

Samardzija is a true 2-month rental while Buchholz has a few team options years attached to him, so the asking prices could vary a little.  … Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: How Active Will Yankees Be At Trade Deadline?

It’s almost July, so that means the MLB trading season will be kicking into high gear soon. We have heard a few Yankees rumors already with them scouting Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake extensively, and Joel Sherman speculating they might have interest in Jeff Samardzija.

The Yankees are in contention in both the AL East and wild card races, so they will be involved in many rumors as usual. Despite that, I really do not see them being that active this year. The only place the Yankees can add to their lineup is second base. They’re not going to upgrade at any other starting position, and they are pretty set on the bench as well. Besides Ben Zobrist — who will be in very high demand — what other good second basemen will be available? The Yankees offense has been among the best in baseball anyways, although it would be nice if they could be more consistent on the road.… Click here to read the rest