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 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.
Hey readers, my name is Dan Reiner; I did a couple posts late in the season covering the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. I’m a die hard Yanks, Giants, Knicks, Rangers, Sentinels and PSU Nittany Lions fan. Though I am only in high school, I have complete knowledge of the MLB, and hope to someday study journalism in college, and follow my dream to be a sports writer. I’ll continue to write about the minor league teams and players on here, so read up to see how the kids are doing, as well as all of the posts!
Well first off, I’d like to say that DH/OF Shelley Duncan and 2B Kevin Russo were named to the 2009 TOPPS Triple-A All-Star team for their great seasons. Duncan led the International League with 30 HR and 99 RBI, and Russo was third in the IL with a .326 batting average.
And now with the IL season finished and players needing to improve to try to take the next step in the organization, the Fall Leagues come around. I’ve been following the key players in the Yankee organization that are taking part. So..how are the kids doing?
–RHP Ian Kennedy (AFL) has 6 games and starts with a record of 1-1 and a 4.74 ERA; In 24.2 IP hes allowed 25 hits 23 K and the key.. just 5 walks.
–RHP Josh Schmidt (VWL) hasn’t looked good. 7 games, 5 starts 1-3 4.63 ERA. In 23.1 IP, 22 H and 20 K
–LHP Mike Dunn (AFL) has looked shaky. In 8 games, a record of 0-2 4.32 ERA with 1 save. In 8.1 IP, 8 hits but a remarkable 15 K.
–RHP Romulo Sanchez (VWL) has looked solid. 11 G 2-2 3.83 ERA 14.1 IP, 10 H, and a very good 20 K with only 4 walks.
–LHP Zach Kroenke (AFL) has pitched 10 games. A record of 1-0 with a 5.02 ERA. 14.1 IP 13 hits 12 K and 4 BB
–RHP Ivan Nova (DWL), who we saw get a few postseason starts in AAA, has 5 games, 4 starts with a 1-0 record. A 1.05 ERA in 25.2 IP, with just 17 hits 4 walks and 17 Ks is exactly what scouts are looking for.
-1B Juan Miranda (DWL), just joined the league, and in 13 at-bats already has a 5 hits, 1 HR and 4 RBI
-C Jesus Montero (VWL) has been extremely disappointing to say the least. In 9 games, just 3 hits, a .115 BA, and 1 RBI.
-3B Brandon Laird (AFL) is tearing up opponents right now. In 20 games, he has a .313 BA, and is tied for 2nd in the league with 6 HR and 24 RBI
-2B Reegie Corona (VWL) has played 17 games, with a .314, 0 HR and 5 RBI
-OF Colin Curtis (AFL) has played 17 game, with a great .388 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI, and 2 SB
AFL= Arizona Fall League, VWL=Venezuela Winter League, DWL=Dominican Winter League
Look for some of these guys in trade talks or even on the big club come next season.
Here is why:
Curtis Granderson would eliminate the Yankees need to re-sign Johnny Damon, or Hideki Matsui, and he would add pop to the lineup AND speed. Granderson, who hit .249 with 30 HR and 71 RBI, is only 28 years old. Granderson was signed to a five-year, $30.25 million deal with a club option for 2013 with the Tigers in February 2008. The Yankees could easily pay that contract.
Edwin Jackson was an all-star in 2009. He went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA. The Yankees could use Jackson as their 3rd starter, which would eliminate the need to sign a John Lackey, or Jason Marquis type of pitcher. Jackson is being paid about $2 Million a year.
So the question remains: What would it take to get BOTH in a trade?
Here is my offer:
CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter for Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.
Here is my REAL offer:
Melky Cabrera, Reegie Corona, Josh Schmidt, and Austin Romine for Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.
Is that too much? Too little? Good trade? Bad trade? Explain in the comments!
UPDATE: 2:01 PM: Apparently I don’t know enough about prospects, as it seems like it will take either one of the Yankees big prospects (Hughes, Joba) and an additional prospect/OR a bunch of major prospects such as Zach McAllister, Ian Kennedy, etc.
The Yankees may have won their most important game of the year yesterday, as they beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim IN Anaheim with a lineup that brought Shelley Duncan to the plate fifth. Ian Kennedy made his MLB season debut and pitched a scoreless shaky 8th. Freddy Guzman got his first stolen base as a Yankee.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have claimed Anthony Claggett off waivers from the Yankees. That makes 6 former Yankees now on the Pirates 40-man roster. You heard that right-SIX.
With the promotion of Ian Kennedy, the Yankees now have a thirteen man bullpen (including the injured David Robertson.)
I know this usually isn’t a problem, but do the Yankees have too many pitchers? With Alfredo Aceves, Jon Albaladejo, Ian Kennedy, Sergio Mitre, and Josh Towers all available as long relievers…can’t they let one of them go?
My solution is once again to DFA Sergio Mitre. This time I would like the Yankees to promote either Kevin Russo, or Austin Jackson.
Both are just sitting at home right now, when they could be getting a valuable MLB pennant race experience. Personally, I prefer Russo, only because they are more in need of infielders than outfielders.
Mitre is basically useless right now. Aceves has not pitched since September 14th, Kennedy needs work, and Towers has not pitched since September 12th.
They can handle losing Mitre.