• The Melk Man For Mike Gonzalez?

    Posted by on December 15th, 2006 · Comments (29)

    From the Beaver County Times -

    If the Pittsburgh Pirates wind up trading closer Mike Gonzalez, it appears the most likely destination for the left-hander is the New York Yankees.

    Baseball sources indicated Friday that Yankees are willing to part with left-handed hitting outfielder Melky Cabrera straight-up in a trade for Gonzalez. But the Pirates reportedly want a second player included, though the Yankees are highly unlikely to put right-hander Scott Proctor into the deal.

    Cabrera, 22, hit .280 with seven homers, 50 RBIs and 12 steals in 130 games as a rookie last season after batting .385 with four homers and 24 RBIs in 31 games with Class AAA Columbus.

    Gee, last time I checked, Melky was a switch-hitter…anyway…

    If the Yankees are going to trade Melky Cabrera (alone, or with something) for Mike Gonzalez, then all I can say is that they better be right.

    By this, I mean, either they don’t think Melky is going to be a very good full-time player, or, they think that Melky can play, but, they also think that getting Gonzalez now is like getting Goose Gossage back in 1978. Otherwise, there’s no way that you make this trade.

    Because, if, at the end of the day, Mike Gonzalez turns out to be more like Felix Heredia, or, if, the moving of Melky Cabrera turns out to be the second coming of the Jay Buhner trade, then this move, if it happens the way it’s being proposed, will become a “Hugh Grant-Divine Brown” (What the hell were you thinking?) event for Brian Cashman.

    When it comes to time to review Cash’s resume, everything else will take a back-seat to this deal – if it’s made and the Yankees are not right in their assessment of the talent involved.

    Yankees, if you’re reading this, again, be warned. If you do this, you better be right.

    Comments on The Melk Man For Mike Gonzalez?

    1. baileywalk
      December 15th, 2006 | 9:29 pm

      Steve, chill out. Melky is a nice player, but he’s not Ken Griffey Jr. I don’t think there’s any way that Melky defines Cashman’s time as Yankee GM.

      Also, as someone who advocated getting Gonzalez, I’m shocked you would even bring up the name Heredia. First off, Gonzalez isn’t a situational lefty — he’s a closer.

      Some people are still not convinced Melky is anything more than a fourth outfielder.

      I disagree. I think he’s an awesome corner outfielder defensively and that he’ll develop into a nice (but not great) hitter.

      I wouldn’t want to trade Melky because I like him so much, but this trade probably makes sense for the Yankees.

      The bullpen would be in nice shape if you had a back five of Proctor/Bruney, Farnsworth, Gonzalez and Mo.

      If would also allow them to trade one or two of Proctor/Beam/Bruney/Britton.

    2. DonnieDosTresBaseball
      December 15th, 2006 | 9:40 pm

      Steve, chill out. Melky is a nice player, but he’s not Ken Griffey Jr. I don’t think there’s any way that Melky defines Cashman’s time as Yankee GM………….

      Without a doubt, right. Cash’s legacy/resume wont even sniff this potential trade unless it works out in favor of us in a big way. Melky is good, but he’s nothing special. Gonzalez would probably be a bum with us, but it’s worth a shot. It’s not like we are going to get anything better for Melky. We cant package four bums to get Curt Schilling. And, on top of allowing us to trade Bruney/Britton, at least the Yanks wont be depending on Melky to be our future outfielder, when there are plenty of significantly better offensive OFs.

    3. baileywalk
      December 15th, 2006 | 10:49 pm

      Donnie, why do you think Gonzalez would be a bum for us? Just history repeating itself? Or something specific?

      He walks too many, but Gonzalez is a hard-throwing lefty who strikes guys out.

    4. Ghostwheel
      December 15th, 2006 | 11:36 pm

      Why trade for any pitcher from PITTSBURGH? The NL is an easier league and someone please tell me who came out of Pittsburgh to a big market team and didn’t disappoint.

    5. DonnieDosTresBaseball
      December 15th, 2006 | 11:39 pm

      Nothing really specific about Gonzalez. Ive got nothing against the guy’s stuff. I know we’ve had some luck (Small/Chacon/etc.), but basically just history repeating itself.

      If i wanted to get specific, he has problems walking people. Because the Yankees get squeezed in key situations, and this guy would be pitching in key situations, he is more likely to walk more batters because of the umpires. Also, other teams know this, and that is why we get so few strikeouts swinging on what I like to call the AlexRod swinging special: swinging at a pitch miles low and off the plate.

      You know what, we dont get squeezed. Squeezed implies that it is a judgment by the umpire on whether or not it is a strike or a ball. It is my firm belief that the umpire knows it’s a strike, but decides to screw us intentionally (like Chris Ray walking Matsui to tie the game, but rather being struck out).

      I would like to let you guys in on a secret that I’m aware of. If you remember the game against the D-Rays where Alfonso Marques gave us every borderline call in the 1st and we hit two 3-run homers. That was a meaningless game, so he set us up by giving us a false sense of security, so he could screw us against the Tigers in the ALDS. We got treated fairly in Game 1, hence the win. The moment Leyland argued with the umps in Game 2, the calls significantly changed against us and we wouldnt be treated fairly the rest of the series, hence the way our guys went down like a bunch of minor-leaguers aside of Damon’s homer.

    6. DonnieDosTresBaseball
      December 15th, 2006 | 11:56 pm

      Serious Question:

      Does anyone think the Yanks can get a case of beer in a trade for T.J. Beam?

      Or is that pushing it?

      Side Note from above post: I’m not saying Marques was the HP ump for Game 2, but I’m sure he was for Game 2, 3, or 4.

      Correcton from above post: *aside from* Damon’s homer.

    7. Yu Hsing Chen
      December 16th, 2006 | 12:01 am

      I have to agree that whenever your trading a younger pasition player for a older reliever you better be damn sure of what your doing.

      Gonzalez is going to be 29 next year, his track record in the minors is decent though mixed. (he bounced up and down a lot.) and his control troubles are very consistent, it seems unrealistic that he’s going to overcome that problem at the age of 29-30.

      In short, he’s a younger Ron Villone, would you trade Melky for a younger Ron Villone?

    8. baileywalk
      December 16th, 2006 | 12:02 am

      This year T.J. Beam put up superhuman numbers in the minors and the AFL.

      So yeah, a case a beer could definitely be had. You might even get a player back to drink the beer with Damon and Giambi.

      In all seriousness, if T.J. Beam can get over his rookie jitters, he’s Proctor+. He has a rubber arm and can give you 100 innings out of the ‘pen (which he did this year) and has impeccable control (with better strikeout numbers than Proctor).

    9. mehmattski
      December 16th, 2006 | 12:10 am

      Now, I like Melky a lot too and I don’t like this trade a whole lot… but Mike Gonzalez would have to never pitch for the Yankees and Melky would have to be a perennial all-star for this to even crack the top five of questionable Cashman trades:

      1. Mike Lowell for Ed Yarnell, Mark Johnson
      2. Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera for Javy Vasquez
      3. Ted Lilly and John-Ford Griffen for Jeff Weaver
      4. Weaver and Yhency Bazoban for Kevin Brown
      5. Vazquez, Dioneer Navarro, Brad Halsey for Randy Johnson

      Not to mention some of the notable successful trades off the top of my head:

      1. CJ Henry, Matt Smith, etc for Bobby Abreu
      2. Jake Westbrook, Zach Day for David Justice
      3. Soriano for A-Rod
      4. Wells, Bush, Lloyd for Clemens
      5. Robin Ventura for Scott Proctor and Bubba Crosby
      6. Kenny Rogers for Scott Brosius
      7. Irabu for Westbrook, Lilly, Christian Parker

      And one more point:

      Granted, I wasn’t born yet when the trade went down, but would Phelps-Buhner been that big of a deal if not for Seinfeld?

    10. baileywalk
      December 16th, 2006 | 12:10 am

      Yu, why focus on his minor-league numbers? Gonzalez has had three full years in the big leagues and was excellent all three years. They made him a closer in ’06 and he converted 24 out of 24 save opportunities.

      In ’04, he pitched 43 innings, gave up 32 hits, had a 6/55 BB/K (wow!), with a 1.25 ERA.
      In ’05, he pitched 50 innings, gave up 35 hits, had a 31/58 BB/K, with a 2.70 ERA.
      In ’06, he pitched 54 innings, gave up 42 hits, had a 31/64 BB/K, with a 2.17 ERA.

      Those are three EXCELLENT years. He had impeccable control for one year, but then lost that control. In any event, he closed this year and was great in the role, he’s a lefty who throws hard, and he’s still making the minimum for one more season.

      I’m surprised other teams aren’t offering more for this guy.

    11. baileywalk
      December 16th, 2006 | 12:14 am

      Also, Yu, Villone has never had a season anywhere NEAR the seasons Gonzalez has had. Not even CLOSE. They are not a good comparison. And the most saves Villone has ever had is two.

    12. DonnieDosTresBaseball
      December 16th, 2006 | 12:42 am

      mehmattski– I know Nick Johnson is good, and Juan Rivera appears to the untrained eye as good, taking into consideration Johnson’s injuries and the fact that Rivera was a nothing and would always have been a nothing with us, that deal was a good one. I understand switching leagues and coming to the biggest stage in the world, but the potential upside of Javy was the same potential upside of D-Mat. {{Hey hey hey, maybe me making this comparison will make D-Mat turn into Yankee Javy}}

      The RJ deal was a no-brainer. He is one of the greatest pitchers of all time (not the playoffs except ’01) and was coming off a terrific season. Navarro and Halsey are bums, and Javy had proved he was less valuable to the Yankees than some duct tape used to tape each of Mo’s splintered bats.

      bailey — I guess it’s possible Beam could become something based on talent, but can you imagine a Yankee great, or even an effective Yankee, who looks like Beam.

    13. RICH
      December 16th, 2006 | 4:40 am

      For everyone praising Mike Gonzalez, remember he was shut down for the entire month of September after he pitched 3 consecutive games in late August. He’s also had some problems / surgeries in previously.

      He has been good when he’s been able to get to the mound, though.

    14. Raf
      December 16th, 2006 | 9:37 am

      When it comes to time to review Cash’s resume, everything else will take a back-seat to this deal – if it’s made and the Yankees are not right in their assessment of the talent involved.
      ========
      Wow… So THAT’S the difference in writing between a player you like and a player you don’t like :)

    15. Raf
      December 16th, 2006 | 9:41 am

      Why trade for any pitcher from PITTSBURGH? The NL is an easier league and someone please tell me who came out of Pittsburgh to a big market team and didn’t disappoint.
      ================
      Off the top of my head; Goose Gossage, John Candelaria, Willie Randolph, Bert Blyleven, Rick Reed, Rick Reuschel.

      I’m sure I can come up with more names with some time

    16. Raf
      December 16th, 2006 | 9:50 am

      1. Mike Lowell for Ed Yarnell, Mark Johnson
      2. Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera for Javy Vasquez
      3. Ted Lilly and John-Ford Griffen for Jeff Weaver
      4. Weaver and Yhency Bazoban for Kevin Brown
      5. Vazquez, Dioneer Navarro, Brad Halsey for Randy Johnson
      ================
      1. Where are you going to play Lowell? Brosius signed a 3 year extension as Lowell was ready
      2. I’d make that trade again; Vasquez was shaping up to be a pretty decent pitcher, not to mention Johnson was blocked @ 1b by Giambi.
      3. Same as Vasquez, Weaver was shaping up to be a pretty decent pitcher
      4. Salary dump, slop swap
      5. I’d make that trade again too. There was no telling RJ was going to get old this quick.

      As for Buhner/Phelps, where were the Yanks going to play him? Winfield was in RF, Rickey as in LF. Jack Clark was DH’ing. Buhner, at the time, was a strikeout prone OF, and Piniella wasn’t too crazy about him. Yanks felt they needed a lefty bat, for whatever reason (Washington, Mattingly, & Pags), and the trade was made.

    17. christopher
      December 16th, 2006 | 11:28 am

      Why trade for any pitcher from PITTSBURGH? The NL is an easier league and someone please tell me who came out of Pittsburgh to a big market team and didn’t disappoint.
      ================
      Off the top of my head; Goose Gossage, John Candelaria, Willie Randolph, Bert Blyleven, Rick Reed, Rick Reuschel.

      I’m sure I can come up with more names with some time
      ===================

      And…BONDS, A. Ramirez, Schmidt, Neagle, Arroyo, etc, etc. If anything, Pittsburgh has been a very successful farm team for the rest of the majors.

      I think this deal is a no brainer. Gonzalez would be Billy Wagner on a better team. His walk totals are misleading. He has great control. His walks come from pitching around tough righties, not from lack of control. As you can see from his ERAs, his walks don’t lead to runs. He didn’t have a single wild pitch last year, has only hit 4 batters in his career, and he doesn’t give up HRs. He can put the ball where he wants to.

    18. mehmattski
      December 16th, 2006 | 12:05 pm

      Donnie, Raf:

      You guys make good points, and I said that those trades were “questionable” and not “bad” trades for a reason… there can be points made on either side. My point was that there are plenty of trades you can point to which can “define” this GM’s tenure, in fact so many of them that a Melky-Gonzalez trade would have to be extraordinary in some way to even scratch the surface.

      To date Cashman has made one trade where he’s traded away a young, blocked guy who became an all-star (Lowell) and one trade where he traded away two young, blocked guys who became pretty nice players (Johnson and Rivera). So there’s no reason to think that trading away another young, blocked player (Melky) will “define” Cashman as a GM. That was my point. I’m loving the discussion of the trades though.

    19. JohnnyC
      December 16th, 2006 | 12:42 pm

      I think Cashman’s trying to make life a little more difficult for the Red Sox, knowing of their intense interest in Gonzalez and their serious lack of a closer. By diverting Pittsburgh’s attention for a few precious weeks, it can force the Red Sox to either pay through the nose for Gonzalez or move quickly onto some other plan. I think Cashman’s smart enough to realize that, all things being equal, he’d rather trade chips away for Laroche than Gonzalez.

    20. December 16th, 2006 | 1:27 pm

      Pl – eeeassseee.. Mike Gonzlez doesn’t just shut down batters, he makes them buckle at the seams and walk away with their head between their legs. Obviously many folks here haven’t seen Mike throw his 96 mph (has touched 99) heater under a chin or two?

      And as far as getting AL batters out, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. If Gonzo can K Pujols 40% of the time, he can K anyone in the game.

      Gonzo’s weakness has been walking too many batters but if you go back and look at his resume, you’ll notice they typically happened back to back earlier in his career when he wasn’t being used appropriately. I don’t think he issued a walk the last 2 or 3 months of the season last year.

      There is — read my lips — ZERO — chance the Pirates would trade Gonzalez for Milky Cabrera. That is just plain nuts.

      But that’s my take..

      Jake

    21. baileywalk
      December 16th, 2006 | 2:45 pm

      Jake, these rumors haven’t been created out of thin air. Pittsburgh has talked with the Yanks, and Melky was the main target. Originally it was going to be a three-way deal with the Braves, involving Adam LaRoche, but the Yankees were unwilling to give up Scott Proctor.

      Once the Braves were out of it, it became Melky (plus a prospect) for Gonzalez. Apparently the Pirates think highly of Melky.

      I just don’t really understand why the Pirates would make that deal. If they are looking for a power hitter like everyone says, why give up your one chip for Melky?

      It’s been reported that they turned down a trade of Gonzalez for Chad Tracy.

      If the prospect the Pirates want isn’t anyone important (if it’s not Hughes, Sanchez, Cox, Tabata, Whalan, etc., etc.) — maybe a Beam or a Duncan or a Gardner (one of the second-level guys) — then you’ll probably see this deal done soon.

    22. brockdc
      December 16th, 2006 | 3:35 pm

      Johnny C,

      Good to know you’re still lurking about. I hope you’re right about Yanks trying spike the market on Gonzalez.

      And, I realize there’s virtually no place anymore – in the contemporary discourse of winning baseball – for me to say that I wouldn’t even advocate a straight-up trade of Melky anyone short of Johan Santana; but, sadly, that’s exactly how I feel. I like the kid, love his energy, effort, and youthful passion for the game. And I think he can grow in pinstripes to be a defensively above average, high OBP-type with a cannon in right field. If I recall correctly, the Yanks had another guy like that a few years ago that we all ended up falling in love with.

    23. brockdc
      December 16th, 2006 | 3:41 pm

      Sorry. The posting above should read, “…a straight-up trade of Melky FOR anyone short of Johan Santana…”

      Prepositions are our friends.

    24. Chewbacca
      December 16th, 2006 | 4:10 pm

      Jake

      You’re probably right. They wouldn’t take Melk for Mike. But it’s not for the reason you think. They would have no problem taking just Dustin Pedroia from the Red Sox.

    25. Chewbacca
      December 16th, 2006 | 4:11 pm

      Brockdc

      You are crazy if you thinking Melky will be anything more than a fourth outfielder. High OBP? we would be lucky if it is over .325

      I dont understand what the love affair with Melky is. Last time I checked energy, effort, and youthful passion cannot be quantified into wins on the baseball field. And Melky just cant compete offensively as a corner outfielder with the rest of the league.

    26. brockdc
      December 16th, 2006 | 5:38 pm

      Chewbacca,

      “I dont understand what the love affair with Melky is.”

      To use your words, “energy, effort, and youthful passion.” Personally, I think those are great reasons to love a ballplayer.

      “we would be lucky if it is over .325″

      Based on which projections system? All the projections I’ve seen have Melky between .340 and .360 OBP next year. Certainly not superstar caliber (though I’d imagine his slugging % will increase over time); but how many runs has his stellar defense saved?

    27. Jake
      December 16th, 2006 | 5:42 pm

      baileywalk said:

      “Jake, these rumors haven’t been created out of thin air.”

      To which Jake responds:

      uh, right. ;)

      The Yankees, or the NY media, are posturing using Gonzalez.. they did that because of two well known reasons..

      1) David Littlefield is an avid Red Sox fan. True he is a GM first, but don’t – EVER – expect Littlefield to do a deal to help the Yankees unless he gets blown away.

      2) Cashman is still peo’d at Littlefield because of his 2003 antics sending Gonzalez to the Red Sox with Sauerbeck. Perhaps some of you don’t remember but Cashman thought he had a done deal for Gonzalez. How do I know he is still upset? Because I asked him last spring training. ;) None of that means a thing right now, of course, but it goes to show these two are polar opposites like Shuerholz and Littlefield are and why they will never do a deal either (unless a giveaway or minor leaguer).

      3) Even Dave Littlefield isn’t stupid enough to take a career 200 ERA+ closer and peddle him for a kid that has yet to prove his value, is overrated by most scouts, and has yet to master defense (I watched him backpeddle many a games in CF on little FB that dropped in front of him). Besides, LF at PNC has perhaps the largest range of any OF in baseball and Cabrera playing there would easily be a -20 run proposition.

      Posturing baby – it’s what the real ‘under’ game is all about. Ask any Pirate fan who has witnessesd 14 years of it – we read posturing like bird dogs hunt pheasant. ;)

    28. mehmattski
      December 16th, 2006 | 8:09 pm

      “but don’t – EVER – expect Littlefield to do a deal to help the Yankees unless he gets blown away.”

      This is the same guy who took Chacon for Craig Wilson, right?

    29. Chewbacca
      December 16th, 2006 | 8:41 pm

      ESPN’s Dave O’Brien has been named to the 3-man rotation of Red Sox radio announcers. It was stated that O’Brien grew up in Boston and always had a passion for the Red Sox. I always assumed that he was a Red Sox fan because of the difference in the way he commentated our games and the way he called their games, and also his ability in a game involving neither the Sox or the Yankees to turn anything into how great Papi is. These are the type of people that ESPN hires. ESPN’s and Dave’s bias are so evident that I did not need any background info on Dave to know that he was a Sox fan. And this is the guy that ESPN made the face of the World Cup broadcasting team rather than someone with a soccer background. I strongly urge those of you loyal WasWatching bloggers that live in the New York/New Jersey area to NEVER watch ESPN. I’m going to post this under another article, in case some people do not come back to this one.

      Does anyone think that O’Brien, Gammons, Olney, Bill Simmons, John Buccigross, Sean McDonough, Duke Castiglione, and Chris Berman all gang-bang Erin Andrews (consensually, of course) when ESPN has a get-together? Maybe at the ESPN Christmas party?

      (All work for ESPN and have a Red Sox background; I’m leaving out numerous other Bostonians working for ESPN)

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