Was passing on Beltran (again) a mistake?

As many of us probably remember from the 2005 offseason, Carlos Beltran really wanted to be a Yankee.  Even though the Yankees ultimately passed on Beltran, he reportedly offered to sign with the Yankees for less than the 7-year $119 million contract he ultimately received from the Mets.  Beltran’s tenure with the Mets was a mixture of ups (MVP caliber seasons in 2006 and 2008) and downs (significant time lost to injury in 2009 and 2010), and I have always wondered how having Beltran in centerfield instead of an aging Bernie Williams, Johnny Damon, or mediocre Melky Cabrera during the mid-2000’s would have affected the Yankees’ outcomes in that era.

Fast forward to the 2011 offseason, where a similar situation presented itself.  Beltran, coming off a 4.7 fWAR season for the Mets and Giants, was offered a 2-year $26 million contract by the Cardinals.  This is a pretty reasonable deal for a 34-year old player of Beltran’s caliber.  Given Beltran’s injury history, the short duration of the contract and relatively modest average annual value make sense.… Click here to read the rest

What to do about Nick Swisher?

More October fail for Jolly old St Nick

One of the main targets in the sights of Yankee fans looking for someone to blame for the team’s 2011  post season failure has been Nick Swisher. Some fans have never liked his high-energy act, feeling he doesn’t fit the ‘True Yankee’ mold of more quit professionals like Jeter or Mo. I’m not quite sure what a ‘True Yankee’ means, since the greatest player in the history of the franchise was anything but a quiet professional on or off the field. The (arguably) 2nd best was quite the Hell-raiser as well. There’s room for all sorts of personalities on a 25 man roster, but I will admit that I prefer players from the Gehrig-DiMaggio-Jeter-Mo mold more than others. But that’s a personal preference of mine. It has nothing to do with making sound roster decisions.

Swisher’s critics often point to his thus far anemic post season numbers (.169/.295/.323 in 147 PAs) as evidence that he’s not the type of player who will get the job done in October.… Click here to read the rest

Balancing The Present and The Future

With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, general managers of teams in or close to contention are faced with the dilemma of balancing the present and the future of their ball clubs. Yesterday’s trade of Carlos Beltran to the Giants for top-35 prospect Zack Wheeler is a perfect example of a move that raises the question of whether it is prudent to sacrifice a possible future star for the chance to win now.

On the one hand, general managers are tasked with building a consistent winner, a team with a strong core that can be in the playoff picture on a regular basis. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to have a strong farm system, which can help refresh and revitalize the Major League roster on a yearly basis. Teams that build from the inside can have a sustained run of success with a fairly cheap core, allowing them to supplement as necessary with free agents and make regular runs at division titles.… Click here to read the rest

If Posada completely tanks…

Alright that’s a bit of an extreme statement, and we really don’t have much time left before the trade deadline, so he would have to be really awful over the next two weeks for this course of action to play out. But, on the chance that Jorge Posada does continue to have a poor July, here are some routes the Yankees could go to fill in the DH spot.

1. A straight platoon of Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones when the former comes back from the disabled list. This would be the most cost-efficient option and probably the most desirable one. It requires no forfeit of assets on the Yankees’ part (except for a roster move; I’m assuming Brandon Laird goes back to AAA), which is what makes it attractive in the first place. The problem is that Chavez is still pretty damn injury prone. If he gets hurt, the Yankees could be stuck with moving Posada back to the vs.… Click here to read the rest

More trade speculation–hitting edition

The more the day goes on, the louder the trade drum will beat. George King of the New York Post tried to do a little beating of his own over the weekend. He speculated on Carlos Beltran, Michael Cuddyer, and Vladimir Guerrero as potential trade targets for the Yankees.

I wholeheartedly agree on Beltran. I think he could be a near perfect acquisition for the Yankees. He could fit a need if Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada don’t start producing as he would be able to DH or play right field. The other two I don’t agree with at all.

The Yankees’ DH already offers them zero flexibility and acquiring either one of Cuddyer or Guerrero wouldn’t help that. While Cuddyer can physically stand in a few different positions, he’s not good at any of them and definitely not an upgrade over any current Yankee fielder. As for Vlad in the field, that isn’t really worth discussing much, is it?

I’m content with waiting out Swisher and Posada, but my patience is starting to wear a bit more thin as the season finishes up its second month.… Click here to read the rest

Exploring Beltran

What’s going to happen if Jorge Posada continues to struggle? Throw away the mental stuff from this weekend for a second and let’s talk purely physical struggles. If the hits don’t start falling, there’s no way the Yankees can justify running him out there every day. I have to acknowledge this weekend, though, and given the way that went down, benching Posada outright could be a problem. Again pretending, let’s assume Posada learned from this experience, knows he’s hurting the team, and takes the benching without any complaints. What alternative could the Yankees go to?

They could just take the platoon tag off of Andruw Jones and have him DH full time. I wouldn’t be completely against this, but he hasn’t exactly torn the cover off the ball (last night’s homer notwithstanding).

They could call up Jesus Montero. We’ve been anticipating this since 2011 started and it’s probably coming soon. Again, it’d be super cool if this happened; he’s everyone’s favorite prospect and he’d probably get some catching duties to spell Russell Martin.… Click here to read the rest

Players to Watch: N.L. East

Let’s end our week with an eye towards the Right Coast and the N.L. teams that inhabit it. You know the drill.

NL West
NL Central

Starting, as we so normally do, at the top with the Phillies. Let’s go with t3h 4 @ce$! shall we? No. The obvious choice here is Dominic Brown. He’s the Phillies’ top prospect and is the likely replacement for the departed Jayson Werth. Brown struggled in a brief 70 PA stint in the bigs last year, wOBAing just .259 and striking out 38.7% of the time. Brown will be 23 when the season starts and won’t be 24 until September so time is still on his side. Can he cash in on his big prospect status in 2011 or will fans think he’s not WERTH it?!

Atlanta Braves: No more Bobby Cox. That phrase alone is enough to shake my baseball-self to its core. I haven’t known a time in my baseball-life that doesn’t include Bobby Cox.… Click here to read the rest

Bizarre Moves from Seasons Past: The non-signing of Carlos Beltran

Welcome to the latest installment of Yankeeist’s “Bizarre Moves from Seasons Past” series. We previously covered the trading of Mike Lowell, the non-signing of David Ortiz, the non-signing of Andy Pettitte after the 2003 season and the non-signing of Vladimir Guerrero.

Following the nightmarish manner in which the 2004 season concluded for the Yankees, the organization correctly set out to address the team’s most glaring deficiency: starting pitching. Unfortunately, not only did the Yankees end up going about addressing the problem in a startlingly shortsighted and impatient manner, signing both the injury prone and mostly mediocre Jaret Wright and the soon-to-be injury prone and altogether mediocre Carl Pavano in attempt to bolster a flagging rotation, but the team’s obsession with trading for Randy Johnson resulted in the dismissal of signing a player that would have been a huge acquisition not only for 2005, but for years to come: Carlos Beltran.

At the time, the Yankees had a gaping wound opening up in center field, but unfortunately team loyalty to incumbent Bernie Williams had blinded the Yankees to their problem.… Click here to read the rest

The Beltran Haunting

Eric Seidman at FanGraphs has a great read up in which he assesses Carlos Beltran’s underlying value to the Mets. In the end, the findings are very clear — offensively and defensively, Carlos Beltran is a terrific baseball player. In fact, from a contractual standpoint, even though he was awarded a 7-year deal worth $119 million following his 2004 season, he’s actually being underpaid (average annual value) in relation to his win value.

Now, in 2004, Scott Boras actually called the Yankees and offered Beltran to them at a discounted price (so, less than the $119 million). However, wary of the luxury tax implications, the team decided to upgrade their pitching staff instead, as they acquired Randy Johnson.

In 2005, Johnson had a good year with the Yankees while Beltran barely produced for the Mets. I’m sure fans would have been disappointed in the Beltran over Johnson decision, if it had occurred (at least in that year). Nonetheless, Beltran would have been the better long-term investment, since he has produced ever since the first year of his mega-contract.… Click here to read the rest