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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Yankees organizational depth: Catcher

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 08, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Let’s start a position-by-position look at the Yankees organization by looking behind the plate. It’s probably the most intriguing spot in the entire system, both because of what’s happening at the big league level and what’s coming up from the minor leagues. This has been Jorge Posada’s position for more than a decade, but that’s about to change.

In the big leagues
The transition is about to begin, and it will start with Russell Martin. Signed this winter to a one-year deal, Martin says he’s healthy and that he’s shifted his workout routine to try to regain the power that made him a coveted young player just three years ago. Martin is a short-term fix, but at 27 years old, he could have some long-term upside if he returns to form. Can’t count him out beyond this season. Francisco Cervelli is, of course, poised to return to his backup role, while Posada is still around for occasional starts behind the plate. If you count Posada, it seems entirely possible that the Yankees will carry three catchers at all times this year.

On the verge
The catching future of the Yankees starts with Jesus Montero. He’s the most highly touted player in the system, and he’s one step away from the big leagues. There are still questions about his ability to catch, but he seems to convince more and more people each year. He might never be great, but his defense might play enough to keep his bat in the lineup without clogging the DH spot. Behind him is Austin Romine. The Yankees expected him to open this season in Triple-A before the Martin signing. Now it’s entirely possible Romine will be bumped back to Double-A, at least to start the year. He was good but didn’t exactly dominate that level last year — .268/.324/.402 and the league’s worst caught stealing percentage — so a return isn’t exactly a waste of time. Gustavo Molina, who has some big league time, was signed as a minor league free agent and could help in a pinch. He’ll likely start the season coming off the bench in Triple-A.

Deep in the system
It’s unusual that a minor league system would have the Yankees combination of talent and depth at the catcher position. Montero is obviously the star of the show, but 18-year-old Gary Sanchez could be a similar talent. He’s considered a better defensive prospect, and although he doesn’t have quite Montero’s power, he does have considerable pop in his bat. He’s an elite prospect himself. JR Murphy’s ultimate position is unclear, but he also has enough bat to be worth following. Kyle Higashioka doesn’t generate nearly the same buzz, but he was the youngest player invited to big league camp last year. He’s on the radar.

Organizational depth chart
My own rough guess. It’s far too early for the Yankees to settle on who will be where next season.
New York: Russell Martin
Scranton/WB: Jesus Montero
Trenton: Austin Romine
Tampa: Kyle Higashioka
Charleston: Gary Sanchez

There are six players who could, given the right circumstances, get some big league time at catcher this season: Martin, Cervelli, Posada, Montero, Molina and Romine. All of those come with different levels of concern, but that’s also a lot of depth at a position that’s often very thin.

Further down in the system, Murphy figures into this depth chart mix somewhere — either Tampa or Charleston — but he’ll also see some time at the infield and outfield corners. He shouldn’t be overlooked, even in this catching-rich system. Tyler Austin was the top catcher selected by the Yankees in last year’s draft (13th round), but it seems uncertain whether he’ll stay behind the plate as a pro. He played only two games last season before an injury. Those two games were at DH and first base.

Associated Press photo of Posada, headshots of Martin, Montero and Murphy

 
 

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128 Responses to “Yankees organizational depth: Catcher”

  1. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    i say ‘no free ride’ for cervelli. he’s not good enough offensivly or behind the plate to rate an automatic roster spot. i like the kid, but he’s gotta show he belongs rather than just fill in a spot on the 25 man.

  2. Carlo January 8th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    He doesn’t belong. Not a big league catcher on a contending team right now.

  3. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    if he shows some improvment behind the plate, i’m fine with him, but he was no better than posada defensivly last season which is fine if you carry po’s bat, but he doesnt.

    i know they dont want jesus or romine sitting rather than developing, but i still dont give cervelli a free pass. the yankees have used jorge as the dh very often the past 2 years even when they only had 2 catchers on the roster. if cervelli shows himself to be an asset, great bring him north, but no free passes.

  4. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    How the organization handles Montero will have a significant impact on my assessment of Cashman’s performance as GM.

  5. raymagnetic January 8th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Not many catchers had a higher OBP than Cervelli last year. Has zero power but definitely has OBP skills.

  6. GreenBeret7 January 8th, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Add Mitch Abeita to the Trenton roster and Jose Gil to the Scranton catching roster, though two or three of the lesser known spirits could be added in a trade for an average starting pitcher. Romine could go for a bigger name.

  7. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    id say cervelli’s performance dropped as the season went on. but for me, the backup has to be solid behind the plate, where cervelli is not stellar to this point.

    but as i said, just show us that he’s an asset and everything’s fine. im a little concerned that nova, mitre, cervelli seem to be getting free passes north. id like to see some competition for all those roster spots.

  8. tyanksfan36 January 8th, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I don’t think they will bring Montero up unless he is going to be catching every other day or so, he has to get in work on his defense which he can’t do if he is sitting on the bench. It makes sense to have cervelli as the occasional backup. If Martin stays healthy, we should rarely see cervelli and definitely not as much as last season. If Martin is not improving then I see them bringing up Montero.

  9. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    tyanksfan36

    Why can’t Montero work on his defense (with Pena, a great teacher) while catching 60 games and learning how to hit ML pitching? It would help him and help the Yankees.

  10. tyanksfan36 January 8th, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    And, as much value as you can place on baseball america or top prospect lists, going into 2010 Cervelli was rated as the best defensive catcher in the system and he got pretty awful in NY as we know.

  11. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    best case is cervelli shows improvment behind the plate, martin is solid and you go north with those 2. but if cervelli hasnt improved behind the plate you need to have a plan b rather than carry dead weight on the roster, especially if martin looks like the guy the dodgers gave up on.

  12. Patrick January 8th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I think Cervelli has potential to be an excellent defensive catcher. I also think he will improve with the bat. I doubt he will ever have much power but i expect he’ll probably hit more doubles as he gets more experience.

    If Sanchez does in fact play at Charleston it will be a lot of fun to watch

  13. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Cervelli was actually rushed (at least from an offensive perspective) according to Cashman. He might benefit from some time at AAA more than Montero.

  14. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    dont forget despite being shoved aside as the yankees starting catcher, jorge posada will be telling girardi every day “put me behind the plate, skip” (only not in exactly those words…) if he sees marin/cervelli struggling to keep thier heads above water.

  15. UpState January 8th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    …is Cervelli ‘clutch’ ?

  16. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I think it’s possible that Posada can see more time at C than has been said by the Yankees, if they keep an open mind, but he has to hit and show that he is still durable.

  17. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    patrick, you must’ve seen cervelli in the minors, because his time in the majors he hasnt shown the potential to be even an average catcher behind the plate to this point.
    i know he came with the ‘solid defender’ label, so i still hold out the hope that might be true, but he has shown nothing defensivly to this point.

    im not blowing the kid up, he might be the best b/u catcher in the a.l. this year if things go well, but so far he hasnt shown enough to have his nameplate waiting on a locker at YS at this point.

  18. jackamir January 8th, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Cervelli brings nothing except his cheerleading skills. Why would you bring him north of Charleston…. Any one of the seven options has a better upside and by showcasing any one of them could maybe bring something in trade. Right now Cervelli’s future is in Pittsburgh for a bag of balls.

  19. tyanksfan36 January 8th, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    YsGuy

    Well Martin is supposed to be a good defensive catcher, his issue has been his offense so as long as his defense doesn’t go to pot then posada shouldn’t need to catch though he will want to.

    Rich

    I could see that having Montero catching 60 games while under Pena, Girardi and Posada’s watch would be a great thing. They were all good defensive catchers in their time and would all be excellent mentors but I still think he will need to play everyday to keep his bat fresh and on his toes defensively and he can do that in AAA until they call him up. Hopefully he gets some time in with them in ST.

  20. michaels07 January 8th, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Can they do the same for Short Stop?

  21. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    being a yankee fan and hating on jeter is like saying you’re a proud american, but just cant stand that george washington guy…

  22. Patrick January 8th, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    YsGuy,

    He came with the “great defender” label actually. And that’s what he was in the minors. He was also very good in 2009.

  23. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    tyanksfan36

    I don’t see Montero is ever being more than a 100 game a season catcher, in large part due to his body type. Even if he ultimately catches more games than that, he will likely be gradually transitioned at some point.

    Then there is the issue that the Yankees need to win as many games as possible.

    With the foregoing in mind, who can provide more offense/defense in a 60 game (or whatever) role for the Yankees?

    I don’t think any other candidate comes close to offering what Montero can.

    If Montero has a good ST, he has to go north with the ML club.

  24. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    “being a yankee fan and hating on jeter is like saying you’re a proud american, but just cant stand that george washington guy…”

    In order for the analogy to be on all fours, you would have to think that George Washington should still be president.

  25. UpState January 8th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    George Washington would certainly be way too old to still be President.

  26. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    as i said, i like cervelli and im sure he’s better defensivly than he showed last year. but he has to show it to earn a roster spot, not just drop his year-old bp bio that says hes a good defensive catcher. im rooting for him to show something, but i think some real competition might bring that out, or at least give us a backup plan. bear in mind, they could take turns with jesus and romine shuttling back and forth between learning in the a.l. and developing at aaa. i believe it only counts as one ‘option’ per year when you shuttle these guys back and forth no matter how many times you do it in one season.

  27. GMAN January 8th, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Bernie Williams was clutch !

    Bernie for Hall of Fame!

    Bern, Baby… Bern!

  28. UpState January 8th, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    …Disco Inferno….Trampps

  29. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    also, you can put competitive pressure on cervelli in ST by bringing in a dh bat. they you have the option of only carrying martin and po and using po as catcher more they currently are. in the end, i hope cervelli comes up big, i just say no free rides.

  30. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    in theory, your bench, the middle of the bullpen and the back of the rotation should always be feeling the heat of competition, especially in ST.

  31. Gary January 8th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Pretty amazing as so much can be written about so much of nothing. The 9th inning,the 8th inning, catchers, DH’s pitchers. Wouldn’t it be an amazing thing if there was some Yankee news to report.

  32. tyanksfan36 January 8th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Rich

    I want Montero up with the big club this year too. I have become a huge prospect lover after spending a season watching the Tampa Yankees. I never got to see Montero but I rooted for his old team and they feel like my family( I only went to about 20 games because of school) so I want them all to make it! But I digress, if Montero goes crazy with the bat and improves his defense I too think he should go north and play as many games as he can(or 60). Only less than 2 more months til we start to see how they can work to improve him. I’m thinking of going down to the stadium to see if I can’t catch a glimpse once pitchers and catchers report, I’m assuming he will be there since I’m sure they have a goal for him.

  33. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Everyone without a massive contract should be vulnerable to competition, with the possible exception of Hughes.

  34. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    tyanksfan36

    I hear you.

  35. GreenBeret7 January 8th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 5:02 pm
    tyanksfan36

    I don’t see Montero is ever being more than a 100 game a season catcher, in large part due to his body type. Even if he ultimately catches more games than that, he will likely be gradually transitioned at some point.

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    You’d better get some letters off to Minnesota and Baltimore that their catchers’ body types aren’t conducive to being catchers.

  36. tyanksfan36 January 8th, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    So Gary Sanchez will likely be in Tampa in 2012. Hopefully I am still in the area because if he is a good as they say I will want to see him.

  37. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    “You’d better get some letters off to Minnesota and Baltimore that their catchers’ body types aren’t conducive to being catchers.”

    It has been said by some that he isn’t as athletic as Mauer or Wieters. I hope they’re wrong, but most of all, I hope he remains a Yankee.

  38. Nick in SF January 8th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    We need Cervelli to bring in that Italy Revenue.

    I don’t want to see people posing in front of the Trevi Fountain with Pirates hats on. :mad:

  39. Gary January 8th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Seattle came to play against NO.

  40. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Rupps Runts

  41. GreenBeret7 January 8th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Now that the Garza trade has become official, I expect to see the Cubs move at least one starting pitcher. They have 8 starting pitchers of one quality or another.

  42. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    # GreenBeret7 January 8th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 5:02 pm
    tyanksfan36

    I don’t see Montero is ever being more than a 100 game a season catcher, in large part due to his body type. Even if he ultimately catches more games than that, he will likely be gradually transitioned at some point.

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    You’d better get some letters off to Minnesota and Baltimore that their catchers’ body types aren’t conducive to being catchers.
    ——————————————————
    problem with this is that those two are good defensive catchers

  43. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    # GreenBeret7 January 8th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Now that the Garza trade has become official, I expect to see the Cubs move at least one starting pitcher. They have 8 starting pitchers of one quality or another.
    ————————–

    Big Z is on the way to NY

  44. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    so whats the price tag on this Big Z meltdown-waiting-to-happen guy anyway?

    if theres a jesus in there, ill pass…

  45. 4 NYY January 8th, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Might as well dig up Mantle, Maris, Gehrig, and Ruth and rag on them as to disrespect Jeter !!!

    Look in the dictionary for class : You’ll find Jeter and Mo !!! Not to mention their HOF credentials.

  46. RMS January 8th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    AJ for Zambrano.

  47. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    # RMS January 8th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    AJ for Zambrano.
    —————————–
    wouldn’t have to give up that much

  48. 4 NYY January 8th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    # RMS January 8th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    AJ for Zambrano.
    ——————————————————————–

    In a N.Y. minute !!!

  49. blake January 8th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    No way the Yankees would even think about including Montero for Zambrano, actually I don’t see any way they do a deal for him unless the prospects are B level and the Cubs pick up money……in essence somewhat of a salary dump for the Cubs. It does make some sense for both sides though if the Yanks are willing to take a risk and the Cubs want to unload some or most of the 38 million or so they owe him.

  50. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Seahawks on fire

  51. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    basically 3 yrs/ $60M left on crazy carlos’s contract, 3 yrs/ $49.5M on aj’s. trading your problem for someone else’s problem does sometimes work, sometimes it blows up in your face.

  52. blake January 8th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    The Cubs aren’t going to trade a bad contract (Zambrano) for another bad contract who is older and has a year longer on their deal (AJ)

  53. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    # blake January 8th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    No way the Yankees would even think about including Montero for Zambrano, actually I don’t see any way they do a deal for him unless the prospects are B level and the Cubs pick up money……in essence somewhat of a salary dump for the Cubs. It does make some sense for both sides though if the Yanks are willing to take a risk and the Cubs want to unload some or most of the 38 million or so they owe him.
    ————
    yep!!!!!

  54. blake January 8th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Zambrano has a 2 year deal with a vesting option for the 3rd that is unlikely to vest (difficult to reach marks)….he has 2 years left most likely and if he’s pitching well enough for that 3rd to vest then it would be ok anyway.

  55. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    theres a vesting option on z’s contract according to cott’s ($19.25M player option). i dont know what the vesting qualification is, but they are usually quite makeable, so i assume that $19M is pretty much assured.

  56. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    # blake January 8th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Zambrano has a 2 year deal with a vesting option for the 3rd that is unlikely to vest (difficult to reach marks)….he has 2 years left most likely and if he’s pitching well enough for that 3rd to vest then it would be ok anyway.
    —————————————————
    so your in on a trade for him ?

  57. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    if it’s aj for z with some money moving but no players of note, then i could maybe deal with it. but if they’re looking for a top notch prospect, i say no way.

  58. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    get Z and twist Andy’s right arm …now who has the better team Yanks or RS

  59. blake January 8th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Zambrano basically is owed 18 million in 2011 and 2012 and has an option for 2013 that kicks in if he : finishes 1st or 2nd in the CY young voting in 2011 or if he finishes in the top 4 in 2012 and is healthy at the end of 2012. Those aren’t likely unless he pitches much better than he has…..

  60. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    # YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    if it’s aj for z with some money moving but no players of note, then i could maybe deal with it. but if they’re looking for a top notch prospect, i say no way.
    —————————
    don’t think Cubs are looking for SP at this time

  61. blake January 8th, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Yes, I would potentially be ok with a deal for Zambrano if the Cubs pick up some salary and accept non-impact or prospects that are excess for the Yankees. They aren’t dealing him for AJ because if they trade him it would be to dump salary, not add more back. AJ for Zambrano doesn’t make sense for either team…..

  62. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    well if they’re not taking aj off our hands, why would we even think about taking on another huge head case with an even huger contract than aj’s? and give up top prospects to go along? thats crazy.

  63. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    even if the option on z’s contract doesnt vest, you’re still talking just under $20M per year for a guy who they had to throw off the team last year. is that worth montero?

  64. blake January 8th, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    they wouldn’t give up top prospects for Zambrano. The reason they might consider it is because they could potentially get him without giving up top end talent and because he is still fairly young with the potential to be good.

  65. blake January 8th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    They wouldn’t have to deal Montero to get Zambrano. The Cubs want shed of that 38 million dollars they owe him.

  66. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    with the prices that we’ve seen in SP’s so far this offseason i find it hard to believe they send out Z without bringing back someone’s top propspect. but if it can be done for less than a king’s ransom, im open to the idea. when i heard the cubs/rays trade it struck me as sounding like the first half of a multi-team deal. maybe the other part is being negotiated as we speak

  67. MTU January 8th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Blake-

    Just for the sake of discussion.

    What would be your proposal to the Cubs in terms of dollars and players for Z ?

  68. blake January 8th, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    MTU,

    How much salary Id take would be dependent on the level of prospects they want in the deal. If they want most or all of the salary picked up then Im sending nothing of real value in prospects……its not a slam dunk deal IMO and there’s a lot of risk involved. If the Cubs want top players then Im walking away……

  69. MTU January 8th, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Blake-

    If they primarily want to shed money I would offer to take on 30 mill and give them 1 or 2 B
    grade prospects.

    If they eat half we up the ante a bit on the players going back.

  70. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    The return for the Cubs in any deal for Zambrano would have to be conditional, IOW, they get to choose from one list of prospects if he pitches well (predefined by some criterion) and another list if he doesn’t (again predefined by some other criterion).

    You could similarly condition how much salary the Cubs would pick up based on performance.

  71. 108 stitches January 8th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    The key to anything concerning Zambrano is Larry Rothschild. If Cashman and Jim Hendry were talking a deal, Rothschild would figure prominently in a yes or no. He’s the only pitching coach Zambrano’s had in his major league career. Nobody knows him better.

  72. MTU January 8th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Rich-

    IMO the Cubs would not go for those kinds of conditions.

    They are gonna want to know how much
    payroll they are shedding, and which players
    they are getting return from the outset.

  73. blake January 8th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    108,

    Agreed. I think it could be a good thing. the key to whether or not it happens may be what you say about Rothschild and how badly the Cubs want to shed his salary.

  74. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    i dont think the commish would allow that level of variability in a trade. i think the dollar figure has to be solid and not too large to start off with. the prospects could be an under the table deal on a ‘player to be named’ but it cant be too big a component of the deal.

  75. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    MTU

    There could be a floor of prospects and money in the deal, but why should either team receive a windfall when it’s possible to structure a return that accurately reflects actual performance?

  76. blake January 8th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    If they want most of the salary picked up then its going to have to be lower level players or players that have no future with the Yankees……otherwise its just too much cash to take on for the risk level.

  77. BoJo January 8th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    UpState January 8th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    George Washington would certainly be way too old to still be President.
    ++++++++++++++
    GW had terrible range to his left.

  78. BoJo January 8th, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    108 stitches January 8th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    The key to anything concerning Zambrano is Larry Rothschild. If Cashman and Jim Hendry were talking a deal, Rothschild would figure prominently in a yes or no. He’s the only pitching coach Zambrano’s had in his major league career. Nobody knows him better.
    ++++++++++++++++++
    If I were Rothschild, I don’t know if I would want to stake my reputation and Yankee career on recommending a crazy.

  79. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    “GW had terrible range to his left.”

    Well, given that he rejected the chance to have almost monarchial powers, I think he was actually a liberal……

    (That’s a joke, albeit a lame one, not a political comment.)

  80. MTU January 8th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Rich-

    Nice try but that is not the way it works IMO.

    Each team does their DD and the chips fall where they may.

    Teams don’t generally hedge each others risk.

  81. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    zambrano will determine his own fate, the pitching coach isnt the key here. z got thrown off the cubbies with rothschild as coach didnt he? its like saying that the key to joba’s success is eiland.

  82. MTU January 8th, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Blake-

    If the Cubs want the Yanks to take 30 then
    I agree that they should only get B prospects
    at most.

    If the Cubs would eat 1/2 they can get a guy like a Mitchell, or a Warren.

  83. blake January 8th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    MTU,

    Yea…sounds about right.

  84. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    “Teams don’t generally hedge each others risk.”

    MTU

    Maybe on the money part, but PTBNL deals are common and are often structured that way.

  85. Jerkface January 8th, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Weighing in on clutch, there are no such thing as clutch players, but plays can be labelled clutch. A player can hit a clutch HR, but I wouldn’t depend on that happening every time we need a HR.

    One only needs to look at Jeter to realize clutch doesn’t really exist. He had 2 men on, with a chance to end the Phillies in the WS against Madsen in the 9th and he grounded into a double play.

  86. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    unless the yankees are willing to give up some real prospects, i dont see a z trade coming. the commish wont approve a $20M or so salary dump. something of big value has to go the other way. maybe burnett gets sucked into the deal and then moved elsewhere, but its too much money for the commissioner’s office to allow the cubs to outright sell him to the yankees.

  87. MTU January 8th, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    OK Rich.

    I think we’re on the same page now.

    I could see offering the Cubs a list of acceptable players to choose from.

    Of course that list is based upon the amount of money they are cost-sharing with us.

  88. jackamir January 8th, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Why would the Cubs trade Zambrano to the Yanks and pickup some salary? If they p/u salary there are better American League teams that might be interested with better prospects. You know Cash’s not going to offer anything of value. I see the Orioles or the Royals as better options for the Cubbies.

  89. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Obviously, the Cubs can trade him (or not) to any team, but what other team has as deep a mL system as the Yankees with similarly deep pockets and has a need? Virtually none.

  90. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    i know someone’s going to point to the arod deal with texas as an example of the commish okaying a big salary dump, but we sent them soriano and the rangers could cleary show that the arod contract was pushing the franchise toward insolvency. those conditions seem absent in this proposed deal, the cubs would apparntly not get anything of true value and the yankees would be buying a $20M/year contract for peanuts just so the cubs could get out from under a contract they dont want. i dont see that deal passing muster with bud.

  91. Jerkface January 8th, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    I don’t think the cubs are going to eat 50% of Zambranos deal, but the Yankees could maybe get 8 mil total picked up.

  92. BoJo January 8th, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    I’ll admit that I have not watched Zambrannno a lot and therefore am not a foremost expert on him.

    However, from what I have read in scouting reports, his velocity is down significantly from his younger days, and now sits at about 86-88mph. He has thrown a lot of innings in his career. And while he has performed okay in the NL Central, he has not faced the same level of competition as the AL East.

    Sounds to me like another Javy Vasquez–for which I would much rather develop internally than take on 3 years of contract for.

    The only way I would even touch this guy with a 10 foot pole is if the pole were at the end of a 30 foot pole.

  93. blake January 8th, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Because there aren’t a lot of teams out there willing to take on 30+ million dollars for a risky player and because the Cubs have more than 5 starters and would probably like to s
    hed a bad contract.

  94. MTU January 8th, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Blake-

    Fun exercise.

    From what you know rank the pitching prospects into groups A, B+, or B.

    The B’s
    Phelps
    Noesi
    Warren
    Stoneburner
    Mitchell
    Bleich (had TJ)

    Curious to see your rankings.

  95. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    The Texas analogy doesn’t hold up anyway because A-Rod is many orders of magnitude better than Zambrano, and there is a lot less money involved.

  96. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Zambrano’s FB velo was 90.6 last season. In 2007, for example, it was 91.7:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/pitch.....P#velocity

  97. yclept January 8th, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    BoJo -

    According to fangraphs, Zambrano averaged 90.1 on his fastball – which is definitely a decline. However, his other pitches also declined in velocity which is actually a good thing.

    Also, unlike Vazquez, Zambrano has a history of keeping the ball in the ballpark. They are vastly different pitchers, so you can’t really compare one to the other in any way possible. It’s like saying you never want another lefty from Japan again because of Igawa’s lack of success.

    For the right price, I take him – because he is still a fine pitcher. Nobody could say he would be great as a Yankee – but I don’t think anyone can reasonably say that he’d be a failure either.

  98. MTU January 8th, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Blake-

    and from the lower levels rank the following guys:

    Marshall
    Ramirez
    DePaula
    Black
    Bryan Mitchell (?)

  99. Jerkface January 8th, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    However, his other pitches also declined in velocity which is actually a good thing.

    I’m not sure that is a good thing, it speaks to a bigger injury.

  100. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Z…after melt-down…

    5-0 ..in 6 games
    40 IP
    5 ER
    38 K’s
    20 hits allowed

  101. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    not a better SP in the league the last month of the season

  102. blake January 8th, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    MTU,

    I haven’t seen them all pitch and grading them is somewhat arbitrary …..but from what I’ve read the ones Id most want to hang on to are the B’s and Noesi. I also like Phelps quite a bit. The thing to remember is that not all of those guys are going to be able to pitch in Ny….there just wont be room. When I refer to B level guys Im basiy meaning guys that are non impact or have no future with the Yanks.

  103. 108 stitches January 8th, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    BoJo January 8th, 2011 at 6:53 pm
    108 stitches January 8th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    The key to anything concerning Zambrano is Larry Rothschild. If Cashman and Jim Hendry were talking a deal, Rothschild would figure prominently in a yes or no. He’s the only pitching coach Zambrano’s had in his major league career. Nobody knows him better.
    ++++++++++++++++++
    If I were Rothschild, I don’t know if I would want to stake my reputation and Yankee career on recommending a crazy.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Again, Rothschild has the option of a yes or no. It wouldn’t appear that Zambrano was [crazy] when he returned from anger management counseling last year and posted a 8-0 record with no incidents. It’s doubtful that Cashman would go ahead on a deal without consulting with Rothschild first.

  104. YsGuy January 8th, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    so nobody’s mentioning the 800 lb gorilla in the room which is, why do the cubs want to get rid of Zambrano. its not really his performance as much as it is his ability to control his temper or rather his lack thereof. if it was just his velocity dropoff, thats one thing, but this is alot bigger. is he stable enough to be a yankee? has he taken any real steps since last year’s incidents to change his behavior? is there some reason to believe he can keep it together if the yankees pick him up?

    certainly rothschild should be giving cashman good insight here, but we have no way of knowing which way he’s advising the yankees go. for all we know rothchild is saying ‘run the othe way as fast as you can’…

  105. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Z went from a 5.61 ERA on 8/4 to 3.33 ERA on 10/2

  106. BoJo January 8th, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Rich and yclept–

    Thank you for the info. I agree though with Jerkface that such a drop in velocity is a sign of decline, and not a good thing.

    I especially don’t take the trend and want him for 3 years, irregardless of pay rate. Even if Cubs took 50% off, he is not someone I want tying up a rotation spot while Baneulos, Betances, DePaula, and others are maturing and ready for spots.

    If Pettitte came back, I think we would all be willing to live with Nova as our 5th starter, right? And we know AP would only be here 1 more year, and that a Killer B or Noesi would be filling his spot in 2012, right?

    So why lock up that spot for 3 years? Makes no sense to me at any price.

  107. MTU January 8th, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    blake-

    Don’t forget about sending some of those guys to the pen.

    I agree we can’t keep em’ all.

    There are a lot of A’s and B+’s in my opinion.

    Not worried about the B level prospects.

    I’ve heard that Marshall has tremendous upside. One of the best in our system.

    I’d like to get GB’s take.

  108. jackamir January 8th, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I would be surprised if the Yanks are not one of the last teams that are in on Soriano. Draft choice or not….. The chance of shortening games is too overwhelming with this Pitching staff.. Andy will be back—- One way or another. Who in their right mind could turn down 15 million. Andy is a competitor and not stupid. His great great grandchildren will lead enchanted lives because he gave up 9 months.

  109. BoJo January 8th, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Wow! 8-0!

    That is almost as good as being the 4th best Cy Young candidate in the NL…

  110. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    trust me if Z ends up here ( don’t think it will happen though) most everyone will be happy on this blog, better than what they have now for sure

    CC
    Z
    Hughes
    AJ
    Nova

  111. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    # MTU January 8th, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    blake-

    Don’t forget about sending some of those guys to the pen.

    I agree we can’t keep em’ all.

    There are a lot of A’s and B+’s in my opinion.

    Not worried about the B level prospects.

    I’ve heard that Marshall has tremendous upside. One of the best in our system.

    I’d like to get GB’s take.
    ——————————–
    Big Al is on board so if he is GB usually agrees with him

  112. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    how about

    CC
    Z
    Hughes
    Andy
    AJ

  113. blake January 8th, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    MTU,
    yea Marshall has nice upside from what the reports say….

    A decrease in velocity can sometimes be attributed to throwing more 2 seamers also which I believe I read was at least part of the case with Zambrano last year.

  114. yankeefeminista January 8th, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Off the top of my head, using your grades, I’d rank them something like this, purely on stuff. Although on some I am taking other people’s words (scouting reports), and I am not considering what pitches they still need to develop, etc. For instance, Ramirez needs to improve his breaking ball (CB), etc. JMO:

    A – The B’s
    A – Stoneburner
    A – (Bryan) Mitchell
    A – Marshall
    A – Ramirez
    A – DePaula
    B+ Noesi
    B+ Phelps
    B+ DJ Mitchell
    B – Warren
    B – Bleich
    B – Black

    ***Go JETS!

  115. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Seahawks

  116. MTU January 8th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Fem-

    Why do you think DJ Mitchell is a B+ and Warren a B. I would swap those 2.

    Also, Why such a high rating for Stoneburner ?

    I would have thought him a B+ at best at this point.

  117. BoJo January 8th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Joeman–

    Not sure I would be on that happy to have him list.

    Look at it this way. Z is a FA with Type A or B status…only takes $. Wants a 3 year deal for $30M.

    Would I be happy with signing a 29 year old who has thrown close to 1700 IP, was worked at over 200 IP per season from ages 22 thru 26, and has shown a trend to decreasing velocity and fewer innings the last 3 seasons (being aware of the BP time)?

    Then, in looking at his game log for the last 8 stretch, I see 4 of his wins were against Nats, Pitt, Mets, and Houston.

    Color me skeptical.

  118. yankeefeminista January 8th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Marshall is definitely throwing more 2-seamers. Supposedly, his command is so much better this year.

  119. Rich in NJ January 8th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    “So why lock up that spot for 3 years? Makes no sense to me at any price.”

    It’s two years. The third year option is highly unlikely to be triggered:

    “Zambrano receives 2013 player option if he is first or second in 2011 Cy Young vote or if he finishes in top 4 in 2012 Cy Young vote and is healthy at end of 2012″

    That’s why I like the idea of making the amount of the Cubs’ subsidization of the contract contingent on performance. Make Bud Lite disallow it.

    There is no way I would commit tons of money on Zambrano as merely a gambit.

  120. BoJo January 8th, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Hit enter too soon.

    There is no way I would be happy signing that FA pitcher to 3 years. He is 5 and 10 in 2 years, and will just clog up a rotation spot.

    If Cash HAS to get someone to replace Andy, I think he focuses on someone with only 1 more year of contract to eat…which is why I suspect he would rather wait to trading deadline when those types of pitchers become available.

  121. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    # BoJo January 8th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Joeman–

    Not sure I would be on that happy to have him list.

    Look at it this way. Z is a FA with Type A or B status…only takes $. Wants a 3 year deal for $30M.

    Would I be happy with signing a 29 year old who has thrown close to 1700 IP, was worked at over 200 IP per season from ages 22 thru 26, and has shown a trend to decreasing velocity and fewer innings the last 3 seasons (being aware of the BP time)?

    Then, in looking at his game log for the last 8 stretch, I see 4 of his wins were against Nats, Pitt, Mets, and Houston.

    Color me skeptical.
    ——————————————
    more than likely not going to happen anyways, but at this point Yankees have two SP they can count on ….

  122. BoJo January 8th, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Rich–

    Thanks for the update. I saw the option on Baseball Ref but didn’t look into it deeper.

    Even at 2 years, I don’t want him. I’d rather see Cash stick to the strategy of developing internally and give another prospect like Noesi a chance to start…then pick up someone at trading deadline.

    Oh hell, we all know what I really would prefer is moving Joba to rotation over any other pitcher currently available. Backfill with a reliever to free him up.

    I still would advocate Soriano through a sign and trade with a 3rd club to make that happen. Hopefully Boras brings that option to Cashman.

  123. randy l. January 8th, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    jerkface , lgy, or rich in nj-

    is tERA in fangraphs park adjusted ERA ?

    their glossary sucks

  124. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Seahawks..WOW!!!!

  125. yankeefeminista January 8th, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    MTU January 8th, 2011 at 7:47 pm
    Fem-

    Why do you think DJ Mitchell is a B+ and Warren a B. I would swap those 2.

    Also, Why such a high rating for Stoneburner ?

    I would have thought him a B+ at best at this point.
    ______
    That’s the thing. Depends on the criteria. Warren is very polished, really good command of FB, but I am not so crazy about his secondary pitches. Although others like him more than I. Seemed like an IPK type with more ticks on FB lately, but doesn’t have the electric stuff. I saw him in AA playoff game and he was pretty unhittable…

    DJ is probably the one who is the biggest question mark of the group since coming back. In AA had command issues, and is still working on delivery but he has a great CB and changeup. Doesn’t throw as hard as others, so maybe doesn’t get as much props. It’ll be an interesting year for him.

    Stoneburner has *electric* stuff.

  126. joeman January 8th, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Now if only the Jets get beat it would be a great day

  127. yankeefeminista January 8th, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    MTU, I am rating on stuff not level. Stoneburner has a nasty FB/slider combo. But yes, he’s only in A+.

    I’m out for football. More later.

  128. OldYanksFan January 8th, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Why can’t Montero work on his defense (with Pena, a great teacher) while catching 60 games and learning how to hit ML pitching? It would help him and help the Yankees.
    ——————————————–
    If Cashman wanted Jesus to start in MLB, he would not have gotten Martin.
    Holding him back 3 weeks delays his clock, and holding back 10 weeks or so, makes him a super 2, maybe saving millions.

    We fans can’t wait to see Jesus, but Cashman is not a fan. He’s a manager. Keeping Jesus in AAA for 2 months, delays his clock, and makes sure to loose and hot before he hits the Show.


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