Scouting The Free Agent Market For An Ibanez Replacement

I might have watched every game this year, but it’s still hard for me to remember exactly what kind of season Raul Ibanez had in 2012. Our most recent recollection was his three ridiculously well-timed homeruns in the playoffs. For the rest season, the left handed hitter had his good moments, but also some pretty lousy ones. As expected, he was rather awful against left handed pitchers, but a .248/.319/.492 triple slash (115 wRC+) against righties more than made up for it.

Unfortunately, once the Yankees lost Brett Gardner for nearly the entire season, Ibanez saw much more defensive playing time than expected. The 40 year old actually manned 90 games in the outfield, and started nearly half of the regular season games. It’s not a fact, but the extra work apparently caught up to him after the allstar break, where he hit just .190/.287/.341 for the two months of the Yankees most important stretch of the year. From August 16th to September 19th, Ibanez recorded a total of 3 hits over 60 plate appearances.… Click here to read the rest

Bring me Carlos Pena

I guess I should react to the trade now, huh? When I first heard that the Yankees had traded Jesus Montero to the Mariners for Michael Pineda, my first reaction was to scream a word that is not appropriate for a family blog such as this one. But, the more I thought about it, I became slightly less annoyed. It’s sad to see Jesus Montero go, especially after the tantalizing display he put on last year in his cup of coffee with the big league team. Even if the Yankees thought Montero had no future at catcher, I thought he would’ve provided value by being a cheap DH who produced like a well above average DH. But, the Yankees decided to go another route. They traded future middle-of-the-order security for future middle-of-the-rotation security. If there is a type of player you’re going to trade Montero for, it’s Michael Pineda. He’s young, extremely talented, and has many years of team control left.… Click here to read the rest

Waiver wire wishing?

Yesterday, word came down that a bunch of players were put on waivers with some likely to clear soon. The list includes Jim Thome, Wandy Rodriguez, Heath Bell, Carlos Pena, and Jason Kubel. Each one of those players could help the Yankees in some tangible capacity.

Heath Bell would add to an already lethal late-game/high-leverage bullpen combination of David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, and Mariano Rivera (and, let’s be honest, Boone Logan who’s pitched well of late). However, Bell indicated before that he would consider accepting arbitration. That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world because he’s making just $7.5M this year, though a raise to double figures is more than possible. That would mean three relievers making double-digit million dollar salaries and that’s not an efficient use of funds. There are some notable relievers set to be available, including Jonathan Papelbon and Francisco Rodriguez, but Bell would definitely be head of the class.… Click here to read the rest

Addressing the Yankees' Areas of Need: A bat

Willingham and DeJesus

(Note: This post was originally drafted prior to the news of Alex Rodriguez‘s needing meniscus surgery. With A-Rod on the shelf for 4-6 weeks, the Yankees’ likelihood of acquiring an extra bat at the deadline likely increased; fortunately the recommendations made below still apply.)

Last year at the All-Star break I did a three-part series taking a look at the Yankees’ perceived areas of weakness and how the team might go about fixing each of them. This year I’ve condensed the “Areas of Need” series into two posts (pitching to come tomorrow), as I’m not sure the team’s needs at the break are as pressing as they were last season, A-Rod’s injury notwithstanding. Sure, everyone could use a top-flight starter, another bat or bullpen help, but this year’s squad has performed a good deal better than I think many of us had expected prior to the season, and if there are upgrades to be had, they will most likely only be at the fringes.… Click here to read the rest

What about Vlad, and other Yankee DH possibilities

With yet another long-coveted (by me) hitter hitting the free agent market, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least broach the idea of the Yankees signing Vladimir Guerrero — who recently had his $9M 2011 option rightly declined by the Rangers — to be their DH, assuming the Yankees pass on my boy Adam Dunn. I know Mike Axisa threw cold water all over this idea the other day, but I think it merits further exploration. Vlad may have gone ice cold in the second half and postseason after a lightning-hot start, but there may still be some life left in that bat.

While I imagine the Rangers will try to re-sign him at a discount, it remains to be seen whether Vlad will have Johnny Damon/Hideki Matsui-itis and not be able to swallow his pride and return to his team at a lesser pay grade. At the very least it seems like it’d be worth seeing what it might take to get Vlad on a one-year deal.… Click here to read the rest

At What Point Would The Rays Trade Their Stars?

[image title=”tb_RaysPena_450″ size=”full” id=”16872″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ]
I hate to give credence to anything that John Kruk said or wrote, but he penned an article for ESPN today that provides a jumping off point for an interesting discussion:

It’s no secret that Tampa Bay is a small-market team with a small payroll ($68.2 million, which is 22nd in baseball). The Rays have a great team. Not a good team, a great team. But are they contenders or pretenders? Crawford and Pena are free agents this year, so if the front office believes the Rays can win with those guys, they’re going to keep them. If the front office thinks there’s a chance the Rays won’t, then it will get rid of them.

There’s no pressure on the Red Sox, Yankees or Tampa Bay’s players — the pressure is on the front office. What are they going to do? Let’s say it comes close to the trade deadline and they are either a game or two up, or a game or two behind whoever is in first.

Click here to read the rest