The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


If the Yankees could get them back

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jul 28, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

A look back at the players the Yankees have traded away in the past two years, and how they might fit with the Yankees if they were still in the organization.

Chase Weems
Independent league, C
Released by the Reds in May

Strange to start with this one, but technically this was the Yankees only deadline deal in 2009. In the year the Yankees won the World Series, they traded for Eric Hinske in June but didn’t do any significant roster tweaking at the deadline. They purchased Chad Gaudin after the deadline.
With the Yankees then: Weems was a sixth-round pick in the draft that also brought Austin Romine. The Yankees had catching depth even then, and they shipped Weems to Cincinnati for Jerry Hairston Jr.
With the Yankees now: If Weems had stayed in the Yankees system, he might have met the same fate that he ultimately reached with the Reds. He was released in May and now plays for the Rockland Boulders.

Brian Bruney
White Sox, RHP
2.16 ERA, 1.50 WHIP

After seven saves with Triple-A Charlotte, Bruney earned a call-up and has stuck in the White Sox bullpen. He’s been more or less the guy the Yankees remember with pretty high walk and strikeout totals.
With the Yankees then: The Yankees tried Bruney as a setup man after his terrific 2008 season, but he didn’t stick in that role and by the 2009 playoffs, Bruney was an extra guy. He was traded to Washington for the rights to the No. 1 pick in the Rule 5 draft — Jamie Hoffmann — who didn’t stick with the Yankees out of spring training.
With the Yankees now: Had he stuck with the Yankees, all of the early-season bullpen injuries might have opened a door for Bruney to get another chance in the big league bullpen, but Luis Ayala, Hector Noesi and Cory Wade have all emerged as better options.

Austin Jackson
Tigers, CF
.247/.317/.363

Struggling to live up to his rookie year, Jackson’s numbers are down across the board (except for home runs). He’s still a guy with a lot of speed, a lot of strikeouts and not a lot of power.
With the Yankees then: Jackson was coming off a tremendous Triple-A season and was considered the Yankees most advanced position prospect when they traded him as the center piece of the Curtis Granderson deal. The Yankees believed they were getting a better version of what Jackson might become, and that’s certainly played out this season.
With the Yankees now: If he were still with the Yankees, Jackson’s reverse splits would make him a bad fit as the Yankees right-handed outfielder off the bench. Given this year’s numbers, Jackson might be in Triple-A if he were still with the Yankees.

Ian Kennedy
Diamondbacks, RHP
12-3, 3.22 ERA, 127 K

The ace of the Diamondbacks rotation, Kennedy has improved on his good 2010 season to post legitimately impressive numbers this year. He’s not a huge strikeout pitcher, but he has more than three strikeouts for every walk, and opponents are hitting .232 against him.
With the Yankees then: Kennedy made just 12 big league starts spread across three seasons with the Yankees. He had surgery  to repair an aneurysm in 2009. Large chunks of the fan base seemed to have given up on him when Kennedy was traded in the Granderson deal.
With the Yankees now: Given the rotation situation this spring, Kennedy probably would have been a favorite to win a starting job out of spring training, and if he’d pitched like this, he certainly would have kept that job. It would have been more interesting to see what the Yankees would have done with Kennedy had they still had him in the system last year.

Phil Coke
Tigers, LHP/spot starter
1-8, 4.57 ERA, lefties hitting .184

Most of Coke’s appearances have been as a starter this season, but his left-right splits are drastic, suggesting he’s better left in the lefty specialist role that he filled for the Yankees a few years ago.
With the Yankees then: Developed as a starter, Coke moved to the Double-A bullpen late in 2008 and rose very quickly to the big leagues. His prospect stock had pretty much evaporated as a minor league starter, but the Yankees got some value out of him as a lefty relievers and shipped him in as part of the Curtis Granderson deal.
With the Yankees now: If he were still with the Yankees, it’s hard to imagine Coke would have gotten another shot in the rotation, but Coke certainly could have helped in his familiar left-handed relief role. He’s given up one homer in 100 at-bats vs. left-handers this season.

Melky Cabrera
Royals, CF
.297/.333/.453

Approaching career-highs in hits, home runs, doubles and runs scored — he’s already set a career high in stolen bases —  Cabrera has basically been Robinson Cano with a little less power.
With the Yankees then: Cabrera was traded away in the 2009 Javier Vazquez deal, which left Brett Gardner with ample opportunity to win his everyday job in the Yankees lineup. Cabrera was basically viewed a good fourth outfielder, but a borderline everyday guy. 
With the Yankees now:
If he were still with the Yankees, Cabrera’s current production would give the team four legitimate outfielders to mix and match. His best fit would probably be in right field, letting Nick Swisher take the bulk of Jorge Posada’s DH at-bats.

Mike Dunn
Marlins, LHP
Lefties hitting .171/.306/.243

Second among Marlins relievers in innings and appearances, Dunn has become more than a lefty specialist. He’s faced more right-handers than left-handers, but still carries better numbers against lefties. He has a 3.47 ERA overall.
With the Yankees then: A converted outfielder, Dunn was another part of the Javier Vazquez deal. The Braves then shipped him to Florida in the Dan Uggla trade. Dunn was well regarded, but never a huge prospect.
With the Yankees now: If he were still with the Yankees, he’d be an easy choice as a second lefty in the bullpen, and might have pushed Boone Logan out of a job when Logan struggled earlier this season.

Arodys Vizcaino
Braves, RHP (Triple-A)
3.26 ERA at three levels

Called up from Double-A earlier this week, Vizcaino opened the year in High-A and was dominant through nine innings, which led to a move to Double-A where he had a 3.81 ERA before being moved up again to Triple-A.
With the Yankees then: Widely considered the Yankees best lower-level pitching prospect, he was the key prospect involved in the Vazquez trade. He immediately had a terrific first season in the Braves organization.
With the Yankees now: If he were still with the Yankees, Vizcaino would still be among their top pitching prospects, probably a notch below Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos (and he’d probably make that Double-A rotation even more of a must-see group). Baseball America ranked him as the 93rd overall prospect in baseball this winter.

Mitch Hilligoss
Rangers, INF (Double-A)
.271/.321/.385 at two levels

You’re forgiven if you don’t remember this name. He was shipped to Texas for Greg Golson and hasn’t climbed above Double-A in either the Yankees or Rangers organizations.
With the Yankees then:
A nice 2007 season in Charleston put Hilligoss temporarily on the prospect map, but utility types like Kevin Russo and Corban Joseph made him easily expendable for a player who’s been useful in a supporting role.
With the Yankees now: He’d probably be a utility infielder in Trenton, bouncing around as a part-time player. He’s just never replicated that ’07 season.

Zach McAllister
Indians, RHP
8-3, 3.11 ERA in Triple-A

McAllister was the player shipped to Cleveland for Austin Kearns, and he’s put together a very nice Triple-A season that’s earned him one spot start in the big leagues where he was teammates with — of all people — Austin Kearns.
With the Yankees then: McAllister really struggled in Triple-A last year, and given the surge of pitching talent all around him, he became expendable. Obviously, Kearns didn’t work out, but at the time there wasn’t much outrage at losing McAllister in the deal.
With the Yankees now: If he were still with the Yankees, McAllister would be right in that Phelps/Warren/Mitchell group of Triple-A starters begging for a call-up. This has been a significant rebound year for McAllister, and even in this pitching-rich organization, his numbers would be hard to overlook.

Mark Melancon
Astros, closer
3.17 ERA, 9 saves

Moved into the closer role after Brandon Lyon was hurt, Melancon has been a good piece of a bad team. Houston’s bullpen has a total of 13 saves, and Melancon has nine of them.
With the Yankees then: A highly touted relief prospect, Melancon made a total of 15 big league appearances with the Yankees, but his minor league success never carried over and he was shipped to Houston in last year’s Lance Berkman deal.
With the Yankees now: If he were still with the Yankees, this season might have been exactly the opportunity Melancon was waiting for. Given the early season uncertainty in the late innings, Melancon would surely have figured into the Yankees plans, or at least gotten a chance to win regular work in the seventh inning.

Jimmy Paredes
Astros, INF (Double-A)
.267/.296/.424 while playing second and third

The minor leaguer shipped to Houston in the Berkman deal has a spot on Houston’s 40-man roster, but he already has 82 strikeouts to go with his 10 Double-A homers.
With the Yankees then: Always a kind of under-the-radar, might-do-something prospect. He was pretty good the previous two years, and that boosted his stock enough to help the Yankees made a deal. Probably the biggest role he was ever going to play in this organization.
With the Yankees now: If he were still with the Yankees, Paredes would probably have spent the year playing second base in High-A. He’s a significant prospect in the Astros thin system, but he’d been pretty far off the radar if he were still with the Yankees.

Matt Cusick
Angels, 2B (Double-A)
.301/.414/.418

Traded to Cleveland as a player to be named later in the Kerry Wood deal, Cusick wound up released by the Indians only to sign with the Angels. He’s had a nice year for them. The other PTBNL in the Wood deal was a pitcher named Andrew Shive, and he’s been released without signing elsewhere. Basically, the Indians got nothing in that trade.
With the Yankees then:
Cusick is the guy the Yankees originally got when they shipped LaTroy Hawkins to Houston in 2008. He’d become a kind of organizational guy.
With the Yankees now: If he were still with the Yankees, he’d probably still be an organizational guy, trying to get at-bats anywhere from High-A to Triple-A.

Juan Miranda
Diamondbacks, 1B (Triple-A)
.213/.315/.402 in the big leagues

Miranda was the D-Backs regular first baseman when the season started, and he was pretty productive for a while, but after a horrible month of June and a rocky start to July, he was DFA and assigned to Triple-A.
With the Yankees then: This winter, Miranda was shipped to Arizona for minor-league pitcher Scott Allen. Miranda was out of options and have no obvious place on the big league roster.
With the Yankees now: If he were still with the Yankees, Miranda would be serving the familiar role as first base insurance. The Yankees wouldn’t have been able to carry him out of spring training and would have had to try to get him through waivers. He never had a role when he was with the Yankees before, and he wouldn’t have a role if he were with them now.

Adam Olbrychowski
Nationals, RHP (High-A)
4.68 ERA as reliever and spot starter

In a largely forgotten deal, Olbrychowski was shipped to the Nationals for Justin Maxwell just before the start of spring training.
With the Yankees then: He was a fifth-round pick in 2007, but Olbrychowski never really set himself apart in the Yankees system. He had a nice 2009 and a solid 2010, but he still remained fairly anonymous in this organization.
With the Yankees now: If he were still in the organization, he’d probably the same as before: A solid pitcher with solid numbers that are easy to overlook. He made a few Double-A appearances for the Yankees, but the Nationals haven’t pushed him beyond High-A.

Sergio Mitre
Yankees, RHP
4.46 between New York and Milwaukee

The last player the Yankees traded away is a guy who’s currently on their 40-man roster. Mitre was traded for Chris Dickerson this spring, then the Yankees claimed him when the Brewers put him on waivers this summer.
With the Yankees then: When the Yankees traded Mitre, there seemed to be no room for another long reliever/fifth starter. Bartolo Colon had emerged in spring training, and Mitre was shipped away to add some outfield depth, which has come in handy.
With the Yankees now: So hard to guess what would happen if some of these traded guys were back with the Yankees, but for Mitre, I’d have to say that he’d make roughly four appearances in some sort of middle-relief, long-relief role. I’d guess that fans would generally despise him until an injury ultimately sent him to the disabled list, opening the door for more regular appearances for Hector Noesi. But that’s just a guess. No way to know for sure.

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