Yanks Add Garcia

Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Yankees have signed Freddy Garcia to a minor league deal. Garcia is an upgrade over Sergio Mitre in the fifth spot and if he can replicate his 2010 performance (4.64 ERA over 157 innings) in 2011 they would be thrilled.

An area of concern is the drop in his strikeout rate and the increase in his walk rate, but overall this is a solid move. Nothing really risked and a definite upgrade over the current alternatives for the rotation.

Now It Makes Some Sense

Here’s a little detail, via LoHud, that helps the Chan Ho Park signing make sense.  Both Mitre and Gaudin have non-guaranteed deals. So, the Yankees could release them from their contracts and not have to pay them.  That’s a big deal considering Gaudin is due almost $3 million and Mitre $1 million if they make the team.  


Hairston Gone

Jerry Hairston just signed a one-year/$2.15 million deal with the Padres. It’s not that shocking that the Yankees let him go, he just doesn’t have the bat to play the outfield and Ramiro Pena can do almost exactly the same things Hairston does.

His signing means that of the seven free agents the Yankees had at the end of 2009, four have found homes.  Hinske (Atl), Matsui (Ana) and Hairston (SD) all went elsewhere with Pettitte coming back to NY.  It leaves Nady, Damon and Molina still looking for a team to play on next year and we are less than a month from pitchers and catchers. 

Love It

I’m on vacation so this is being type on my cellphone. I think Cashman did a great job with today’s deal. Yes, we remember Vazquez from 2004 but he has consistently struck out 150 and won 10 games a year this decade. He will be asked to be the fourth starter and is a great bet to throw 200 innings. Losing Melky is not something I am upset about and Dunn is a raw talent who could be replaced by Logan. The prospect had a great year in Staten Island but is years away from the Bronx. The Yankees are built to win now and this gives them an excellent shot. Great move for 2010

It’s Done If The Medicals Check Out

The Yankees got Curtis Granderson who is a very good centerfielder and a very powerful lefty bat.  He is also only 28 years old and will be under team control through 2013 at reasonable money ($5.5 in 2010, $8.25 in 2011, $10 in 2012 and an option worth $13 in 2013)  Granderson had a bad, for him 2009, hitting .249/.327/.453 that is still a lot better than the AL average at center and if he comes close to his 2008 numbers- .280/.365/.494- the Yankees would be thrilled. He is also considered one of the best character guys in baseball.

By adding Granderson the Yankees just gave themselves a ton of options.  They can play hardball with Damon and let him walk, shifting Granderson to left and going with Melky/Gardner in center like 2009.  They can bring Damon back and put Granderson in center, giving them some chips to trade in Gardner or Melky. 

Everyone will focus on the loss of Austin Jackson and while Jackson is a tough player to give up let’s stop and think about him.  Does anyone think he would have turned into a better player than Granderson?  I don’t think so and when you consider that it makes sense to include him in the deal.  Yes, you lose a young player, but the guy you get back is still young enough that it makes sense to swap Jackson for him.

The guy who won’t get as much press, but might be the bigger loss is Ian Kennedy.  Kennedy has a lot of detractors, myself included at times, but I still believe he will develop into a competent starter.  By that I mean someone who can step in and pitch 200 innnings with around a 4 ERA.  That’s not what you want at the top of the rotation, but it is nice to have in the middle.  

The last guy is Phil Coke and I don’t really mind giving him up.  It’s nice the Yankees still have Dunn because he certainly has the potential to equal Coke’s numbers and he is four years younger. 

The more I think about this trade, the more I like it.  Yes, it hurts to give up the prospects, but the Yankees gave them up for the right type of player- a young player with a proven track record in the bigs.  That is a departure from previous years when the Yankees would give up the few prospects they had for older guys.  Brian Cashman said at the outset of the offseason "we have to get younger".  The Yankees just did and they also got better in 2010.  If they bring back Damon or Matui and you could bring either one back with Granderson in the fold, think about that lineup.  That will keep some opposing pitchers up late at night. 

Andy Says No (For Now)

The Post is reporting that Andy Pettitte rejected a one-year/$10 million offer from the Yankees.  But, ESPN is reporting he will pitch in 2010 and it is a matter of "working out a deal with the Yankees."

That’s a pretty good offer he rejected, but I think the Yankees would go a bit higher,  He made about $10.5 million last year with the incentives, so I could see the Yankees going up to $12 million.  We shall see.

Time For A Laugh

This one comes via Scott Boras.  (And isn’t it weird to see Boras standing right behind home plate next to Pat Sajack at the Big A?)  Here is what Boras said to the Daily News about Johnny Damon

"Not that I’ve been thinking about this, but players who can get on the field every day and score 100 runs, how many guys do that?  Johnny just plays, and he’s got the body type that allows him to do that.  If stem-cell research were around, you’d want to tap into that gene pool.  He’s (35), but has a 30-year-old’s body. He plays much younger."

Some thoughts about this

"Not that I’ve been thinking about this" yeah right. 

I guess he has the arm of a 70-year old?

And, Boras may not have realized that stem cells are around, but I think he meant to say cloaning.   

Does Anyone Get This?

When the NLCS and ALCS were scheduled, there were three overlap days- days when both series would have games.

The first was Friday and the Dodgers played at home @1:37 (local) while the Yankees played at home @8:07 (local)

The second is today when the Angels will play at home @1:37 (local) while the Phillies will play at home @8:07 (local)

In both cases the California team at home gets the early game while the eastern team at home gets the late game.  This doesn’t make sense from a scheduling standpoint.  Why not let the team at home in the western time zone play the later game?  And it doesn’t make sense from a weather standpoint, it’s nice in LA, not so nice in NY and Philly.  

Now we all know that TV rules everything with scheduling, but this is one I don’t get.  You could have scheduled both games to start late afternoon local time which would presumeably mean more eyeballs on the screen.  I imagine Angels fans will do their best today, but watching a 1:37 game is going to be a challenge.   

This Isn’t Working

Ok, I admit it, Joba is lost right now.  I thought this plan to start him every 5th day would give him the stability he needed, but I was wrong, it hasn’t and the Yankees have a big problem on their hands.

And the problem isn’t specifically limited to Joba.  Let’s start with the facts.  One more win or one more Texas loss and they make the playoffs.   They also lead the Red Sox by five games and the Angels by 5-1/2 with their next six games against those two teams.  3-3 or better and they should win the AL East and clinch the best record in the AL and that is the key to the playoffs.

It is the key because it would allow them to pick the ALDS where you only need three starters and that brings us back to our problem.  The Yankees don’t really have more than three starters right now and three might be stretching it.  Andy Pettitte has a huge game tonight because he has to put the fears about his cranky arm to rest.  A.J. Burnett looked a lot better last time out, but we need to see that again this week against prime competition to believe it.  If those two pass their tests then the Yankees enter the playoff with a 1-2-3 that’s good enough to win.  If not, well….

But that still leaves an empty hole where a fourth starter should go and if the Yankees reach the ALCS they will need a fourth starter.  That’s why I think they have to remove Joba from the rotation and think outside the box.

Let’s start with Joba.  He has thrown 146-2/3 innings this season.  Even if he didn’t throw another pitch this year, it would be reasonable to assume he could make it to 180 next season.  But he is going to throw more innings this year I just hope he does it from the bullpen.  Let’s move him back to the pen and get him ready to pitch in relief in the playoffs.  With a combination of Hughes and Joba in front of Rivera, the Yankees would have the ability to drastically shorten playoff games.  You could ask your starter to give you five innings and then bring in Joba for two, Hughes for one and Mo for one.  That is probably the Yankees best chance to win in 2009.

Moving Joba out of the rotation means you need to find a potential fourth starter for the ALCS.  Chad Gaudin walks way too many guys, but he has pitched well since coming over.  He is now a starter since Girardi finally realized Mitre wasn’t cutting it and he gets the first crack.  But the Yankees need a contingency plan and that is where Ian Kennedy comes into the picture.  The Yankees need to get Kennedy out there and see if he can get big leaguers out.   

Kennedy pitched three perfect innings in AAA last week and struck out six.  The Yankees have him on the roster and there is no reason why they couldn’t stretch him out over the final weeks of the season to be able to pitch five innings.  As I noted above, with Joba in the bullpen that is all the Yankees need right now and if Kennedy can pitch five good innings, he becomes a candidate for the fourth starter spot in the playoffs.

All of this assumes the Yankees realize that the Joba plan isn’t working.  Cashman and Girardi have done a ton of things right this season, but they still show a troubling tendency to let things that are broken stay broken for far too long.  (For examples think of Mitre as a starter or Angel Berroa sitting on the 25-man roster)  Admitting Joba isn’t up to starting right now isn’t a stretch.  Having him pitch out of the bullpen at this point really won’t hurt his long term development and it would make the Yankees better.  Isn’t that what you want heading into October? 

Deadline Blog

Thanks to some NYC traffic, we are getting a little bit of a late start, but here’s what we know.

Washburn is going to Detroit

V-Mart to Boston

And the Yankees have added…Jerry Hairston Jr.   

3:48 One of the frustrating things right now is that we are hearing only one side of these deals.  Still don’t know who the Yankees gave up for Hairston.  

3:51 Red Sox traded LaRoche to Atlanta for Casey Kotchman. 

3:56 Heyman on MLB Network said that he believes the Red Sox think that Kotchman will adapt to a backup role better than LaRoche.  

3:58 Heyman puts the chances of a Halladay deal at -20%.

4:00 Joel Sherman reporting that the Yankees will have both Hairston and Shelley Duncan on the roster.  That probably means goodbye to Cody Ransom.  

4:03 It’s Victor Martinez bobblehead night in Cleveland tomorrow.  Can they ship those to Fenway now?  

4:05 Peter Gammons reporting that Nick Johnson is going to the Marlins and that Halladay may be on his way to the Angels.

4:07  Andy are you paying attention?  Rolen was traded for Edwin Encarnacion.  

4:22 Jason Stark reporting that nothing happened with Halladay

4:30 Heyman reporting the Padres have traded Peavy to the White Sox- AGAIN!

4:31 Yankees traded Chase Weems (single A catcher) for Hairston

4:34 Peavy has agreed to the trade with the White Sox according to Buster Olney

4:42 Hey Yankees’ fans, the White Sox traded their starter for tonight in the Peavy deal.  Not sure what their plan B is, but they might have to scramble because they haven’t had an offday in awhile.