A Bit Of A Shock

The Yankees traded George Kontos to San Francisco for Chris Stewart today. They subsequently sent Francisco Cervelli down to the minors to make room for Stewart. Ok, let’s break this into pieces, the trade piece first and then the Cervelli piece.

This is not a move that I am a huge fan of. We’ve seen Chris Stewart before, twice before actually. He first came up in 2008 when Jorge Posada got hurt. He got into one game, an interesting choice at that, and then got sent to AAA when the Yankees signed Chad Moeller. The Yankees let him go after that season and then traded for him before the start of the 2009 season. He spent most of the season in AAA and then played for the Padres and Giants. When Buster Posey got hurt last year, Stewart got 67 games behind the plate in San Fran. He hit a robust .204/.283/.309. While his defense is good, his bat has never developed.

And that seems like too little of a return for Kontos. Kontos didn’t develop into a starter as the Yankees had hoped, but he was becoming a pretty good reliever. Last year he pitched 89 innings in Scranton and struck out 91. In seven appearances in the Bronx he allowed two runs over six innings while striking out six. He’s 26, but appears to have a future in the bigs.

The other reason I don’t like this trade is that the Yankees have to send Cervelli down. They have to because Stewart is out of options and therefore cannot go to the minors. So, the Yankees now have a guy who isn’t very familiar with their pitching staff as backup catcher. I don’t understand why they simply couldn’t have waited for something to shake loose on the waiver wire. The Yankees did this a few weeks ago with Craig Tatum. For what it is worth, Tatum has a .554 OPS in 299 PA’s, Stewart has a .563 in 237

What this probably means is that Austin Romine’s back injury is serious. There has been some talk of a disc problem and that is very bad news for this year and for the future. Russell Martin is a free agent after 2012. In an ideal world, Romine would have caught at AAA for most of the year and then in the Bronx with the goal of putting him in the 2013 lineup. Now, that timetable is threatened and with this trade today, you have to wonder just how long Romine will be out.