-BIG trade today. The Phillies acquire Roy Halladay, the Mariners acquire Cliff Lee, and the Blue Jays acquire a boatload of prospects. Updates as they come.
INSTANT ANALYSIS: I don’t really think the Phillies are winners in the trade. Sure, Halladay is better than Lee but not by a landslide and the trade is essentially Cliff Lee and a few top prospects for Roy Halladay AND a 3 year $60M contract.
-Red Sox sign John Lackey to a 5 year $85 Million contract.
INSTANT ANALYSIS: I really am not just saying this because I am a Yankees fan, but I dislike this move in an enormous way for the Red Sox. 5 years for an injury-prone pitcher? More than Burnett? Sure, Lackey is a clutch pitcher but he should not be getting paid that much.
-Angels sign Hideki Matsui to a 1-Year deal.
INSTANT ANALYSIS: This came as a surprise to me. He is essentially the new Vlad Guerrero for the Angels. I like the move but it all depends on the amount he is getting paid. He will be missed in New York.
HOW ALL THIS HAS TO DO WITH THE YANKEES:
-Roy Halladay is out of the AL East!
-The Yankees have to deal with Lackey in the AL East, however, and also the fact that they do not have much leverage on free agent pitchers.
-The Yankees have much less leverage on Johnny Damon. Hideki Matsui was basically the second-option for the Yankees. He is now gone.
UPDATE: 6:50 PM: Do you know the answer to this? (Hint: do not look in comments or you will find the correct answer, 99% sure)
UPDATE: 9:55 PM: Hideki Matsui signed for a 1 year $6.5M deal. Mike Cameron signed with the Boston Red Sox.
They found their seats had all been sold
McGreevey led the charge into the park
Stormed the gates and put the game on hold
The Rooters gave the other team a dreadful fright
Boston’s tenth man could not be wrong
Up from “Third Base” to Huntington
They’d sing another victory song ♫
On Thursday the Red Sox agreed to a 2 year $12.5MM deal with middle infielder Marco Scutaro, who spent the last two seasons with Toronto. When analyzing exactly how much will Scutaro impact Boston’s upcoming season one major aspect has to be looked at. Since Nomar left Boston after the ’03 season Boston has had 5 different starters at SS over the last 6 seasons (Pokey Reese, Edgar Renteria, Julio Lugo, Alex Gonzalez, and Nick Green + Jed Lowrie spliting time with Lugo in ’08 makes it 7). Scutaro gives them a reliable SS who now at 34 years old is actually seemingly improving, last season he had the most ABs of his career and put up the best stats. Scutaro’s power is not overwhelming but his 12 HR equal the HRs put up by Lugo, Green, and Gonzalez last season combined. Scutaro may be able to use the wall to his advantage and put up another double digit HR season which would be the first by a Boston SS since Nomars 28 HRs in 2003. Scutaro can also fit into many spots in the lineup and actually started in 5 different spots in the lineup during his time with the Blue Jays (led off all of ’09). He is also a very polished defender who rarely makes costly mistakes in the field. Overall I consider this a very intelligent pick up by Theo Epstein and this could even wind up being a major steal.
Many teams have been linked to top free-agent pitcher John Lackey. Among those are the Mets, Red Sox, Angels, Dodgers, and, of course, the Yankees.
Last year I pleaded to the Yankees that they should NOT sign A.J. Burnett. I was wrong so far and I will admit that.
What Yankees fans should be afraid of is that the Yankees could be paying their third starter equally or more than their second starter. While the rotation would be great for the upcoming years and the Yankees do have the money, why not spend the money on various holes, rather than one?
John Lackey was 11-8 with a 3.83 ERA last year. His career ERA is 3.81. Those are some average numbers for someone commanding $82M or more. Meanwhile, Lackey is also an injury risk having pitched in less than 30 games each of the last two seasons.
The Yankees can use that $82M over the next five seasons ($16.4M per year) and sign either a top outfielder (Jason Bay or Matt Holliday) OR one pitcher (Rich Harden, Jason Marquis, Erik Bedard, Justin Duchscherer) AND one outfielder (Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Marlon Byrd, Jermaine Dye)
Don’t you think you would rather have the latter of the two? Thoughts? Send em’ along in the comments.
With Justin Duchscherer being reviewed with his mental problems, we turn to another high-risk, high-reward type pitcher in Erik Bedard. Yes, we all remember him as the guy who was traded from Baltimore to Seattle for soon-to-be All-Star Adam Jones and reliever George Sherrill, but obviously the trade didn’t go so well for the Mariners. Why you ask? Bedard started just 15 games in each of his two seasons in Seattle, going a combined 11-7 with a 3.24 ERA. In 2008, his season ended in June after tearing his labrum, an injury many doctors say a pitcher will never be able to return to true form from. The labrum is the joint that basically connects the arm to the shoulder and allows movement, so you can only imagine the pain. He had surgery in September and returned for Spring Training. In 2009, he left in June again after inflammation in the very same shoulder, and he missed the rest of the year. Note: He has been on the DL 6 times in the last 3 seasons.
photo from Getty Images
So, let us look back to the good old days when he was a strikeout machine. For the Orioles from 2004-2007 (and .2 innings in 2002) he went 40-34 (remember how below average the O’s have been this decade). A 3.94 ERA over that span; 658 innings, 639 strikeouts, including a team record 221 in 2007 (10.93 KPG) and walking just 254 [just over a 2.5-1 K-BB ratio]. He is a career 5-4 vs. Boston, 11-3 vs. Tampa Bay, but only 1-3 at Yankee Stadium as an opponent.
Now, seeing this, do we take the risk and go after the lefty? There’s a chance he could be a stud again, and there’s a chance he could get hurt again. Let’s face it..we need a starter for next year (more like two or three or four). Personally, I would rather go after someone like a Duchscherer, with Bedard next in line. Harden and Sheets (more Harden to me) are too great of risks to take, unless they remain free agents until late in the off-season. But if we want him, we better hurry, his drafter Baltimore is looking to sign him for some good money…
There are a couple ways I wanted to go with this particular look back. I wanted to go back to when the Yankees signed Alex Rodriguez initially but then there would be too many possibilities. But, I found that it was a lot more feasible to discuss what might have occurred if the Yankees had chosen not to resign him in 2007.
After all it was perfectly reasonable that the Yankees would not resign A-Rod. Scott Boras operated in such a way that it was certainly possible the Yankees had had enough of dealing with Alex Rodriguez’s massive contract. They had offered him $230 million dollars and had previously said that they would not play around with A-Rod if he opted out.
So the Yankees do not sign Rodriguez which leaves 3rd base open. Here are a few possibilities:
RED SOX SIGN ALEX RODRIGUEZ
Despite the idea that Boston would never want to sign A-Rod because they dislike Boras or did not believe that A-Rod was a “Boston” guy, in reality it would make complete sense for them to sign him. With Mike Lowell’s contract up, they could sign Rodriguez to a huge contract and generate even more publicity for their campaign to defend their World Series title.
YANKEES SIGN MIKE LOWELL
In need of a 3rd basemen, the Yankees sign Mike Lowell away from Boston. This has the added benefit of slighting the Red Sox while gaining Lowell, who at the time, was regarded as a very potent third basemen. There was serious interest in Lowell on the part of the Yankees so do not mistake this as just a rumor. They might have even signed him even if they brought A-Rod back.
YANKEES SIGN MARK TEXEIRA
Pretty easy to see that this signing would still have occurred.
YANKEES MOVE ROBINSON CANO to third base and sign (gulp) LUIS CASTILLO
Of all the other free agent second basemen available, Castillo makes the most sense for the Yankees. His career average was around .300 and he was a fairly good defensive second basemen who might have have been able to replace Cano’s production at 2nd base.
Recap of the Yankees Starting lineup:
WITH LOWELL AND TEIXEIRA
1. Jeter SS
2. Damon LF
3. Teixeira 1B
4. Matsui DH
5. Posada C
6. Cano 2B
7. Lowell 3B
8. Swisher RF
9. Cabrera CF
WITH CASTILLO AND TEIXEIRA AND CANO AT 3RD
1. Jeter SS
2. Damon LF
3. Teixeira 1B
4. Matsui DH
5. Posada C
6. Cano 3B
7. Swisher RF
8. Castillo 2B
9. Cabrera CF
I have to say, even if one were to take into account the extra money that could be freed up to buy a pitcher, it would have been a very bad move to put Cano at 3rd and sign Castillo, or really any other 2nd basemen because the 2007 class was not stellar at that position. With Lowell and Teixeira in the lineup it looks infinitely better but, upon comparison to the lineup the Yankees have today with Rodriguez both of these lineups simply do not compare.
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.
1. Joe Mauer C- Minnesota Twins
2. Derek Jeter SS- New York Yankees
3. Mark Teixeira 1B- New York Yankees
4. Kendry Morales 1B- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
5. Kevin Youkillis 1B- Boston Red Sox
6. Ben Zobrist SS- Tampa Bay Rays
7. Alex Rodriguez 3B- New York Yankees
8. Michael Young SS- Texas Rangers
9. Aaron Hill 2B- Toronto Blue Jays
10. Ichiro CF- Seattle Mariners
Big question: Why no Miguel Cabrera?
You may have heard that he had a fight with his wife the night before one of the last games of the season. He was busy getting drunk while the rest of the teammates were working hard to make the playoffs. I don’t care about stats, that is the poorest excuse of a teammate I have ever seen and that shows no respect for your teammates or your team. No value in that at all.