Thoughts On The Starlin Castro Trade

[caption id="attachment_79601" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Castro vs STL Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

Guess they proved me wrong.  After spending the first day and a half of the Winter Meetings doing a lot of nothing, the Yankees decided to take their sandals off and jump in the pool yesterday, sending Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan to the Chicago Cubs for second baseman Starlin Castro.  Castro has been on and off the trade block for a while in Chicago and the Yankees were trying to trade for him at the deadline this past season.  When the Cubs landed Ben Zobrist last night, things sped up quickly on the Castro trade front and the Yankees were able to make a deal.  For the fifth time in the last calendar year plus the Yankees have acquired a young MLB player with upside to fuel their non-rebuild rebuild.

It’s hard to really say what the Yankees are getting in Castro.  His .281/.321/.404 career slash line makes him look like a pretty good player, but his low walk rate (4.9%), wildly inconsistent year-to-year results, and reported previous attitude and discipline problems are all causes for concern and surely contributed to the Cubs deciding he was the odd man out in their crowded middle infield.  Castro was one of the worst everyday players in baseball in 2015 (80 wRC+ in 578 PA) and 2013 (74 in 705).  He also put up a career best season in 2014 when he hit .292/.339/.438 with 14 HR, 65 RBI, and a 6.2% BB rate.  Obviously the Yankees are hoping they get that player or the guy who hit .353/.373/.588 in 42 games after moving from shortstop to second base this past season. Continue reading Thoughts On The Starlin Castro Trade

Yankees Acquire Starlin Castro From The Cubs For Adam Warren And Brendan Ryan

Joel Sherman has it:

No word yet on who else is involved, but that sounds like it’s coming shortly.  This rumor has really picked up steam over the last hour or so, and with the Cubs just signing Ben Zobrist this was the next domino to fall.  More on this story as it’s reported.

Continue reading Yankees Acquire Starlin Castro From The Cubs For Adam Warren And Brendan Ryan

Quick hit: A Yankee rumor from the Winter Meetings!

Well, well, well, check this out:

I’m slightly skeptical because Yankee trades usually seem to come out of nowhere and this is not coming out of nowhere, in fact, the Daily News reported a possible interest in Castro a couple of weeks ago.

Let us know your thoughts down below. Continue reading Quick hit: A Yankee rumor from the Winter Meetings!

Winter Meetings open thread: 12/8/15

It’s been kind of boring down in Nashville so instead, let’s celebrate the birthday of one of my favorite Yankees ever, Mike Mussina.

Happy Birthday, Moose!

Here’s Moose yelling at Joe Torre.

I laughed so hard watching this live. Especially when they showed Ron Guidry‘s reaction to Joe Torre‘s reaction to Moose.


Here’s Moose pitching relief during Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

And here’s Moose becoming a 20-win pitcher for the first time (and only) in his career.

Feel free to discuss whatever you’d like in this open thread and remember to be respectful to your fellow IIATMS readers. No name calling.

Have a good night! Continue reading Winter Meetings open thread: 12/8/15

Quick hit: So why are they at the Winter Meetings?

Before anyone answers obnoxiously in the comments. I’m not that serious. I get why the Yankees are at the Winter Meetings. Everyone’s at the Winter Meetings and you never know what can happen at the Winter Meetings, but this tweet doesn’t exactly boost ones confidence that something will happen. Ran into two MLB execs & an agent who said the Yankees' desire not to spend on a free agent is legit. Unlike other years, not a smokescreen. — Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 7, 2015 Fine. No free agent signings, but how about a cool trade that doesn’t cost a lot Continue reading Quick hit: So why are they at the Winter Meetings?

Winter Meetings open thread: 12/7/15


Welcome to the Winter Meetings open thread!

Let’s recap what’s happened so far:

Just a quick interruption here but I always picture the national writers, like Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal, Olney et al, running around the Winter Meetings and pushing each other out of the way to get scoops. Personally, I’m not sure why they even bother when Chris Cotillo of SB Nation gets 95% of them.

  • Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported that the “budget tight” Yankees, you know, the team we all root for, may be interested in Asdrubal Cabrera and that Cabrera might be willing to play 2B. Seriously, what the hell did Rob Refsnyder do to the guys in the front office? I want to know.
  • And finally, for the second year in a row, no one was voted into the Hall of Fame by the veterans’ committee. Oh well.

If any Yankee news breaks, we will have it for you.

Update 1:35 P.M.: Mark Lowe and the Tigers worked out a deal worth two years/$13M per Ken Rosenthal.
Continue reading Winter Meetings open thread: 12/7/15

Quick Hit: Don’t Expect A Lot Of Noise From The Yankees This Week

The 2015 Winter Meetings get started today, and the early action on the free agent market last week has got the hot stove boiling and the rumor mill turning quickly heading into the week’s festivities.  This could be a very busy few days on both the free agent and trade fronts, with multiple teams looking to make big moves.

The Yankees are not one of those teams, at least not according to what they’ve been saying publicly.  Brian Cashman declared that the Yankees’ money “has been directed and committed already” on Friday, and he followed that up by saying “”we’re not in a position right now to take a shot at anything that comes along… ” when he arrived in Nashville yesterday.  The messages in these statements are pretty simple: the Yankees aren’t willing to spend top dollar on the free agent market and they aren’t willing to part with top prospects on the trade market.

If that’s the case, and we have little reason to think otherwise based on previous statements by Cashman and other front office members, then it’s going to be a pretty quiet and boring week for Yankee fans.  Normally I’d be quick to remind everybody of the smokescreen the Yankees like to throw up in front of the media when discussing their offseason plans, but this rhetoric from Cash doesn’t ring as a statement designed to mask the team’s true intentions.  This is the continuation of a plan that the Yankees have been publicly pushing for over a year now, and there’s little reason to expect that they will change it now when they’re so close to getting some of those big payroll chunks off the ledger.

Which is not to say that staying the course and avoiding the hottest parts of the stove is exclusively a bad thing.  While there are plenty of players who would fit the Yankees’ needs if they hadn’t already resigned themselves to not spending, the price boom on the second and third-level starting pitching markets has been insane.  I wouldn’t want to spend 5/90 on Jeff Samardzija or even 3/36 on J.A. Happ regardless of what the team’s spending restrictions were, so Cash continuing to look elsewhere for more rotation depth is fine by me.

It’s incredibly frustrating to see the Yankees willingly put a halt to their biggest competitive advantage, but this is Hal’s plan and he certainly seems like he’s ready to stick to it.  He’s got Cashman getting ahead of the MSM spin cycle and reciting the company line, he’s got a roster that’s mostly set even without any additional upgrades, and he’s got the new LT threshold off in the distance.  That all adds up to a quiet Winter Meetings in the making if you ask me, so don’t be shocked or too disappointed if that’s what we get. Continue reading Quick Hit: Don’t Expect A Lot Of Noise From The Yankees This Week

There Are No Heyward-Equivalent Free Agent Hitters on the Market for 3 Years

Jason Heyward will turn 27 years old in August of 2016, a season after putting up a bWAR of 6.5. He’ll also turn 28 years old in August of 2017 and 29 years old in August of 2018. That’s how time works. At each of these time periods, Heyward will be younger and probably better than any free agent hitter available to the Yankees. Let’s look at his competition:

After the 2016 season:

Josh Reddick (Age 30, 3.5 bWAR in 2015)
Colby Rasmus (Age 30, 2.6 bWAR in 2015)
Carlos Gomez (Age 31, 2.3 bWAR in 2015)
Justin Turner (Age 32, 3.9 bWAR in 2015)
Neil Walker (Age 31, 2.4 bWAR in 2015)
Jose Bautista (Age 36, 5.1 bWAR in 2015)
Adrian Beltre (Age 39, 5.8 bWAR in 2015)

After the 2017 season:

Brett Lawrie (Age 28, 1.9 bWAR in 2015)
Lucas Duda (Age 32, 3.0 bWAR in 2015)
JD Martinez (Age 30, 5.0 bWAR in 2015)
Brandon Belt (Age 30, 3.9 bWAR in 2015)
Mike Moustakas (Age 29, 4.4 bWAR in 2015)
Eric Hosmer (Age 28, 3.6 bWAR in 2015)
Lorenzo Cain (Age 32, 7.2 bWAR in 2015)
Lonnie Chisenhall (Age 29, 2.3 bWAR in 2015)
Cameron Maybin (Age 31, 0.6 bWAR in 2015)

If Jason Heyward were a free agent after the 2016 or 2017 season, he would almost surely be the most valuable hitter on the market, even if every single listed hitter above makes it to free agency without signing a contract extension That means that even if the Yankees decide that they want to open up the checkbook after Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, etc come off the books, they won’t have as good of an opportunity as they have now to improve the team.

Here is the scenario that I am hoping for: Cashman has permission to go out and sign Jason Heyward, but only if he can clear equal room on the payroll. Cashman is trying to trade both Brett Gardner ($13.5m) and Andrew Miller ($9m) in order to offer Heyward something like 10 years, $225m (Conveniently [13.5 + 9]*10, right at the AAV predicted by the Fangraphs crowdsource)

The team would almost certainly get better from those combinations of moves. Not only was Heyward worth more wins in 2015 than Miller and Gardner combined (6.5 vs. 5.5), but the Yankees would likely get something back in the trades to improve the team. Even if the returns are all prospects, the Yankees could use the extra roster spot to add a win or two pretty easily.


  Continue reading There Are No Heyward-Equivalent Free Agent Hitters on the Market for 3 Years

Sunday Morning News And Notes: 12/6/15

The Winter Meetings kick off tomorrow in Nashville.  Here’s the latest as it relates to the Yankees heading into the meetings.

– Via Chad Jennings, Brian Cashman said “our money has been directed and committed already” when discussing potential free agents on Friday.  He did say the team remains very aggressive in trade talks, but if you’re expecting the Yankees to make a big FA splash next week I think you’re going to be disappointed.

– Also via Jennings, the following injury updates:

Teix: Out of his walking boot and doing some physical activities.
Tanaka: Finished with his physical therapy after surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow. He’s heading back to Japan to start his normal offseason throwing program.
Eovaldi: No lingering issues in his elbow and he is slated for a normal winter throwing program.

– Via Jon Heyman, Cliff Lee has been medically cleared to resume throwing and has done so as he prepares for a 2016 comeback.  Lee missed most of the last 2 years with flexor problems in his left elbow.  There was a time when the Yankees were obsessed with getting Lee and they almost had him once.  Now I think I’d steer clear.

– Via Anthony McCarron, the Yankees signed shortstop Pete Kozma to a MiL deal on Friday.  Kozma, 27, is a career .222/.288/.293 hitter in 689 MLB plate appearances spread over the last 5 seasons.  He’s likely to slot into the starting shortstop job at Triple-A SWB and be on hand as emergency org depth at short.

– Another starting pitcher came out of the free agent pool yesterday when the Giants signed Jeff Samardzija to a 5-year/$90 million deal.  The Yankees were connected to Samardzija a lot heading into the offseason, but they weren’t going to get involved at that price.  I have to think the big numbers that some of these top pitchers are landing is going to trickle down to the rest of the second and third tier and scare the Yankees away from pursuing any starting pitching via the FA market. Continue reading Sunday Morning News And Notes: 12/6/15