• Trade Clock Goes Tick, Tick, Tick…

    Posted by on July 29th, 2011 · Comments (19)

    Via Ken Rosenthal today -

    I refuse to believe that the Yankees are going to enter the postseason with a rotation consisting of CC and the Uncertains.

    Plain and simple, the Yankees need to acquire a starting pitcher before the non-waiver deadline Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.

    Their current group behind Sabathia isn’t going to cut it. Their top prospects at Class AA, lefty Manny Banuelos and righty Dellin Betances, aren’t ready. And while the Red Sox have their own rotation questions – where have you gone, Clay Buchholz? – it’s just difficult to imagine the Yankees getting through three postseason rounds with Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Co.

    Problem is, the Yankees are in a bit of a bind.

    The Rockies likely will not drop the price for right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, seeking at least Betances, right-hander Ivan Nova and catcher Jesus Montero from the Yankees, and probably more.

    Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda might be more attainable, assuming he is willing to waive his no-trade clause, a question that has not yet been answered. But Kuroda would not necessarily be an effective counter to the Red Sox’s left-handed thump: Left-handed hitters have a .760 OPS against him this season.

    One rival exec says that Erik Bedard, the Mariners’ oft-injured lefty, actually would be a better fit for the Yankees than Kuroda. Both the Yankees and Red Sox are expected to scout Bedard on Friday night when he comes off the disabled list against the Rays. He has not pitched since June 27 due to his latest ailment, a sprained left knee.

    Maybe the White Sox suddenly will make lefty John Danks and/or righty Gavin Floyd available; maybe the Astros will try to dump lefty Wandy Rodriguez and the nearly $40 million remaining on his contract for a modest return. But from all appearances, the starting-pitching market isn’t overflowing.

    Colon and Garcia have been terrific, mind you, combining to go 16-13 with a 3.26 ERA. Perhaps the Yankees could find each a “breather” if their postseason berth looks secure; they currently lead the Angels for the wild card by five games.

    But how much can they trust the Bart-Freddy combo to pitch deep into October? How much can they trust A.J. Burnett? (Uh, I think you know the answer). How about Phil Hughes, whose fastball has been MIA all season?

    Banuelos and Betances are tantalizing August options, mind you, but if both are averaging nearly five walks per nine innings at Class AA – and they are – then they are hardly ready to pitch in the American League.

    Yankees general manager Brian Cashman rarely panics, but his staredown with the Rockies over Jimenez in the hours before the deadline should be fascinating.

    Jimenez might be no better than a No. 3 starter in the AL East, Kuroda the same or even a touch worse. But in a rotation consisting of CC and the Uncertains, either would look pretty good.

    Then again, maybe there’s a deal to be made in August if somebody passes through waivers?

    Comments on Trade Clock Goes Tick, Tick, Tick…

    1. Scout
      July 29th, 2011 | 1:06 pm

      The only pitcher likely to get as far as the Yankees on waivers in August are those with huge contracts that teams are trying to unload. Carlos Zambrano, anyone? I don’t think so.

      Cashman said last winter and spring that the rotation would evolve, with deals made later. Now is the time for him to make it happen. The odds against this Yankee rotation gettign deep into the play-offs are very steep.

    2. Greg H.
      July 29th, 2011 | 1:27 pm

      @ Scout:
      Yep. Should be interesting. I would like to see him land Jimenez. The others don’t do much for me. Wandy Rodriguez – well maybe an innings eater to replace Freddy-Bart next year, he works. The move would be a challenge for him, though coming from that division. Otherwise put Nova back in the rotation and move Phil Hughes to the, uh, pen.

    3. Scout
      July 29th, 2011 | 2:19 pm

      This rotation badly needs another ace-type pitcher, at least a real #2 starter, to have a good chance of success in the play-offs. Jimenez best fits the bill (especially as Danks does not seem available). The Yankees seem determined to hold onto pieces (Montero, Nova, Betances) whose long-term value to them I find questionable. You have to be prepared to surrender value to acquire it. If I’m Cashman, I go hard for Jimenez, who has value this season and beyond.

    4. July 29th, 2011 | 2:40 pm

      I don’t know why anyone would have any confidence in Cashman’s ability to trade for a starting pitcher? Remember Javy Vazquez – both times? How about Jeff Weaver? Kevin Brown? Denny Neagle? Esteban Loaiza? Randy Johnson? Cory Lidle? How did all those work out? It’s not just in the free agent market where Cashman has made some huge whiffs on starting pitching. Just about every starting pitcher that he’s ever traded for has been less than expected – or a total bust – for the Yankees.

    5. Scout
      July 29th, 2011 | 2:51 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      So would you have him do nothing? As we sometimes say of the president, he’s the only one we’ve got. Cashman remains, for better or worse, the Yankee GM through this season. Your position seems to be, “Hang onto all our assets, and hope the Yankees dump the GM after the season.” You are certainly entitled to take such a position, but you have raised red flags about the current rotation and how it would fare in the play-offs.

    6. July 29th, 2011 | 3:09 pm

      @ Scout: It is a tough spot.

      No question, something needs to get done. And, yes, he’s the only one in a position to make it happen. But, it’s sort of like only having Barney Fife at the ready and a need to guard Fort Knox. Logic says, somebody has to do it, and it has to be him since he’s all you got, but, you just know, based on past experience, it’s not going to go well.

    7. clintfsu813
      July 29th, 2011 | 3:31 pm

      I’m sorry..but I’m wary of Jiminez. It cautions me that COL is so willing to get rid of him. He’s had hissy fits and diminished velocity. We’re supposed to give up 2 top prospects for that? 2 that are in the top 35 in all of MILB? Pass. I say, do the best you can this year…Try and obtain Danks or Bedard on the cheap. If not, roll the dice in the playoffs and see what happens. Next Free Agent class will be much more appealling I hear.

    8. July 29th, 2011 | 3:47 pm

      @ clintfsu813: “diminished velocity” and questionable work-ethic. Sounds like Phil Hughes to me.

    9. clintfsu813
      July 29th, 2011 | 3:58 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      No argument here. Granted, Jimenez has showed better stuff than Phil, but i’m still wary.

    10. Evan3457
      July 29th, 2011 | 5:00 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      @ clintfsu813: “diminished velocity” and questionable work-ethic. Sounds like Phil Hughes to me.

      Except that Hughes’ sole significant cost at this point is a roster spot and a rotation spot. Jimenez will cost at least 3 young players of significant value.

    11. Evan3457
      July 29th, 2011 | 5:02 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      I don’t know why anyone would have any confidence in Cashman’s ability to trade for a starting pitcher? Remember Javy Vazquez – both times? How about Jeff Weaver? Kevin Brown? Denny Neagle? Esteban Loaiza? Randy Johnson? Cory Lidle? How did all those work out? It’s not just in the free agent market where Cashman has made some huge whiffs on starting pitching. Just about every starting pitcher that he’s ever traded for has been less than expected – or a total bust – for the Yankees.

      Actually, Kevin Brown was fine considering what the Yanks gave up, which was nothing. Esteban Loaiza was a dump of Contreras forced by George, who was tired of seeing the Red Sox beat the crap out of him. Cory Lidle was a throw-in. Randy Johnson was another George “force”.

    12. Raf
      July 29th, 2011 | 7:13 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Randy Johnson was another George “force”.

      And still got decent value (400+ innings) from him in 2005-6. Too bad he hurt his back.

    13. LMJ229
      July 30th, 2011 | 11:32 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Actually, Kevin Brown was fine considering what the Yanks gave up, which was nothing. Esteban Loaiza was a dump of Contreras forced by George, who was tired of seeing the Red Sox beat the crap out of him. Cory Lidle was a throw-in. Randy Johnson was another George “force”.

      It seems to me that every bad trade and/or signing prior to the mid-2000s was George’s fault. So let me understand … It’s George’s fault for all the bad moves but Cashman gets the credit for all the moves that worked? Can’t have it both ways.

      By the way, I distinctly remember Cashman stating that the Abreu trade would not have happened if the Phillies didn’t include Cory Lidle. I distinctly remember Cashman arguing with the Mad Dog about this on the radio because the Mad Dog would not believe that the Yankees actually wanted Cory Lidle. (could have been Cashman spin but that’s what he said)

    14. Raf
      July 31st, 2011 | 12:09 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      It seems to me that every bad trade and/or signing prior to the mid-2000s was George’s fault.

      It isn’t. I don’t see the point in trying to delineate trades. Kevin Brown wasn’t a bad trade. Loaiza was an improvement on Contreras, though I do wish the Yanks had stuck with either pitcher; Contreras or Loaiza. I would’ve preferred Loaiza over Wright.

      Lidle may have been Cashman spin, but the staff had fallen apart in 2006, and Lidle took starts away from Sidney Ponson. The Yankees needed starters in 2006.

    15. Evan3457
      July 31st, 2011 | 4:18 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      It seems to me that every bad trade and/or signing prior to the mid-2000s was George’s fault. So let me understand … It’s George’s fault for all the bad moves but Cashman gets the credit for all the moves that worked? Can’t have it both ways.
      By the way, I distinctly remember Cashman stating that the Abreu trade would not have happened if the Phillies didn’t include Cory Lidle. I distinctly remember Cashman arguing with the Mad Dog about this on the radio because the Mad Dog would not believe that the Yankees actually wanted Cory Lidle. (could have been Cashman spin but that’s what he said)

      None of which has any impact on what I said.

      I said Johnson was a Steinbrenner force, and it was. Cashman wanted to get Beltran wanted to use that money to replace Bernie (get his diminished range out of center, among other things), if I recall correctly.

      Contreras was traded right after his last blowup against the Red Sox, on 7/25/04. He was gone at that year’s trade deadline, 6 days later. That has a George temper tantrum written all over it, and the proof is that the Yanks accepted Loaiza, who had a minor arm injury when they traded Contreras for him.

      Cashman did say that about Lidle, but he was still a throw-in; the Phillies didn’t object to that because they wanted to unload Abreu’s contract. For the same reason, they accepted four prospects who had little chance becoming anything substantial. As poor as Lidle did, he was better than Chacon, who fell apart in 2006 after his miracle year in 2005.

      I never said that EVERY bad move was George’s fault. But the bad moves that were George’s fault are, in fact, George’s fault.

      Pitching acquisition blunders that can be fairly attributed to Cashman:

      Igawa, Wright, Farnsworth, Karsay, and arguably, Pavano and Feliciano. These are blunders because it could be reasonably argued that these moves were likely to fail, or that there was good reason to believe (before they happened) that they would fail.

      People who fault the Burnett move would say the same, but this isn’t so. The major knock against Burnett at the time of the signing was his inability to stay healthy and in the rotation. So far, that hasn’t been a problem. A few observers expected he would decline, but nobody I remember reading expected him to fall off a cliff last year.

      Most of all, the Brown trade is the one that really gets me. The same people who say that Cashman was an idiot to trade Lilly for Weaver because it’s obvious Weaver was a bum are the same ones who knock him because he could only get Brown for Weaver AFTER Weaver collapsed in NY. I say the same thing every time: you don’t get to use BOTH against Cashman; you don’t get both sides of the argument.

    16. Evan3457
      July 31st, 2011 | 4:19 am

      Raf wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      Randy Johnson was another George “force”.
      And still got decent value (400+ innings) from him in 2005-6. Too bad he hurt his back.

      2005, yes; 2006, no. He was pretty awful in 2006, and won 17 games primarily because the Yankees scored 6.9 runs per 9 innings while he was in the game.

    17. Evan3457
      July 31st, 2011 | 4:21 am

      Oh, and 1 horrendous playoff start in each year, though he did pitch well in relief of Mussina in game 5 of the 2006 ALDS and kept the Yanks in the game.

    18. Raf
      July 31st, 2011 | 10:09 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      2005, yes; 2006, no. He was pretty awful in 2006, and won 17 games primarily because the Yankees scored 6.9 runs per 9 innings while he was in the game.

      His back was acting up in 2006.

    19. Evan3457
      July 31st, 2011 | 11:09 am

      Raf wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      2005, yes; 2006, no. He was pretty awful in 2006, and won 17 games primarily because the Yankees scored 6.9 runs per 9 innings while he was in the game.
      His back was acting up in 2006.

      I know, which is why 2006 was a bad year for him.

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