• At First, Next Season

    Posted by on August 31st, 2008 · Comments (11)

    Joel Sherman, in the Post, talks about the reconstruction of the Yankees for next season.

    One of the big ticket items there is “Who’s on first?”

    There’s no way that I would bring back Giambi next season – even if he gives the Yankees a discount on a one-year deal (after the Yankees buy-out his 2009 option).

    Giambi will be 38-years old next season. He’s a defensive liability. And, other than having a hot bat in May and June this season, he’s been a bust with the bat this year. Here are his monthly splits, with August being through yesterday:

    Month	G	PA	R	2B	HR	RBI	SO
    April	23	92	13	3	5	13	11
    May	22	92	12	6	6	14	14
    June	27	100	16	3	6	19	18
    July	21	80	7	1	3	16	18
    August	26	94	8	0	7	21	25
    							
    Month	G	PA	BA	OBP	SLG		
    April	23	92	.164	.315	.411		
    May	22	92	.315	.446	.644		
    June	27	100	.305	.430	.585		
    July	21	80	.234	.375	.391		
    August	26	94	.228	.319	.494		
    

    Now, I know that many, many, Yankees fans want to see New York make a run at free agent Mark Teixeira this off-season – to have him play first for the team in 2009 (and beyond). I don’t question the greatness of Teixeira. He gets on base, hits for power, is great with the glove, and is somewhat young. But, the thought of having another player on the Yankees with a long-term deal paying him in excess of $20 million a year just makes me sick. The Yankees need to get away from those types of contracts.

    The last time the Yankees had a need at first – due to an aging former-star leaving the team – they went out and made a trade. You remember that one, right?

    On December 7, 1995, New York sent Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock to the Seattle Mariners for Jim Mecir, Jeff Nelson, and some guy named Tino Martinez.

    I would love to see the Yankees make a move like this again. In his feature, Joel Sherman suggests a Phil Hughes for Joey Votto type deal. I’m not sure, as much as they need pitching, that the Reds would deal Votto. But, there are other young guys that the Yankees could target to play first base for them, next season.

    These players include: James Loney of the Dodgers, Adam LaRoche of the Pirates, and Chris Davis of the Rangers. Or, the Yankees could look at some other young players, from other teams, who could be converted to first base. These players include: Kevin Kouzmanoff of the Padres, Corey Hart of the Brewers, and Mark Teahen of the Royals.

    From these players mentioned, Chris Davis of the Rangers excites me the most. He’ll only be 23-years old next season. He bats left-handed. He’s good around the bag at first – as he’s a converted third baseman. And, he’s got a great track record of hitting. I know that he’s a local boy for the Rangers – as he was born in Texas. And, when you have a local kid with star potential, those are hard to trade. But, the Rangers need pitching – and pitching prospects.

    If I’m the Yankees, I would offer the Rangers Ian Kennedy, Zach McAllister, and Brian Bruney in exchange for Davis. And, if that didn’t work, I would then offer them Phil Hughes, George Kontos and Jose Veras.

    If the Rangers reject those offers, then I would start talking to the Dodgers about a Hughes for Loney deal – straight up.

    And, if L.A. was not interested, then I would start to target Adam LaRoche and Kevin Kouzmanoff – offering some package along the lines of Ian Kennedy, Alfredo Aceves, and a relief pitcher from the bin of Brian Bruney, Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez.

    And, if that failed, I would start talking to the Royals about Mark Teahen in exchange for Ian Kennedy, Phil Coke and Brian Bruney. Next, I would start talking to the Brewers about Corey Hart – just to see if he would be available.

    I wonder if the Yankees would take this same approach?

    Comments on At First, Next Season

    1. gphunt
      August 31st, 2008 | 10:43 am

      I wouldn’t want Adam Laroche. Guy doesn’t even show up to play until June or July. His first half splits are terrible.

    2. antone
      August 31st, 2008 | 11:00 am

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Giambi is back for one more season. There isn’t much out there except for Teixeira, who will cost a fortune. I wouldn’t give up Hughes for a first basemen like Davis. Not that I think the trade wouldn’t be even but I just think Hughes has more worth than that on the market. Whether he should be worth that much is another question. Also in the case of Davis, we don’t know how good he really is. He could be another Kevin Maas for all we know.
      I know you can say the same about Hughes but if we are going to trade him, I would like it to be for a sure thing.

      I’m not sure why you would trade for Mark Teahan. He’s horrible and you could probably find someone better than him or at least as good without giving anything up.

      I would not mind Loney but I don’t think the Dodgers would trade him because they need hitting, their pitching is solid. The Dodgers would probably be a good place for Cano to go actually since Bowa is there and you might be able to swing a deal for some of their young pitching.

    3. hopbitters
      August 31st, 2008 | 1:43 pm

      Hart and Davis are the only ones that I would offer anyone substantial for.

    4. Tex Antoine
      August 31st, 2008 | 5:55 pm

      Why would anybody want Ian Kennedy?

    5. hallofamer2000
      August 31st, 2008 | 5:59 pm

      Adam LaRoche, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Mark Teahen, and Corey Hart had one thing in common, they’re not that great.

      James Loney: Solid, but little power.
      Adam LaRoche: Second half hitter, .330s OBP career.
      Chris Davis: Solid.
      Kevin Kouzmanoff: .316 OBP. .308 this year.
      Mark Teahen:.335 career OBP.
      Corey Hart: .335 OBP.

      Half these players aren’t that good at all, just cheap. Giving good pitching for them is pointless.

      But…if the Yankees can pick up Davis (can hit 50 homers in a full year I bet), or that fat first baseman from Milwaukee, that would be nice…

      Crazy idea…Trade for Chris Davis AND Max Ramirez/Jarrod Saltalamacchia…A deal centered around Kennedy and McAllister…Allows them to move Posada to DH AND allows them to trade Matsui or Damon, getting prospects back…Mets might be interested in one of them….

    6. hallofamer2000
      August 31st, 2008 | 6:04 pm

      Also, they let Gardner take center, sign CC, re-sign Moose. All their problems solved with 3 simple moves…

      CC/Moose/Wang/Joba/Hughes-Aceves-Wright-Other
      Bullpen: Mo/Ramirez/Veras/Marte/Giese-Robertson-Albaladejo-Britton-Melancon-Coke-Patterson-Cox-Other

      C-Ramirez/Salty
      1B-Davis
      2B-Cano
      SS-Jeter
      3B-ARod
      LF-Damon or Matsui (most likely Damon)
      CF-Gardner
      RF-Nady
      DH-Posada
      Bench: Molina, Miranda, Christian, infielder

    7. August 31st, 2008 | 8:16 pm

      ~~Giving good pitching for them is pointless.~~

      But, what if I don’t value the pitching given up as much as you do?

    8. DJ21996
      September 1st, 2008 | 9:00 am

      1st base next year…If Teix is a no-go, then I would really try and look into Adrian Gonzalez.

      It would be very hard to get him though.

      This is the summer where I think we might see some of our young pitchers get traded for positional players.
      I really like Zach Mac but his value would be sky high right now.

    9. John ONeil
      September 1st, 2008 | 4:09 pm

      Bring on the youth. I expected we’d miss the playoffs (though not because of the Rays.) Wish we’d have tanked before the trade deadline and been sellers (Giambi, Abreu, even Pettitte.)

      Not a fan of binging on free agents with one exception – pitching. Yes it is a minefield – (Pavano, Igawa, etc.) But if we miss, it really only hurts Hank’s wallet – which is going to be bulging next year with contracts ending and the new stadium windfall. A pitcher that flames out doesn’t pitch. Igawa sucked and forced us to find a replacement true. But he was not an immovable roadblock. On the other hand, Giambi has had maybe four good months in the last 3 seasons. In between, he blocks any possibility of a young player growing into the job. The thinking goes “We’re paying him $20M and he has shown flashes, lets just give him a chance to find his groove…”

      I’d have gone for Santana if he was a straight free agent but not in exchange for prospects AND a big deal. Yes, he’d be an expensive #3 or #4 starter a few years into his 7 year deal. But the Yanks can afford that. I’d still make room for the young guns – which will never be hard. The ways things go for us, 10 pitchers will get a chance to start for us every year – often before May is over.

      We need a different spec for what we want in an everyday player. From ’95 to ’01, we had a mix of a few imported stars, but predominantly home grown talent, and blue collar workers. As the run continued, you got the sense that we were going to win – we just didn’t know who would come through – Bernie, Paulie, Brosiua, Tino – even Spencer, Curtis or Sojo. The expectation to win was high. The pressure was high. But it was distributed across the team.

      Now we sport a lineup with 7 batters making $15M plus. 5 came to NY to “win a championship.” The fans judge them on every at bat. If they come through, it is not “wow did you see how Knoblauch delivered last night.” Instead, its “its about time that Giambi got a hit. When is A-Rod going to come through when it counts?”

      As I have posted earlier, I am going to give Gardner or Miranda or Ransom a lot more slack after GIDPing in the ninth than I will give our $30M, clutch-every-other-year, 3B slugger. It is more interesting baseball to watch. And I think we will win as much or more games.

      So I’d give CC a big offer. I might even trade for another good starter.

      1st Base: I’d be happy with a good fielding, solid-not-spectacular hitter with a great work ethic (Blalock?.) One that can shorten his swing and get a runner home from third with a fly ball or a grounder to 2B. Not one that swings from the heels and trys to pull every pitch. If A-Rod holds to form, next year will be a big year again. We can have an acceptable corner infield power output without needing Tex at first.

      2nd Base: Tough call. Cano may be unteachable. They thought the same about Soriano. His plate discipline hasn’t really changed but he made a successful transition to the outfield. If he can’t change his unfocused approach to the game, it may be time to “Roberto Kelley him” as Steve says and look for a 21st Century Paulie or a #3 starter.

      Gardner in center. Abreu is quite possibly the worst defensive RF in baseball. I’d take his bat back as the DH /back up outfield. But the Yanks already have a line of bad gloves outside the DH office (Matsui, Damon, Posada). Not sure we need one more. Trading Damon makes sense but is risky. Can Gardner step up? If so, trade Damon and then have Gardener steal on the 1st pitch everytime so Jeter can’t erase him with a GiDP. Then make Jeter bunt 50% of the time to get him to third.

      Hall of famer’s idea on Davis & Saltimachia has some merit. But I’d give up IPK before Hughes.

      Looking forward to a September with young guys trying real hard without a “deliver or you suck” expectation for every plate appearance or pitch. But the way this season is going, the young ones may end up winning enough games to close the gap a bit. Then we’ll switch back in the big dollar guys and tank.

    10. September 7th, 2008 | 8:26 am

      [...] I’d still rather see the Yankees make a run for someone like Chris Davis. But, if the choice is between bringing back Giambi or playing a bunch of guys at first, including [...]

    11. September 7th, 2008 | 1:35 pm

      [...] To Do With First I was perusing posts at WW and read the following: The last time the Yankees had a need at first – due to an aging former-star [...]

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