Gardner, Cabrera might not cut it for Yanks

bgardner360pb.jpgGARDNER-ING AT NIGHT

My associates at Baseball Prospectus have released the weighted-mean PECOTA
projections, which means I can talk a bit about some of the forecasts
therein.

PECOTA sees Brett Gardner batting .253/.339/.351 and sees
something like a full season of playing time coming down the pike. Many
of the other projection systems (Fangraphs does
us the service of gathering those in one place)  are of like mind — if
you average their forecasts, you get .262/.343/.361. PECOTA figures
Melky the C at .267/.326/.376, while the other systems compiled at
Fangraphs average out to .274/.334/.390.  Last year, the average Major League center fielder batted .268/.334/.420, which means that both of
these fellows would have to exceed their median projection for the
Yankees to break even, putting aside the possibility of crazy-good
defense. It should be noted that the Gardner projections are a good
deal more speculative than the Cabrera projection given that the former
has just filtered up to the bigs. The Cabrera projections are
speculative in their own way, assuming that he’s going to go back to
what he was doing after a year of misery.

My conclusion: Jim Edmonds
would make a nice one-year rental, playing four days a week. Edmonds,
being neither a Type A nor type B free agent, is still available to the
Yankees.

SMALL BITS

The Cubs made two deals today with minor ramifications for the American League, as both of the pitchers they detached are heading to the Junior Circuit. The A’s acquired reliever Michael Wuertz and the Orioles picked up starter Rich Hill.

Wuertz heads to Oakland in return for two Minor Leaguers, outfielder Richie Robnett and infielder Justin Sellers, both of whom are so talented that you are unlikely to ever hear their names again. The former has a .257 career batting average and the latter .256, and neither has the other tools to make up for their general inability to hit with consistency. As such, the A’s get to decorate the back of their bullpen with Wuertz, a slider specialist who tends to be harder on lefties than on righties. Wuertz always seemed like the first guy that the Cubs would bounce back to Triple-A if they experienced a roster crunch, but as he was out of options that source of amusement was closed to them, hence the trade.

Hill is a depressing case, a pitcher who seemed like he’d be a five-year fixture after strong work in 2006 and 2007, but he sailed over the edge of the world in 2008, completely losing his control. He walked 18 in 19.2 innings at the major league level and 44 in 47.2 innings in the minors. The Orioles agreed to give up only a player to be named, the identity of which is no doubt contingent on their ability to bring Hill back to his senses. Here’s hoping they have to give up a good prospect. Yeah, I know they’re division rivals of the Yankees, but come on — it’s the human thing to do.

23 Comments

The CF, bench and possibly the catcher spots are still quite troubling.

As for Rich Hill, there are some pitchers that Lou Piniella can make suck just by writing their names in the line-up. We’ll see if he bounces back. Unless there’s an injury there’s no reason why he shouldn’t. Of course, AL East factors might disguise a chunk of it if he does pitch better.

Steve,

I believe the yankees should try to trade for a centerfielder. Maybe a guy like
David Dejesus or Carlos Gomez, or even Cameron Maybin. Although I would rather them go after
Gomez or Maybin.

Gomez & Maybin are both young rising stars. They are both good hitters and superb defenders.
Gardner can rotate the position in center field. Whenever the everyday guy needs a break,
Gardner will play. Gardner is a good defensive centerfielder from what I saw in his brief stint last season,
but he hasn’t shown that he can hit consistently as you have proved in your numbers and 2009
stat projections.

If Gardner could hit over .300 throughout the course of a full season or have a decent
on-base percentage, we all know he is a force to be wreckoned with on the basepads.

The yankees, maybe, can put a package together for the Twins which includes Melky Cabrera
and Xavier Nady. They will get back Carlos Gomez and a pitching prospect. Melky is cheap and I do not believe
Nady at 6. 65 mil is that expensive. Maybe the yankees can eat about half or more of Nady’s
contract to make the deal more desireable. Gomez comes extremely cheap about half a mil I believe.

The Twins Gomez is a five tool player and has a tremendous upside. I would just be worried about his attitude
and maturity in the clubhouse. He reminds me of Jose Reyes of the Mets, the way he conducts
himself, but maybe the yankees could mold his personality and help him mature.
I think the twins can afford to pay the guys on their roster. especially with their new stadium opening
in a couple years. The new stadium will bring more revenue streams to the franchise.

A possible package for the Marlins, could be Melky and Ian Kennedy for Cameron Maybin.
I’m not sure if the Marlins would benefit from this trade, and I’m not sure if they would even
want Melky to replace Maybin. It seems unlikely the Marlins would trade for Cabrera, but I can dream, lol.

As far as Xavier Nady is concerned, the Yankees should trade him for a centerfielder, not Swisher.
Swisher should play right field, and can backup right if the Yanks sign another
free agent right fielder for cheap. I do however, think that it is highly unlikely that the Yankees will sign
anyone else, with the money they have spent already.

Having an abundace of switch hitters in the Yankees lineup will make it awfully tough for an
opposing manager to come up with a way to pitch to these guys.

The fact that swisher can switch hit, play good defense in the outfield, and backup
Texeira at first, makes him a nice upgrade over Nady.

Im probably dreaming about this scenario, the Twins probably wouldn’t bite on the deal,
it may be a downgrade for them in centerfield. I’m not sure how dedicated they are to Gomez,
but there’s a pretty good guy in Denard Span backing him up. Maybe Melky can play right field
for the Twins, and Nady can DH for them.

I do realize that the Twins and Marlins are both small market teams, and the Marlins payroll
is about an eighth of what the yankees payroll is.

but just an idea.

I would be interested to see what the hot stove panel thinks about these ideas.
Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks,

Mike

I heard a lot of things early in the hot stove season that indicated that the Yankees had an interest in signing the O-Dog (Orlando Hudson) and switching him to center field. That concept didn’t really appeal to me. However, it has sparked another idea. Hudson is one of the best defensive second basemen in baseball, so why move him. His market has not really developed so he can likely be had for cheap. So here’s my thought.

Why not sign Hudson for two years to man 2nd, and switching Cano to center?

I know that’s probably not likely, but wouldn’t Cano’s arm, range, and offense translate well to to the outfield? Think of what the transition has done for the Upton brothers (B.J. and Justin). Both were origionaly drafted as shortstops and now man out field positions for their respective clubs. I think Cano’s skills would translate just as well, and that he could be be a bigger asset in center (providing he can adjust to the position) than at second, where his defense has long been suspect.

Orlando Cabrera, who has directly expressed interest in joining the Yankees, would be another option at second.

The Twins aren’t trading Gomez for Nady and Melky. Nady isn’t that good, and is only under control for one year. Melky…well, ’nuff said.

The Marlins aren’t trading Maybin for IPK and Melky (they’d laugh out loud if you made that offer) or any package that doesn’t contain Hughes and Jackson, and maybe not even for that (not that I’m endorsing the idea, btw).

If Melky can’t hit enough to play CF, he certainly can’t hit enough to play RF.

Given the current configuration of the roster, I think that Damon is going to play CF more than is optimal.

Cano doesn’t have enough speed to play CF.

I don’t think I agree that he dosen’t have the speed to play center. His speed is comparable to guys like Ankiel and Hamilton, and his bat would translate well.

I would wager that he’s a bit faster than Edmonds at this point too…

Steve, can you back up your claim that Jim Edmonds is a better option than Melky or Gardner? I just can’t see the argument here, Edmunds production will be equal to the youngsters if not worse. Marcel projects Edmunds to hit .241/.327/.423. Melky’s projection is .271/.333/.383. I think I’ll take the extra 30 points on the batting average Melky has to offer. Edmonds has terrible clutch numbers, see here. It’s probably time for Edmonds to retire or take a job as a role player on a team not named the Yankees. Melky’s clutch numbers are much better in late and close games with a .295/.375/.367 (baseball-reference.com). Gardner doesn’t have many numbers to make a solid projection off of, but thus far he has hit quite well with 2 outs and runners in scoring position. In 16 plate appearances he has hit .400/.438/.533 with 6 hits and 8 RBIs (baseball-reference.com).

I think the best thing to do is go to spring training and see where things go. If Gardner and Cabrera flop, then we can look elsewhere. Andruw Jones is still out there, there’s no way he can be finished or hit as poorly as last year. Then there’s the Cuban CF Yasser Gomez who recently defected along with a Cuban pitcher. Why not take a chance on him? Gomez, 28, is a fast outfielder who was Rookie of the Year in 1997 and hit .394 with 51 runs scored and 41 RBIs in 66 games in the most recent National Series tournament. He has a .331 career average with Industriales. I haven’t heard any Yankees talk related to Gomez. Any idea if the Yankees have made any contact with him or are interested? If none of those are options they can still make a trade

I would wager that he’s a bit faster than Edmonds at this point too…
__

Maybe., but Edmonds compensates for his decline with great instincts and an ability to get a good jump on and track the ball. Cano has none of those.

Plus, Edmonds UZR and UZR/150 have been negative over the last two seasons.

So to compare Cano to Edmonds at this point is not particularly flattering.

More importantly, it stunts Cano’s growth at 2B, a position at which he can be considerably above average defensively.

There is no reason to disrupt that process for one year, especially when A Jack will be the CFer in the near future.

Cano moving to center is an interesting idea, kind of like what was done with former Yankee Alfonso Soriano. Cano’s speed could be an issue. I always thought he had good speed, but wasn’t a great base runner. Orlando Hudson was on MLB Network’s Hot Stove tonight and said none of the teams he spoke with asked him to move positions. Does that mean they thought about shipping Cano out or possibly moving him to CF. I’m not sure when Hudson spoke to the Yankees, but we may never know what they were thinking.

I’m willing to give Gardner and Melky a chance, with some sprinkles of Swisher and Damon. With those 4 guys, I just don’t feel it’s rreally neccessary to bring yet another guy. There’s some interesting outfield pieces to mix and match with right now. Unless, the centerfield gods blesses us with a miracle trade, they shouldn’t do anything else in center until they know what they have in Austin Jackson. Go with Brett and Melky till then, at least they’re young and really good defensively. -Sal

I’m sorry Joe wrote the book. He’s an old school guy and should know better. There’s a reason the Yankees waited more than forty years to invite Jim Bouton to an Old Timer’s Day game. The fact that Joe didn’t think the book would cause a stir tells me that he is either naive, or stupid. He is neither. Perhaps he thinks the fans are. I still love and appreciate Joe, but he messed up.
That being said I don’t believe the Twins would ever make trade nor should they. The Yankees should re sign Abreu to make up for the lack of center field offense. Trade Nady and Swisher for top of the line prospects and let Gardner and Cabrera chase down balls that Abreu can’t get to. You can showcase both centerfielders in the event that Austin Jackson ever reaches the big leagues.

PECOTA sounds like the cheese I put on my pasta last night. Enough with the numbers already! Edmonds! Are you kidding. Instead of trying to inject youth, speed and defense you are looking to add another aging vet. Steve you are a bright guy and you have to realize that the game has changed, similar to the way the bullpens have changed over the years with all the “specialist” relievers out there, teams need versatility on the bench, multipositional players who produce runs and play defense. The idea is to find the right guys who buy into that role, I think that is where they are going here. Unfortunately the Yankees do not have the luxury of patience that other teams have to wait until their young guys develop, so they need to do it a little bit each year and hope that the young guys that they do hold on to make an impact.

Apparently, PETCOA ignores Garner’s OBP in the minors, which was never under .360 and at times .417.

Batting 9th, Gardner only needs to bunt, walk, slap, and steal.

I actually believe Damon will start in CF if they can’t move Nady or Swisher before ST, as they have a much better offensive lineup with Matsui, Nady, Swisher and Damon than they do with Matsui, Damon, Cabrera/Gardner, and Nady/Swisher…. Jim Edmonds is not the answer, as he is just another OF in an already clogged outfield… The Yankees need to move AT LEAST 1 of their outfielders before they can even THINK about bringing in another outfielder…..
If the Yankees have had talks with Orlando Cabrera, then they might be entertaining moving Jeter out to CF, but that is still a stretch considering he is the leader of this team, and pissing off the leader is not the best way to get back to the playoffs…..
-Big Jay
http://jerseybombers.mlblogs.com

i dont like the way these guys play ..
maybe another 3 years get the average up ,learn to have patience,and build tyhe power
but AAA is there best fit right now

The decision is clear! Sign Manny…Then you can trade Nady and Cabrarra to the Giants for Aaron Roland or Pirates for Nate McLouth. Of course you will need to sweeten the deal with the Pirates with say Kennedy and a young pitcher….But Think, that makes the Yanks one of the best teams since the 27 Yankees. You would need to deal Matsui or Damon for a solid cathcer of the future such as the
Giants #1 pick from Florida State. The lineup would produce world championships and reset the Yankee dynesty.

NOT the answer at all. Listen I would also LOVE 2 see the Yanks trade 4 Mclouth but thats all just fantasy stuff. I think the Yanks have thier mind set on AJAK roaming center in a yr or 2. Heres something more plausible, how about trading with the Sox again for Dye since they want to dump his salary. Offer Melky which will give them a center fielder which they dont have, he cant hit much but they have alot of offence already. He comes alot cheaper than Dye as well so there is salary incentive 4 the Sox as well. The Yanks have been dying 2 get rid of Melky anyway. With Dye in the mix it gives the Yanks the flexibility to move Nady in a more realistic trade and get back pitching and/or catching prospects.

How about trading w/St.Louis for Rick Ankiel.He could play center this year then move to a corner outfield spot to make room for Austin Jackson in 2010.

I have to agree whole heartedly with brxbomber56. If we go after a guy like Jim Edmonds, we’re just going after another aging one dimensional offensive ball player. Everyone seems to forget that we won World Series with Joe Girardi, Chad Curtis and Tim Raines as regulars in our lineup. We don’t need huge power numbers at every position. We need more versatility in the lineup and a guy like Brett Gardner (if he can hit 260 or higher) in my mind is perfect. He bunts, steals and can play small ball which is something we haven’t had in YEARS. Not to mention he’s not a bad defender as well. He’ll be batting ninth too which is perfect. When it comes time to playoffs, you need to manufacture runs which is something the Yankee philosophy has strayed from for quite some time now and I really don’t know why.

Aside from that, Steve I love your columns and I think you do an awesome job.

The yanks could probably live with the gardner/Cabrera platoon,but before they signed Sabathia,they should have taken Zito off the giants hands so they could afford Sabathia,then for the favor,send cabreara and kennedy to the giants for Matt Cane and Rowand.Giveing them a rotation of wang,burnett.cane,pettitte and zito,with rowand in center and chamberlain backin the pen getting ready to take over for Mariano.Use Swisher in right and deal Nady for two good young prosects,preferably a catcher.

Is the letter writer above me nuts ?

Iamanycguy,
That guy must be nuts. I’d much rather have our current staff of Sabathia, Wang, Burnett, Pettitte, Chamberlin. If you’re going to suggest a guy you better spell his name right, its Matt Cain, and there’s nothing spectacular about him, he’s a solid 2 or 3.The guy must be a Giants fan and is just disappointed they haven’t done much to improve the team aside from signing Randy Johnson. If they performed to their ability that would be a nice staff with 4 CY Young winners on it.

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