Analysis

So the deal will be Nady and Marte for Tabata, Ohlendorf, Kontos and Coke.  Let’s look at what the Yankees gave up first.

 

Clearly the biggest name the Yankees gave up is Tabata and prior to this season you wouldn’t have wanted him included in this trade.  But, the storm clouds that led Baseball America to report this winter that, "scouts outside the organization chide him for failing to give a consistent effort," really showed up in 2008.  On the field, he has been bad- putting up an awful line of .248/.319/.310.  Off the field he has been suspended for lack of effort and almost quit the team at one point.  The potential is still there and he is just about to turn 20, so don’t count him out, but his stock has really diminished.  Once he was targeted as the heir to Abreu in right for 2009.  Now, 2010 might be an aggressive projection for him to reach the majors and the power that scouts say will be there still hasn’t shown up.  The Pirates may get a star, they may get a bust.

Ohlendorf has always been projected as a back of the rotation guy or a setup guy.  He washed out of the bigs this year, but he has pitched well back at Scranton.  The thing is, would you rather have Ohlendorf or David Robertson?  I would take Robertson, so I don’t think the loss of Ohlendorf is that big a deal.  

Kontos and Coke are an interesting duo.  Coke has been dominant at AA this year, striking out 109 in 114 innings.   Plus he is a lefty, which is always a big plus.  But, Coke is also 26, a little old for AA.  He looks like he has a great future, but the age is a red flag.

Kontos doesn’t have the age concerns and he has numbers almost as good as Coke’s, but Kontos has his own red flags.  He was arrested last year for failing to leave a bar at closing time and BA describes him as having a history of "not living up to expectations".  He profiles as a #3 starter and if he can overcome his off-field propblems, he should get to the bigs 2010.  

In return for those four, the Yankees have solved two problems in the present and possibly a couple for the future.  

Marte gives them a lefty for the pen which is a plus, but he is more than a situational lefty, he can setup as well.  He returns to the Yankees seven years after they traded him for Enrique Wilson.  He has a $6-million option for next year which means the Yankees could exercise that or let him go and probably receive compensation in the draft.  

Nady is presumably going to play left on most days though he is a rightfielder.  He is a good righty bat, but probably not as good as his 142 OPS+ this year.  He terrorizes lefty pitching which is a huge need for the Yankees and since he is under their control until after 2009, his arrival almost certainly marks the end of Bobby Abreu’s tenure as a Yankee.  One of the best things about Nady is that he has played in New York, with the Mets in 2006, and he put up a .267/.326/.487 line there, so he can handle New York.  

This is the type of deal the Yankees needed to make.  Brett Gardner has an interesting future but he isn’t ready to handle the majors right now.  Farnsworth is showing you right now why the Yankees need more bullpen help.  The prospects are solid, but not spectacular.  Tip your cap to Brian Cashman, he just made a good trade.   

Trade??

Check this report out, no confirmation yet, but stay tuned.

 
UPDATE 8:02pm: Jon Heyman confirming the trade with Ohlendorf and Tabata headlining a deal with four prospects.  Sounds like Phil Coke might be one of them as well.  

UPDATE 8:12pm: Coke is part of the trade according to Heyman.  Rotoworld reporting that Ausitn Jackson (NOOOOOOO!) part of the deal

UPDATE 8:17pm: Rosenthal reporting the deal as Ohlendorf, Kontos, Tabata and Coke.  I could live with that. 

UPDATE 8:23pm: Peter Abraham reporting same deal as Rosenthal.  So, the Yankees just got a power right-handed bat and a very good lefty reliever without trading Jackson or Melancon.  That is a great deal in my mind.  More analysis after the game.  

Give Peace A Chance

Kudos to Kevin Cullen for putting this into print, in the Boston Globe no less.  But, before any Yankees’ fans share a smug smile, the same could be said to some of you.  Chants like "Boston Sucks" and others that I won’t put into writing because they are not family firendly are all too prevalent at Yankees’ games when Boston visits.  Unfortunately, it seems like the chants are just the start of the problems.

Twice in the past few months I have read about horrible incidents where Yankees and Red Sox fans crossed the line.  In the first, a Yankees’ fan saw fit to run over some Red Sox fans because they were tautning her.  Recently, a Red Sox fan took exception to a car with New York plates and beat up a man in front of his family (I am not sure he even was a Yankees’ fan in this case.)  

I have seen the bad behavior on both sides.  One of the few times I have ever been worried about my own safety was in 1999 during Game 4 of the ALCS when the centerfield bleachers at Fenway became so unruly that I saw a policeman start to unholster his gun.   A few years ago I got into it with a Yankees’ fan at the Stadium after asking him to stop using four-letter words to describe the Red Sox and their fans because there were kids around.  In his mind my request made me a Boston fan. Both teams have a lot of great things about them, but too often their fans mistake hatred and boorish behavior as "supporting the team".  

When we started this website almost five years ago we hoped to show that Yankees and Red Sox fans could engage in baseball debates intelligently and without name calling.  By in large, I think we have done that and I hope we continue to do so.  It doesn’t mean either Andy or I root any less actively for our respective teams.  We speak often normally, but not during Yankees-Red Sox series.  Sometime tomorrow the wall will go up and we won’t speak for the weekend.  But, sure as the sunrise, one of us will call the other Monday and while the topic may not move to Yankees-Red Sox immediately, it will get there.  That’s what this great game is all about and I hope anyone out there reading this will pause a second before hurling verbal abuse (or worse) at a fan from the other side.  Boo the other team all you want, just leave it at that.

Thanks again for reading,

 

Peter 

 

Butt Out, Randy

If you read Peter Abraham’s blog today you will learn that Jorge Posada needs surgery but is delaying it in part because of Randy Levine.  Levine feels that Posada should wait and try and rehab, eventhough he needs six months to recover and he could not come back and catch anyway.

So, Levine is willing to risk Posada’s availability in 2009 in order to see if he can return in 2008?  This is a stupid bet because even if he returns he will still have the shoulder problem and the evidence leads you to believe the injury is affecting his hitting.  Over the last 28 days, Posada has a .570 OPS.  What is the point of risking any additional injury and delaying Posada’s return in 2009 for that?  

The Yankees need to just suck it up here and let Jorge get surgery.  He can then return in 2009 and hopefully be ready to go.  In reality, this may be the start of Posada’s transfer to first/DH.  The Yankees would be smart to open 2009 with another option at catcher.   

An Answer To The Comments

To those of you think I am advocating giving up the season because of Posada, I am not.  My point was the Yankees need to be buyers if they want to stay in the race or sellers if they do not.  The worst possible move right now would be to do nothing and see what happens. 

Yes, Molina plays incredible defense, but that defense has translated into 26 caught stealings this year while his bat makes around that many outs every week he starts.  In past years the Yankees could have covered this better with everyone at peak offense, but consider where we are this year.

Four players are having good offensive seasons: A-Rod, Giambi, Matui and Damon.  It seems almost certain that Matsui is lost for the year.

Three players are having average seasons: Abreu, Posada and Jeter.  It seems almost certain we have lost Posada for the year.

Two players are having really bad seasons: Cano and Cabrera.

I will grant you that Cano looks like he is rebounding, but Cabrera has hit .247/.306/.350 this year and his numbers have gotten worse each year of his career so I am not expecting a second half surge.

Now take one of the above average hitters and one of the average hitters and replace them in the lineup with say Gardner and Molina.  You know what I think of Molina’s bat and Gardner’s is even worse (though he has the potential to improve).  That’s a lot of holes in the offense

Now look at the rotation a minute.   We could argue about Mussina, but let’s not I will assume for the sake of brevity that he keeps it up.  Does anyone feel that Ponson will?  I would say you have two below-average starters in Ponson and Rasner and while the Yankees may get Wang or Hughes back, it won’t be until the end of August at the earliest.

What the Yankees have developed this year is a fantastic bullpen.  There is a reason they are 19-11 in one-run games and it starts with Rivera, but goes far beyond that.  Veras, Ramirez, Robinson and yes, even Farnsworth have been very good.  The bullpen is going to get better with Bruney returning soon and the release (say it with me Cashman) of LaTroy Hawkins.  

Considering everything, the pluses and minuses, I think the Yankees can definitely make a run at this, but they need some help.  More offense from catcher or CF would be a plus, but so would another starter.  There are a number of directions Cashman can go and my point is he has to pick one.  If he trades some of his prospects and get a player who can help the 2008 Yankees I am fine with that.  Let’s go for it!

Or, he could pack it in and trade some of the 2008 guys for players who can help in 2009 and beyond.  I am not as excited about that, but I would accept it.

What I will not accept and what I hope I have explained better is that standing pat is the wrong move.  Make a move to stay in it, make a move and get out of it, don’t just sit there.  There are costs and benefits to either side, but I believe the costs of innaction are the highest.   

Driving Home A Point

Accuse me of overkill, I will readily admit it, but watching Molina’s first AB tonight reminded me of his #’s so far this year.  Sixty games of Molina’s current rates (.215/.255/.297) will absolutely kill the team. 

The Yankees have a choice here.  They can get a backup catcher who won’t kill them at the plate every time up.  Or, they can choose to do nothing.  If they do nothing with the catcher situation then I hope they admit defeat in 2008 and try and trade some of their veterans for prospects.  Would there be any shame in Brian Cashman standing before the microphones on July 31st as he announced the departures of Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi and Farnsworth and admitting that the injuries were too much to overcome this season?  Some will snicker that a team with that big a payroll couldn’t win, but the Yankees can’t worry about that.  If they are not going to put everything into 2008 (and I am not sure they should) then they need to go after 2009.

Think about 2009 for a second.  We know that Joba and Wang will headline the rotation.  We know Mariano will be back with Robertson, Veras and Ramirez in support roles.  What we don’t know is what will happen to the offense.  If the Yankees can build up the offense for next year at the trade deadline, it isn’t a bad idea. 

But, I hope they go for it.  I hope Brian Cashman uses some of the pitching prospects to get some hitting prospects.  Either choice could be a good one, what isn’t going to fly is doing nothing in ten days.   

There Go The Playoffs?

The news is not good, Jorge Posada is headed back to the DL.  As shaky as the offense has been, this will really damage it.  It sounds like the best case scenario is for Posada to return in August, but not be able to catch often if at all.  The worst is that they operate now and he is lost for the season.

This means Brian Cashman has to trade for a catcher if he wants to keep his team in the hunt.  The Yankees have ignored the backup catching position for years because of Posada’s toughness.  Now it is time to correct that.  Even if Jorge comes back 100% healthy next year, they need to have a better backup plan than Molina.  The reality is that Posada will probably begin the shift to first as a result of this injury and the Yankees have to find someone who can catch and hit- at least a little bit- to take his place.   

Do We Have to Wait?

David Ortiz has homered in his 2nd consecutive rehab game for Pawtucket.  Given the Red Sox announced Ortiz would return July 25th against the Yankees, Ortiz stands to get plenty of at bats before facing major league pitching.

Seriously, do we have to wait another week to get Ortiz back?  7 more calendar days?  I like Sean Casey and all (although he could stand to do a sit-up now and again and perhaps say no to the buffet), but Ortiz is in another category and is needed in Boston, not Pawtucket.

The long-ball is not necessarily an endangered species for the Red Sox, but more of it can’t hurt.  Theo Epstein, maybe you can fly Ortiz out for the the start of next Monday’s series in Seattle?  Watching John "I can land airplanes in my open mouth" Lackey keep pace with the Red Sox Friday night makes me think Ortiz should be helping Boston sooner than July 25th.

 

Thanks, Brian

Reports are that the Yankees have signed Richie Sexson and that is allright by me.  The move cost the Yankees the sum of $161,000.  Nice $$ if you can get it, tip money for a club like the Yankees- about what they pay A-Rod for one game.   On the heels of the news that Matsui might be done for the year, it makes even more sense. 

As happy as I am about the move, I am worried about the other shoe that is going to drop.  Who is getting sent down?  I hope it is Traber, but I fear it might be a bat.  Carrying Sexson with 13 pitchers and 3 catchers is stupid, I can only hope the Yankees realize that.   

2nd Half (or last 2/5)

The Red Sox have played 97 games.  That leaves 65 to go, only 65!

Let’s make this simple.  Good, Ok and Bad for the regulars and the pitching staff.

Offense

Good;  J.D. Drew, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Manny Ramirez, Mike Lowell

OK: Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz

Bad:  Jason Varitek, Julio Lugo, Coco Crisp

Varitek has been fine defensively, but his offense is a concern.  He is 3-11 which isn’t spectacular but a sign of progress.  Of course me being happy with 3-11 tells you how bad he has been.

Lugo just needs to…retire.  Too much money for the errors and the lack of any offense (1 HR, 27 runs, 22 RBI in 82 games).

Pitching (current roster):

Good:  Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jonathan Papelbon, Javier Lopez, David Aardsma

OK:  Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen

Bad:  Mike Timlin, Clay Buchholz, Craig Hansen

The rotation has been great.  Where we are seeing issues is the middle relief.  Lopez and Aardsma (despite Aardsma’s wildness) have been good.  Where the Red Sox are struggling is the 8th inning.  Manny Delcarmen has been inconsistent as has Okajima.  In fairness to Okajima, there is no way to fairly expect a repeat of 2007, but his inability to prevent inherited runners from scoring has been tough.

Pinning it down, the Red Sox need to improve their middle relief.  Be it improvements by the current personnel or a trade.  With David Ortiz due back next Friday, the offense should be OK.  Pretty simple.

Rumors:  Mark Teixeira for Kevin Youkilis and Craig Hansen.  Help me understand this.  Youkilis has a higher average, obp and slg.  In 88 games, Youkilis has 56 runs, 15 HRs and 63 RBI.  In 93 games, Teixeira has 54 runs, 17 HR and 69 RBI.  So in more games, Teixeira has slightly more production, but Youkilis leads the other categories.  He also leads in the the money category getting paid about 1/5 what Teixeira makes.

Why make this move?  No reason.  You don’t make this move.

Expect more of these silly rumors to pop up.