I thought I would provide some analysis on what the Yankees reportedly acquired and gave up this evening.
First, Damaso Marte. The Yankees looked into picking him up back in December of 2006 and again last December. And, now, they finally got him. And, maybe, they might keep him for next year too. Marte has some value. And, he’s pitched on a championship team. But, he’s not always perfect either. Then again, he’s going to help the Yankees a lot more than someone…say…like LaTroy Hawkins or Billy Traber.
Next, Xavier Nady. He’s an interesting case. Nady was the 49th overall pick in the 2000 draft and the California League’s Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in 2001. After that, for the next three years, he had more downs than ups. From 2005 through 2007, Nady appeared to be a decent big league player – with an average stick. In fact, during that period, he had 1,338 Plate Appearances and created one run above what an average batter would have produced in that playing time.
However, this season, at age 29, Xavier Nady has been one of the best hitters in his league – albeit over a span of less than 100 games. Has he turned a corner now, or, is he just a flash in the pan?
Well, put it this way – he’s better than Justin Christian. Now, the Yankees can play Nady in left, have Johnny Damon DH, send Christian back to the minors, and use Brett Gardner off the bench. Plus, the Yankees will have Nady under contract for 2009 – and they can then use him in right field (in place of Bobby Abreu and keeping that spot warm for Austin Jackson). And, even if 2008 is a fluke, Nady has shown that he can be a league average batter…and that’s not terrible. In fact, this season, Bobby Abreu has been just about a “league average” performer – in terms of creating runs. So, perhaps, at the worst, Xavier Nady can be a right-handed Bobby Abreu for the Yankees next season?
Bottom line, the Yankees, in picking up these two players, have now improved their big league roster for the next two months – and perhaps for next year as well. But, at what cost?
Ross Ohlendorf, George Kontos, and Phil Coke are, indeed, pitching prospects. But, at best, they’re what you would call “C+” prospects – again, at best – and not blue-chip pitching prospects. Given the number of “C+” pitching prospects in the Yankees system, New York can afford to trade these guys to help their big league team now.
Now, Jose Tabata is another story. Many consider him to be a future star because, prior to this season, he’s had a high batting average in the minors and he won’t be 20-years old until next month. I’ve already seen comments from some Yankees fans that New York has “sold low” on Tabata by shipping him out now.
However, Jose Tabata has also had injury issues, his attitude has been questioned by some scouts in the past – and he’s been disciplined for insubordination a couple of times this season. Plus, he’s yet to show any homerun power to date.
Tabata could just be one of those guys…like José Malavé, Alex Escobar, or Roberto Petagine…who looks great in the minors, at a young age, and never cuts in the majors. More times than not, that’s the case. And, based on the strikes against Tabata, to date, I don’t think the Yankees “sold low” on him – I think they sold “just in time.” Of course, time will tell as to whether or not I’m correct on this one.