Chad Jennings is a former beat writer for the AAA Scranton Yankees. He took over as a Yankees beat writer in October and has agreed to do a quick interview with The Pinstriper. We thank him for the interview. Enjoy and don’t forget to check out his work here!
1. Thoughts on the Curtis Granderson trade? Who got the best of it?
I think every team got what it wanted. Granderson is a great fit for the Yankees. They gave up some real talent to get him, but that’s what it was going to take for an impact player like that. I think some people are getting a bit too caught up in his splits. They’re bad, and they’re a factor in judging him as a hitter, but at the end of the day he’s consistently hit 20+ home runs with 70+ RBIs while playing good defense in center field. He’s also young and signed to a good contract.
2. Can you profile Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy for us?
Jackson is going to be an everyday center fielder, but his lack of power suggests he’ll be more of a bottom-of-the-order hitter. He could develop more power and become more of an impact bat — wouldn’t surprise me, actually — but right now he’s a guy with a little bit of speed who hits for a high average despite striking out a lot. He’s also a good defensive player in center field. Kennedy started throwing a two-seam fastball during the Arizona Fall League and his curveball has improved since his bad 2008 stint in New York. It’s easy to overlooked that he’s been absolutely dominant in the minor leagues and that he pitched very well in the big leagues when he was first called up in late 2007. He throws strikes — quality strikes — and that makes him a good pitcher.
3. Any idea who the Yankees might want in the Rule 5 Draft? What position?
Can’t figure it out, to be honest. Infield makes no sense because the 40-man is already packed with utility candidates, I can’t imagine the Rule 5 providing a better backup catcher than Francisco Cervelli, and if the Yankees wanted a power arm, why not protect Grant Duff or Kevin Whelan? There are a few right-handed hitters available who can play the outfield and also have experience at catcher. I wonder if that might work for the Yankees, giving them a little bit more outfield depth — which they need — as well as a spare catcher for days when Cervelli is behind the plate and Jorge Posada is the DH.
4. Any idea of any players that might be taken from the Yankees?
I think Zach Kroenke will be taken, I think Kevin Whelan should be taken and I think Colin Curtis might be taken. There are other candidates — Jason Hirsh, George Kontos, Grant Duff, Alan Horne — but I tend to think Kroenke, Whelan and Curtis are the guys most at risk of being taken.
5. Do you think the Yankees need to improve the bullpen at all or they are good as it is?
I don’t think they have to make a bullpen move, partially because I think they’ll sign Andy Pettitte plus one more starting pitcher. That could leave either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain to return to the eighth inning (I still think they should both be starters, but that’s a whole other issue). David Robertson and Mark Melancon are also legitimate options for high-leverage bullpen roles. And you never know what young starter they might convert to the pen. If they were willing to move Hughes, they’re willing to move anyone, and guys like Ivan Nova and Zach McAllister might work well in that role. You never know.
6. Is Zach Kroenke an MLB option at this point? Was he part of the reason they were willing to trade Coke?
I think Mike Dunn was the reason the Yankees were willing to trade Coke. After last year, it’s hard to believe the Yankees see Kroenke playing a role in the big leagues. Kroenke was terrific in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year. When he didn’t get a shot then, and when he wasn’t added to the 40-man this winter, it became obvious that the Yankees don’t view him as much of a major league option. I hope he’s taken in the Rule 5 because he deserves a shot.
7. If you had to predict the rotation for next year what would it be?
Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Hughes, Chamberlain
I think they’ll bring someone else in to compete, but unless that person is Ben Sheets or Rich Harden, I think it’s entirely possible that Hughes and Chamberlain will outpitch the new competition and win the job.
8. The outfield? What could Melky Cabrera net in a trade and are the Yankees definitely more willing to trade him rather than Brett Gardner?
The short answer is, I have no idea. Cabrera is an enigma on the trade market. He’s still cheap and he’s coming off a nice year, but is his trade value that of a starting center fielder or a fourth outfielder? Everyone seems split on the way they ultimately view him. As for which one I would trade, it’s no secret that I really like Gardner, but I’m not sure it makes sense to have two left-handed center fielders.
*Interview conducted by Brandon of The Pinstriper and Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees Blog*
I love that the Yankees have picked up the lefty centerfielder Curtis Granderson. He seems to be a class act, a good fielder, and a good hitter (though he is terrible against lefty pitching) with speed whose power will be augmented by Yankee Stadium.
Of all the players the Yankees were rumored to be looking at outside of their own club this off season, I thought Granderson would be the best buy. The Yankees gave away a good prospect in Austin Jackson, sending him and lefty Phil Coke to the Tigers. They also shipped off Ian Kennedy to the Diamondbacks to secure the 28 year old Granderson who is a combination of speed, power, and youth that will do some damage in pinstripes. While this was more than I had anticipated the Yankees were going to need to give away, it is not unreasonable and I am fairly confident that Granderson will make it a worthwhile deal.
My prediction is that he hits around .270 with 30 homeruns and 70 RBI’s with 25 steals. I know it is a lofty prediction but it is certainly attainable and expectations are always high in the Yankee Universe.
Check the post below for more analysis of the Granderson trade.
UPDATE: 5:40 PM: Brandon, here! Had my friend edit some pictures and get the traded players in their new teams caps. Little obvious that it was edited, but still, I find them interesting.
The New York Yankees have acquired Curtis Granderson from the Detroit Tigers in a three-team trade.
Here’s the trade:
Yankees Receive: Curtis Granderson (Tigers)
Analysis: Love the move for the Yankees. The Yankees are essentially getting a better version of Jackson and giving up Ian Kennedy, who has been often injured but still has a bright future, and Phil Coke. Coke is not a necessary piece for the Yankees, of whom have Damaso Marte, Mike Dunn and Zach Kroenke.
-Jack Curry has left the NY Times.
-Peter Gammons has left ESPN.
-Ivan Rodriguez has signed with the Washington Nationals.
-The Mariners are “unlikely to get involved” in the Jason Bay sweepstakes.
UPDATE: 3:30 PM: Looks like each team got a fair amount in the trade. Jackson will most likely have a solid MLB career, as long as he can get some of his power back. Kennedy will likely be a 4th starter or 5th starter in the MLB if he can heal from his injuries. Coke will make a good lefty specialist for the Tigers.
As for Granderson, with the short porch in right field, he could hit up to 35 HR. Add about 20-25 SB and 70-80 RBIs, I’ll take it. If Jackson can hit better against lefties (.183 Batting Average, .239 Slugging, .245 On-Base) he can prove to be a nice acquisition.
Don’t forget Granderson hit .302 as recently as ’07 and hit .280 in ’08.
Prediction: Granderson hits .268 with 32 HR and 75 RBI in ’10.
The Yankees are cutting payroll?! What an unbelievable thought. Except, in reality, if the Yankees are going to go out and get a free agent starter then the amount they cut from the payroll will not really be significant at all. Just thought I would mention that.
Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated twittered that the Red Sox have the best chance to land Halladay. He also notes that the Blue Jays would want a combination Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Austin Jackson, and Jesus Montero from the Yankees. Combine that with the 20 million a year that Halladay will command for 4-5 years and unless the Blue Jays are willing to make a different deal it appears that the Yankees will not go that far to get the Doc.
After all who can blame them? You are talking about two of their best young pitchers who have both proven to be shutdown relievers and have, though Hughes more than Joba, potential to be great starters in the majors. Then you have two of the Yankees best prospects who are considered by many scouts to have MLB-ready bats. I ask, is giving up three of these players too much, even for a pitcher as dominant as Halladay?
The Yankees would have to part with quite a bit if, as Peter Gammons reports (MLB Trade Rumors), the Red Sox would have to part with both Casey Kelley and Clay Buchholz. I can only imagine that the Yankees would have to give up Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, and maybe one other prospect to get Doc and then an additional $20 million a year to keep him. That is a really hefty price to pay and while I do love the idea of having Doc in our rotation losing three top prospects is not easy to stomach. Add onto that the fact that the Yankees made three blockbuster deals last year and it seems a little unreasonable that they would need to sign Doc. The rotation is far from set but resigning Pettitte while tinkering with Hughes and Chamberlain as well as with a healthier Chien-Ming Wang sounds like a perfectly reasonable option. After all, the Yankees won the world series doing just that.
Would I love to have Doc? Absolutely. But is he worth giving up three top prospects and 20 million a year? If that is the case, Doc might not be the Yankees huckleberry, even if he wants to be.
MLB teams finalized their 40-man rosters Friday. Only teams with spots still remaining can partake in the December 10th Rule 5 Draft, where teams can basically steal players from other organizations that are not on their 40-man roster, to give these players a fair chance. In this case, the Yankees filled up 7 of their 8 remaining spots on the 40-man, leaving one empty, giving them one selection in the Draft. The 7 players added to the 40-man from the Minor Leagues were OF Austin Jackson, right hander pitchers Ivan Nova, Romulo Sanchez and Hector Noesi, and 2B Reegie Corona, SS Eduardo Nunez and 2B Kevin Russo; keeping them all safe for another year.
Austin Jackson is now safe, which is most important, because it would ensure him a spot on the 25-man roster in the event that the Yanks don’t sign another long-term outfielder. Note: DH/OF Shelley Duncan was dropped from the 40-man roster, making him eligible to be drafted by another team. After winning IL MVP with 30 HR and 99 RBI, it is likely that we can say goodbye to Shelley.
Hello Everyone my name is Stephen Crociata and I am the newest contributer to The Pinstriper. I am 19 years old and I’m currently attending Iona College for my degree in Sports Management. I hope to someday work for a MLB franchise and experience what is like to run things behind the scenes. I am a die hard NY Yankee, NY Giant, and Colorado Avalanche fan; I also spend most of my free time on Yahoo! Sports just so I know exactly what is happening. i only sleep about 7 hours a day at max so you can be assured I read up on exactly what is happening in the sports world as much as humanly possible. Enough about me though I have an issue I would like to get to.
Drew Henson, Eric Duncan, and Bronson Sardinha three names most Yankee fans know very well. They were all “up and comers” who were going to be the future of the Yankees. Only Duncan is still with the Yankees, but he is more and more looking like a career minor leaguer. These are notables but they are not alone the Yankees have dealt with this for a while and luckily of late with guys like Cano, Cabrera, and Gardner fortunes may be changing. The major difference is that the recent success of Yankee farm hand is actually more of a pleasant surprise, but the expected future hasnt materialized. Now welcome Austin “AJAX” Jackson the name that has been piped into the brains of all Yankee fans since 2005. The 2010 season is approaching and many may be asking “Are we there yet?” is this the time of Jackson, and it may be a surprise but I say still not yet. I have a lot of confidence in Austin, as do I with the other big Yankee prospects such as Romine and Montero, but I believe its just not his time. Almost a SO a game this season in AAA for AJAX and it was not because of a surplus of power, 4 HR in 504 AB. Jackson is still young, 21, and there are benefits for the team and him if he sticks with Wilkes-Barre for a little longer. In my opinion the Yankees can use a few “bridges” to their prospects.
This offseason may be very impactful on the future success of the NY Yankees. If a guy like Mike Cameron is brought in to solidify the CF job for a season or two he becomes the “bridge” to Austin Jackson. The same can be done for Jesus Montero, who has not shown to be a great catcher, if he is moved to RF fan favorite Nick Swisher becomes his so called bridge, and another could include Posada handing off his place behind the plate to Austin Romine. This all will be essential to keeping the Yankees young and establishing Cashman’s initial goal which was to entirely build the Yankees from the inside (obvious with some outside additions).