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Familiar faces in new places

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jul 10, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Maybe it was Melky Cabrera’s spot on the National League all-star team that inspired this list, I’m honestly not sure. For whatever reason, I started thinking about the former Yankees who are worth the most attention this season. Not necessarily the best former Yankees, but the ones that are generating some buzz for one reason or another. Maybe it’s because they’re playing really well, or because they’re playing especially bad. Maybe it’s because the Yankees would like to bring them back, or because the Yankees are glad they’re gone.

For whatever reason, here are 10 former Yankees who are still getting some New York attention this season.

1. Jesus Montero C, Mariners
It didn’t matter whether he hit or fell flat on his face, Montero couldn’t help but generate attention this season. While I still believe he is going to be a very good all-around hitter eventually, this season he’s been effective only against lefties. Against right-handers he’s slugged barely over .300 without getting on base at a remotely reasonable clip. Against lefties, he’s slugged well over .500 while also hitting for average with a good on-base percentage (helped by a massive batting average on balls in play). Slightly less than half of his starts have been behind the plate, and he hits cleanup in Seattle only because, what’s the alternative? If he were hitting like this in New York, I honestly wonder whether he’d still be in the big leagues. If the team’s top hitting prospect were only effective as a platoon player, wouldn’t they have him in Triple-A to work out the kinks?

2. Melky Cabrera LF, Giants
The Yankees starting left fielder has been on the disabled list nearly all season, so it’s been worth thinking about alternatives. Bobby Abreu has played well since taking over left field for the Dodgers, Alfonso Soriano is doing his usual strikeouts-and-homers routine in Chicago, and Jose Tabata has been dumped to Triple-A by the Pirates. All are interesting Yankees-related left field situations, but Cabrera is fascinating. After a good season last year, Cabrera is having an outstanding season this year. He’s leading the league in hits while also showing some speed and power, and he suddenly looks like one of the top outfielders heading into this offseason’s free agent market. He never showed anything quite like this with the Yankees — even his best years were nowhere near this level of production — but he’s still just 27 years old. Maybe it just took him some time and mulitple changes of scenery to figure it out.

3. A.J. Burnett SP, Pirates
Here’s what’s amazing about Burnett: The Yankees are paying most of his salary, and he’s pitched at nearly an all-star level for someone else, yet there’s absolutely no public outcry about the Yankees making a mistake in trading him to Pittsburgh. He seemed like a lost cause with the Yankees, and there was such an excess of rotation options in spring training, that even now, he’s a guy who’s watched with more fascination than longing. Kind of like Ian Kennedy — who was the traded-away starter to watch last year — Burnett’s time in New York had come and gone, and he’s found success again in the National League. Good for him.

4. Austin Jackson CF, Tigers
Since the trade that brought him to New York, Curtis Granderson has pretty much become the best version of himself: A slugging center fielder who’s learned to hit left-handers and produce like a middle-of-the-order bat. This season, Jackson has also begun to reach his ceiling. Despite missing nearly a month on the disabled list, Jackson leads the American League in triples, and even though he’s still striking out a lot — he’s always done that — Jackson is getting on base more than 40 percent of the time.  He’s a terrific defensive player, and this year he’s been an elite leadoff hitter.

5. Jose Quintana SP, White Sox
Would rank higher on this list if more people knew he came out of the Yankees system. To be fair, Quintana was released by the Mets long before the Yankees allowed him to become a free agent. He had a terrific season with High-A Tampa last year — 10-2 record, 2.91 ERA, 1.12 WHIP — but the Yankees weren’t sold on giving him a spot on the 40-man. The White Sox gave him a big league contract and optioned him to Double-A before adding him to the big league rotation before he’d thrown a single Triple-A inning. The result is a 2.04 ERA through eight starts, three of which have lasted at least eight innings.

6. Johnny Damon LF, Indians
There was a large and vocal group of Yankees fans who badly wanted Damon back in the Bronx this season. Some were so enthralled with the idea, that they hated the Raul Ibanez signing before the deal was officially done. As it’s turned out, Damon has been a .215/.285/.344 hitter in Cleveland (and those numbers don’t get much better if you look only at his at-bats against right-handers). Ibanez has been a bit inconsistent, but he’s at least slugged .484 against righties and given the Yankees a passable left fielder while Brett Gardner’s been on the disabled list.

7. Alfredo Aceves RP, Red Sox
After the 2010 season — when injuries limited him to 12 big league innings — the Yankees weren’t willing to give Aceves a big league deal. He wound up signing with Boston and pitching well in multiple roles. Already labeled as one who got away, Aceves has now taken the Red Sox closer job while Andrew Bailey’s been on the disabled list. He has 19 saves and a 1.19 WHIP. He’s not much different than he was with the Yankees: Not necessarily overwhelming, but effective and versatile.

8. Tyler Clippard RP, Nationals
If this were a ranking of the best former Yankees in baseball, Clippard would be higher on the list, and certainly above Aceves. As far as attention, though, Clippard stays a little but off the radar because he seemed like such a non-factor during his time in New York. He was a good but not elite prospect, and he made six big league starts before the Yankees shipped him to Washington for Jonathan Albaladejo in 2007. It was Washington that decided to try him in the bullpen, and Clippard’s career took off. Now closing games for a first-place team, Clippard has a 1.93 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings. The Yankees bullpen is awfully good, but every team in baseball would have a spot for Clippard.

9. Hector Noesi SP, Mariners
An edge-of-the-radar prospect for most of his Yankees career, Noesi made a strong impression in his big league debut, but the Yankees system seemed to be loaded with guys just like him, and so he was shipped to Seattle in the Montero trade. Seattle gave him 17 big league starts before shipping him to Triple-A. He leads the American League with 11 losses and has a 5.77 ERA. The guy who essentially took his place in New York is David Phelps, who looks like a clear upgrade. It’s too early to judge Noesi’s career, but the Yankees certainly don’t miss him this year.

10. Justin Maxwell RF, Astros
Granted, Maxwell’s not exactly a headline name. Depending on what you’re looking for, guys like Ian Kennedy and Alfonso Soriano are certainly more buzz-worthy former Yankees, but those guys are old news at this point. Maxwell is an interesting case because he played well in spring training, seemed to have some fans on the Yankees coaching staff, but fell victim to the numbers game. He was out of options, there was no room for him on the roster, and upon landing in Houston, he hit .231/.324/.471 with eight home runs as a backup outfielder before going on the disabled list. Given the way this season played out with Brett Gardner’s elbow injury, the Yankees might have had a spot for Maxwell afterall.

Five more noteworthy for one reason or another

Jose Molina C, Rays
Tampa Bay decided to try a career backup as an everyday catcher. The result has been the worst offensive year of his career.

Cody Ransom INF Brewers
If he’d been with the Yankees in spring training, there’s a solid chance Ransom would be in New York right now instead of Jayson Nix. As it is, Ransom has played a utility role with both the Diamondbacks and Brewers this season.

Jose Tabata RF/LF, Pirates
Looked like a really nice player after his rookie season with Pittsburgh, but his numbers are trending the wrong way and now he’s been optioned back to Triple-A.

Bartolo Colon SP, Athletics
Strikeouts are down, but so are the walks. His ERA and WHIP are basically the same as last season.

Mark Melancon RP, Red Sox
Luis Ayala is basically repeating last season’s results in Baltimore this year, but Melancon is a far more interesting former Yankees reliever. After that brutal month of April, he’s actually been very good since returning to Boston from Triple-A.

Associated Press photos

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54 Responses to “Familiar faces in new places”

  1. bruceb July 10th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Here’s what’s amazing about Burnett: The Yankees are paying most of his salary, and he’s pitched at nearly an all-star level for someone else, yet there’s absolutely no public outcry about the Yankees making a mistake in trading him to Pittsburgh.

    Very good point, Chad. Imagine if instead of AJ, it was Andy Pettitte or Phil Hughes doing this? Many posters on this board are still up in arms about the Montero trade – and, quite frankly, he has been a major disappointment so far.

  2. Patrick July 10th, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Many posters on this board are still up in arms about the Montero trade – and, quite frankly, he has been a major disappointment so far.

    At least Montero has played for his new team…

  3. blake July 10th, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    quite a bit of talent on that list

  4. blake July 10th, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    “Many posters on this board are still up in arms about the Montero trade – and, quite frankly, he has been a major disappointment so far.”

    so has Pineda….actually the two guys the Yanks got in the deal have barely played for them at all.

  5. CountryClub July 10th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I must be weird; because I don’t give traded (or released) players a second thought. Once they leave the Yanks, they just become another player on a team that’s not the Yankees. I don’t think about Melky any more than I think about David Ortiz. I couldn’t care less. I’m not saying my way is the correct way. I just find it fascinating how fans pine over the ones “that got away”.

  6. yanks 27 July 10th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    “Many posters on this board are still up in arms about the Montero trade – and, quite frankly, he has been a major disappointment so far.”

    At least he isn’t dead, along with the other prize of the deal.

    A disappointing player who is alive can always get better, and based on his talent level, likely will. A dead player has no way of getting better because they are, well, dead until further notice. Pineda may very well come back throwing 97 and not miss a beat. The track record doesn’t suggest it is greater than 50/50 of happening, though.

  7. Against All Odds July 10th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    A disappointing player who is alive can always get better, and based on his talent level, likely will. A dead player has no way of getting better because they are, well, dead until further notice.

    ——————–

    QFT

    It’s amazing how many ppl don’t get it.

  8. bruceb July 10th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Patrick July 10th, 2012 at 2:20 pm
    Many posters on this board are still up in arms about the Montero trade – and, quite frankly, he has been a major disappointment so far.

    At least Montero has played for his new team…

    That’s the luck of the draw when you make a trade. You can’t foresee injuries. All you can do is your due diligence and rely on the advice of your medical experts. I believe Cashman and the Yankees did this.

    Montero MAY develop into an All-Star quality Major League hitter.

    Pineda MAY recover from injury to become a top-of-the-rotation starter.

    Only time will tell.

  9. luis July 10th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I wouldn’t go as far as to call Pineda dead….But what he is at this point remains to be seen

  10. Jerkface July 10th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    That’s the luck of the draw when you make a trade. You can’t foresee injuries.

    Mmm, not quite. Trading for an obviously larger injury risk is not ‘luck of the draw’. Its taking on larger risk on purpose. They weren’t randomly assigned a 22 year old with a history of elbow issues.

    Also I enjoy everyone appropriating my use of the term dead for injured players :twisted:

  11. Chip July 10th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    the Tabata contract is looking awful right now for the Pirates.

  12. blake July 10th, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    They should inject Pineda with platelets from Joba and Rivera……Bud Selig would freak though.

  13. luis July 10th, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    bruceb July 10th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Patrick July 10th, 2012 at 2:20 pm
    Many posters on this board are still up in arms about the Montero trade – and, quite frankly, he has been a major disappointment so far.

    At least Montero has played for his new team…

    That’s the luck of the draw when you make a trade. You can’t foresee injuries. All you can do is your due diligence and rely on the advice of your medical experts. I believe Cashman and the Yankees did this.

    Montero MAY develop into an All-Star quality Major League hitter.

    Pineda MAY recover from injury to become a top-of-the-rotation starter.

    Only time will tell.

    =========================

    Pitchers are more likely to get hurt than position players…Pineda had a history of elbow troubles….The odds were against us in that trade and some lack of common sense

  14. Shame Spencer July 10th, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    JF – Completely non-baseball related.. have you ever played the Walking Dead video game? I didnt even know there was one and I had seen a commercial for it because the next chapter is going to allow you to play as Daryl….. and I love Daryl. I don’t love video games really but I can love them for Daryl.

  15. Shame Spencer July 10th, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    blake July 10th, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    They should inject Pineda with platelets from Joba and Rivera……Bud Selig would freak though.

    —————-

    To which baseball should respond: Life isn’t perfect, Bud.

  16. Against All Odds July 10th, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Also I enjoy everyone appropriating my use of the term dead for injured players :twisted:

    ——————————

    It is the untuck before it became popular. I use the dead term frequently now.

  17. Jerkface July 10th, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Completely non-baseball related.. have you ever played the Walking Dead video game? I didnt even know there was one and I had seen a commercial for it because the next chapter is going to allow you to play as Daryl….. and I love Daryl. I don’t love video games really but I can love them for Daryl.

    Naw seemed awful.

  18. yanks 27 July 10th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Hopefully Pineda comes back healthy so we can trade him for a young position player.

  19. luis July 10th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    If you are in to video games, Try Skyrim or dead space

  20. Chip July 10th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks Chad – what we needed today was more Montero related nonsense :-p

  21. UnKnown July 10th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play......d=22977015

    Jeter goes cut throat around 1:20 mark.

  22. ZMAN July 10th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I still play WarCraft, 7th Guest, Mario Kart, Mortal Kombat, Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Magic the Gathering

  23. austinmac July 10th, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    With respect to the Montero trade, so far no one has gotten what they thought they were getting. As said above and as has been said since the trade was made, time will tell. So far, big dud.

  24. UnKnown July 10th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    http://www.nj.com/yankees/inde.....witterfeed

    —-

    Betances info.

  25. UnKnown July 10th, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports.....nuwPYJ1v8H

    ——

    The Cash Man

  26. Chip July 10th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    From the Cashman Q&A:

    Q: Beyond the run support, how do you explain the fact Ivan Nova had the second-best winning percentage since 1900 through his first 50 career starts?

    A: I keep hearing how we don’t develop pitchers. He’s got all the weapons. He’s a big 6-foot-4 guy who’s not afraid to challenge the hitters. He’s learned how to pitch.
    ——————————-

    The Yankees do develop pitchers – the issue is that their top guys never develop into what their projected ceiling was. They’re fantastic at developing second level guys or relief pitchers – but not their top guys.

  27. blake July 10th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Q: What amazes you most about Robinson Cano?

    A: When he was hatched out of the egg, they were invoking names like Rod Carew. Thank God we signed him to that extension. He would have been a free agent after last year. That would have been a disaster. He’s been an amazing Yankee. He’s always had that million-dollar smile. He’s always been working hard in the community to do good for others. He doesn’t want to just be a good ballplayer, he wants to be a Hall of Famer, and he wants championships.

    Keep that in mind cash

  28. UnKnown July 10th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Cash Interview snippet:

    Q: Is the job fun?

    A: I like what I do. It’s only fun if we’re the last team standing. You always see when the GM’s receiving the trophy, I’ve never once done that. One of the things I inherited from (The Boss) is don’t seek credit. I remember ’09, Hal tried to make me get the AL trophy. I wouldn’t do it. The World Series trophy, I was standing on the infield with my daughter. You haven’t seen a picture of me up there. Even though this job puts you in the forefront, it’s a collective effort.

  29. joerandolph119 July 10th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    The disappointing one is really Quintana… it’s hard to believe the Yankees couldn’t find a spot on the 40 man for a young lefty, given what a commodity that is.

  30. I Am Winning July 10th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Chip,

    Part of that is Yankee fans increasing the ceiling of certain prospects simply because they are consider “good.” Imagine if the Yankees had Trout in their system. They would claim him to be a future HOFer before even a single game in the majors.

    Also, looks at all of the Yankees pitchers Chad posted about, he named some top of the rotation starters and back end of the bullpen relievers. Not creating top line pitchers is just a load of made up crap. It’s not as if the Yankees have one of the top 30 picks every year. They get “good” starters and never “great” starters when drafting.

  31. DONNYBROOK July 10th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    What jumped out at me from the Cashman interview was the Impact “The Boss” had on Cashman, and how he carries lessons learned to this day.

  32. austinmac July 10th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    If the Yankees had drafted Trout, he would probably be hitting .380 in AA.

  33. Warning Track Power July 10th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I always enjoy updates on former Yankees. No matter if their progress is positive or negative, makes for a fun read.

  34. UnKnown July 10th, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    So last night took me totally by surprise what happened to Cano. I didn’t realize that the KC fans were at all expecting to see Butler in the Contest. I had not heard about Robbie “promising” as KC fans say that he would take a Royal. I did some researching and could not find an article but I did find this interview Robbie did where it does seem that he is alluding to the fact that a Royal would be in the event.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHVSadb4l2Q

    1:35 mark

    Not sure what happened between this interview and Robbie actually picking the team. What KC fans did was still pretty ridiculous especially considering Butler is not someone I would think of when thinking about a HR derby participate.

  35. I Am Winning July 10th, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    austinmac,

    I won’t disagree that the Yankees would have kept him in the minors 1-2 years longer than the average team, but than again, the Yankees aren’t an average team.

  36. Warning Track Power July 10th, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    So last night took me totally by surprise what happened to Cano. I didn’t realize that the KC fans were at all expecting to see Butler in the Contest. I had not heard about Robbie “promising” as KC fans say that he would take a Royal. I did some researching and could not find an article but I did find this interview Robbie did where it does seem that he is alluding to the fact that a Royal would be in the event.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHVSadb4l2Q

    1:35 mark

    Not sure what happened between this interview and Robbie actually picking the team. What KC fans did was still pretty ridiculous especially considering Butler is not someone I would think of when thinking about a HR derby participate.
    —————————————————————————————————————
    The KC fans can boo Cano all they want. That comes from jealously and a lack of intelligence.
    We’ll see how soon KC is awarded another all-star game after that rude behavior.
    I can only hope the next time the Yankees play KC, Cano will really give the KC fans something to boo about

  37. blake July 10th, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    “If the Yankees had drafted Trout, he would probably be hitting .380 in AA.”

    Or traded for a pither.

  38. blake July 10th, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Pitcher

  39. UnKnown July 10th, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I guess some company has made up shirts to distribute in reference about Cano not hitting a HR last night. Probably see a few of those at the game tonight if this is true or maybe not if it turns out to be just a rumor.

    Maybe the fans will cheer him tonight after realizing what fools they looked like last night, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    At any rate it is pretty meaningless. Who is playing in October and enjoying a parade is really all that matters.

  40. Shame Spencer July 10th, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Actually blake, I think it’s just as likely he would have been traded for a pither.

  41. DONNYBROOK July 10th, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    If the KC fans wantta boo, it should be directed at David Glass. The guy has been running a nickle-and-dime operation ever since he bought the team. Basically, running the Royals as per his Sam Walton\Walmart education.

  42. Bronx Jeers July 10th, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    UnKnown July 10th, 2012 at 2:48 pm
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play……d=22977015

    Jeter goes cut throat around 1:20 mark.
    ———————————————————

    It’s like somebody gave him truth serum.

  43. blake July 10th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    “If the KC fans wantta boo, it should be directed at David Glass. The guy has been running a nickle-and-dime operation ever since he bought the team. Basically, running the Royals as per his Sam Walton\Walmart education.”\

    they did have the best farm system in baseball last year….their revenues just don’t allow them to do much in the FA arena…..they did step up and extend Gordon….and are saying they want to add a frontline pitcher through free agency so we’ll see…..they haven’t been good enough to warrant a big investment in years…..they might be close to getting there though.

  44. blake July 10th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    AndrewMarchand Cashman: Reggie could rejoin Yanks on Friday espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/s…
    3 minutes ago

  45. DONNYBROOK July 10th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    K\C has been gobbling up Yankee Tax $$$ for years. That was Always 1 of George’s big complaints. Teams\KC take the $$$ and pocket it, instead of putting it back into the franchise.

  46. mick July 10th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I wouldn’t go as far as to call Pineda dead…
    ========================
    …but you have in the past.

  47. Against All Odds July 10th, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Not sure what happened between this interview and Robbie actually picking the team

    ——————————-

    According to some ppl MLB wanted the teams picked before the week was over. By the time he chose the players Butler wasn’t selected as a reserve yet.

  48. Against All Odds July 10th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    blake July 10th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    AndrewMarchand Cashman: Reggie could rejoin Yanks on Friday espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/s…
    3 minutes ago

    ———————–

    It’s like he’s coming off the DL :)

  49. Against All Odds July 10th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    and are saying they want to add a frontline pitcher through free agency so we’ll see….

    —————-

    Went to a KC board and they were talking about getting Marcum as a start to turning the pitching around :neutral:

  50. Warning Track Power July 10th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    blake July 10th, 2012 at 3:49 pm
    AndrewMarchand Cashman: Reggie could rejoin Yanks on Friday espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/s…
    3 minutes ago
    ————————————————————————————
    Reggie should know better. I really think his words hurt Arod’s feelings. I don’t know their relationship, but something tells me that ARod looked up to Reggie and felt like those 2 had a nice bond going. Reggie might have ruined that for good. ARod might forgive, but he does not have to forget what Reggie said.

  51. mick July 10th, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    ARod might forgive, but he does not have to forget what Reggie said.
    =========================
    neither does jeter…

  52. Bronx Jeers July 10th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I’m with Jeter on the Glass/KC situation.

    Screw parity.

  53. CCBiggs July 10th, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Why does everybody seem to think Aceves has been an efffective closer. In half a season, he’s already lost six games (0-6) and blown four saves. And his ERA is an unimpressive 4.33. That’s not good.

  54. kash_va July 10th, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Great Post Chad. Did I miss something? Did not see Ian Kennedy on the list of 10 or the noteworthy ???

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